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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Adder / A-2 (SS-3)


Adder Class Submarine Torpedo Boat: Laid down as Adder, 3 October 1900, at Crescent Shipyards, Elizabethport, NJ ; Launched, 22 July 1901; Commissioned USS Adder, 12 January 1903, at the Holland Co., New Suffolk, Long Island, NY; Decommissioned, 26 July 1909, for transport to the Philippines; Recommissioned, 10 February 1910; Renamed USS A-2 (Submarine Torpedo Boat No.3), 17 November 1911; Decommissioned, 12 December 1919; Designed (SS-3), 17 July 1920; Final Disposition, designated for use as a target, 24 September 1920; Struck from the Naval Register, 16 January 1922.

Specifications: Displacement; Surfaced, 107 t., Submerged, 123 t.; Length 63' 10"; Beam 11' 11"; Draft 10' 7"; Speed, Surfaced, 8 kts, Submerged, 7 kts; Depth Limit 150'; Complement, 1 Officer, 6 Enlisted; Armament, one 18" torpedo tube, 5 torpedoes; Propulsion, Otto Gas Engine Works gasoline engine, HP 160; Fuel Capacity 767 gal.; Electro Dynamic electric motors, HP 150; Battery Cells 60; single screw.
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Adder 1.41k WONDERFUL SUBMARINE BOAT
It is said that the engineers of the Adder (SS-3) are able to bring it into position, fire a torpedo, and sink the boat in ten seconds. Five minutes has been considered good time for this evolution, and the performance of the Adder makes it the superior of any submarine boat in the world. The official trial of the Adder is to take place within the next two weeks.
Image and text provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA.
Photo from The Jennings Daily Record. (Jennings, La.) 1900-1903, 13 March 1902, Image 3, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Adder 1.80k SUBMARINE BOAT ADDER (SS-03) ON SURFACE GOING ABOUT EIGHT KNOTS AN HOUR. Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Evening World. (New York, N.Y.) 1887-1931, 13 November 1902, Night Edition, Image 13 via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Moccasin 107k Moccasin (SS-5) Electric Boat Company/Holland Torpedo Boat Company facility, New Suffolk, Long Island, New York.
Submarines in the facility basin, circa 1903. Boats in the front group are (from left to right): Plunger (SS-2); Porpoise (SS-7); and Adder (SS-3). In the background, by the breakwater are (left-right): Shark (SS-8) and Moccasin (SS-5). Photographed by Legendre & Levick, New York.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 45937.
Adder306k The Adder class was in effect, an enlarged production version of Holland with a much more powerful gasoline engine. With the dynamite gun omitted, the decking at the ends was no longer necessary and the superstructure was drastically reduced. The hull was enlarged so that men could move about erect on the internal deck, with plenty of headroom. In 1900, when advocating this design, Electric Boat argued that she would be handier and livelier than Holland, despite her greater size, because weights would be concentrated better near her center of gravity. For example, whereas Holland's ballast tanks were spread along her length, in this design the main ballast tank was no longer than the storage battery. It was designed to avoid the air pockets (with their free-surface effect) that could form in the earlier boat's ballast tanks.
The air compressor had much increased capacity. The company argued that the most important single improvement was provision of a compensating tank that made it easy to operate in fresh or salt water. (Holland had failed a 20 April 1898 trial because she was trimmed wrong for New York Harbor, with its mixture of fresh and salt water). The scrap drawing shows the periscope and conning tower modification applied to Plunger . In the inboard profile, note the rods high in the hull that connect the steering gear to the control surfaces aft.
Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Adder68kUnderway on the surface, while running trials, probably in Long Island Sound, circa 1903. Note the yacht in the distance.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 57724.
Adder95kUnderway on the surface, while running trials, probably in Long Island Sound, circa 1903. Note the slicker-clad man at the wheel of her exterior conning station.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 57719.
Adder79kUnderway on the surface, while running trials, probably in Long Island Sound, circa 1903.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 57721.
Adder86kWith several men on deck, while she was running trials, probably in Long Island Sound, circa 1903.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 57722.
Adder96kWith other submarines, at the Electric Boat Company/Holland Torpedo Boat Company facility, New Suffolk, Long Island, New York, circa 1903.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 57728.
Adder 2.16k BOSUN DEERY WHOSE GALLANT SWIM SAVED THE SUBMARINE BOAT ADDER (SS-03) IN A FURIOUS GALE
The first real lively experience we have had with our new submarine boats was the almost complete wrecking of two of the finest in the navy during a recent storm off Norfolk Va. In the work of rescue the Peoria, Yankton, and Vixen lent conspicuous service. The present experience may lead to a new estimate of the value of submarines.
Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation & University of Utah, Marriott Library.
Photo from The Evening World. (New York, N.Y.) 1887-1931, 05 December 1903, Night Edition, Image 2 & Deseret Evening News. (Great Salt Lake City [Utah]) 1867-1920, 02 January 1904, Last Edition, Part Two, Image 22, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Adder Class Diag.514k Tank layout of the Adder class submarine by Bureau of Construction and Repair, Navy Department August 1904.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Adder1.10kThe Adder (SS-02) appears in the foreground at Norfolk Navy Yard, torpedo station, Portsmouth, Virginia 1905. Photo i.d. courtesy of Bill Gonyo. Photo # 4a17603v courtesy of LOC via Stephen Gower.
Adder96k Perhaps the most important harbors submarines had to defend were those in the Philippines, which had to be held until the fleet could steam across the Pacific. Early U.S. subs could not transit all the way there, so they were transported aboard colliers. Here Adder (SS-03) is unloaded from the collier Caesar in 1908. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Porpoise and Shark81k Caesar (1898-1922) at anchor in 1908-1909, while transporting submarines to the Philippine Islands. The "boats" are either Submarines Shark (SS-08), and Porpoise (SS-07) which were embarked on Caesar in April-July 1908, or Adder (SS-03) and Moccasin (SS-05), which were on board in July-October 1909. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 78275
Adder259kMohican sailors working on a boat - possibly the Adder (SS-02). The man on the right is Victor L. Anderson, the other sailor is unidentified, circa 1910-15. Photo from the Collection of Victor L. Anderson USN from tendertale.com via Robert Hurst.
Photo added 07/27/12.
Adder110kAt the Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, circa 1910-1911. Porpoise (SS-07) is in the left background.Note the man inside Adder's (SS-03) cowl ventilator. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 90169.
Adder65kIn Philippine waters with her crew on deck, prior to World War I. Note the 13-star "boat" flag flown by this submarine. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 84663.
Adder311kA-2 (SS-3) ex-Adder moving by Mohican, post 1911. Photo from the Collection of Victor L. Anderson USN from tendertale.com via Robert Hurst.
Photo added 07/27/12.
Adder73kIn Manila Bay, Philippine Islands, circa 1912. Note men working with her foredeck hatch. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 57732-A.
Adder88kUnderway in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands, circa 1912. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 90190.
Moccasin 122k Dewey Drydock, Olongapo Naval Station, Philippines.Submarines A-6 (SS-7) ex-Porpoise , A-4 (SS-5) ex-Moccasin and A-2 (SS-3) ex-Adder in the Dewey Drydock, circa 1912.The boats show standard features: a single tall periscope abaft the conning tower; a conning tower fairing; and a bridge structure atop the conning tower, with the surface wheel atop it. This photo was taken before the boats had been fitted with forward periscopes.
The bow of their tender, Mohican, is at left, with an anchor suspended from her starboard cathead.
Partial text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 90185.
Adder 253k Loading an 18" torpedo, while at the Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines, circa 1912. Note this early submarine's rectangular hatch. Text courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 90188.
US Navy photo, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Adder176kIn the Philippines about 1915, Adder (SS-03) shows her false bow and her two periscopes protruding from her enlarged conning tower fairing. The object abaft the second periscope is an underwater bell for signaling; the noisy geared drives in these boats often rendered such devices useless. Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
SS-2464kVice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood was assigned command of the submarine Adder (SS-03) in 1914. He command the ex-German submarine UC-97 from March 1919 to August 1919, and the submarine V-3 (SS-163) from May 1926 to December 1928. The ex UC-97 was used to evaluate the capabilities of German submarine equipment. US Navy photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Adder31kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the 100th year of Adder's (SS-03) commissioning, 12 January 1903 - 12 January 2003. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.

View the Adder / A-2 (SS-3)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Not Applicable to this Vessel
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
PigBoats.COM TM, a Historic Look at Submarines

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