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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

R-15 (SS-92)

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Sierra - Victor

R-1 Class Submarine: Laid down, 30 April 1917, at Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA.; Launched, 10 December 1917; Commissioned, USS R-15, 27 July 1918; Re-designated USS R-15 (SS-92), 17 July 1920; Decommissioned, 7 May 1931, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Recommissioned, 1 April 1941, at Sub Base New London, CT.; Decommissioned, 17 September 1945, at Key West FL.; Struck from the Naval Register, 11 October 1945; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping in October 1945, to Macey O. Scott, Miami, FL..

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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R-15738kA collage of photos showing R-15 (SS-92) being launched at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. Lt'd, Union Plant, San Francisco on Dec 10, 1917.
The left insert is a picture of the ship's sponsor, Mrs. Thales S. Boyd.
The right insert shows the R-15 sliding down the building ways.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
R-15, 16 & 1917kR-15 (SS-92),
R-16 (SS-93) &
R-19 (SS-96) in Hawaii, circa 1918.
Courtesy of Mike Baust.
SS 92-9787k Beaver (AS-5) at anchor off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, with six submarines alongside, circa late 1918.
R-17 (SS-94),
R-20 (SS-97),
R-15 (SS-92),
R-16 (SS-93),
R-18 (SS-95) &
R-19 (SS-96).
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 56366.
R-15148kR-15 (SS-92) in dry dock, probably at Mare Island for overhaul prior to her transfer to Pearl Harbor, circa June 1919. Text courtesy of DANFS. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
R-15183kThe crew of the R-15 (SS-92) air out on deck in a warm climate. US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
R-12, 13 & 15 76k Tied up along the dock from right to left:
R-12 (SS-89),
R-15 (SS-92) and
R-13 (SS-90), probably in Pearl Harbor, circa 1920's.
US Navy photo # 19-N-10261, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
R-12, 13, 15 & 9 40k Tied up along the dock from right to left:
R-12 (SS-89),
R-15 (SS-92),
R-13 (SS-90),
with R-9 (SS-86) and an unidentified R-boat,probably in Pearl Harbor, circa mid 1920's.
US Navy photo # 19-N-10257, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
R-boats 117k Circa early 1920's at Pearl Harbor. What looks to be the R-15 (SS-92) on the left, R-12 (SS-89) in the middle and R-19 (SS-96). The mast of what might be the former cruiser Chicago, now a barracks ship under the classification IX-5, lies to the right of the R-19.US Navy photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
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.
Photo added 01/03/14.
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.
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)
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.
Rusty Oldies294k 1. R-15 (SS-92) is present.
2. S-14 (SS-119) is present.
3. There is a third Government design S-boat at the top of the photo, one that has a stern torpedo tube. The boat is riding a little high, and the tube can just be seen, right at the waterline.
4. The fleet boat is a EB design Mod 3 Gato.
Here is what can be reasonably inferred from the facts:
1. The photo was taken during WWII.
2. The photo was probably taken in New London. R-15 and S-14 operated exclusively in the Atlantic during the war, as did all of the Government design S-boats.
3. Assuming New London for a location, R-15 and S-14 were both there starting in April 1944.
4. Using April 1944 for a rough date, that narrows the choices of fleet boats considerably. It would have to be a late construction EB Gato. Only Cavalla (SS-244), Cobia (SS-245), and Croaker (SS-246), all built at the Victory Yard downstream would have been present in April 44. Croaker was actually the last Gato built by EB. All the other EB ways were already cranking out Balaos at this time. In fact, the first three EB Balaos had already been commissioned by this date.
5.S-48 (SS-159) was one of the eight Government design S-boats with a stern torpedo tube. Of the eight, only S-11 (SS-116) to 13 (SS-118), and S-48 were still in existence, the others had all been scrapped prior to the war. S-11, 12, and 13 operated exclusively in the Caribbean at this time.
So, to sum up: the photo was taken approximately April 1944 in New London, the fleet boat could be Cavalla, Cobia, or Croaker (and I would lean heavily to Croaker), and the S-boat at the top is probably S-48.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR), Ric Hedman, John Hummel & Robert Morgan.
Text courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR).
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
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-15 (SS-92)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
PigBoats.COM TM A Historic Look at Submarines

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