The MTS study collection recently acquired a copy of the battle flag of the USS Barb. The Barb was a Gato-class submarine built in Groton, Connecticut. During her seven patrols in the Pacific, the Barb is credited with sinking seventeen enemy vessels totaling 96,628 tons. She is also famed for the only ground combat operation that took place on the main Japanese islands when the sub blew up a
railroad train during its final patrol. A full description of the flag and the accomplishments of the Barb can be found in the collections database record of another crew copy located at the Mariners' Museum & Park in Newport News, VA.
A printed label on the back of the flag indicates it was made by Carleton Company in Rochester, NY. The flag is screen printed onto cotton canvas. The red, black, yellow, turquoise, and green were printed first, and then the navy blue background color was printed last. At some point in time, thick white paint was placed around the perimeter to imitate the white border of the original flag. The greatest challenge we face in conserving this flag will be preventing further losses along the edge where the heavy white paint is putting strain on the thin ground fabric.
Stay tuned for an update on conservation of this flag, as well as our next blog about kill flags from the USS Albacore.