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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

S-12 (SS-117)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Mike - Victor

S-4 Class Submarine (Government-type): Laid down, 8 January 1920, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.; Launched, 4 August 1921; Commissioned, USS S-12 (SS-117), 30 April 1923; Decommissioned, 30 September 1936, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Laid up in the Reserve Fleet; Recommissioned, 4 November 1940; Decommissioned, 18 May 1945, and struck from the Naval Register, 22 June 1945, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 28 October 1945, to Rosoff Bros., New York City, NY, resold to Northern Metals Co., Philadelphia, for scrapping.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 876 t., Submerged: 1092 t.; Length 231'; Beam 21' 10"; Draft 13' 1"; Speed, surfaced 15 kts, submerged 11 kts; Depth Limit 200'; Complement 4 Officers, 34 Enlisted; Armament, five 21" torpedo tubes, 14 torpedoes, one 4"/50 deck gun; Propulsion, diesel electric engines, Maschinfabrik - Augsburg - Nurnburg, New York Navy Yard diesel engines, 2,000 hp, Fuel Capacity, 36,950 gal.; Westinghouse Electric Co., electric motors, 1,200 hp, Battery Cells, 120, twin propellers.
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S-12 137k S-12 (SS-117) just after launching 4 August 1921, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. USN photo courtesy of
S-12 2.98k 14 page PDF Portsmouth Navy Yard Navy Day pamphlet with the S-12 (SS-117) on the cover on 27 October 1923. National Archives Identifier: 6882448
Photo courtesy of
S-10 - 13 61k Bushnell (AS-5) at Gonaives, Haiti, circa 1924 tending her charges: S-11 (SS-116), S-12 (SS-117), S-10 (SS-115) & and S-13 (SS-118). USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.
S-boats 115k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) photographed circa the middle or latter 1920s, with ten S-boats alongside. The submarines are (on Camden's starboard side, from left to right):
S-18 (SS-123) & unidentified Electric Boat type S-boat;
S-19 (SS-124);
S-12 (SS-117); and an unidentified Government type S-boat.
On Camden'sport side, from left to right:
Unidentified unidentified Government type S-boat;
S-7 (SS-112);
S-8 (SS-113);
S-9 (SS-114); and
S-3 (SS-107).
USNHC photograph NH 100459.Collection of Vice Admiral Dixwell Ketcham, USN.
S-12 120k Cheyenne (IX-4), inboard at left; S-12 (SS-117), outboard at left; and Dale (DD-290) at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 14 June 1926, during the National Sesquicentennial exhibit there. The small boat and Sailor, in the foreground, are on life-saving service to protect exhibit visitors. USNHC photograph NH 55117. Collection of Vice Admiral Dixwell Ketcham, USN.
S-12 917k S-12 (SS-117) with US fleet at Haiti, spring 1927.
A Wyoming class battleship appears on the right.
Photo courtesy of David Wright.
S-10, 12 & 13 151k S-13 (SS-118), S-10 (SS-115) and S-12 (SS-117) moored at Balboa Docks, Panama. Note the Grace Lines liner (one of four sisters built in 1933: Santa Elena, Santa Paula, Santa Rosa or Santa Lucia) being assisted to dock by a Canal Zone tug (probably Tavernilla). Circa 1933-1935. USN photo courtesy of Dave Wright.
S-11 56k S-12 (SS-117), shown about 1941, was one of four government S-boats S-10-13 (SS-115-18), redesigned by Portsmouth Navy Yard to carry a torpedo tube aft. Structural detail has been included in this drawing to suggest the complexity of the C & R design, which made it extremely difficult to maintain. The V-1-class (SS-163-65) had similar complex structures. Drawing & Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
S-12 1.01k S-12 (SS-117) leaving the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 4 June 1923. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Photo added 12/10/18.
Low 74k Admiral Francis Stuart Low was born in Albany, New York, on 15 August 1894, son of the late Commander William Franklin Low, USN, and Mrs. Anna (Stuart) Low. He attended High School in Newton, Massachusetts and US Naval Academy, graduating from the latter with the Class of 1915. In 1926 he completed the junior course at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. His first assignments after graduation were in the battleship Connecticut (BB-18) and cruiser Montana (ACR-13). In the early part of his illustrious career, he was designated a submariner, and commanded the submarines D-3 (SS-19), O-9 (SS-70), L-1 (SS-40), L-2 (SS-41), S-12 (SS-117), and served on the staffs of Commander Submarine Division FIVE and Commander Control Force during and subsequent to World War One. This continuous sea duty from 1915 to 1925 was briefly interrupted for a six months assignment with the Tactical Group Submarine Chasers, New London, Connecticut. Text & USN photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
SS 116 765k Meet the STERN family: S-12 (SS-117), S-11 (SS-116), S-13 (SS-118), S-10 (SS-115) and S-48 (SS-159) pose for a back of the front shot, sometime circa before 20 March 1935, when the S-48 left. The location is most likely Coco Solo, Panama.
One other clue as to the date of the photo is the fact that all the boats are still painted haze gray. There was a date in the mid 30's when the Navy shifted over to basic black for all the boats. I am thinking that this photo was taken just before that date. The boats on the left have all been modified with the safety updates, i.e marker buoys and hatches capable of taking a McCann Rescue Chamber, but they are still all gray.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Welch.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Ric Hedman & Dave Johnston (USNR)
S-11, 12 & 13 89k Submarines S-12 (SS-117), S-11 (SS-116) and S-13 (SS-118) out of commission in Navy Yard, 30 June 1936. Photo by Philadelphia Evening Bulletin courtesy of
S-10 67k These O type and S type submarines which were used during the World War have since been decommissioned and are now laid up in the Phila. Navy Yard. The peaceful surroundings are quite a contrast to those of their active war days. They are pictured here on 17 July 1936.
The S-10 (SS-115) was decommissioned on the day this photo was taken at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA. and laid up in the Reserve Fleet.
Pictured also are any of the following boats that were at the PNY during this time.
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 S boats: S-6 (SS-111), S-7 (SS-112), S-8 (SS-113), S-9 (SS-114), 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).
Photo & text courtesy of A.P. Wire courtesy of
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 (of blessed memory).
Photo courtesy of
Lower resolution photo. (548k)
Who Am I 878k Submarine maneuvers for pilot instruction. Submarine crusing, 24 July 1942.
This boat is a Government design S-boat. She is too long forward of the fairwater to be an EB design and the fairwater matches that of the Government boats. It could be any boat between S-11 (SS-116) and S-17 (SS-122) (those were the Government boats that served through WWII). It is not the S-48 (SS-159) as she had been extensively modified and did not look like this boat.
Photo & text i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston, (USNR).
USN photo # 80-G-1626 from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.

View the S-12 (SS-117)
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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