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|1.05k||UNCLE SAM'S DEADLY NEW SUB-MARINE FIGHTING MACHINE.||Image and text provided by West Virginia University.|
Photo & text by The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. (Wheeling, W. Va.) 1865-1903, 05 May 1898, Image 6, courtesy of chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|399k||CROSS SECTION OF NEW DEADLY SUBMARINE AND PICTURE OF INVENTOR
George F. Ryan of Chicago, whose picture appears at the top, is daily looking for patents on a new submarine he has invented and which he claims will compel the world to bow to the United States.....
|Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE.
Photo from The Falls City Tribune. (Falls City, Neb.) 1904-191?, 22 July 1904, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|846k||Four of our submarines in dry dock in government navy yard.||Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.|
|565k||Torpedo Tubes, American Submarine, circa 1910-15.||LOC photo # LC-B2-3437-11 / 18818v from Bain News Service, courtesy of lcweb2.loc.gov.|
|60k||Severn with one C-class boat alongside, circa 1913-1916, probably at Panama.||Photo courtesy of Ric Hedman.|
|537k||OLD SUBMARINE RAISED AFTER 20 YEARS
This was one of the first underwater craft attempted in this country. On a trial trip it dived and failed to come up again. It has just been lifted from the bed of the river at Chicago after two unsuccessful attempts. It is 30 feet-long and-five feet wide. It was named "Fool Killer No. 1."
It's inventor was Lodner Darvontis Phillips.
|Link inset courtesy of Ric Hedman.|
Image and text provided by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA.
Photo from Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, 29 December 1915, Night Extra, Image 16, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|729k||FLEET OF U.S. SUBMARINES ON THEIR WAY TO SEA||Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.
Photo from The Evening World. (New York, N.Y.) 1887-1931, 05 February 1917, Final Edition, Image 3, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|630k||Should Germany Defeat Allies, U. S. Safety Would Depend On Submarines|
American Submarine under full headway
Should Germany succeed in starving England and France into submission by means of her U-boats, the submarine as a defensive weapon would immediately become a thing of tremendous importance to the United States. With many submarines Uncle Sam could prevent Germany from landing troops and supplies on his coasts. The photograph gives a clear conception of the power of this American undersea craft and shows clearly its construction above the waterline.
|Image and text provided by University of Utah, Marriott Library.|
Photo & text by The Ogden Standard.(Ogden City, Utah) 1913-1920, 07 May 1917, 4 P.M. CITY EDITION, Image 8, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|1.10k||WOMAN INVENTS NEW SUBMARINE.||Image and text provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA.
Photo from The Herald. (New Orleans, La.) 1905-1953, 31 May 1917, Image 5, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|3.69k||Uncle Sam's New Two Man Submarine||Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA.|
Photo from The Tacoma Times. (Tacoma, Wash.) 1903-1949, 10 January 1918, Image 3, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|430k||On the deck of an American submarine out on the Atlantic during fleet manoeuvres. Wigwagging orders.||Image and text provided by The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.|
Photo & text by The Sun. (New York [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, 28 April 1918, Section 4 Pictorial Magazine, Image 41, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|1.99k||Real Toys for American Youngsters
Yankee Kiddies Have Outgrown Commonplace Playthings of Days Gone By.
No more mere toys, building blocks and kiddie cars for the American youngster. He demands genuine war playthings. Photograph shows a four year-old youngster and his land submarine bicycle, which is equipped with four torpedo tubes, one machine gun and a wireless outfit.
|Image provided by: Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN.
Photo from The Tomahawk. (White Earth, Becker County, Minn.) 1903-192, 19 December 1918, Image 4, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|241k||Photographed Through a Periscope.||The Washington Times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, 02 February 1919, Sunday Evening Edition, Image 13, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.|
|1.00k||Submarine coming into navy yard.
||Photos 08_06_023221-23 courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.|
|412k||Submarine being overhauled, Philadelphia Navy Yard drydock, 19 March 1929.
The boats might be K-boats, with one Lake design N-class.
|Photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR) & Ric Hedmen.|
Photo 08_06_006682 courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
|700k||NOT TWO SPEEDING MOTORBOATS in the N. Y. Y. C.'s annual Block Island run, but one of your Uncle Samuel's latest type submarines coming to the surface with a rush after a deep dive in a choppy sea somewhere along the Pacific Coast.||Photo by Underwood.|
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 7 August 1921, Image 57, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
|3.65k||"A submerged American submarine firing a torpedo as seen from a U.S. Navy seaplane at an elevation of 1,000 feet.
The compressed air from the torpedo tube has just risen to the surface where it has the appearance of a cloud of steam. The wake of the U-boat's periscope also appears plainly."
The identity of this sub was not listed.
INSERT:- A photographer perched on the nose of a naval seaplane, as seen from another machine flying obliquely above. The camera man's position, far in advance of the pilot, gives him an extraordinary range of vision in three directions."
|Photo & text courtesy of N.Y. Times, 9 March 1919, Page 2, courtesy of memory.loc.gov.|
The AL-17 probably plows the waves in a supporting cast for S-23 (SS-128) as Hollywood takes to the airwaves
The boat is without doubt a post-safety conversion (i.e. early 30's) EB S-boat. It is hard to tell due to the quality of the picture, but the boat appears to have the rounded bow plane pivot fairings of the 30 series boats (S-30 to 41). The conning tower fairwater configuration rules out S-42 to 47.
I have an ongoing project to research the unusual numbers that have shown up on U.S. boats in the years prior to WW1. They are vertically arranged two digit numbers that do not match the boat's hull number. So far the data I have gathered show no direct correlation between the boat's name, hull number, or squadron/flotilla assignment. These numbers seem to have disappeared when the war started, only to make a comeback in a few photos from WWII. In this case, the AL-17 designation matches the style and location of the AL-14 that we confirmed to have been part of the movie.
I am still way open for suggestions, but for right now I am leaning heavily towards these photos being related to the shooting of Hell Below.
|Text & photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR) with input from Jim Christley & Ric Hedman.
Photo from the private collection of Ric Hedman.
|3.08k||R & 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.|
|68k||What was thought to be the S-15 (SS-120) in Dry Dock circa 1925, possibly Mare Island Shipyard since the boats
near her in the dry dock were all reported to be at Mare Island at that time too.
There is no doubt at all that this is an EB design 20 series S-boat. Which one is uncertain, but it definitely is NOT the S-15.
|Photo & text courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
|39k||This photo was thought to be Steelhead (SS-280) shortly after her launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., 11 September 1942. It is in fact an early production Government Balao in a 2/1-1 configuration.||Text & photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
USN photo courtesy of subvetsofwwii.org.
|928k||This looks to be a 3"/50 on quite possibly a Sargo or Salmon class during training operations out of New London, Connecticut, 26 November 1943.||Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.
USN photo # 80-G-43876 by Cdr. Edward J. Steichen, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
|18k||Photo of the Gar (SS-206) underway, circa 1941-45, place unknown.|
The identification of this photo is suspect due to the following:
Salmon (SS-182), Seal (SS-183), and Skipjack (SS-184) all had their periscope shears extensively rebuilt during overhauls at Mare Island in the summer of 1944. They came out of these overhauls with shears that looked very much like those of the early Balao's. Snapper (SS-185), Stingray (SS-186), and Sturgeon (SS-187) all received less extensive mods that put their looks somewhere between a late Gato or early Balao. An example can be seen on the Salmon page.
Flying Fish (SS-229) seems to be the lone Gato class "covered wagon" boat to have her shears completely rebuilt. Why this was done is a mystery. Ric Hedman contributed a photo of the Flying Fish that clearly shows this. It doesn't quite match the Salmon mods, and isn't quite like the later Balao configuration. It seems to be a unique, one off modification that as far as I can tell wasn't applied to any other Gato.
In doing this research I discovered something that had not struck me before. The Sargo was the first of the "covered wagon" boats. Starting with Sargo, the interior structure of the conning tower fairwater was beefed up with the distinctive heavy vertical frames that, once the fairwater was cut down and some of the outer plating removed during the war, gave these and subsequent boats (through the Gato's) that ribbed, covered wagon look. The Sargo's were the first boats to have 40 foot long periscopes, previous boats having 34 footers. The longer scopes tended to vibrate at higher speeds so the beefed up shears design was most likely an attempt to mitigate this problem. The top of the "covered wagon" ribs provided excellent lookout stations so there was little if any impetus to radically alter the shears and the upper fairwater.
One modification that does not seem to have been ever made on any boat that had the original fairwater design was the shortening of the fairwater under the cigarette deck, as is shown in the suspect "Gar" photo that I mentioned below. All the fleet boats prior to the late built Gato's had a watertight door built into the aft end of the conning tower cylinder. This allowed the deck gun crew access to the gun by going through this door into a void space inside the fairwater. They would then exit onto the main deck through a cutout in the fairwater that can be seen in many photos. This void space was between the aft end of the conning tower and the very large Main Air Induction Valve. This man sized valve sat vertically inside the very aft end of the fairwater. In order to cut away and shorten the fairwater, the Induction Valve would have to be moved forward. The small reduction in fairwater visibility this would have given was offset by the complexity and difficulty of moving this major valve. I have yet to see a single instance of this type of modification being performed.
The Balao's and Tench's had a redesigned conning tower that eliminated this door entirely and replaced it with a completely separate gun access trunk at the forward end of the fairwater that led into the control room directly. This allowed the designers to move the Main Air Induction Valve forward and shorten the length of the fairwater from the start, giving the Balao and Tench fairwaters a look distinct from that of the Gato's and earlier boats.
|US Navy photo, courtesy of Hyper War, US Navy in World War II.
Text & i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
|35k||Thought to be the Runner (SS-275), underway, with cut down bridge with the open cigarette decks probably after her arrival at Pearl Harbor.|
The boat in the photo is an unknown Balao/ Tench class.
|U.S. Navy photo, partial text courtesy of John Hummel. |
Photo & i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
|650k|| Life beneath the seas on a U.S. submarine. A submariner reading his favorite comic-strip. The submarine mascot pants in the shade of the conning tower, circa January 1944 (maybe before).
The dog might be easier to i.d. then the sub.
Victory and the end of the war meant the breaking up of most submarine crews. Garbo, Skeeter, Betty, and other dogs went home with crew members. Porches, lawns, and the occasional cat replaced steel hulls, tile decks, and depth charges. Gabby, mascot of the Gabilan, proudly represented all submarine sea dogs when he marched with his crew in a welcome-home victory parade in Mobile, Alabama, in October 1945.
Pooch text courtesy of the article Sea Dogs by William Galvani in americanheritage.com.
NARA photo # 080-G-335388, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.
|362k||I've seen this photo listed as the Flasher (SS-249) in various places online over the years, but I have absolutely no idea if that's correct. The configuration is correct for her as built, but beyond that... A Mod 3 Gato EB design. Photo probably taken early 44.||
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR) & Robert Morgan.
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
|978k||The boat is a Government design 2/1/1 Balao class boat. It is probably one of the earlier Government Balaos, with this pic probably taken sometime in early 1944 or late '43.||US National Archives photo # 80G-282828 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
|457k||On the shores of America's inland waterways, many underwater crafts are being constructed. This submarine is undergoing finishing touches in a small bay at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.||LOC photo # LC-USE6-D-006233 / 8b04306v from lcweb2.loc.gov.|
|350k||Installation of an engine part in a submarine under construction at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.||LOC photo # LC-USE6-D-006235 / 8b07453r from lcweb2.loc.gov.|
|380k||As the shift changes, workers pour out of the shipyards at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where submarines are built on a twenty-four-hour day, seven-day week basis.||LOC photo # LC-USE6-D-006238 / 8b07454v from lcweb2.loc.gov.|
|373k||Construction of the hull section of a submarine at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. These sections will be assembled in a small bay, and when completely installed will be sent through the Saint Lawrence Canal to the sea.||LOC photo # LC-USE6-D-006241 / 8b07456v from lcweb2.loc.gov.|
|181k||An Electric Boat built Gato class with a Mod 4 fairwater loads torpedoes before a WW II patrol.||U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com|
|104k||A Mod 3 Balao class EB design. Photo probably taken early 44.||Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
US Navy photo # 80-G-468172, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
|246k||This boat is a Government design 2/1/1 mast configured Balao class boat. She has a 5”/25 gun in the forward position. That dates this photo between late 1944 and the end of the war. Location is Pearl Harbor. Disregard the 22 on the fairwater. Those were temporary ID numbers assigned to boats running training ops out of Pearl Harbor prior to going out on patrol. The numbers may have been reused, so short of finding a schedule list of these numbers in the Archives it will be very difficult to use this number to ID the boat.||Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hart.
Text i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR).
USN photo # 80G-352876, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo added 04/17/14.
|1.80k||I would not concentrate on this boat being a Tench. The late war configuration of both the Balaos and Tenchs were nearly identical.|
This boat has what I call the 2/1/1 mast configuration. That is the two scopes followed by the thin SJ mast, with the separate air search mast set back on the cigarette deck. The air search radar appears to be the late war big dish SV, but it is hard to tell for sure. It appears she has a 40mm on the forward fairwater gun deck (the pic is really grainy and this is not confirmed), and a 20mm Mk 10 open mount on the aft fairwater gun deck (confirmed).
The configuration of her forward main gun deck is not unusual. It is typical of most of the Government design Balao's of the late war period. The as built configuration for these boats was with the 4"/50 cal Mk 9 gun in the forward position. This gun was quite long and required a big deck to allow the crew to move as it was trained. By late war this gun had been replaced by the stubbier 5"/25, usually in the aft position, which required less deck space.
I believe the two digit number to be a local Hawaii system used to identify the boat to friendly forces during local training exercises during the war, without giving away the boat's ID to any potential lurking Japanese eyes. They were abolished almost immediately upon the cessation of hostilities and replaced with the boat's actual hull number. I have yet to see any documentation to this effect, so this is nothing but an educated guess. With this in mind, and with the original photo information below, I would place the date on the photo right at the end of hostilities, between 28 August and 02 September.
|U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Fred Lester, ETN3(SS).
Photo i.d. courtesy of & David Johnston, (USNR).
|651k||Thought to be Barb (SS-220) at Mare Island, probably May 1945.
This photo shows an EB design Gato class submarine. It has a late war Mod 4 fairwater configuration. The Mod 4 has the bridge cut down to expose the covered wagon ribs and the SJ radar mounted forward.
Barb never had this configuration. She finished the war with a Mod 3A which has the bridge at the original height and the SJ mounted aft of the periscopes. Confirmed post war photos also show her in this configuration.
As for the mystery boat, I can not give you an exact ID. I would place the date in mid 1945.
|Photo & text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).|
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
|179k||Photo dated 22 July 1945. The boat looks like an early Balao class and is probably a Government design, although the pic quality is not good. Hard to tell for sure. I can get nothing else from the photo.||Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
US Navy photo # 80-G-335390, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
|240k||Fleet submarines - Adm Lockwood visit Luzon.||US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.|
|63k||This was originally thought to be the Diablo (SS-479) sliding down the launching ways at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., 1 December 1944.
This boat is of the Balao class and is not a Tench. The fore foot at the lower edge of the bow is rounded like the Balaos, not angled like the Tench class.
|Text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).
Photo courtesy of LCDR Tomme J. Lambertson USN(RET).
|273k||An EB design Balao or Tench. She is carrying a mast configuration that is unique to the late war EB design that I call the 1/3 (or "one three"). The SJ radar is situated on a thin mast forward of the periscope shears, and the SD (or later SV) radar is on a thick mast very similar to the periscope shears immediately aft of the shears. The photo clearly shows the bases of this triple mast arrangement. EB and Manitowoc completed 21 boats to this configuration. Those are: SS-337 to 352, SS-375 to 378, and SS-435. I would bet my lunch that the mystery boat is one of these 21. Unfortunately, there isn't enough else in the photo to provide any further identification. If I had an exact date the pic was taken, I could eliminate any of the boats commissioned after that date. So far, we only know that the pic was taken sometime after his commissioning as an officer on 15 June 1945. The actual date of the photo could even be post war.|
One long shot for the ID of the boat is Sarda (SS-488). She was the lone oddball of the Government design Tench's in that she also had a 1/3 mast arrangement. Sarda was a test boat for an experimental design for a longer conning tower, and this probably drove the unique mast arrangement on her.
|Text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).
Photo courtesy of LT Howard G. Havens collection at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
|319k||U.S. subs at Freemantle, 1945.||Photo courtesy of slwa.wa.gov.au (State Library of Western Australia) via Steven Gower,|
|409k||East side story: A minyan of subs alongside the pier at Staten Island.|
1st row: EB Balao(twin 20mm mount on the forward deck), Government Balao, Government Mod 4 Gato 2nd row: Mod 3 Gato?, Mod 4 Gato, unknown Balao, 3rd row: unknown Balao?, Mod 4 Gato. On the other pier to the right: Mod 4 Gato, unknown Balao? Photo date: immediate post war, fall of 1945.
|U.S. Navy photo courtesy of John Hummel. |
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).
|433k||West side story: subs alongside the pier at Mare Island.|
The photo is a post war view of berths 1-4 at Mare Island. I put the date prior to December 1945 since ARD-11 was to the right of the pier to the right corner of the photo from December 45 to Sep 46. On 1 Sep 46 ARD-11 was berthed at the location of the first row of boats until mid 1947.
|U.S. Navy photo courtesy of John Hummel. |
Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl Baker & David Johnston, (USNR).
|114k||Subs alongside of the Proteus (AS-12); was taken late wartime, probably 1945 and shows two Balao / Tench class and possibly a Gato class (inboard boat).||U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org. Text courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).|
|271k||A closer view of a few boats alongside at lower base, with landmark escape training tank.||Submarine Force Library, courtesy of Ken Hart.|
|401k||Nereus (AS-17) with a unknown Fleet boat.||USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.|
|289k||Inactivated submarines at Mare Island in early 1946. |
Front row left to right: Sand Lance (SS-381), next two could be Sealion (SS-315) and Seahorse (SS-304), Searaven (SS-196), Pampanito (SS-383), Gurnard (SS-254), Mingo (SS-261), Guitarro (SS-363), Bashaw (SS-241).
Back row left to right: Unknown, Tunny (SS-282), next three could be Sargo (SS-188), Spearfish (SS-190), and Saury (SS-189), Macabi (SS-375), Sunfish (SS-281), Guavina (SS-362), Lionfish (SS-298),Piranha (SS-389).
The Scabbardfish (SS-397) is docked in ARD-11 on the other side of the causeway.
Tiru (SS-416) is on the ways in upper left hand side of photo. Two ferry boats (to the right of Tiru's ways) are YHB-2 / [ex-Post of Stockton] and YHB-21 / [ex-Tamalpais].
|Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
|536k||The boat sitting on the marine railway at the Submarine Base in New London is indeed a Government design Gato. It is a Mod 4A with the lowered bridge and the separate air search radar mast aft of the shears. This dates the photo to late 1944 at the earliest. The problem is that all of the Gato's would have been long gone from New London by this date. The last of the Portsmouth Gato's was Steelhead (SS-280) and she was commissioned in December '42. The Squadron 50 boats were pulled back from Europe in mid-1943 and sent to the Pacific, and at this time they would have been sporting a Mod 3 (with the high bridge, covered wagon ribs not exposed) if they had any fairwater mods at all.|
So with all this in mind, this photo could not have been taken even in late 1944. The only time where you would see a Mod 4A Gato in New London would be post war. A lot of Gato's were laid up in reserve there at finger piers on the north side of the base. I am speculating that this photo shows a boat going through a pre-lay up overhaul. Guns have been removed from the fairwater gun decks, work is being done on the aft engine room mufflers, and there is a big tarp over the deck gun. It is hard to tell, but the air search radar looks like a big dish SV. I would place the date sometime in 1946 or early 1947.
The Whale (SS-239) looks the closest, right down to the extra holes drilled in her casing round over - forward, aft, but not midships.
|Photo courtesy of Wendy Gulley via Ron Reeves.|
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston & Robert Morgan.
|1.40k||Sub base New London, CT., Marine Railway aerial 1943 & Waterfront south end aerial 1946.||Photos courtesy of Wendy Gulley via Ron Reeves.|
|255k||Outboard of the Coucal (AS-8). The inboard boat is a Fleet Snorkel built by Portsmouth or Cramp. It was thought to be the Sabalo (SS-302), but the configuration definitely is one of the FM mine detection sonars, the QLA, an FM sonar for mine detection. It was nicknamed, "Hells Bells".
The outboard boat is a government yard built Balao class or Tench. This picture was probably taken in the 1952 to 1955 time-frame.
To identify these boats, I was keying on the topside sonar arrangement on the forward deck of the Fleet Snorkel. The streamlined dome on the starboard side is either a WFA or BQS-3. That in itself was not unusual. What caught my eye was the can-on-a-post directly to port of this dome. The unconverted boat outboard also has it in the same location. These two boats are the only two I have ever seen with this arrangement. It is not the JT sonar, both boats have the T-shaped JT head just aft of this feature. It has me completely stumped. None of my references mention or identify it, and I have never seen it in any other picture. It might not even be sonar gear. It's possible that it is some other type of topside equipment. Could this be some kind of antenna, esp. one for direction finding of radio communication or radar signals? I'm thinking this may be a good possibility. ECM
Typical of the way Howard Lorenzen operated, was the overnight revolution in the way his branch supported the silent service. Starting with the Pike (SS-173) in July 1944, all of NRL's submarine intercept and DF systems had located the intercept antennas on the conning tower, necessitating exposure and attendant risk when collecting signals. In December 1957, Rear Admiral Elton W. Grenfell, a submariner and mechanical engineer, came in from the Pacific Fleet, where he commanded U.S. submarine forces, and complained to Howard Lorenzen that he had written his last memorandum to BUSHIPS. He wanted hardware - now!
Lorenzen summoned several engineers and technicians to a brainstorming session in his office. Submariner Grenfell accepted Ralph A. Carpenter's proposed communications intercept configuration (15 KHz-265 MHz) and Reid Mayo's ELINT amplifier and crystal video detector (2.5-12 GHz), but rejected all of his ELINT antenna offerings as too large and grotesque - which stimulated William Edgar Withrow's design of a double-armed spiral antenna, not much bigger than a silver dollar, to fit inside a periscope.
A month later, following integration and testing at Kolmorgen Optical, Inc. in North Hampton, Massachusetts, Kolmorgen's modified periscope (type 8A) and NRL's intercept equipment were installed on the Dogfish (SS-350) in New London, Connecticut, to support its mid-January deployment to the Barents Sea. Reid Mayo and Ed Withrow observed the installation, tested the ECM system, participated in sea trials, and trained operators. They did the same in February for a second system on the Wahoo (SS-565) in Yokusaka, Japan. Wahoo would operate in the western Pacific. The full-production system (AN/BLR-6) transitioned to industry in June, just six months after Rear Admiral Grenfell pounded the table.
- See more at: A Tribute to the Father of Electronic Warfare
Based on the ship's actions, and need to stay submerged nearly all of the time while conducting patrol activities (as confirmed in patrol reports), any gear mounted like the mystery gear would have been useless if it was an RF antenna (with the exception of VLF **). It would seem very unlikely that this apparatus was for any radio purpose. The declassified patrol reports for Sabalo (SS-302) make no mention of any special ECM equipment except for one exception - The AN/FRR-23 (seems to have been specially installed) was employed during a 26 day patrol in February -March 57 for communications monitoring in the HF range (2-32MHz) and an antenna would have to be out of the water and wouldn't seemingly be a special, mission specific antenna for HF.
**It is very interesting to note that in a declass/prior top secret addendum to the patrol rpt of Mar-February '57 it mentioned that the FRR-23 was utilized for the daily reception of the YS (Yankee Sierra) broadcasts with success. And:
"It is recommended that the feasibility of interim application of this equipment to this task be considered to assure receipt of YS broadcasts in remote areas until more reliable coverage is provided by new VLF stations."
However upon researching what VLF antennas may have looked like on early submarines I found this picture Nothing like the mystery gear - which still remains so, but I conclude it is not a radio antenna. Video newsreel from 1953 about VLF:
|USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Text courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR) & Jeff Owens, webmaster and historian for Sabalo(SS-302), Larry Douglas, Howard Venezia, & Vic Peters for input.
|267k||Helo emergency landing on sub.|
During overhauls in about 1955 Sterlet (SS-392), Sea Owl (SS-405), and Piper (SS-409) all received the large BQR-4A sonar in a big tear drop shaped dome right at the very bow. The boat in question does not have this sonar installed. The helicopter in the photo is a Sikorsky HSS-1 which did not begin delivery to the Navy until August 1955. Given this rough date on the photo, it seems unlikely (although still possible) that the boat is one of those three.
So that brings us down to one of five boats: Sea Cat (SS-399), Sennet (SS-408), Torsk (SS-423), Runner (SS-476), and Medregal (SS-480).
|Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel. Text courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
|153k||Subs alongside of the Sperry (AS-12). There are three Guppies, one AGSS, and Skipjack class 585's. The Caiman (SS-323) looks like the boat overhanging the end of the pier. Caiman was a Guppy 1A and had the sail, bow and aft messenger buoy on the port side as shown.||U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org. Photo i.d. courtesy of Ray? Text courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).|
|256k||Photo from the Evans (DE-1023) in the Sea of Japan in April-May 1967. We were doing ASW drills with two subs (showing the flag in the area). The boat is a Guppy II or IIA, possibly the Menhaden (SS-377) or Razorback (SS-394).||U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Decrevel, John Hart, Ric Hedman, John Hummel, & David Johnston, (USNR).
|360k|| US Naval Submarine Base, Point Loma. It is circa 1968. Identifiable bow on is the submarine tender Nereus (AS-17). Inboard of her is the submarine tender Sperry (AS-12), with the 2nd boat outboard of her is the Bream (SS-243) with a 594 Permit class nuke.|
In the left foreground is the Menhaden (SS-377). All of the submarines in the photo have had some type of "Guppy" conversion.
|USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri. |
Text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).
|94k||Subs alongside of the L.Y. Spear (AS-30); was probably taken late 70's or early 80's in what looks like Norfolk. There are eight Sturgeon (SSN-637's) and one Los Angeles (SSN-688) in port.||U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org. Text courtesy of David Johnston, (USNR).|
|606k||Lots of water and little space surround a 637 class underway.||U.S. Navy photo # N-0000X-115 courtesy of extensis.cnrc.navy.mil. & Bob Shouse.|
|495k||Tail end Charlie on the back of a 637 class underway.||U.S. Navy photo # N-0000X-109 courtesy of extensis.cnrc.navy.mil. & Bob Shouse.|
|330k||Subs alongside of the Simon Lake (AS-33); three Benjamin Franklin class (SSBN-640) and a Lafayette class (SSBN-616) alongside in Kings Bay, GA. The photo's time frame is probably around 1979-80 right after Kings Bay opened because the pier parking lot (light color patch on aft port side) is unpaved.||U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org. Text courtesy of David Johnston (USNR) & Jim Harper.|
|179k||A starboard bow view of the submarine tender L. Y. Spear (AS-36) moored at the destroyer and submarine piers at Norfolk Naval Base on 7 September 1983. A Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarine pumped way up in the bows is moored alongside.||Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel & Jim Christley.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # DN-ST-85-11655, by Don S. Montgomery, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.
|123k||A Boomer rests inside the large auxiliary floating dry dock Los Alamos (AFDB-7) shortly before being lowered into the water at Navy Fleet Ballistic Submarine Refit Site 1 on 1 December 1985.||USN photo # DN-ST-87-02364, by JOC Fred J. Klinkenberger, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil. & submitted by Bill Gonyo.|
|409k||US Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor. It is circa 1987.||USN photo courtesy of Robert M. Cieri.|
|1.50k||Dixon (AS-37) & McKee (AS-41) with unknowns, April 1987.||USN photo # DN-SC-88-05861 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.|
|186k||The large harbor tug Mister Don from Corpus Christi maneuvers a fast attack submarine out of the harbor at Point Loma, 1 February 1988.||USN photo # DN-SN-88-06097, by PHC David Fraker, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil. & submitted by Bill Gonyo.|
|227k||Crewmen stand on the deck of a U.S. Navy Lafayette Class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine as it passes through the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal circa 1 September 1989. Following behind the submarine are two U.S. Navy PBR Mark 2 river patrol boats.|| |
USN photo # DA-ST-90-07099, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil. & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
|503k|| A port bow view of the nuclear-powered attack submarine Ray (SSN-653) underway near Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia on 1 February 1991.|
Though claimed to be of Ray off Norfolk in '91, this picture could not have been taken after her 1983 overhaul - her Towed Array fairing was installed during her 83-85 overhaul, and is clearly not visible in the picture under detailed photo analysis by myself and other photo analysis experts. The topside safety track clearly is just below the sail, water running through it. The TA fairing should be visible just 1 - 2 feet below it, but water is clearly just running down a Also, several other artifacts in the picture suggest that the picture has been altered in Photo-shop, especially the final number and other topside configurations of the boat not germane to Ray. I was also the boat's Deck LPO for a year - I knew every inch of topside of Ray, being responsible for keeping it maintained. Also, as historian and PAO, I had all known photos of Ray in the ship's official records in my keeping taken prior to my arrival in '81, and subsequent photos I was responsible for scheduling and arranging until I left. This picture was never in the ship's official records. Crew members aboard at the time after I left until her decommissioning also confirm this isn't Ray. A check with a former crew mate who is currently involved in the Towed Array program in Bremerton confirmed to me that the TA fairings are not removed until they arrive for the recycling program. There are other inconsistencies in the picture that are contrary too.
|Official U.S. Navy Photograph # DN-ST-91-05698 by PH1 C.A. Komperda, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Photo i.d. courtesy of John R.V. Jones, STS1/SS, USS RAY (SSN-653) '81 - '86 COMSUBRON 4 Staff '86-'88.
|174k|| An aerial view, looking west, of a section of the naval base showing two of the destroyer and submarine (D&S) piers located on the south end of the installation. A submarine tender and several nuclear-powered attack submarines are tied up, 22 January 1995.|
The submarine in the right hand corner is most likely the Narwhal (SSN-671). She has a general 637 hull and sail structure but the hull is longer. Her fat line array stowage tube is on the starboard side versus the port as on a 637. While the 685 was also a stretched 637 hull, her fat line tube was still on the port side; only Narwhal and the 688's have it on the stbd side. It also appears this was during the period when she had the thin line array "hump" on her stern.
| USN photo # DN-ST-95-01441, by Robert J. Sitar, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil. |
Photo i.d. courtesy of Phil Tuckey.
|183||An aerial view of a section of the Naval Station showing destroyer and submarine (D&S) pier #22 with the submarine tender L.Y. Spear (AS-36) tied up on the north side of the pier. On the south side of the pier is three Sturgeon class and one Los Angeles class nuclear-powered attack submarines, 25 June 1995.||USN photo # DN-SC-95-02164, by Robert J. Sitar, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.|
|198k||An aerial view of a section of the Naval Station showing destroyer and submarine (D&S) pier #21. On the south side of the pier is the submarine tender Emory S. Land (AS-39) with four Los Angeles class nuclear-powered attack submarines moored on the north side including the Atlanta (SSN-712), Jacksonville (SSN-699), and unidentified sub, and Hampton (SSN-767), 25 Jun 1995.||USN photo # DN-SC-95-02165, by Robert J. Sitar, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.|
|346k||Five Los Angeles class nuclear-powered attack submarines are tied up at destroyer and submarine (D&S) pier 22 at the naval base. NAS, Norfolk, VA, 28 January 1996.||USN photo # DN-SC-97-00620, by Robert J. Sitar, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.|
|316k||A bow-on view of the submarine tender L.Y. Spear (AS-36) tied up at destroyer and submarine (D&S) pier 21 with four Los Angeles class and three Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarines are tied up at destroyer and submarine (D&S)pier 22 at the naval base. NAS, Norfolk, VA, 28 January 1996. The first sub across the pier from the L.Y. Spear's stern is the Finback (SSN-670).||USN photo # DN-SC-97-00621, by Robert J. Sitar, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.|
|736k||A stern view of the submarine tender L.Y. Spear (AS-36) tied up at destroyer and submarine (D&S) pier 21 at the naval base. Moored with the L.Y. Spear is four Los Angeles class and three Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarines are tied up at destroyer and submarine (D&S)pier 22 at NAS, Norfolk, VA, 28 January 1996. The first sub across the pier from the L.Y. Spear's stern is the Finback (SSN-670).||USN photo # DN-SC-97-00623, by Robert J. Sitar, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.|
|133k||A Ohio class submarine heads out to sea from the submarine base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 23 September 1997.|| USN photo # N-0000U-019, & submitted by Bill Gonyo. |
Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl Baker, John Hummel, Bob Shouse & David Johnston.
|1.10k||4 November 1943. The boat is beyond a doubt NOT the Flasher (SS-249), despite what the caption on the left of the photo says. This boat is a Government design 2/1/1 Balao class boat. Flasher was a EB design Mod 3 Gato (finishing the war as a Mod 4A Gato). This becomes very apparent when you compare the photo in question to other confirmed photos of the Flasher on the same page. The photographer seemed to have struggled with which boat he had photographed. The ID on the left in the photo had been scratched out a few times and re-written. He apparently forgot or got confused.||US National Archives photo # 80-G-450235, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.|
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston.
|185k||An american submarine (Trident) leaving Pearl Harbor for commencement in Exercise RIMPAC 2004. The naval assets for RIMPAC 2004 included four U.S. Pacific Fleet nuclear-powered attack submarines, Key West (SSN-722), Louisville (SSN-724), Charlotte (SSN-766), and Olympia (SSN-717). |
There are forward 5-inch countermeasures and no rear 6-inch countermeasures. If my knowledge is correct, the west coast boats had been converted to 6-inch prior to 2004 (or at least for the most part) which means that this picture is most likely of a prior east coast boat.......being either the Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) or the Kentucky (SSN-737). Also, the location of the aft draft reading typical of the east coast boats, the west coast ones usually have theirs a little more forward.
|Photo # 000-169-804_0155, courtesy of defence.gov.au/rimpac04. Text i.d. courtesy of Johns.|
|135k||A unknown Ohio class with Dry Deck Shelter.||USN photo # N-0000U-019, courtesy of bp1.blogger.com & submitted by Bill Gonyo.|
|310k||A unknown Ohio class passing through the Magnetic Silencing Facility at Bangor, WA. The only possible i.d. would be this serial number .||USN photo courtesy of Jim Geldert.|
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