USS B-3 (SS-12)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Tarantula.
USS B-3, underway near the New York Navy Yard, 1909.
USS B-3, underway near the New York Navy Yard, 1909.
Name: USS Tarantula
Builder: Fore River Shipbuilding, Quincy, Massachusetts
Launched: 30 March 1907
Commissioned: 3 December 1907
Decommissioned: 25 July 1921
Renamed: B-3, 17 November 1911
Fate: Sunk as a target, 1922[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: B-class submarine
Displacement: 145 long tons (147 t) surfaced
173 long tons (176 t) submerged[1]
Length: 82 ft 6 in (25.15 m)
Beam: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Draft: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Installed power: 250 hp (190 kW) (gasoline engines)
150 hp (110 kW) (electric motors)
Propulsion: Gasoline engines
Electric motors
1 × shaft[1]
Speed: kn (10 mph; 17 km/h) surfaced
8 kn (9.2 mph; 15 km/h) submerged[1]
Complement: 10 officers and enlisted
Armament: 2 × 18 in (460 mm) bow torpedo tubes (2 × torpedoes)[1]

USS B-3 (SS-12) was a B-class submarine of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down by Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, under a subcontract from Electric Boat Company of then New Suffolk L. I., as Tarantula, making her the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the tarantula. She was launched on 30 March 1907 sponsored by Mrs. George S. Radford, wife of Naval Constructor Radford, and commissioned on 3 December 1907 with Lieutenant J. F. Daniels in command.

Service history[edit]

She reported to the Atlantic Fleet, and Tarantula operated along the Atlantic coast with the First and Second Submarine Flotillas on training and experimental exercises until going into reserve at Charleston Navy Yard on 6 November 1909. She was recommissioned on 15 April 1910 and served with the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet until assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Group, Charleston Navy Yard on 9 May 1911 and placed out of commission on 4 December 1912. On 17 November, Tarantula was renamed B-3.

Excerpts from the autobiography of Captain C.Q. Wright indicate he was the "Officer in Charge" of the B3 at Cavite. His crew launched the two subs off the deck of the Ajax. They then retrofitted the gasoline powered engines and motors in the Cavite Navy Yard shop readying the subs for a 48 hour shake down cruise. The first tour of duty began with sealed orders at 1900 hours, guarding Manilla Bay, in the event hostilities broke out with Japan. Orders were to sink any Japanese war vessel that came into sight, although none did.

On 6 December 1912, B-3 was towed to Norfolk, Virginia, and loaded onto the collier Ajax for transfer to the Asiatic Station. Arriving at Cavite, Philippine Islands on 30 April 1913, B-3 was launched from Ajax on 12 May. She was recommissioned on 2 September and remained in the Philippines where she served with Submarine Division 4, Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet.

Decommissioned at Cavite on 25 July 1921, B-3 was subsequently used as a target.


  1. ^ a b c d e Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 24, p.2578, "Viper".

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found here and here.

External links[edit]