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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch contributed by
Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

Octopus / C-1 (SS-9)


C Class Submarine: Laid down, 3 August 1905, at Fore River Shipbuilding, Quincy, MA,; Launched, 4 October 1906; Commissioned USS Octopus, 30 June 1908; Renamed USS C-1, 17 November 1911; Decommissioned, 14 February 1910, at Charleston, SC; Recommissioned, there, 15 April 1910; Decommissioned, 4 August 1919, at Coco Solo, C.Z.; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping 13 April 1920.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced 238 t., Submerged 275 t.; Length 105' 4"; Beam 13' 11"; Draft 10'; Speed, surfaced 10.5 kts, submerged 9 kts; Dept Limit 200'; Complement 1 Officer 14 Enlisted; Armament, one 18" torpedo tube forward. five torpedoes; Propulsion, gasoline electric, mfg. unknown gasoline engines, 500 hp, Fuel Capacity, 3,900 gal., Electro Dynamic Co. electric motors, single propeller.
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SS-0995k The Octopus class was the first designed entirely by L.Y. Spear (Holland had left Electric Boat). As in the Viper design, the periscope was a fixed-eyepiece type let into the conning tower. Note the scope directly under the engine to collect cooling water; until the 1930s, U.S. submarines engines used seawater as a coolant. The high speed diesels introduced at that time used closed circuit cooling, in which fresh water circulated around the cylinders and surrendered its heat to a heat exchanger (radiator) in contact with the sea. This design introduced E.B.'s characteristic stern, with two propeller shafts nearly parallel to the axis of the hull, rudders and stern planes arranged symmetrically around that axis, and heavy skegs protecting and supporting planes and rudders. This was also the first class of U.S. subs completed with a bell for underwater signaling (it was later fitted to earlier boats). Air-operated signal bells were superseded in later designs by electrically operated Fessenden oscillators, which could put out stronger signals. Drawing by Jim Christley.
Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS-0995kOctopus (SS-09) being prepared for launching, at the Fore River Ship Building Company shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, 4 October 1906. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 44578.
SS-0995k Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken during launching of the Octopus (SS-09) at the Fore River Ship Building Company shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, 4 October 1906. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 44579.
SS-09 2.40k THE OCTOPUS (SS-09).
Largest submarine ever built for the United States Navy. She will compete in the Newport tests this week.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.] 1866-1924, 28 April 1907, Image 52, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09 2.01k THE NEW TYPE OCTOPUS (SS-09). Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from The Washington Times. (Washington [D.C.] 1902-1939, 28 April 1907, Magazine Section, Image 46, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09 2.79k SUBMARINE OCTOPUS (SS-09). Making record breaking submerged run 15 feet below surface. Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.] 1866-1924, 10 May 1907, Image 8, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-0978k Octopus (SS-09) surfacing after a submerged run, during her preliminary trials, off Newport, Rhode Island, July 1907. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 44576.
SS-0957kOctopus (SS-09) photographed during trials, circa 1907. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 44577.
SS-0981kPhotograph taken circa 1907, when Octopus (SS-09) was first completed. It was published on a color-tinted postal card by Thomson & Thomson, Boston, Massachusetts, prior to World War I. Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN (Retired), 1978.Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 88481.
SS-0974kOctopus (SS-09) in port, probably when first completed, circa 1907. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 98945.
SS-09 1.39k Naval Reserves Travel 18 Miles Under Sea
THE SUBMARINE TORPEDO BOAT OCTOPUS (SS-09)
Militia Gets Practical Experience in the Handling and Navigating of Submarine Boats, and All Are Enthusiastic Over Sensation.
Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA.
Photo from The Times Dispatch. (Richmond, Va.) 1903-1914, 12 August 1908, Image 8, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
B-15.63kU. S. SUBMARINES DARING CRUISERS
AT THE TOP THE VIPER (SS-10); BELOW THE TARANTULA. AND THE ROUTE THEY WILL TAKE ON OCEAN TRIP.
An adventure watched with interest by the navy officials and by thousands throughout the country is the cruise of four submarines from Philadelphia to Charleston, S. C. The boats are the Tarantula, Viper, Cuttlefish (SS-11) and Octopus (SS-09).
Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA.
Photo from The Spokane Press. (Spokane, Wash.) 1902-1939, 12 November 1908, Image 7, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
E-2 1.25k In Wake of Craft That Cleaves the Depths Lie Many Dead Pioneers
Experiments That Led Up to Wonderful Feat of a Squadron of American Submarines the Other Day Have Cost Hundreds of Lives and Millions of Money.
Embedded text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
PDF Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.] 1866-1924, 2 July 1911, Image 17, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Who Am I? 528k SUBMARINE THAT TOOK PART IN GREAT RECORD SWIM Image and text provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa; Honolulu, HI.
Photo from Evening Bulletin. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii) 1895-1912, 22 July 1911, 3:30 EDITION, Image 17, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09 3.40k Meyer Risked Lives of Crew for Mrs. Goelet.Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA. & Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from The Tacoma Times. (Tacoma, Wash.) 1903-1949, 02 August 1911, Image 7, & New-York Tribune (New York [N.Y.] 1866-1924, 27 July 1911, Image 1 via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-14 & friends136kThe Salmon (SS-19),Grayling (SS-18), Tarpon (SS-14), Octopus (SS-09), Bonita (SS-15) with the battleship Nebraska (BB-14) in the background on 28 October 1911. Digital ID # 2162989549_03ac37e6c6_o, LC-B2-2335-13. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection, courtesy of Tom Kermen.
SS-14 & friends136kBow of the tender Severn and her charges: Salmon (SS-19),Grayling (SS-18), Tarpon (SS-14), Octopus (SS-09), Bonita (SS-15) with the battleship Nebraska (BB-14) in the background on 28 October 1911. Digital ID # 2163790702_9293e5e616_o. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, from the George Grantham Bain Collection, courtesy of Tom Kermen.
SS-09 648k The Octopus (SS-09), Soon to Be Known as C-1, In Drydock
When she emerges from her berth in drydock at the New York navy yard, the submarine Octopus will be the C-1. This is in pursuance the new policy of the vessels of this class by letter and number instead of by names of fishes as has generally been done in the navy. In making the change the navy department is following the practice of the British and French, and perhaps anticipating the time when the United States shall have built so many submarines that all the commonly known denizens of the deep would not suffice for the naming of them.
Image and text provided by Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.
Photo from The Democratic Banner. (Mt. Vernon, Ohio) 1898-192?, 23 January 1912, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Octopus340kC-1 (SS-09), during the Naval Review week in New York City, 4th October 1912.
The battleship Kearsarge (BB-05) is in the background.
NARA (National Archives and Record Administration) photo # 19-N-13646, courtesy of Daniel Dunham & fixed by Jim Kelling.
BB-32 Wyoming1.20kDANIELS ENJOYS HIS TRIP IN SUBMARINEImage and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from The Washington Times., 1902-1939, 4 April 1913, Last Edition, Image 2, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09 2.35k UNCLE SAM'S SUBMARINES TO PROTECT PACIFIC END OF THE PANAMA CANAL.
Washington, December 3. A submarine flotilla, consisting of the vessels C-1 (SS-09), C-2 (SS-13), C-3 (SS-14), C-4 (SS-15), and C-5 (SS-16) has been sent to Colon, to wait until a passage through the Panama canal is opened. Then the submarines will go through to the Pacific entrance of the canal and be permanently station there to guard it. The Atlantic entrance of the canal will be protected from the naval station at Guantanamo, Cuba.
Image and text provided by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Photo from Bismarck Daily Tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]) 1881-1916, 04 December 1913, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09 375k SUBMARINES AT COLON FOR DEFENSE OF CANAL
Four of the five submarines which, accompanied by a collier and the monitor Montauk, made the record breaking voyage from Guantanamo, Cuba, to Colon, Panama, where they are now anchored at the new concrete docks,waiting to pass through the canal. They will be used in the defense of the Pacific entrance to the canal. This is the first time that submarines have made such a long sea voyage.
Image and text provided by State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO.
Photo from The Cape County Herald. (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) 1911-1914, 09 January 1914, Image 3, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
C-boats 940k Operation of Gatun Locks. Class C submarines and Ladder Dredge Corolzal dry docked in the upper east chamber. Looking North. 6 April 1914.
The boat on the right is numbered 12; the first two boats on the left are numbered 13 & 15.Unfortunately they cannot be identified as said numbered boats with 100% certainty , because #12 was the Tarantula / B-3 (SS-12), and this boat was operating in the Philippines where she served with Submarine Division 4, Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet until 25 July 1921.
Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo by Ernest Hallen, from the digital collection of Ron Armstrong, author of The Panama Canal, the Invisible Wonder of the World
Photo i.d. courtesy of Chuck Haberlein, Ric Hedman & Dave Johnston (USNR).
SS-09 785k UNCLE SAM TESTS WORKING OF ELECTRIC TOWING LOCOMOTIVES IN PANAMA CANAL; BIG LINER PASSES THROUGH GATUN LOCKS
Top, the tender (Severn), followed by navy submarines, in lower east chamber of Gatun locks, waiting for the water to be lowered to sea level; bottom, towed by electrically-driven locomotives on lines suggesting switchbacks; the tender (Severn) entering the middle east chamber of the Gatun locks.
Image and text provided by University of Utah, Marriott Library.
Photo from The Ogden Standard. (Ogden City, Utah) 1913-1920, 13 June 1914, 4 P.M. City Edition, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Gatun 695k USING CANAL LOCK CHAMBER AS DRY DOCK FOR SUBMARINES
Five of Uncle Sams submarines which will guard the Pacific entrance to the canal are resting on the floor of the upper lock chamber of the Gatun locks. Workmen are busy overhauling, painting and repairing the vessels prior to their taking up their duties as guardians of the Pacific approach to the canal.
Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE.
Photo from The Red Cloud Chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923, 09 April 1914, Image 7, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
C-boats 549k C boats in Canal, 6 April 1914. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Record Administration), RG 185-G Vol. 21 Pict # 0071 courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 08/11/13.
Octopus53kC-1 (SS-09); C-2 (SS-13) & C-3 (SS-14) operating at Gatun Locks. C-Class submarines and tender (Severn). Attaching cables from towing locomotives and moving into position to enter upper locks, 14 April 1914. NARA (National Archives and Record Administration) photo # 19-N-502, courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
C-boats 1.10k Operation of the Gatun Locks. (Severn) (tender to the submarines) leaving lower lock under tow of electric locomotives. 15 April 1914.Photo by Ernest Hallen, from the digital collection of Ron Armstrong, author of The Panama Canal, the Invisible Wonder of the World
C-boats 884k Operation of the Gatun Locks. Class C submarines (Severn) (tender) in upper east chamber. (Severn) being towed by locomotives, submarines under own power. 15 April 1914.Photo by Ernest Hallen, from the digital collection of Ron Armstrong, author of The Panama Canal, the Invisible Wonder of the World
SS-09,13,14,15,& 1692k C-Class submarines in the Gatun Locks, Panama Canal, circa 1914. Photograph printed on a color-tinted postal card, prior to World War I. The submarine present include (in no particular order):
C-1 (SS-09);
C-2 (SS-13);
C-3 (SS-14);
C-4 (SS-15); and
C-5 (SS-16).
Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, Photograph # NH 85276.
SS-09,13,14,15,& 16221kBow on view of C-Class submarines in the Gatun Locks, Panama Canal, circa 1914. Photograph printed on a color-tinted postal card, prior to World War I. The submarine present include (in no particular order):
C-1 (SS-09);
C-2 (SS-13);
C-3 (SS-14);
C-4 (SS-15); and
C-5 (SS-16).
Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
SS-09 2.42k SUBMARINE IS U. S. HOPE IN WAR, SAY SENATORS, DEMANDING MILLIONS FOR UNDER SEA FLEET; WOULD SAVE COAST CITIES
Submarines defending the Panama canal (top) and one of Uncle Sam's latest submarines which was under water 36 hours.
Image and text provided by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Photo from Bismarck Daily Tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]) 1881-1916, 27 February 1915, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09301kScenic port scene showing the Octopus (SS-09), C-2 (SS-13) & C-5 (SS-16) tied up alongside their tender with other vessels. US Navy photo, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS-09105kThe Octopus (SS-09) in dock, location unknown. Note the rotating bow cap, which has exposed the muzzle of her port torpedo tube. Photo Submarine Force Museum and Library & submitted by Robert Hurst.
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
C-boats 824k Five United States submersibles in the Gatun lock on the Atlantic side of the canal. This photo is of a series that appears in the newspaper article below.Photo by Ernest Hallen, from the digital collection of Ron Armstrong, author of The Panama Canal, the Invisible Wonder of the World
Photo i.d. courtesy of Chuck Haberlein, Ric Hedman & Dave Johnston (USNR).
SS-09 439k U.S. Submarine Octopus (SS-09), a type of boat.Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.] 1866-1924, 12 September 1915, Image 46, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
SS-09 489k SUBMARINES HELP PROTECT CANAL ZONE
Five United States submersibles in the Gatun lock on the Atlantic side of the canal. Extraordinary precautions have been taken to guard the waterway. All Germans in the employ of the government were dismissed immediately when we broke with the kaiser.
Image and text provided by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records; Phoenix, AZ.
Photo from Tombstone Epitaph. (Tombstone, Ariz.) 1887-current, 25 February 1917, WEEKLY EDITION, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
C-boats 511k C-1 (SS-09) dockside Cristobal C.Z., 1918. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Record Administration), RG 185-G Vol. 19 # 60 courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 08/11/13.
C-boats 449k C-1 (SS-09) taking mail through Panama Canal. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Record Administration), RG 185-G Vol. 4 # 0074 courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 08/11/13.
C-boats 781k C-1 (SS-09) taking mail through Panama Canal, departing from Cristobal C.Z., May 1919. Photo from NARA (National Archives and Record Administration), RG 185-G Vol. 4 #73 courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 08/11/13.

View the Octopus / C-1 (SS-9)
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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