Following the Truman doctrine, United States decided to give military aid to Turkey and Greece. In 1947, an American delegation came to Turkey. The talks ended by agreeing to transfer one tanker, one supply ship and 4 submarines from US. Navy to Turkish Navy.
The crew of these submarines proceeded to U.S.A. on 20 February 1948. After accustomation training to the new submarines on 19 April, the submarines USS BLUEBACK, USS BOARFISH, USS CHUB and USS BRILL sailed away with their core Turkish crews. These submarines were built during the Second World War and all saw active service in the US. Navy. The most successful of the was USS BLUEBACK that sunk 11 different types of naval vessels.
On 23 May 1948, they were commissioned into Turkish Navy. USS BRILL was named as TCG 1.İNÖNÜ, USS BLUEBACK as TCG 2.İNÖNÜ, USS BOARFISH as TCG SAKARYA and USS CHUB as TCG GÜR. These new submarines replaced old submarines with the same name.
In 1950, it was decided to transfer two more submarines to Turkish Navy. On 16 November 1950 USS BLOWER become TCG DUMLUPINAR and USS BUMPER become TCG ÇANAKKALE. On 4 April 1953, returning the from NATO maneuver Blue-Sea TCG DUMLUPINAR collided in Dardanelles off the Nara Point with the Swedish freighter Naboland and sunk. 81 submariners died in this accident.
In 1954, two more submarines were leased from US. Navy. for 5 years. The first one USS GUITARRO was renamed as TCG PREVEZE and commissioned into the Turkish Navy on 7 August 1954 in Mare Island Naval Base, San Diego. She sailed away on 25 August 1954 from San Diego. Thus she became the first Turkish submarine to cross the Panama Canal. She ended her 9300 miles long journey without calling any port on 26 October 1954 in İstanbul.
The second submarine USS HAMMERHEAD joined the Turkish Navy as TCG CERBE on 23 October 1954 in North Island Naval Airbase, San Diego. Following the same route of TCG PREVEZE she arrived in Turkey on 22 December.
10 years after the first submarine was transferred by the Marshall Aid, USS BERGALL was leased to the Turkish Navy for five years. She was named as TCG TURGUTREİS and was commissioned on 17 October 1958 in İzmir. Unlike the other submarines, she was directly transferred from her active service in Atlantic Submarine Fleet of US. Navy.
USS MAPIRO, leased for five years and renamed as TCG PİRİREİS was handed over to Turkish Navy on 18 March 1960. She left San Francisco on 16 May 1960 for İstanbul via Panama Canal, after the training of her new Turkish crew was over. TCG PİRİREİS arrived in Gölcük on 23 June 1960. She was commissioned into Turkish Navy with a ceremony the day after.
The other submarine leased from USA that year was USS MERO. After training and accustomation period for her new crew she was handed over to the Turkish Navy in San Francisco on 20 April 1960. Renamed as TCG HIZIRREİS she left United States following the route of her sister TCG PİRİREİS. TCG HIZIRREİS was commissioned into Turkish Navy on 23 August 1960.
The leases of these submarines were extended (twice for TCG PREVEZE and TCG CERBE and once for the rest) after for another five years after the initial lease period has expired.
As 1960 Turkish Navy operated 9 submarines from US origin. The first of these boats were strait Fleet types, given after the End of the Second World War as they are. The remainders however were overhauled and upgraded to GUPPY standard prior their transfer.
The acronym GUPPY stands for Greater Underwater Propulsion Power. At the conclusion of W.W.II, the United States was left with a very modern submarine fleet. Submarines captured from Germany demonstrated the feasibility of the snorkel system, which allowed for greater underwater speed and maneuverability.
Essentially, the GUPPY I program meant streamlining exterior hull surfaces, increasing battery capacity, removal of deck guns, and compartment rearrangements. Almost immediately after these conversions, the GUPPY II program commenced, which added the installation of a snorkel system that allowed the diesel engines to be operated while the boat was at periscope depth. In fiscal year 1951, 10 boats were to receive a GUPPY 1A conversion. This conversion was similar to the GUPPY II, but the equipment updates and re-arrangements were not as drastic. By GUPPY III conversation the boats were extended for more battery space and the sail was changed to fiberglass.
GUPPY I conversation of the first four submarines TCG 1.İNÖNÜ, TCG 2.İNÖNÜ, TCG SAKARYA and TCG GÜR were done with technical assistance from US Navy in Gölcük Naval Yard. Only interior changes were done to submarines by this conversation. It was decided to send the boats to the United States for the reminder of GUPPY conversations. TCG 2.İNÖNÜ sailed as first on 4 October 1952 other boats followed her later.
On 14 December 1970, Hunters Point Naval Yard in San Francisco was the scene of the hand-over ceremony of USS SEAFOX. Renamed as TCG BURAKREİS she sailed home on 9 April 1971 from San Diego after conducting ASW training. She was commissioned on 8 August 1971 and served in the Turkish Navy until 1996.
The longest serving GUPPY class submarine in Turkish Navy is TCG MURATREİS. She joined US Navy as USS RAZORBACK on 3 April 1944. She sunk 20.800 tons worth of enemy ships during 2. World War. She become Turkish TCG MURATREİS on 30 November 1970 and she was overhauled until October 1971. She arrived on 17 November 1971 in Turkey and was commissioned one month later. She is still in active service after 28 proud years.
In 1971 Turkish submariners were again in United States to bring another submarine home. This time it was the submarine USS POMFRET. She was given to her new crew after 3 months of training on 1 July 1971 in San Diego. TCG ORUÇREİS passed through Panama Canal and sailed to Philadelphia Naval Yard for her overhaul. Before sailing to Turkey, she took part in ASW training in Key West, Florida between 27 February - 22 March 1972. TCG ORUÇREİS was commissioned on 3 May 1972. She served in the Turkish Navy until 1987.
A similar route followed USS THORNBACK after becoming TCG ULUÇALİREİS on 2 July 1971. She too was overhauled in Philadelphia Naval Yard until January 1972. Arriving in Turkey she was commissioned in to service on the same day with TCG ORUÇREİS. After 28 years of servis she was taken from active duty. Handed over to a private museum she can be visited at her moorings in Golden Horn in Istanbul.
After the loss of USS BLOWER the second TCG DUMLUPINAR of Turkish Navy, on 3 June 1972 USS CAIMAN become the third TCG DUMLUPINAR in the Turkish Navy. She arrived on 23 August 1972 in Gölcük and was commissioned the following day.
Unfortunately, she too collided in Dardanelles (Just 28 knots north from the point where the previous TCG DUMLUPINAR was lost) with the Russian freighter FIZIK VAVILOV. Luckily, her crew was able to ground the submarine on a nearby bank, thus preventing another tragedy.
The next submarine taken from US Navy was USS TRUTTA. She was handed over on 30 June 1972 and was renamed as TCG CERBE. She conducted ASW training and live torpedo firings in United States before sailing home. Commissioned in the Turkish Navy on 27 August 1973. She is one of the two Turkish Submarines took part in Peace Operation on 20 July 1974 patrolling, northwest of Cyprus. She was taken from active service in 1999.
USS ENTEMEDOR become TCG PREVEZE on 31 July 1971. TCG PREVEZE was commissioned into Turkish Navy on 24 October 1972 and served until her decommissioning in 1987.
On 18 August 1972, in İzmir Turkey USS THREDFIN was given to Turkish Navy. She was renamed as TCG 1.İNÖNÜ, third submarine to bear this name. Commissioned on 23 August 1972 together with TCG DUMLUPINAR, she was the second Turkish submarine to take part in action. She patrolled southwest of Cyprus in July 1974. TCG 1. İNÖNÜ was decommissioned in 1998.
USS COBLER was the nineteenth and USS CORPRAL the twentieth and the last FLEET/GUPPY class submarine given to the Turkish Navy. Both submarines were handed over on 21v March 1973 in New London Naval Submarine Base. USS COBBLER was renamed as TCG ÇANAKKALE and USS CORPRAL as TCG 2.İNÖNÜ. Arriving in Turkey on 15 January 1974 both were commissioned on 12 February 1974.
TCG ÇANAKKALE outlived TCG 2.İNÖNÜ by two years when she was finally decommissioned in 1998.
After the end of Second World War numerous German U-Boats but many were taken by the allied powers for study and use. Some of the captured U-Boats was of Type XXI. They were the most advanced submariners of that time. Equipped with snorkel and build in a better shaped hull this type of submarines were not only quieter than the Fleet type submarines but were superior in speed and range too.
The first reaction of the US Navy to these facts was to initiate the GUPPY upgrade program for the existing Fleet type submarines. Starting studies on a new class of submarines that would include all the new advances made by the Germans during the War was the second reaction of US Navy.
The result was Tang class submarines. First submarine built of this class was USS TANG; launched in 1952 she served in US Navy until she was leased to Turkish Navy as TCG PİRİREİS in 1980. After the end of the formal leasing period she remained in the Turkish Navy and was purchased outright in 1987. TCG PİRİREİS the second submarine to bear the name of this famous Turkish explorer was decommissioned in August 2004.
Her sister USS GUDGEON has a similar carrier. She was leased to Turkish Navy as TCG HIZIRREİS on 30 September 1983. After the end of the formal leasing period she remained in the Turkish Navy and was purchased outright in 1987. She was taken from active service on 4.2.2004. Turkish Navy plans to convert her to a museum.
Between 1948-1983 US Navy gave leased or sold a total of 23 submarines of FLEET/GUPPY/TANG classes. One boat was lost on 4 April 1953. All of them, are decommissioned as they reached the end of their useful service life.