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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

S-16 (SS-121)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - November - Charlie

S-4 Class Submarine (Government-type): Laid down, 19 March 1918, at Lake Torpedo Boat Co., Bridgeport, CT.; Launched, 23 December 1919; Commissioned, USS S-16 (SS-121), 17 December 1920; Decommissioned, 22 May 1935, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Laid up in the Reserve Fleet; Recommissioned, 2 December 1940; Decommissioned, 4 October 1944, and struck from the Naval Register, 13 November 1944; Final Disposition, sunk as a target, 3 April 1945, 18 miles off Key West, FL., and lies upright in 255 feet of water.
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-16 3.03k Will Be
Sponsor When Submarine Is Launched

Mrs Archibald McNeil Jr., who was Miss Ann Orr, was chosen by Secratary of the Navy Daniel Josephus as sponsor for the submarine S-16 (SS-121) which was launched at the Lake plant at Bridgeport, 23 December 1919.
Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo from Harrisburg Telegraph. (Harrisburg, Pa.) 1879-1948, 20 December 1919, Automobile Section, Image 12.
Insert image and text provided by University of Tennessee.
Photo from The News Scimitar. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1907-1926, 29 December 1919, 4th EDITION, Image 8 via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov
S-16 640k NEWEST U. S. SUBMARINE CAN CRUISE TO JAPAN AND BACK.
Mrs Archibald McNeil Jr., who christened at Bridgeport the S-16 (SS-121), largest submarine ever built in the United States.
Image and text provided by Oklahoma Historical Society.
Photo from The Daily Ardmoreite. (Ardmore, Okla.) 1893-current, 02 January 1920, Image 1, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
S-16 1.24k NEW AMERICAN SUBMARINE LAUNCHED AT BRIDGEPORT.Image and text provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA.
Photo from Abbeville Progress. (Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, La.) 1913-1944, 10 January 1920, Image 6, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
S-16 170k Submarine S-16 (SS-121), the last word in submersibles, was added to the US Navy recently at Bridgeport Conn. Without fueling she could travel to Japan and return, according to cruising tests made. Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo from Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, 17 January 1920, Final, Image 22, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
S-16 968k All dressed up at Lake Torpedo Boat Co., Bridgeport, CT., 23 December 1919, S-16 (SS-121) lies at dock after launching. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org. via Robert Hurst.
S-14 & 16 70k S-14 (SS-119), alongside Beaver (AS-5) at the Panama Canal Zone, circa the 1920s. S-16 (SS-121) is inboard of S-14. Courtesy of the USS Nautilus Museum, Groton, Connecticut, 1991. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 99184.
S-16 139k S-16 (SS-121) & next to her is possibly the S-50 (SS-161) with another unknown S-boat and 4 unidentified R-boats alongside their tender, Shawmut (CM-4) probably in the Panama Canal area, circa 1924. USN photo # 80-G-1024884, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
R-20 776k Four submarines docked at Pearl Harbor, circa summer 1927: foreground is the S-16 (SS-121), R-3 (SS-80), R-4 (SS-81) & at the right background, is another submarine with 3 vertical stripes, the R-20 (SS-97). Photo & text i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images, courtesy of gettyimages.com.
Photo added 12/10/16.
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 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)
S-16 34k A Pen and ink drawing with wash, by the artist Vernon Howe Bailey, entitled "Deck Gun (Preparing for Sea)," depicts an S-boat at dock, possibly the S-16 (SS-121) in 1941. Deck Gun (Preparing for Sea)
Vernon Howe Bailey #30 Pen and ink drawing with wash, 1941
Courtesy of the USNHC, painting # 88-165-AD.
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.
Philadelphia Navy Yard 105k View of the stern deck aft of the S-16 (SS-121) as lies upright in 255 feet of water. Photo courtesy of seawolfproductions.com

View the S-16 (SS-121)
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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