USS O-4 (SS-65)

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Name: USS O-4
Ordered: 3 March 1916
Builder: Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, Massachusetts
Laid down: 4 December 1916
Launched: 20 October 1917
Commissioned: 29 May 1918
Decommissioned: 3 June 1931
Recommissioned: 29 January 1941
Decommissioned: 20 September 1945
Struck: 11 October 1945
Fate: Scrapped, 1 February 1946
General characteristics
Type: O-class submarine
Displacement: 521 long tons (529 t) surfaced
629 long tons (639 t) submerged
Length: 172 ft 3 in (52.5 m)
Beam: 18 ft 1 in (5.5 m)
Draft: 14 ft 5 in (4.4 m)
Installed power: 880 bhp (660 kW) (diesel)
740 hp (550 kW) (electric)
Propulsion: 2 × diesel engines
2 × electric motors
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph) on the surface
Test depth: 200 feet (61.0 m)
Complement: 2 officers, 27 men
Armament: 4 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes
1 × 3"/50 caliber deck gun

USS O-4 (SS-65) was one of 16 O-class submarines built for the United States Navy during World War I.


The O-class submarines were designed to meet a Navy requirement for coastal defense boats.[1] The submarines had a length of 172 feet 3 inches (52.5 m) overall, a beam of 18 feet 1 inch (5.5 m) and a mean draft of 14 feet 5 inches (4.4 m). They displaced 521 long tons (529 t) on the surface and 629 long tons (639 t) submerged. The O-class submarines had a crew of 29 officers and enlisted men. They had a diving depth of 200 feet (61.0 m).[2]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 440-brake-horsepower (328 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 370-horsepower (276 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 O class had a range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph).[2]

The boats were armed with four 18-inch (45 cm) torpedo tubes in the bow. They carried four reloads, for a total of eight torpedoes. The O-class submarines were also armed with a single 3"/50 caliber deck gun.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

O-4 was laid down on 4 December 1916 by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 20 October 1917, and commissioned on 29 May 1918 with Lieutenant Robert H. English (1888–1943), in command. O-4 operated out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during World War I and patrolled the U.S. Atlantic coast from Cape Cod to Key West, Florida.

On 24 July 1918, a British steamer mistook O-4 and O-6 (SS-67) for German U-boats and fired on the submarines. Although O-4 received six hits from the steamer, she suffered no major damage. In November, she joined the 20-submarine contingent that departed Newport, Rhode Island, on 3 November for European waters, however, hostilities ceased before the boats had reached the Azores.

O-4 then sailed to New London, Connecticut, to train students at the Submarine School there. Reclassified to a second line submarine on 26 July 1924, and reverting to a first liner on 6 June 1928, she trained Submarine School students at New London until 1931, with the exception of a brief tour at Coco Solo. O-4 decommissioned on 3 June 1931.

The approach of World War II saw the recall of O-4 to active service. She recommissioned on 29 January 1941 and trained students at the Submarine School until war's end. After the war, she steamed to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to decommission there on 20 September 1945. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 October 1945, and scrapped on 1 February 1946.


  1. ^ Friedman, pp. 86–87
  2. ^ a b c Gardiner & Gray, p. 129


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