USS K-2 (SS-33)

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USS K-2 painted in an experimental camouflage scheme, 1919
K-2 painted in an experimental camouflage scheme, 1919
United States
Name: USS K-2
Builder: Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts
Laid down: 20 February 1912 as Cachalot
Launched: 4 October 1913
Commissioned: 31 January 1914
Decommissioned: 9 March 1923
Renamed: K-2, 17 November 1911
Reclassified: SS-33, 17 July 1920
Struck: 18 December 1930
Fate: Sold for scrapping, 3 June 1931
General characteristics
Type: K class submarine
  • 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)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
  • 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
  • 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
Complement: 28 officers and men
Armament: 4 × 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes

USS K-2 (SS-33) was a K-class submarine, of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down by Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, as Cachalot, making her the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the cachalot, another name for the sperm whale, but on 17 November 1911, during construction, she was renamed K-2. She was launched on 4 October 1913 sponsored by Mrs. Ruth Chamberlain McEntee, and commissioned on 31 January 1914 with Ensign R. Moses in command.

Service history[edit]

After trials and exercises in New England waters throughout the spring and summer of 1914, K-2 joined 4th Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla, Newport, Rhode Island, on 9 October. She commenced operations immediately and for almost three years operated along the East Coast from New England to Florida conducting experiments to develop the techniques of submarine warfare.

The batteries to the submarine failed just two months after the sea trial and Rear Admiral William Nelson Little was court marshaled for accepting the submarine, even after problems with the batteries were recognized.[1]

As World War I raged in Europe, guarding the vital shipping lanes across the Atlantic Ocean became imperative. K-2 departed New London, Connecticut, on 12 October 1917 and arrived in the Azores for patrol duty on 27 October. She was among the first U.S. submarines to engage in patrol duty during the war, and cruised in these waters searching for enemy U-boats. K-2 continued these vital patrols until 20 October 1918 when she sailed for North America arriving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 10 November to resume coastal operations.

From 1919 to 1923, she cruised along the East Coast engaging in submarine development experiments. After her arrival at Hampton Roads on 15 November 1922, K-2 remained there until she decommissioned 9 March 1923. She was sold as scrap 3 June 1931.


  1. ^ "Admiral Little Faces Navy Court. Documents Produced to Show Defects in the Submarine K-2, Built Under His Inspection. Lieut. Moses Tells of Faulty Batteries and Many Reports That He Made to the Admiral". New York Times. November 2, 1915. Retrieved 2013-11-27. The court-martial which Secretary Daniels ordered to try Rear Admiral William Nelson Little, U. S. N., retired, on charges of negligence in connection with the inspection of the work on the submarine K-2 at the Fore River Ship Yards, convened at the Navy Yard today and at once plunged into its task.


External links[edit]