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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Construction of U.S. Navy Subs & The Finished Product.


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E.B.274kElectric Boat Company Shipyard just before the war.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.762kTwo shots of Electric Boat in Groton dated May 1943.
21 Boats appearing according to the date of photo include: Angler (SS-240), Bashaw (SS-241), Bluegill (SS-242), Bream (SS-243), Cavalla (SS-244), Cobia (SS-245), Croaker (SS-246), Dace (SS-247), Dorado (SS-248), Flasher (SS-249), Flier (SS-250), Flounder (SS-251), Gabilan (SS-252), Perch (SS-313), Shark (SS-314), Sealion (SS-315), Barbel (SS-316), Barbero (SS-317), Baya (SS-318), Becuna (SS-319) & Bergall (SS-320).
USN photos # 80-67966 & 67970 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo added 04/28/16.
E.B.1.34kPDF of six aerial shots of Electric Boat in Groton dated 28 December 1943.
There are 9 building ways & 14 boats in this photo.
Boats appearing according to the date of photo include: Perch (SS-313), Shark (SS-314), Sealion (SS-315), Barbel (SS-316), Barbero (SS-317), Baya (SS-318), Becuna (SS-319), Bergall (SS-320), Besugo (SS-321), Blackfin (SS-322), Caiman (SS-323), Blenny (SS-324), Blower (SS-325), Blueback (SS-326), Boarfish (SS-327), Charr (SS-328), Chub (SS-329), Brill (SS-330), Bugara (SS-331), Bullhead (SS-332), Bumper (SS-333), Cabezon (SS-334), Dentuda (SS-335), Capitaine (SS-336), Carbonero (SS-337) & Carp (SS-338).
USN photos # 80-204626/27/28/29/37 & 38 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Tracy White.
E.B.93kMakings of a submarine.
Painters work on steel beams in left foreground at the Electric Boat Company at Groton, CT. A gasoline crane hoists some beams in the background. This web of steelwork is part of the expansion move of the company which is expected by the government to turn out a submarine a month when the facilities are ready.
Associated Press photo from New York, 18 January 1941.
This picture is one of a series on the Electric Boat Company at Groton, CT. Watch release date 23 January 1941.
Associated Press photo # 18194 & text courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith.
E.B.109kMakings of a submarine.
This is an interior view of the Electric Boat Company at Groton, CT., where the government expects to have a submarine a month turned out when the plant has been expanded sufficiently.
Associated Press photo from New York, 18 January 1941.
This picture is one of a series on the Electric Boat Company at Groton, CT.
Associated Press photo # 18195 & text courtesy of San Francisco Examiner via David S. Smith.
E.B.231kKeel laying and early stages of construction at Electric Boat Company Shipyard.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Manitowoc257k Manitowoc construction.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Manitowoc95kCommanding officers of Manitowoc submarines. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Puffer518kPuffer (SS-268), splashes down into the Manitowoc River at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI., during her launching, 22 November 1942.
"The boat had been built on the building ways, consisting of a set of wooden blocks in a horizontal line and parallel to the face of the sea wall. After the sections were placed on these blocks a cribbing, or supporting structure, was erected to support the sections in place and to prevent movement.
As the date for the launch approached the workers constructed a second set of ways. These launching ways were at right angels to the sea wall and extended inboard under the boat. They were massive fur timbers, 16" x 24", placed about 14" apart and supported by cribbing of a size and strength to support the weight of the boat during the launch.
The launching was sloped down toward the seawall at an angle of 1 and 19/32" per horizontal foot. For the launch of a submarine, a total of 21 launching ways were used. All except the forward and after three extended 12' past the sea wall, and were capable of tilting when the submarine went over the sea wall. This was to eliminate the possibility of damage to the vessel's structure and to the launch-ways at the moment when the boat pivoted at the dock's edge.
The forward and after three ways were known as the fixed ways and extended only to the sea wall and did not tilt. They were firmly fixed in place to take the full horizontal thrust of the vessel just prior to launch. The trigger was held in place by means of a trigger line, an 8" manila line was set up with a block and tackle to a fixed point, a dead-man or other fitting, inboard of the vessel.
Sliding ways were placed on the launching ways and on these were built the launching cradles. The cradles were built to confirm to the shape of the hull and were constructed so as to be as snug as possible to the hull. Between individual pieces of the cradles were inserted oak wedges, so positioned as to be readily accessible for driving by hand.
The trigger lines were cut at the moment of launch by means of pneumatic rope cutters or guillotines containing a piston attached to a cutting knife and actuated by compressed air from a central master valve. They were so calibrated that air reached each cutter at precisely the same instant."
Text from Fresh Water Submarines, The Manitowoc Story, pg 43-44, by Rear Admiral William T. Nelson, U.S.N. (Ret.)
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Peto78kRADIOPHOTO CHICAGO BUREAU, MID-WEST BUILT SUBMARINE ON WAY TO THE SEA; The Peto (SS-265), first U.S. Navy submarine built on the Great Lakes, arrives at Lockport, IL after a trip down Lake Michigan and through The Chicago Drainage Canal and Illinois Waterway, from the shipyards at Manitowoc, Wis. The sub was placed in drydock to be towed the balance of the trip through the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to New Oreleans LA, where it will receive its final fitting.
Official USN photo from ACME courtesy of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Newspaper article courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Peto47k In order to deliver the subs to New Orleans, the equipment above the conning tower had to be removed and secured on deck to enable the sub to pass under a bridge in the Chicago river. The sub was then mounted on a floating drydock to get it through the shallow areas in the Mississippi river. The Peto (SS-265) is being placed in the drydock on a cold day in Lockport, Illinois 26 December 1942, in preparation for the move south. In early January, because of the rise of the waters in Illinois the Peto was tied up to a willow tree near a cornfield in Morris, Illinois for a week.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245)
Bonefish 288k Topside looking forward of the Bonefish (SS-223), on the building ways at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 7 March 1943.
Also under construction from right to left are the Cod (SS-224), Cero (SS-225), & at extreme right Corvina (SS-226).
Directly under the photographer would have been the #1 way at the Old North Yard, which on 7 March would have been occupied by the keel of Sealion (SS-315).
Electric Boat Co / USN photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Text i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston.
Escolar 169k Waterborne on the Delaware River off Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, PA. 18 April 1943, Dragonet (SS-293) will soon start her journey to the Pacific war zone. USN photo courtesy of Ronald Norford, whose brother, Robert Nelson Norford, F1/C, USNR was lost on the Escolar (SS-294).
Tang & Tilefish275kTang (SS-306) on left, & Tilefish (SS-307) under construction at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 1 July 1943. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org
Spot214k Honorary welders for the keel laying of the Spot (SS-413) are shown at Mare Island on 24 August 1943. Left to right: Mr. C. R. Campbell (Quarterman Boilermaker) and Mr. George I. Lyon (Quarterman Blacksmith). USN photo # 6090-43, courtesy of Darryl Baker.
Signs of the times 315k Signs of the times: Logo's for the following boats are emblazoned on the building wall to the right: Dace (SS-247), Dorado (SS-248), Flasher (SS-249), Flier (SS-250), Flounder (SS-251) & Gabilan (SS-252). Photo from the Photo Essay How To Build A Submarine at Electric Boat Co. New London, Conn.
Photographer: Bernard Hoffman, courtesy of Life.
Dorado 136k Two ladies on their way to paint a submarine pass by a group of sailors undoubtedly admiring their taste in clothing. Photo from the Photo Essay How To Build A Submarine at Electric Boat Co. New London, Conn.
Photographer: Bernard Hoffman, courtesy of Life.
Electric Boat 493k Steel under giant rolls being shaped for submarine construction at Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn., circa August 1943, probably for one of the following boats:
Chub (SS-329),
Brill (SS-330),
Bugara (SS-331),
Bullhead (SS-332),
Bumper (SS-333),
Cabezon (SS-334),
Dentuda (SS-335),
Capitaine (SS-336), or
Carbonero (SS-337).
NARA FILE #: 80-G-468488, photographed by Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs, USNR.
Photo # HD-SN-99-02475, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.
Electric Boat 571k Welders work on hull of new submarine at Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn., circa August 1943. This sub is probably one of the following:
Chub (SS-329),
Brill (SS-330),
Bugara (SS-331),
Bullhead (SS-332),
Bumper (SS-333),
Cabezon (SS-334),
Dentuda (SS-335),
Capitaine (SS-336), or
Carbonero (SS-337).
NARA FILE #: 80-G-468489, photographed by Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs, USNR.
Photo # HD-SN-99-02474, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.
E.B.132kPrefab construction at Electric Boat Company Shipyard.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.219kTwo for the view at Electric Boat Company Shipyard.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.247kTaking shape.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.291kPutting the pieces together.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.141kVictory-yard Groton, CT.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.164k 21 inch torpedo tube out of the water.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Portsmouth297k Portsmouth Navy Yard shortly after war.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blenny & Cochino 552k Looks like the start of another work day as E.B. employees climb up the stairwell past the "No Swimming at this site" sign near the new North Yard. An officer on deck of the soon to be launched Blenny (SS-324) looks across the opposite ways at the construction of a prefabricated section of the Cochino (SS-345).
The pace of construction progresses quickly as a worker tightens the bolts on part of her hull. The Cochino's keel would officially be laid 13 April. Construction of the boat will be moved over to the soon to be vacated way that the Blenny now occupies.
By early 1944, most of the building yards were forced to adopt some measure of pre-fabrication in order to expedite the building process. Manitowoc was the acknowledged master of this art and it allowed them to complete boats quickly in a limited amount of building space (Manitowoc built their boats to EB plans). While EB did not go to the same extent as Manitowoc, even they pre-fabricated some sections and attached them to the keel once it was laid.
The date of the photo is probably around the first week of April 1944. The Blenny would be launched on the 9th.
Note the Blenny's open outer torpedo door shutters still need to be affixed.
NARA FILE #: 80-G-468517, photographed by Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs, USNR. Photo # HD-SN-99-02479, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil, Defense Visual Information Center. Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel, Ric Hedman & David Johnston.
Partial text courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
E.B.348kThe finished product.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.531kDrawing by the artist I.R. Lloyd of Vallejo, California entitled Bottoms up-Japs have it coming to them. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
E.B.353kUncommon valor.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

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