USS K-4 (SS-35)

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The K-4 on patrol, 1918
Name: USS K-4
Builder: Moran Company, Seattle, Washington
Laid down: as Walrus
Launched: 19 March 1914
Commissioned: 24 October 1914
Decommissioned: 19 May 1923
Reclassified: SS-35, 17 July 1920
Fate: Sold for scrapping, 3 June 1931
General characteristics
Type: K-class submarine
  • 392 long tons (398 t) surfaced
  • 520 long tons (528 t) submerged
Length: 153 ft 7 in (46.8 m)
Beam: 16 ft 8 in (5.1 m)
Draft: 13 ft 1 in (4.0 m)
Installed power:
  • 950 bhp (710 kW) (diesel)
  • 340 hp (250 kW) (electric)
  • 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
  • 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
  • 3,150 nmi (5,830 km; 3,620 mi) at 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) on the surface
  • 120 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Test depth: 200 feet (61.0 m)
Complement: 28 officers and enlisted men
Armament: 4 × bow 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes

USS K-4 (SS-35) was an K-class submarine built for the United States Navy during the 1910s.


The K-class boats had a length of 153 feet 7 inches (46.8 m) overall, a beam of 16 feet 8 inches (5.1 m) and a mean draft of 13 feet 1 inch (4.0 m). They displaced 451 long tons (458 t) on the surface and 527 long tons (535 t) submerged. The K-class submarines had a crew of 2 officers and 26 enlisted men. They had a diving depth of 200 feet (61.0 m).[1]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 475-brake-horsepower (354 kW) NELSECO diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 170-horsepower (127 kW) electric motor. They could reach 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) on the surface and 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) underwater. On the surface, the oats had a range of 3,150 nautical miles (5,830 km; 3,620 mi) at 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)[1] and 120 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged.[2]

The K-class submarines were armed with four 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes in the bow. They carried four reloads, for a total of eight torpedoes.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

The boat was laid down by the Moran Company in Seattle, Washington, as Walrus, making her the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the walrus, a gregarious, aquatic mammal related to the seal found in Arctic waters, but on 17 November 1911 she was renamed K-4. She was launched on 19 March 1914 sponsored by Mrs. James P. Olding, wife of the commanding officer, and commissioned on 24 October 1914 with Lieutenant J. P. Olding in command.

Joining the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla, K-4 operated along the coast of California, conducting constant exercises and experiments to develop the techniques of submarine warfare. From 14 October 1915 to 31 October 1917, she carried out similar operations in the Hawaiian Islands. When the United States's involvement in World War I called for increased naval activity, K-4 departed Hawaii for service out of Key West, Florida, arriving 9 January 1918. For the rest of the war, she remained at Key West, where she patrolled the Florida peninsula. After the Armistice with Germany of 11 November 1918, K-4 operated along the East Coast training officers and men for duty in submarines. She continued these duties for four years before arriving at Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 24 March 1923. K-4 decommissioned there 19 May 1923 and was sold as scrap on 3 June 1931.


  1. ^ a b Friedman, p. 307
  2. ^ a b Gardiner & Gray, p. 128


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