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The C-Boats

A Lock full of Submarines.
All 5 C boats together in Panama Canal
All 5 "C" boats together in Panama Canal

A Dry Dock full of Submarines.
A Dry Dock Full of C-Boats

Of the five submarines in this Norfolk, VA dry dock, four are "C" class submarines. The one in the middle in the very front of the dry dock could be a "D" or "E" class submarine. No identifying names can be found to know which submarines these are. All five "C" class submarines were built by the Fore River Ship Building Company. The bow of the ship in dry dock looks to be of the Submarine Tender USS Severn.


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Four C-class subamrines moored to the port side of the USS Severn. These subs are speculated to be Tarpon, Octopus, Bonita and Stingray based on a photo from another angle. The time fram is circa pre-November 1911. Location is possibly New York Harbor.

Two of the four submarines have dory type skiffs pulled up on their fore decks for transport to shore. There is a Severn crewman in the life boat leaning out and looking at the cameraman as the photo is taken. There are three men on deck on the left hand sub plus one on the bridge. On the third sub from the left there is a man on the bridge and a man has climbed down a ladder on the side of the Severn and is stepping onto the pressure hull of the inboard boat.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1(ex-Octopus) SS 9
USS C-1(ex-Octopus) SS 9
USS C-1 (Octopus) SS 9

USS C-1 (Octopus)
USS C-1 (Octopus)

USS C-1
USS C-1

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USS C-1 Torpedo Room showing the Torpedo Tubes and the ships Edison, Model 23-W, alkaline battery. It consists of 120 cells and had a capacity of 2550 Amps at a 3 hour discharge rate.

The wooden planks that cover the battery have been removed to show the individual plates and if you look closely you can see the small wood wedges that hold the plates that designed distances from each other. When the decking is replaced it is screwed down and covered with a canvas that is shellacked down to make the deck waterproof. The shellack gives the decks a green color.

US Navy Photo


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USS C-1 (Octopus)

Detail from the above image. USS C-1 torpedo tubes showing the torpedo loading cable winches, sight glasses and associated piping and bow cap opening and closing hand wheel. A reload torpedo was positioned in front of the open tube door and a cable reeved through the pulley over the top center of each door from the winches seen above the and then to the the rear of the torpedo.

On the outboard side of each winch drum are engaging handles to lock the drums onto a rotating shaft so you could only turn the selected winch drum and not the other. There is a long shaft running to what must have been a turning handle on the Port side of the submarine but is obscured by anchor windlass motor gearing.

To the right of the Starboard winch drum you can see an early interior communication sound powered phone system. It isn't clear if there are two handsets for listening but most likely you spoke into one and listened on the other. The cabling for these seems to come out of the large dial with the handsets on either side. It may be a way to dial specific stations in the submarine.

The valve handle in the top center is the "Forward Main Ballast Vent" opening and closing handle. When you dove someone had to open and close this valve to vent the tank of air.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1

USS C-1. Close up of the torpedo tubes. You can see the loading cables passing through a pulley just over each door center. The sight gauges between the tubes show how much water is in each tube. You want to make sure the tube is dry before opening, especially since the battery is just a few feet away.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1

USS C-1. Detail of the port torpedo loading winch cable drum at the image top. To the left is the handle that allows the drum to be selected for use while leaving the starboard drum disengaged. There is a similar handle on the starboard cable drum to select or deselect that winch. The large handled wheel is used to open and close the rotating bow cap that protects the outer ends of the torpedo tubes from damage. At the top is an inclinometer to show angles of list or roll the sub is experiencing. The dial on the right is a mechanical indicator for what position the bow cap is in. Behind the bow cap wheel to the left is a horizontal handle that is used to "seat and unseat" the bow cap into either the open or closed positions after it has been rotated. It appears to be chained into position.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1

USS C-1. Detail of the "Forward Main Ballast Vent" valve handle. To dive the valve was manually opened and air could escape from the forward group of ballast tanks allowing them to fill with water. When surfacing this valve had to be in the closed position to not allow air from escaping the tanks. The incoming air pushes the water out of the bottom of the tanks.

US Navy Photo


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USS C-1 (Octopus)

USS C-1 Control Room looking aft and to the Starboard side. These are the electrical distribution panels used to control current flow from the generators to the battery, battery to the electric motors and power distribution for assorted electrical equipment. You can see the Starboard engine through the open doorway.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1  eletrical panel

USS C-1 electrical distribution panel. This panel controlled general electrical power throughout the submarine.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1  eletrical panel

USS C-1 electrical distribution panel. This panel controlled electrical input and output to and from the Starboard motor as well as forward and reverse.

US Navy Photo


USS C-1  eletrical panel

USS C-1 electrical distribution panel. This panel controlled electrical input and output to and from the Port motor as well as forward and reverse.

US Navy Photo


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USS C-1 (Octopus)

USS C-1 Trim Pump. Located in the aft port corner of the Control Room. It was used to pump sea water from and to the forward and after trim tanks, Auxiliary Tanks and bilges.

US Navy Photo


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USS C-1 (Octopus)

USS C-1 Engine Room looking aft between the two gasoline engines. The 500 horsepower electrical motors for driving the submarine while submerged can be seen as two rounded objects just behind the engines.

US Navy Photo


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USS C-1 (Octopus)

USS C-1 Engine Room looking forward. The camera is just aft of the reduction gears and 500 horsepower main electrical motors. The view between the gasoline engines gives a tantalizing look into the Control Room.

US Navy Photo


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USS C-1 (Octopus)

USS C-1 Engine Room looking aft and to port over the top of the port reduction gear at what may be the high pressure air charging system.

US Navy Photo


USS C-5(ex-Snapper) SS 16, USS C-1(ex-Octopus) SS 9
USS C-5(ex-Snapper) SS 16, USS C-1(ex-Octopus) SS 9

USS C-2 (ex-Stingray) SS 13
USS C-2 (ex-Stingray) SS 13

Crew muster

U.S.S. Stingray Submarine No. 13 was renamed C-2 on Nov 17, 1911
Hesskamp Clarence N. - Ensign - age 25 - Born: Wisconsin
Dailey Clarence A. - Ch. Gunners Mate - age 27 - Born: New York
Zeraphe Anton J. - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 28 - Born: Germany
Salesbury Leslie W. - Gunners Mate 1Cl - age 23 - Born: Ohio
Hartmann Fred - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 27 - Born: New York
Sullivan E****t - Gunners Mate 3Cl - age 23 - Born: New York
Mc Pherson William J. - Ch. Machinists Mate - age 47 - Born: Maine
Nelson Harry S. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 28 - Born: California
Murphy Thomas K. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 22 - Born: North Carolina
Saxton Albert B. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 28 - Born: New York
Nyland Thomas F. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 25 - Born: England
Grosskopf Charles J. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 32 - Born: Wisconsin
Meyer Frederich *. - Chief Electrician - age 26 - Born: Connecticut
Kr*c Edward J. - Electrician 1Cl - age 22 - Born: Illinois
Mosley James W. - Electrician 2Cl - age 23 - Born: Georgia
Walling Arthur R. - Electrician 2Cl - age 22 - Born: Illinois

Thank you to Linda Talbott of the US GenWeb Census Project for providing this information.
* = unknown letter

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USS C-2 with seven lady visitors posing for the camera.
Photo dated March 29, 1919 and the C-2 was at Coco Solo, Panama at that time
and was decommissioned there December 23, 1919. She was sold April 13, 1920.

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman


USS C-3 in 1912
A photo of the USS C-3 taken in 1912.
Photo courtesy of John Marsh whose father Lt. John Rodney Marsh
was a commanding Officer of the C-3 in 1918 in Panama.

Lt. John Rodney Marsh
Lt. John Rodney Marsh, CO of the USS C-3 in 1918, Panama.
Photo courtesy of John Marsh whose father Lt. John Rodney Marsh
was a commanding Officer of the C-3 in 1918 in Panama.

USS C-3 crew on deck, 1918
USS C-3 crew on deck Panama, 1918.
Lt Marsh is standing at end of gangplank fifth man from the left in this photo.
Caption says that two crews are shown in this photo.
That would explain the number of men shown here.
Photo courtesy of John Marsh whose father Lt. John Rodney Marsh
was a commanding Officer of the C-3 in 1918 in Panama.

C-3 returning to port
Back of photo reads in red as follows:
USS C-3 returning from dive, Nov. 11, 1918. Word had just been
recieved of signig of Armistice and whistle was tied down. (the ships
whistle was tied open and allowed to blow in celibration of the end of the war)
On the bridge, left to right JRM (Marsh), West, Sea (seaman),
Locke E1 (RO) (electrician / radio operator), on deck, Babcock GM2 (gunnersmate 2),
Drury CGM (chief gunnersmate), Bailey, GM3 (gunnersmate 3), Cormier, Sea (seaman)
Photo courtesy of John Marsh whose father Lt. John Rodney Marsh
was a commanding Officer of the C-3 in 1918 in Panama.


USS C-3 (ex-Tarpon) SS 14
USS C-3  SS 14
USS C-3  SS 14 in the Panama Canal

Crew muster

U.S.S. Tarpon Submarine No. 14 was renamed C-3 on Nov 17, 1911

Bassett Prentiss P. - Lieutenant - age 26 - Born: Washington, D.C.
Nye Ray - Chief Gunners Mate - age 26 - Born: Ohio
Mc Dougal John - Gunners Mate 1Cl - age 28 - Born: Maine
Cook Robert H. - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 21 - Born: North Carolina
Eadie Thomas - Gunners Mate 3Cl - age 23 - Born: Scotland
Evans John K. - Ch. Machinists Mate - age 30 - Born: Ohio
Pf***ing William C. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 23 - Born: Indiana
Mitchell Frank R. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 24 - Born: New Hampshire
Behrens Gro**r C. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 24 - Born: Ohio
Mc Inard Peter P. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 20 - Born: Massachusetts
Du Charme Charles H. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 27 - Born: New Hampshire
Emerson Alfred J. - Chief Electrician - age 26 - Born: New York
De Rusha Joseph P. - Electrician 1Cl - age 23 - Born: New York
Proctor Joseph W. - Electrician 2Cl - age 23 - Born: England
Grimes Otto - Electrician 2Cl - age 22 - Born: Kentucky

Thank you to Linda Talbott of the US GenWeb Census Project for providing this information.
* = unknown letter

USS C-3 torpedo tubes
USS C-3 torpedo tubes
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

USS C-3 engine room
USS C-3 engine room. Photo most likely taken looking aft.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Bridge shot of torpedo firing
This is a photo from the bridge showing the wake of a torpedo
being fired from the port (number 2) torpedo tube of the C-3.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Crew muster

USS Bonita, Submarine No 15, later renamed C-4 attached to submarine April 15, 1910

Danenhower, Sloan - Ensign; - age 25 - Born; Maryland, Later becoming Captain of the Nautilus of the Wilkins-Ellsworth Trans Arctic Submarine Expedition fame.
Fletcher, Arnold N. - Ch. Gunners Mate; - age 21 - Born; Indiana
Prince, Charles - Gunners Mate 1Cl - age 27 - Born; New York
Richards, Thomas C. - Gunners Mate 1Cl - age 35 - Born; ****** Island
Albee, Harry L. - Gunners Mate 3Cl - age 28 - Born; District of Columbia
Tubbs, Guy L. - Ch. MMate - age 34 - Born; Iowa
Maynard, George A. - Ch. MMate - age 28 - Born; Massachusetts
Enders, John J. - MMate 1Cl - age 27 - Born; New York
Hughes, Irving H. - MMate 1Cl - age 25 - Born; New York
Young, Arthur F. - MMate 2Cl - age 23 - Born; Massachusetts
Linford, Stanley L. - MMate 2Cl - age 25 - Born; Pennsylvania
Rich, Charles H. - MMate 1Cl - age 25 - Born; Massachusetts
Green, Benjamin A. - MMate 2Cl - age 24 - Born; Indiana
Lehman, Clyde W. - Chief Electrician - age 31 - Born; Missouri
Willard, B. - Electrician 1Cl - age 27 - Born; New York
Lemcke, Elmer J. - Electrician 2Cl - age 22 - Born; Missouri
Kluck, Walter H. - Electrician 2Cl - age 22 - Born; Wisconsin

Thank you to Linda Talbott of the US GenWeb Census Project for providing this information.

USS C-5 (ex-Snapper) SS 16
USS C-5 (ex-Snapper) SS 16

Crew muster

U.S.S. Snapper Submarine No 16, renamed C-5 on Nov 17, 1911

Nimitz Chester W. - Lieutenant - age 25 - Born; Texas
Enos George - Ch. Gunner's Mate - age 22 - Born; Massachusetts
Ripley Leroy H. - Gunner's Mate 2C - age 22 - Born; New York
Mc Dowell James - Gunner's Mate 2C - age 23 - Born; Massachusetts
Nelson George F. - Gunner's Mate 3C - age 21 - Born; Massachusetts
Flint Philip S. - Ch. Machinists Mate - age 26 - Born; Michigan
Fisher Charles B. - Machinists Mate 1C - age 31 - Born; Maine
Hardy William P. - Machinists Mate 1C - age 25 - Born; Massachusetts
Sh** Ralph D. - Machinists Mate 1C - age 25 - Born; Massachusetts
Jacobs Oscar H. - Machinists Mate 2C - age 24 - Born; Missouri
Maloney James A. - Machinists Mate 2C - age 26 - Born; Minnesota
Miller Adolph A. - Chief Electrician - age 29 - Born; Minnesota
Orth Paul *. - Electrician 1Cl - age 25 - Born; North Dakota
Pinninger Frank E. - Electrician 2Cl - age 24 - Born; Ohio
Grunser Louis - Electrician 1Cl - age 27 - Born; Texas

Thank you to Linda Talbott of the US GenWeb Census Project for providing this information.
* = unknown letter

The following sequence of events is a practice recovery of a sunk submarine by the USS Tonopah and using a "C" class sub as the sunk boat. The date isn't known but the time is probably 1915 and probably after the sinking of the USS F-4 with the loss of all hands. The rigging of the recovery crane is shown here and the method of attaching the lifting equipment to the submarine hull. For a larger version of the photos just click on the picture. Use your "Back" button to return here.


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USS Severn with an unidentified C class submarine along side.
The location is unknown but suspected to be Panama

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman


An unknown C-Boat with crew on deck at sea.

Unknown crew portrait, C-boat
Unknown crew portrait, C-boat

USS Octopus on the ways
USS Octopus on the building ways,
Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Mass. Circa 1908-09

USS Octopus close up torpedo tube outer doors
USS Octopus close up torpedo tube outer doors

USS Octopus on the ways
USS Octopus on the building ways,
Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Mass. Circa 1908-09

USS Octopus close up of stern
USS Octopus close up on the stern planes and rudder.

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USS Octopus, circa 1909, (previosly identified as Bonita), at the Fore River Shipyard. The other ships in the photo are identified as the SS Creole, (background) and the SS Everett, both built at Fore River.

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman
Photo Not In Public Domain
.


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USS Octopus, circa 1909, (previosly identified as Bonita), at the Fore River Shipyard. The other ship in the photo is the SS Everett, seen looming over the tiny submarine.

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman
Photo Not In Public Domain
.


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Fore River Shipyard. The other ships, (detail), in the photo are identified as the SS Creole, (background) and the SS Everett, both built at the Fore River Shipyard.

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman
Photo Not In Public Domain
.


Length 105' 4"
Beam 13' 9"
Disp. Sur. 238 tons
Disp. Sub. 275 tons
Test Depth 200'
Crew 15
Armament 2 18" Torp Tube

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