U.S.S. Tuna (1912)

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U.S.S. Tuna (1912)
Hull Number: SS-27
Builder: Lake Torpedo Boat[1]
Ordered: Act of May, 1908[2]
Laid down: 20 Oct, 1909
Launched: 10 Jan, 1912[3]
Commissioned: 1 Dec, 1913
Decommissioned: 2 Apr, 1919
Stricken: 11 Sep, 1919
Foundered: 30 Jul, 1919
Fate: at her mooring
U.S.S. G-2, laid down as U.S.S. Tuna and renamed before being launched, was one of four Seal (or "G") class submarines completed for the U.S. Navy.

She commissioned on 1 December, 1913 under the command of Lieutenant, junior grade Ralph C. Needham.

Construction

Standardization Trials

For some reason, G-2 and G-1 underwent extensive standardization trials off Provincetown in 1915 – well after their commissioning. G-2 was found especially wanting in important areas:[4]

  • failed to meet speeds specified in contract. It was thought that the propellers might be responsible
  • fuel gauges are not satisfactory, as they serve multiple tanks
  • depth-keeping was poor, and variations exceeded 3 foot limit in contract. It was surmised that better depth gauges (present ones were "sluggish" small-diameter Bourbon ones) might address this.
  • only 12 knots were obtained on four-hour run when 14.5 knots were required. At 12 knots, endurance was calculated at 83.7 hours. Endurance at 3.95 knots was calculated at 15 hours 15 minutes
  • a diving rudder "carried away" during a high speed submerged run, and speeds of 10.5 knots required were not met
  • a requirement to run 3 hours at 8.5 knots submerged was badly missed at (a calculated) 1 hour 43 minutes
  • the sub could not reverse her screws in the 10 seconds required

Torpedo firing and deep submergence tests to 200 feet were successful and tactical diameter acceptable. Unlike G-1, G-2's periscopes seemed to work well. Metacentric heights were acceptable at 14.88 inches surfaced, 16.2 inches submerged.

The commanding officer, Ralph C. Needham requested a considerable number of changes, including:[5]

  • add metal draft marks to replace the quickly-effaced painted ones
  • move the electric stove, as it interferes with the starboard torpedo tube during reloading operations
  • repair hand pumps – a handle broke during the trial
  • fix leaky superstructure
  • add a permanent pelorus on the bridge for the new gyrocompass repeater
  • make adjustments in conduit routing to permit freer use of the aft periscope
  • add a telephone to the rescue marker buoy
  • add an electric telegraph at bridge to command forward dive planes and engines and motors.

G-2 was roundly criticized for lacking a central control position for important valves and gauges.[6]

Its faults seem so general and significant that the design can only be considered as unfortunate.

Tactical Diameter

Tests were conducted off Provincetown by full circle tests with observers sighting on the periscopes at 15 seconds intervals.[7] Surfaced, at maneuvering speed, the diameters were 912 feet to the left and 960 feet to the right in 3 minutes 19 seconds from time of rudder command being issued with a maximum heel of 13° settling on 8°. Submerged at 500 amperes maneuvering speed, the diameter was 910 feet to the left in 5 minutes 36 seconds with a maximum heel of 6° settling on 4.5°. Submerged turns to the right were delayed due to poor sighting conditions and then cancelled by the broken diving rudder.

Service

Torpedoes

  • two internal tubes forward, with storage in the boat for an additional two torpedoes
  • two external tubes in the superstructure, one firing forward and one aft, with storage for an an additional two torpedoes

G-2 only had internal storage for two torpedoes beyond those in the two forward tubes. Corrosion made storage in the tubes acceptable only in wartime. The two tubes in the superstructure were deemed "unfit for war purposes due to their inaccessibility for loading. The torpedo storage space in the superstructure is also useless." This was because to load these tubes, one had to flood the boat down to float the torpedoes out of storage and into the mouth of the tubes, with men working overboard! The wet torpedoes, once loaded, could not be serviced and had to be fired promptly. The overall design was so poor that the board suggested that the boat should be reclassified as having two tubes, rather than four.[8]

Captains

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 128.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 128.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 128.
  4. Estimates Submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, Volume II, 1916. pp. 1547, 1552.
  5. Estimates Submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, Volume II, 1916. pp. 1549-51.
  6. Estimates Submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, Volume II, 1916. p. 1543.
  7. Estimates Submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, Volume II, 1916. pp. 1531-32.
  8. Estimates Submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, Volume II, 1916. pp. 1545-46.
  9. Register of Officers, 1914. p. 40.
  10. Estimates Submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, Volume II, 1916. p. 1531.
  11. Register of Officers, 1916. p. 36.
  12. Register of Officers, 1917. p. 32.
  13. Register of Officers, 1919. pp. 68-69.

Bibliography


Seal Class Submarine
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