Plunger-class submarine

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USS Plunger S2-1.jpg
USS Plunger (SS-2)
Class overview
Builders:
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: USS Holland
Succeeded by: B class
Built: 1900-1903
In commission: 1903-1921
Completed: 7
Retired: 7
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Submarine
Displacement: 107 tons
Length: 63 ft 10 in (19.46 m)
Beam: 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)
Draft: 10 ft 7 in (3.23 m)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (surfaced)
  • 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) (submerged)
Test depth: 150 ft (46 m)
Complement: 7
Armament: One 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tube (3 long or 5 short torpedoes)
Plunger, Adder, Moccasin, Porpoise, and Shark at New Suffolk, New York circa 1903.
A 1912 view of the breech of the sole torpedo tube of USS Moccasin / A-4. Two torpedoes are on wooden skids in the foreground. The skids slid across the deck for loading.

The Plunger class was an early class of United States Navy submarines, used primarily as training and experimental vessels for the newly formed "silent service" to familiarize naval personnel with the performance and operations of such craft. They were known as the "A class" after being renamed to A-type designations (A-1 through A-7) on 17 November 1911. All except Plunger ended up being stationed in the Philippines, an American possession, prior to the outbreak of World War I. They were shipped there on colliers (coal-carrying ships). In some instances, this class of submarines is referred to as the Adder class, as USS Adder was the first boat of the class to be completed.[1][2]

Design and construction[edit]

The Plunger-class submarines were built at the beginning of the twentieth century largely as experimental vessels. The prototype, named Fulton, was later sold to Russia, and renamed Som. The Plunger class was built at two different locations on both coasts of the United States.

Service[edit]

The five East Coast boats were based at New Suffolk, New York from 1903 until 1905, allowing New Suffolk to claim itself as the first submarine base in the United States.[3] The squadron moved from New Suffolk to Newport, Rhode Island in 1905 where they were used to test torpedoes and develop submarine tactics.

In 1908 the A-2, A-4, A-6 and A-7 were moved on ships to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands, where they served through the First World War. They were joined in 1915 by A-3 and A-5.

The class was given alphanumeric hull classification symbols (SS-2, SS-3, etc.) on 17 July 1920, after all but Grampus (SS-4) and Pike (SS-6) had been decommissioned. All of the Plunger-class boats were decommissioned by 1921, and all except Plunger used as targets. They were stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 16 January 1922 and sold for scrap.[1]

Boats in class[edit]

USS Plunger (SS-2) / A-1
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 2, SS-2 USS Plunger;0800206.jpg
Builders: Crescent Shipyard in Elizabethport, New Jersey
Laid down: 21 May 1901
Launched: 1 February 1902 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 19 September 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 24 February 1913 (List)
Fate: Sold for scrap 26 January 1922
Operations: Torpedo testing, training, Theodore Roosevelt tour. Second US Navy submarine to be decommissioned.
USS Adder / A-2
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 3, SS-3 USS Adder (SS-3).jpg
Builders: Crescent Shipyard in Elizabethport, New Jersey
Laid down: 3 October 1900
Launched: 22 July 1901 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 12 January 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 12 December 1919 (List)
Fate: Sunk as a target ship
Operations: Torpedo testing, training, peace time patrol. Moved to Philippines in 1915.
USS Grampus / A-3
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 4, SS-4 USS Grampus (SS-4).jpg
Builders: Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California
Laid down: 10 December 1900
Launched: 31 July 1902 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 28 May 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 25 July 1921 (List)
Fate: Struck 16 January 1922 and sunk as a target ship
Operations: San Francisco earthquake of 1906 relief efforts
USS Moccasin / A-4
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 5, SS-5 USS Moccasin (SS-5).jpg
Builders: Crescent Shipyard in Elizabethport, New Jersey
Laid down: 8 November 1900
Launched: 20 August 1901 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 17 January 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 12 December 1919 (List)
Fate: Target ship
Operations: Training, trials, peacetime patrol. Moved to Philippines in 1915.
USS Pike / A-5
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 6, SS-6 USS Pike (SS-6).jpg
Builders: Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California
Laid down: 10 December 1900
Launched: 14 January 1903 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 28 May 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 25 July 1921 (List)
Fate: Sold for scrap 26 January 1922
Operations: San Francisco earthquake of 1906 recovery efforts, training & trials, harbor patrol
USS Porpoise, A-6
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 7, SS-7 Porpoise (SS-7) and Shark (SS-8);H98835k.jpg
Builders: Crescent Shipyard in Elizabethport, New Jersey
Laid down: 13 December 1900
Launched: 23 September 1901 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 19 September 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 12 December 1919 (List)
Fate: Target ship
Operations: Whiting experiment, other trials, harbor patrols
USS Shark, A-7
Designation: Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 8, SS-8 USS Shark - 19-N-6787.jpg
Builders: Crescent Shipyard in Elizabethport, New Jersey
Laid down: 11 January 1901
Launched: 19 October 1901 (List)
Operator:  United States Navy
Commissioned: 19 September 1903 (List)
Decommissioned: 12 December 1919 (List)
Fate: Target ship
Operations: Torpedo and other trials, Manila Bay patrols

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gardiner, p. 127
  2. ^ Friedman, pp. 27-31
  3. ^ "History of Cutchogue-New Suffolk". cutchoguenewsuffolk.org. Archived from the original on 29 April 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-04. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

External links[edit]