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The T-Boats

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USS AA-1 portrait taken circa late 1918. Location unknown. Her two trainable torpedo tubes located in the superstructure forward and aft of the conning tower are visible as darker rectangles on the hull. These were later removed. The space forward was taken up with the mounting of sponsons to enlarge the deck area for the placement of a 3'/50 caliber deck gun.

AA-1 (ex-SCHLEY) (Submarine No. 52) was laid down on 21 June 1916 at the Fore River Shipbuilding Co. yard in Quincy, Mass., by the Electric Boat Co. of New York; renamed AA-1 on 23 August 1917 to free the name Schley for Destroyer No. 103; launched on 25 July 1918; sponsored by Mrs. Lilian Hovey-King; and commissioned on 30 January 1920 at Boston, Mass.; Lt. Comdr. James Parker, Jr., in command.

AA-1 was one of three boats designed and constructed under a project charged with developing fleet submarines; that is, submarines possessing the sea keeping qualities and endurance capability required for long-range operations, as scouts for the surface fleet. On 17 July 1920, while the submarine was being fitted-out, the Navy adopted its modern system of alpha-numeric hull numbers, and the fleet submarine was designated SF-1. On 20 September, she was renamed T-1. Thus, by the time she began active service that fall, she was known as T-1 (SF-1).

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) lines drawings, Main Sheet showing the Contract Plan dated July 23, 1915. The Schley was to be the first US constructed "Fleet Submarine" meaning she was to have surface speeds capable of keeping up with the main aspects of the US Navy Fleets and act as an advance scout. Previous submarine classes were built for shore and harbor defense.

The plans are signed by Rear Admiral, Robert Stanislaus Griffin, Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, USN and Rear Admiral David Watson Taylor who was the Chief Constructor of the Navy and Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair. Taylor is best known as the man who constructed the first experimental towing tank ever built in the United States. The David Taylor Model Basin is named in his honor. Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels also signed off on the drawings for this radical new design.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) Bow profile showing the arrangement of various parts of the pressure hull and superstructure as well as the planned waterline.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) Overhead plans drawing of the bow section showing the arrangement of the torpedo room and officers wardroom. The object shown in the center of the torpedo room is actually the capstan motor and gearbox seen in the overhead in the drawing above just forward of the torpedo loading hatch.

The circles shown in the wardroom area are below decks and the forward group of circles are actually air flasks. In the center isa main seawater pump under the deck. The after group aere spare torpedo warheads. Also, under the deck and under bunks and settee in the same area, port and starboard. are four spare torpedos minus warheads giving the submarine a total of twelve torpedoes for offense or defense.

The officers head can be seen at the top edge or port side aft of the wardroom. All the way to the left side of the drawing is the forward crews berthing area. The pressure hull is lined on the outside by air flasks.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) Profile drawing showing the after section of the torpedo room and Officers country and the forward part of the forward crews berthing. The second drawing shows the full crews berthing and battery compartments.

The arrangement for torpedo storage is shown under the deck in the wardroom area and the air flasks and sea water pump and warheads. Note, also, the small boat storage under the superstructure deck aft of the torpedo loading hatch. There is a deck access hatch located in the double water tight door box between compartments.

The Schley was designed to have two double rotating torpedo launchers, fore and aft, in the superstructure. the turning motor and manual gear are located in the overhead in the after crews berthing. One of the two 3"/23 caliber retracting deck guns like the one shown here above the crews quarters. The forward and after batteries are located below the deck in the crews quarters.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) plan drawing show the central section of the submarine including the aft crews berthing with bunk arrangement, ships galley and scullery where all the food was prepared and dishes were washed, the control room and the forward machine space in the engine room containing pumps and air compressors. The plans also seem to show two berths in the control room, possibly for the captain and executive officer if needed.

Tables for the crews eating were set up in the aft end of the aft crews berthing aft the bunks were raised to give room for them.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) drawing showing in profile the aft crews berthing, control along with periscope arrangements and hatches to the superstructure and bridge and ventilation plans. Both the fore and aft external torpedo "batteries" are shown. The control rods for operating the Kingston valves for letting water into the box keel for flooding the ballast tanks are shown under the control room. Under the galley is a food storage space. No indication if it is refrigerated or not.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) close-up of the line drawing of control room and bridge area. What looks to be a steel chariot bridge fairing is actually a pipe frame and canvas is shown lashed to it. The bridge steering pedestal is shown.

Between the periscopes there seems to be a ventilation tube with a manually operated top that can seal it off when diving. Sort of a crude version of a snorkel for use on the surface. There are two control room hatches. One leads to the bridge access trunk and the other, aft of the periscopes, leads to the aft deck of the fairwater.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) Line drawing of the aft control room and the engine room. Interestingly, shown in this drawing more clearly, is the door in the starboard side of the fairwater and inside the fairwater is a head for use while on the surface. It is marked #67 on the drawing just aft of the door.

The after external torpedo tube training gear is shown in the overhead just forward of the forward engines. Exhaust piping and muffles are seen to the left in the overhead and superstructure. The rectangles in the overhead are gravity feed fuel tanks. Fuel was pumped up to them through a series of strainers to remove particulat matter. The water then settled out in these tanks and the clear fuel was drawn off from the top of the tanks, the water settling to the bottom to be drained off later.

The tandem mounted and joined NELSECO diesels are seen in the center and on the left. This system proved to be the major flaw in the design as the engines could not be perfectly synchronized and they would destroy themselves over time.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1). Close-up of the line drawing in the fairwater showing the surface use head or toilet. In this drawing they have even included a flushing water tank above it and the flushing water line to the head itself.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) line drawing of the engine room showing the machinery space at th efront of the engine room containing the high pressure air compressors for filling the air flasks and the sea water pumps for pumping bilges and trimming water about the boat. Air flasks for the air start of the NELSECO diesels are seem laying on their sides outboard the diesels.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) Line drawing of the after portion of the engine room and showing forward part of the motor room. The head for use of the crew while sunmerged can be seem in the aft starboard corner of teh space.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) line drawing of the after portion of the engine room and showing forward part of the motor room. The motor room it self contained a small auxiliary diesel for charging batteries for when the main diesels weren't available. The aft deck gun can be seen as well as want looks to be a rubber raft carried below the deck external to the pressure hull. The aft deck access hatch can be seen at the extreme left.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) More Lines drawing of the motor room. Just forward of the engine room motor room bulkhead in line with the toilet are shaft clutches that engage/dis-engage the main engines from the motors. Likewise aft of the motors are clutches that engage/dis-engage the motors from the shafts. Aft of these clutches are shaft driven air compressors, (seen on either side of the diesel), and another series of clutches to engage/dis-engage these from the shafts. The later innovation of removing the physical link between the diesels and motors removed all this complexity and damage incurred by mis-alignment of parts.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


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USS Schley (AA-1) Profile drawing of the stern showing the props and rudder and the deck access. There are also several ballast tank valves but it is hard to see in what manner these are used.

From a Set of Prints In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman.


USS AA-1 SS 52

USS AA-1 under construction at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincey, Mass. The photo is dated April 16, 1918. The sub is surrounded by scaffolding so little of the hull is seen but the four under deck mounted trainable torpedo tubes can be seen in front and behind the bridge fairwater. The tubes could be rotated to starboard or port and stopped at any angle. Torpedoes of the time where point and shoot and could not be set to run on a gyro angle as later torpedoes could. This was to allow a sub to fire at a target with out having to spend excess time trying to maneuver and maybe have the target sail out of range. At the bow the covers have not been installed over the bow planes rigging and rotating gears.

From the Private collection of Ric Hedman.

USS T-1 SS 52

USS AA-1 (T-1) SS 52 (ex-Schley, ex- AA-1). Photo taken Sept.8, 1919 off Provincetown, Mass. You can see that during her speed trials she had the pre-war pipe and canvas bridge shelter system rigged for this surface run. In the second photo down you will see that the metal chariot bridge structure, adopted by US submarines during World War I, has been installed. This was copied from the British and Germans who had learned the necessity of diving quickly and installed on our overseas submarines in Europe and the Azores.


USS AA-1 SS 52
USS T-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley, ex- AA-1)

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A photo of the USS AA-1 in Charleston Harbor in April of 1920. She is moored along side the Minesweeper USS Sanderling AM-37 who had returned from mine sweeping operations with other ships, in British and American waters removing in total 70,000 mines.

The AA-1 appears to have mattresses and bedding being aired in the life lines. The photo looks to have been taken from a barge moored to the dock. The Photo taker was Seaman George Peterson, a cook striker, from the USS O-15.

Photo From a The Private Collection of George Peterson.


USS T-1 SS 52

USS T-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley, ex- AA-1)in dry dock. Time frame is sometime between January 1920 and September 1920 when she was renamed "T-1". You can see that she still retains her trainable torpedo tubes in the superstructure but had the metal chariot bridge installed. Location is most likely the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina.

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)


USS T-1 SS 52
USS T-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley, ex- AA-1)
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS AA-1 SS 52
USS AA-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley) under construction.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS AA-1 SS 52
USS AA-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley) under construction.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS AA-1 SS 52
USS AA-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley) under construction.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS AA-1 SS 52
USS AA-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley) under construction.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS AA-1 SS 52
USS AA-1 SS 52 (ex-Schley) post launch.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS T-1 alongside the USS Fulton
USS T-1 alongside the USS Fulton
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS T-1 alongside the USS Fulton gun detail
USS T-1 alongside the USS Fulton, gun and crew detail.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

USS T-1
USS T-1


USS T-2 launching
This photo is believed to be the launch photo of the
USS T-2 (AA-2), September 6, 1919.
This has been done by comparison with the photo below.
This could also be the T-3. I have no T-3 photos to compare with.
US Navy Photo

USS T-2 (AA-2) SS60
USS T-2 (AA-2) SS60
Many thanks to Charles R. Hinman, Education & Outreach, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Bowfin Museum

USS T-3
USS T-3 at the Fore River Ship Yard


USS T-3 alongside the USS T-1
USS T-3 alongside the USS T-1


USS T-3 on sea trials
USS T-3 on sea trials.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM(SS) (ret.)

Crew eating in the Control room of the USS T-3
Crew eating in the Control room of the USS T-3
This is just a best guess since the T-1, T-2 & T-3 were the only subs with a test depth of 150 feet
and that is what the depth guage is clibrated to in this picture. The submarine was in service until 1927.



Control room of the USS T-3
Control room of the USS T-3


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USS T-3 on December 23, 1925 with Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Douglas Robinson with wife Helen and three of their daughters aboard inspecting the submarine. Daughter, Alida, is looking at the camera. Daughters Helen and Elizabeth are behind Alida. Note the Christmas Tree laying on the deck waiting to be put up.

The T boats were all retired in 1922 due to poor performance. The T-3 was the first to go. On Armistice Day, November 11, 1922, she was decommissioned at Hampton Roads, Va., and berthed at the submarine base located there. Later, she was moved to Philadelphia. When a submarine was needed to test the performance of the M.A.N. German diesels. The T-1 was selected but no money was available and it was postponed. When funds were made available it was the T-3 that was chosen.

She was re-engined and on On 1 October 1925, T-3 was recommissioned at Philadelphia. For the following 21 months, she tested her newly installed 3,000-horsepower M.A.N. diesel engines for the Bureau of Engineering. Early in the summer of 1927, she completed the tests and, on 14 July 1927, was placed out of commission at Philadelphia. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 19 September 1930 and her hulk was broken up, and the materials sold for scrap on 20 November 1930.

Library Of Congress Photo.


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USS T-3 on December 23, 1925 with Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Douglas Robinson and wife Helen aboard inspecting the submarine, seen here with three of their daughters. Daughter, Alida, is looking at the camera. Daughters Helen and Elizabeth are behind Alida

Theodore "Teddy" Robinson had deep roots in American politics and was directly and through marriage related to the Roosevelt's. He was also the great-great-grandnephew of James Monroe (1758-1831), fifth President of the United States; great-grandson of James Monroe (1799-1870); son of Douglas Robinson and Corinne (Roosevelt) Robinson (1861-1933; poet); nephew of Theodore Roosevelt; married 1904 to Helen Roosevelt, distant cousin of Franklin D Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt. Her father was a half brother of the late President Franklin D Roosevelt.

Library Of Congress Photo.


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