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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

R-1 (SS-78)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Lima - Charlie

R-1 Class Submarine: Laid down, 16 October 1917, at Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, MA.; Launched, 24 August 1918; Commissioned, USS R-1, 16 December 1918, at Boston, MA.; Redesignated USS R-1 (SS-78), 17 July 1920; Decommissioned, 1 May 1931, at Philadelphia, PA.; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet; Recommissioned in ordinary, 23 September 1940, at Groton, CT.; Placed in full commission, 16 October 1940; Decommissioned, 20 September 1945, at Key West, FL.; Struck from the Naval Register, 11 October 1945; Sunk at quay 21 February 1946, raised 24 February 1946; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 13 March 1946, to Macey O. Smith, Miami, FL.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 569 t., Submerged: 680 t.; Length 186' 2" ; Beam 18'; Draft 14' 6"; Speed, Surfaced 13.5 kts, Submerged 10.5 kts; Depth Limit, 200'; Complement 2 Officers, 27 Enlisted; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes forward, 8 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun; Propulsion, diesel electric engines, New England Ship and Engine Co., diesel engines, 1200hp, Fuel Capacity, 18,880 gals., Electro Dynamic Co., electric motors, twin propellers.
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SS 78 167k E.B.'s R-1 (SS-78), is shown as completed, with three housing periscopes (conning tower, control room & after battery compartment, the later extemporized during WW I) & a 3in/50 deck gun. The only sound gear shown is the circular plate of the Fessenden oscillator. As in other E.B. designs, she has her battery fore & aft of the control room. Drawing by Jim Christley, text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS 078 83k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) at anchor on 21 January 1920, with R-1 (SS-78), alongside.US Navy photo # NH 99894, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS-84 & friends 79k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) off New York City with twelve submarines alongside, circa 1920. Submarines are, from inboard to outboard (left to right):
R-1 (SS-78),
R-2 (SS-79),
R-4 (SS-81),
R-5 (SS-82),
R-6 (SS-83),
R-10 (SS-87),
R-9 (SS-86),
R-8 (SS-85),
R-7 (SS-84),
R-3 (SS-80),
S-4 (SS-109)
and S-3 (SS-107).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 99892, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
SS-84 & friends 100k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) off New York City with twelve submarines alongside, circa 1920. Submarines are, from inboard to outboard (left to right):
R-1 (SS-78),
R-2 (SS-79),
R-4 (SS-81),
R-5 (SS-82),
R-6 (SS-83),
R-10 (SS-87),
R-9 (SS-86),
R-8 (SS-85),
R-7 (SS-84),
R-3 (SS-80),
S-4 (SS-109)
and S-3 (SS-107).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 59972, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
R-boats R- US 416k R-Boats tied to a tender. The cityscape in the background is New York City. Location is the 79th Street Boat Basin on the west side of Manhattan Island. They were in transit to Hawaii.
R-1 (SS-78),
R-2 (SS-79),
R-4 (SS-81),
R-5 (SS-82),
R-6 (SS-83),
R-10 (SS-87),
R-9 (SS-86),
R-8 (SS-85),
R-7 (SS-84) with the stern of another R-boat visible. It is quite possible that this photo is taken from a different angle from the one above with the same boats in order but only a partial view.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Ric Hedman.
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS-85 78k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) in San Pedro Harbor, California, 1921. Submarines alongside are (from outboard to inboard):
R-1 (SS-78)
R-3 (SS-80)
R-8 (SS-85),
R-4 (SS-81),
R-2 (SS-79) &
R-10 (SS-87)
US Navy photo # NH 55044, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
BB-51 Montana132This photo shows the submarines R-1 (SS-78), R-2 (SS-79), R-3(SS-80), R-4 (SS-81), R-5 (SS-82), R-7 (SS-84), R-8 (SS-85) & R-10 (SS-87) with Mud Scow #8 in Mare Island's Dry Dock #2 between 8 May and 10 June 1922. Note: The scaffold for the construction of the Montana (BB-51) can be seen above and to the right of the head of the dry dock. Seattle NARA photo # USN photo 60-30 Record Group 181, 13th Naval District, Records of the Naval District & Shore Establishments, courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large. & submitted by Darryl L. Baker.
SS 078 105k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) in New York Harbor during the early 1920s, with several R-boats alongside. The sub closest to Camden is R-1 (SS-78). Note that all these submarines have platforms forward of their fairwaters for a 3"/50 gun, but only one of them carries the gun.US Navy photo # NH 61543, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 078 94k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) in New York Harbor during the early 1920s, with several R-boats alongside. The sub closest to Camden is R-1 (SS-78).US Navy photo # NH 99895, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 078 91k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) in New York Harbor during the early 1920s, with several R-boats alongside. The sub closest to Camden is R-1 (SS-78).US Navy photo # 80-G-1024959, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
R-boats 167k R-boats in dry dock at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, during the early 1920s. Submarines in the foreground are (from left to right): R-3 (SS-80); R-2 (SS-79); and R-1 (SS-78). Five other R-boats are further back in the dry dock. US Navy photo # NH 69000, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969.
R-boats 145k R-1 (SS-78) was ordered to the Pacific 11 April 1921, transited the Panama Canal in late May, and arrived on 30 June at her new base, San Pedro Calif. She took part in fleet exercises off Central America from 5 February through 6 April 1923, returned to San Pedro on 10 April, and on 16 July was transferred, along with Division 9, to Pearl Harbor where for the next 8 years she trained crews and developed submarine tactics.
This photo dates from this time period & is possibly at San Pedro, Calif.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
US Navy photo from National Archives & Record Administration (NARA), Record Group R-119-E13GG BOX-13, courtesy of interwarnavy.org. via Bill Gonyo.
SS 78 133k R-1 (SS-78) at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard sometime between 1923 and 1930. United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. NH 41853, courtesy of Mike Green.
Photo added 07/04/14.
Unknown Photos3.08kR & S boats at the sub base, Pearl Harbor, November 1925. The barracks ship, ex-Chicago (CL-14) is at the right of the photo. Photo from the private collection of Ric Hedman.
SS 078 448k First photo in a series of four showing the R-1 (SS-78) being moved towards shore. Photo Source: NARA College Park, Maryland, Record group 19E.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
SS 078 438k Second photo in a series of four showing the R-1 (SS-78) being moved towards shore. Tow line is now attached. Photo Source: NARA College Park, Maryland, Record group 19E.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
SS 078 502k Third photo in a series of four showing the R-1 (SS-78) being moved towards shore. Tow line is now attached. Photo Source: NARA College Park, Maryland, Record group 19E.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
SS 078 525k Last photo in a series of four showing the R-1 (SS-78) being moved towards shore. Tow line is now attached. Photo Source: NARA College Park, Maryland, Record group 19E.
Photo courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Sub Base Pearl Harbor152kThe crews of Submarine Divisions 9 & 14 line the decks of their boats (20 in all) at the Submarine base at Pearl Harbor on 12 December 1930.
R-1 (SS-78),
R-2 (SS-79),
R-3 (SS-80),
R-4 (SS-81),
R-5 (SS-82),
R-6 (SS-83),
R-7 (SS-84),
R-8 (SS-85),
R-9 (SS-86),
R-10 (SS-87),
R-11 (SS-88),
R-12 (SS-89),
R-13 (SS-90),
R-14 (SS-91),
R-15 (SS-92),
R-16 (SS-93),
R-17 (SS-94),
R-18 (SS-95),
R-19 (SS-96) &
R-20 (SS-97).
All the R-boats were to leave the base where they had been serving for upwards of 8 years and transfer to the East coast to be decommissioned over the next 3 years.
The only identifiable boat is the R-16.
US Navy photo by Tai Sing Loo, courtesy of E. Little.
SS 127 200k S-22 (SS-127), at New York City, circa the 1930s. Inboard submarines are (left-to-right):
R-1 (SS-78);
R-13 (SS-90) and
R-4 (SS-81).
Text courtesy of # NH 68899.
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS 078 566k Undated photo of the R-1 (SS-78) underway at sea during fleet maneuvers off Hawaii. US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, Photo No. 1999.224.002 courtesy of Mike Green.
Navy Yard 91k These World War submarines, [R-boats] tied up in the Navy Yard in Philadelphia for a dozen years, are being reconditioned and some are already in active service again, it was announced 10 January 1941. This picture shows them as they appeared before the repair program began. Photo & text courtesy of A.P. Wire courtesy of philly.com.
Philadelphia Navy Yard 2.49k Philadelphia Navy Yard, 28 October 1940.
The photo presented panorama military shipyards in Philadelphia Navy Yard. Most of the ships are obsolete US destroyers, that were transfer to Great Britain under lend lease.
The submarines are on the left hand side of the photo, and they are: (in no particular order)
The O boats:O-1 (SS-62), O-2 (SS-63), O-3 (SS-64), O-6 (SS-67), O-7 (SS-68), O-8 (SS-69), O-9 (SS-70), O-10 (SS-71).
The R boats: R-1 (SS-78), R-2 (SS-79), R-3 (SS-80), R-5 (SS-82), R-6 (SS-83), R-7 (SS-84), R-8 (SS-85), R-9 (SS-86), R-10 (SS-87), R-12 (SS-89), R-15 (SS-92), R-16 (SS-93), R-17 (SS-94), R-18 (SS-95), R-19 (SS-96) & R-20 (SS-97).
The S boats: S-11 (SS-116), S-12 (SS-117), S-13 (SS-118), S-14 (SS-119), S-15 (SS-120), S-16 (SS-121), S-17 (SS-122) & S-48 (SS-159).
The Olympia (C-6) is shown at the right of the wharf on Broad Street.
The stadium in the upper left, was John F. Kennedy Stadium (formally Philadelphia Municipal Stadium)that stood from 1926 to 1992. It was erected for the 1926 Sesquicentennial.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com.
Lower resolution photo. (548k)
SS 078 39k Fine screen halftone reproduction of a photograph of the R-1 (SS-78) taken in June 1943. Published by the Division of Naval Intelligence, Identification and Characteristics Section.US Navy photo # NH 102947, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 78 189k R-1 (SS-78), underway, starboard view, date and location unknown. R-1 was the only R-boat during WW II that was credited with shooting at a German U-boat. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Pompano 401k This air view of Portsmouth Navy Yard taken just after the end of WW II shows the main shipbuilding shed which enabled construction to continue unimpeded by the Maine winters. The shed was widened to add two ways in 1941, and a fifth was squeezed in a year later. Drydocks No. 1 (left) & 2 (far right) contain six fleet submarines, while three R-boats are moored in the foreground.
The Pompano (SS-491) would have been under construction in the first ways on the left hand corner of the main shipbuilding shed.
Photo and partial text from The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History, by John D. Alden.

View the R-1 (SS-78)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

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