United States K-class submarine
USS K-1 (SS-32) underway in 1916
|Builders:||Electric Boat (design)
Fore River Shipyard
Union Iron Works
Seattle Const. and DD Co.
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Preceded by:||H-class submarine|
|Succeeded by:||L-class submarine|
|Displacement:||392 long tons (398 t) surfaced
521 long tons (529 t) submerged
|Length:||153 ft 7 in (46.81 m)|
|Beam:||16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 1 in (3.99 m)|
|Installed power:||950 hp (710 kW) (diesel engines)
680 hp (510 kW) (electric motors)
2 x NELSECO diesel engines
2 x Electro Dynamic electric motors
2 x 60-cell batteries
2 × shafts
|Speed:||14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
|Range:||4,500 nmi (8,300 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
120 nmi (220 km) at 5 kn (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
|Test depth:||200 ft (61 m)|
|Complement:||28 officers and men|
|Armament:||4 × 18 inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes (bow)
8 × torpedoes
The K class submarines were a class of eight submarines of the United States Navy, serving between 1914 and 1923, including World War I. They were designed by Electric Boat and were built by other yards under subcontracts. K-1, K-2, K-5, and K-6 were built by Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, K-3, K-7, and K-8 by Union Iron Works in San Francisco, and K-4 by Seattle Construction and Drydock Company in Seattle, Washington. All were decommissioned in 1923 and scrapped in 1931 to comply with the limits of the London Naval Treaty.
K-1, K-2, K-5, and K-6 began their careers on the US East Coast and were forward deployed to the Azores in World War I as convoy escorts, where their experience proved valuable in adapting future submarines for surfaced operations in rough weather. The remaining four were stationed on the West Coast early in their careers, but were reassigned to Key West, Florida for training and coastal security patrols in early 1918. All remained on the East Coast following the war for the rest of their careers.
The K-class were similar to the preceding H-class but were slightly larger. These vessels included some features intended to increase underwater speed that were standard on US submarines of this era, including a small sail and a rotating cap over the torpedo tube muzzles. For extended surface runs, the small sail was augmented with a temporary piping-and-canvas structure. Apparently the "crash dive" concept had not yet been thought of, as this would take considerable time to deploy and dismantle. This remained standard through the N-class, commissioned 1917-1918. Experience in World War I showed that this was inadequate in the North Atlantic weather, and earlier submarines serving overseas in that war (E-class through L-class, including four of the K-class) had their bridge structures augmented with a "chariot" shield on the front of the bridge. Starting with the N-class, built with lessons learned from overseas experience, US submarines had bridges more suited to surfaced operations in rough weather. The streamlined, rotating torpedo tube muzzle cap eliminated the drag that muzzle holes would otherwise cause. In the stowed position, the submarine appears to have no torpedo tubes, as the holes in the cap are covered by the bow stem. This feature remained standard through the K-class, after which it was replaced with shutters that were standard through the 1950s.
Ships in class
The first four were renamed K-1 through K-4 on 17 November 1911 as part of a forcewide redesignation of US submarines.
- USS K-1 (SS-32) (formerly USS Haddock) was launched on 19 March 1912 and commissioned on 3 September 1913. The submarine was decommissioned on 7 March 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-2 (SS-33) (formerly USS Cachalot) was launched on 4 October 1913 and commissioned on 31 January 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 9 March 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-3 (SS-34) (formerly USS Orca) was launched on 14 March 1914 and commissioned on 30 October 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 20 February 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-4 (SS-35) (formerly USS Walrus) was launched on 19 March 1914 and commissioned on 24 October 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 19 May 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-5 (SS-36) was launched on 17 March 1914 and commissioned on 22 August 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 20 February 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-6 (SS-37) was launched on 26 March 1914 and commissioned on 9 September 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 21 May 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-7 (SS-38) was launched on 20 June 1914 and commissioned on 1 December 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 12 February 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- USS K-8 (SS-39) was launched on 11 July 1914 and commissioned on 1 December 1914. The submarine was decommissioned on 24 February 1923 and scrapped in 1931.
- Gardiner, Robert, Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1906-1921 Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
- Friedman, Norman "US Submarines through 1945: An Illustrated Design History", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis:1995, ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
- Navsource.org early diesel submarines page
- Pigboats.com K-boats page
Media related to K class submarines of the United States at Wikimedia Commons