USS Moccasin (SS-5)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
USS Moccasin in Manila Bay, 1912
USS A-4 (ex-Moccasin) in Manila Bay, 1912
United States
Name: USS Moccasin
Builder: Crescent Shipyard, Elizabeth, New Jersey
Laid down: 8 November 1900
Launched: 20 August 1901
Commissioned: 17 January 1903
Decommissioned: 12 December 1919
Fate: Sunk as target
General characteristics
Class and type: Plunger-class submarine
  • 107 long tons (109 t) surfaced
  • 123 long tons (125 t) submerged
Length: 63 ft 10 in (19.46 m)
Beam: 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)
Draft: 10 ft 7 in (3.23 m)
Installed power:
  • 180 bhp (130 kW) (gasoline)
  • 70 hp (52 kW) (electric)
  • 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced
  • 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) submerged
Test depth: 150 feet (45.7 m)
Complement: 7 officers and enlisted
Armament: 1 × bow 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tube

USS Moccasin (SS-5) (later renamed A-4) was one of seven Plunger-class submarines built for the United States Navy (USN) in the first decade of the 20th century.


The Plunger-class submarines were enlarged and improved versions of the preceding Holland, the first submarine in the USN. They had a length of 63 feet 10 inches (19.5 m) overall, a beam of 11 feet 11 inches (3.6 m) and a mean draft of 10 feet 7 inches (3.2 m). They displaced 107 long tons (109 t) on the surface and 123 long tons (125 t) submerged. The Plunger-class boats had a crew of one officer and six enlisted men. They had a diving depth of 150 feet (45.7 m).[1]

For surface running, they were powered by one 180-brake-horsepower (134 kW) gasoline engine that drove the single propeller shaft. When submerged the propeller was driven by a 70-horsepower (52 kW) electric motor.[1] The boats could reach 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) on the surface and 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) underwater.[2]

The Plunger-class boats were armed with one 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tube in the bow. They carried two reloads, for a total of three torpedoes.[1]

Construction and career[edit]

Moccasin was laid down under the direction of Arthur Leopold Busch on 8 November 1900 in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the Crescent Shipyard, launched on 20 August 1901, and commissioned on 17 January 1903 at the Holland yard at New Suffolk, N.Y. with Ensign Frank L. Pinney in command. Assigned to duty at the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Moccasin operated locally on principally training and experimental activities until assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk on 15 June 1904, in which unit she remained inactive for the next half decade. On 20 July 1909, the submarine torpedo boat was loaded onto the collier Caesar, which sailed soon thereafter for the Philippines. Moccasin's sister-ship, Adder, was on board as deck cargo as well, lashed to the auxiliary's forward well deck. Arriving at Olongapo on 1 October, Moccasin was launched on 7 October. Recommissioned on 10 February 1910, she was assigned to the First Submarine Division, Asiatic Torpedo Fleet, based in the Manila area.

A 1912 view of the breech of the sole torpedo tube of USS A-4. Two torpedoes are on wooden skids in the foreground. The skids slid across the deck for loading.

A new name[edit]

Moccasin was renamed A-4 on 17 November 1911. During World War I, like her sister-ships, she patrolled the entrance to Manila Bay and convoyed ships moving out of local waters. Later placed in reserve, A-4 was decommissioned at Cavite on 12 December 1919.


  1. ^ a b c Friedman, p. 306
  2. ^ Gardiner & Gray, p. 127


  • Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links[edit]