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The V-Boats ~ Page 1
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USS V-2, V-1 & V-3 moored Starboard side to the USS Argonne (AS-10), most likely San Diego, CA circa 1927.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS V-2 (Bass), V-1 (Barracuda) and V-3 (Bonita) moored to the Port side of the USS Argonne (AS-10), at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone during Fleet Problem X circa February 1929. The submarines and tender were at Balboa from January 29, 1929 to March 11, 1929.

Fleet Problem X was conducted with all available units of the Battle Fleet and Train Squadron Two who, in the main were opposed by the Scouting Fleet and the Control Force and the defence Forces of the 15th Naval District and Army units. The tender and submarines arrived back at San Diego on March 22.

Interesting that the Tender is undergoing painting by the crew. There is a man hanging from a Bosun's Chair at the bow. He is painting the area where the bow flares. This area was known for centuries by sailors as "being between the devil and the deep blue sea" because overhang areas like this were so hard to word on. The underside of the stern was another area like this. The sailor no doubt has a line attached to him from one of the portholes and is being pulled in close to the hull to work. Another man is hanging from a Bosun's chair right at the bow of the V-2.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS V-3 (Bonita), V-2 (Bass), V-1 (Barracuda), V-5 (Narwhal) & V-4 (Argonaut) moored to the Starboard side of the USS Holland (AS-3), most likely at San Diego, CA circa 1931. The destroyer USS Southard DD 207 is anchored at far right. Southard survived WW II and two kamikaze attacks only to be lost on the Japanese shore after war ended. Her story is here

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS V-3 (Bonita), V-1 (Barracuda), V-2 (Bass) & V-4 (Argonaut) moored to the Port side of the USS Holland (AS-3), at San Diego, CA circa 1931. Point Loma can be seen in the background. The destroyer USS Alden DD 211 is anchored closer to the point. Her story is here

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Another view of the USS V-3 (Bonita), V-1 (Barracuda), V-2 (Bass) & V-4 (Argonaut) moored to the Port side of the USS Holland (AS-3), at San Diego, CA circa 1931. Coronado Island can be seen in the background. The Holland has swung on her anchor.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman >

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Close-up of the after sections of V-1 & V-2 showing the permanently mounted cranes used for hoisting items aboard and lowering them into the aft hatch. These did not retract into the hull or superstructure and must have caused a lot of drag when submerged.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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This photo was taken circa 1930's at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. The submarines are moored at Sierra 12. The submerged grave of the USS F-4 is directly in front of the subs. The space between the causeways joining Kuahua Island (at the left) to the main island is yet to be filled in. Pearl City is in the background at the right edge.

The submarines are, left to right; USS Bass, B-2, V-2; USS Narwhal, N-1 V-5; USS Argonaut, A-1, V-4; USS Bonita, B-3, V-3 and USS Barracuda, B-1 , V-1. In the lower left of the photo is the Submarine Tender USS Bushnell AS-2.

None of these submarines had air-conditioning so awnings were rigged over decks and hatches in efforts to keep the interiors cool or coolish.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Undated photo of three V-Class submarines moored at an undisclosed location. The submarines are from L to R, a Barracuda Class submarine, which could be the V-1, the V-2 or V-3. The next sub is the USS Nautilus, V-6 and the right hand sub appears to be the USS Narwhal, V-5 but that is uncertain. The bow bullnose configuration is the same for the Narwhal, Nautilus as well as for Argonaut, V-4.

In the background of the photo is the tender USS Holland. In the foreground is the American Flag flown from the stern of what is presumed to be another submarine. All vessels have "dressed ship" with their signal flags in celebration of some special event.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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This is a fine, large,1933 Rotogravure photo of the USS Holland at San Diego anchored with her brood of five "V" class submarines. The original picture is very dark and a purplely brown in color. We had to lighten it up a great deal to get this detail. Visible, also, are the many ripples as the paper has stretched over the 83 years this image has been in existence.

Many vessels are seen in the background. They are presumed to be assembled at San Diego Harbor, along with these submarines, ready to participate in a big war game, the 1933 Fleet Problem XIV, (14). This war game was to take place in the Eastern Pacific waters that stretched from the West Coast and California shores to the Hawaiian Islands and from south at Magdalena Bay, Baja, Mexico north to Puget Sound, Washington State. A vast body of water for this massive war game. Many parts of this war game were to be put into use during WW II out of necessity. The games stressed a lot of independent thought and initiative on the part of commanding officers in the type of tactics used to solve the problems and attain a victory. Something, after the destruction of the battleships at Pearl Harbor, the Navy and Submarine service would need in great quantity and used successfully.

Newspaper Rotogravure Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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This close-up of the five submarines moored to Holland are, in order out from the tender; USS Bass, (ex-V-2), her B-2 designation can be seen on her conning tower. The next submarine appears to be the USS Dolphin, The letter "D" can be seen on her conning tower. The Dolphin, (V-7 though the designation was never used except in the building process), was the only "V" class to have a "D" designation. The middle submarine is the USS Nautilus, (ex-V-6), her N-2 can be read clearly on her conning tower. The fourth submarine is the USS Barracuda, (ex-V-1), with B-1 painted on the sides of the conning tower. The last submarine, no designation can be seen but a good educated guess is the USS Narwhal, (ex-V-5), N-1. Of the large V-class subs the Narwhal and Nautilus had raised gun decks the other large submarine was Argonaut, (ex-V-4), designated as "A-1" and she did not have any raised gun decks.

Newspaper Rotogravure Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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An even closer view of the five submarines though not very clear. The description is repeated.

Close-up of the five submarines moored to Holland are, in order out from the tender; USS Bass, (ex-V-2), her B-2 designation can be seen on her conning tower. The next submarine appears to be the USS Dolphin, The letter "D" can be seen on her conning tower. The Dolphin, (V-7 though the designation was never used except in the building process), was the only "V" class to have a "D" designation. The middle submarine is the USS Nautilus, (ex-V-6), her N-2 can be read clearly on her conning tower. The fourth submarine is the USS Barracuda, (ex-V-1), with B-1 painted on the sides of the conning tower. The last submarine, no designation can be seen but a good educated guess is the USS Narwhal, (ex-V-5), N-1. Of the large V-class subs the Narwhal and Nautilus had raised gun decks the other large submarine was Argonaut, (ex-V-4), designated as "A-1" and she did not have any raised gun decks.

Newspaper Rotogravure Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Pre-launch photo of the bow of the V-1, (Barracuda), taken on July 16, 1924 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The sub has been decked out with bunting and signal flags for her launch the next day.

A good look of the bow torpedo tube outer doors is had in this view. The pressure hull was a complex of various angles and diameters bringing the torpedo tubes to the hulls lowest point. The hull was a variety of shapes from circular to ellipses, making the construction a nightmare for the shipyard.

US Navy Photo

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Stern view of the V-1 (Barracuda), taken on July 16, 1924, the day before her launch. Signal flags are yet to be strung from the radio mast as seen in the first photo above. A temporary platform with railing has been built on the deck for crew and dignitaries tp stand on during the launching ceremony.

A large brace has been attached to the shaft struts and clamps together, over the top of the stern planes and aft of the rudder. This is to prevent damage to the rudder and stern planes as the submarine slides, backwards, into the water. Just above the rudder the two aft torpedo tubes can be seen.

US Navy Photo

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Launch day, July 17, 1924. The V-1 (Barracuda) sits on the ways. The tide is high making the launch less difficult. People have begun arriving for the ceremony. Workmen are checking out and making preparations for the launching. A large American flag has been raised at the stern and the signal flags are in place for the event. More signal flags have been draped around the viewing platform at the right rear in the photo.

At the left in the photo, what is probably the V-2 (Bass), sits on the ways. Just the slope of her stern, matching the V-1 stern, can be seen.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS V-1 SS 163
USS V-1 SS 163
Photo contributed by Ron Martini

USS Submarine V 1 leaving Portsmouth Navy Yard for Provincetown
 USS Submarine V-1 leaving Portsmouth Navy Yard for Provincetown
     Nov. 13, 1924

USS Submarine V 1 leaving Portsmouth Navy Yard for Provincetown
 USS Submarine V-1 leaving Portsmouth Navy Yard for Provincetown
     Nov. 13, 1924

USS V-1 SS 163
USS V-1 SS 163 (later to become Barracuda)


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The USS V-1 at anchor in Cuba on July 2, 1925. The exact location is not given. Awnings have been stretched fore and midships to give the crew some relief from the sun. Mattresses and bedding have been brought up and lashed to the lifelines to dry and air. The V-1 had no air conditioning so it must have been pretty uncomfortable below. It is my guess that the awning on the bow was set up for the officers with chairs for seating.

One of the two ships boats, stowed under the deck just aft of the conning tower fairwater when not in use, can be seen moored alongside. Forward of the conning tower can be seen a folding set of steps to allow access to the submarine from a small boat. These were folded back into the superstructure when not needed.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman >

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The USS V-1 at anchor in Cuba on July 2, 1925. The exact location is not given. Awnings have been stretched fore and midships to give the crew some relief from the sun. Mattresses and bedding have been brought up and lashed to the lifelines to dry and air. The V-1 had no air conditioning so it must have been pretty uncomfortable below. It is my guess that the awning on the bow was set up for the officers with chairs for seating.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman >

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The USS V-1 at anchor in Cuba on July 2, 1925. The exact location is not given. Mattresses and bedding have been brought up and lashed to the lifelines to dry and air. The V-1's 5"/53 Caliber forward deck gun can be seen clearly. The folding boarding steps can be plainly seen on the right.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman >

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The USS V-1 at anchor in Cuba on July 2, 1925. The exact location is not given. Mattresses and bedding have been brought up and lashed to the lifelines to dry and air. An awning is spread over the boat deck with off duty crew relaxing under it. The submarines' two launches, one of which can be seen here, are stowed beneath this deck. The large kingpost seen here just at the forward end of the awning is used to lift this boat from it stowed location. The boom attached to the kingpost can just be made out at deck level and the launch's bow tackle is attached to that to keep the boat from hitting the side of the submarine. The shadow of the boom can be seen on the hull. The folding boarding steps can be plainly seen on the left.

Original Snapshot in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman >

USS V-1 Pearl Harbor Dec. 1927
USS V-1 in Pearl harbor Hawaii circa December 1927
Notice the large up sweep of the bow intended for better sea keeping.

Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman


USS V-1 Pearl Harbor Dec. 1927
Sailor standing on the bridge of the USS V-1 in Pearl harbor Hawaii circa December 1927
Notice the open hatch on the aft end of the bridge.

Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman


USS V-1 Transiting the Panama Canal Nov. 1927
USS V-1 Transiting the Panama Canal circa Nov. 1927
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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The crew of the USS V-1 photographed at Pearl Harbor sometime between the end of April 1928 and mid June 1928 when she arrived in Hawaii to take part in Fleet Problem VIII, an exercise that pitted light cruisers and a detachment of ships from Pearl Harbor ("Orange") against the Battle Fleet and the Train ("Blue"). The SubDiv 20 tender seen alongside is the USS Argonne AS 10.

In the photo the fourth man from the left, second row from the top, is Herman S. 'Brigham' Young, grandfather of Johanna Young who submitted this photo.

The barrel of the V-1's 5"/58 caliber deck gun is pointed to the right in the photo to make room for all the men to be positioned at the widest point on the deck. The top man on the right is leaning on the barrel.

Original Photo in the Family Collection of Johanna Young

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Barracuda SS 163 anchored at Juneau, Territory of Alaska 1933. Submarine Squadron 12 made its famous Alaska cruise with the submarine tender Holland herding "all her chicks" on the epic voyage testing long distance abilities of the fleet.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Barracuda SS 163, moored to a sister submarine at Juneau, Territory of Alaska 1933. Submarine Squadron 12 made its famous Alaska cruise with the submarine tender Holland herding "all her chicks" on the epic voyage testing long distance abilities of the fleet.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman >

USS V-1 SS 163 circa 1943
USS Barracuda SS 163 (ex-V-1) photographed circa 1943.

USS V-2 SS 164
USS V-2 SS 164 (ex-Bass)

USS V-2 SS 164
USS V-2 SS 164

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USS V-2 crew relaxing under an awning. The location is possibly Panama though it may also be San Diego or Hawaii. There just isn't enough information other than the awning. The date is some time prior to March of 1931 when her name was changed to Bass from V-2.

Some of the crew have brought up blankets and pillows to lay on the deck to relax upon. Interesting to note that the bow of the starboard launch is protruding through the decking over the small boat storage locker. The kingposts for launching and retrieving these boats are see at the outer edges of the awning. There is a portable shower rigged on the very back edge of the conning tower fairwater. The hose leading to it can be seen arcing to the right and toward the left.

The bitts seem on either side of the deck in the foreground appear to be retracting. The assumption is based on the fact that each has a handle built into the recessed top of each bitt. It is assumed that turning this handle would unlock or unscrew the bitt from a locked position and allow it to be lowered in to the deck. This seems strange though based on all the other objects that project into the submerged water flow.

Original Photo in the Private Collection

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USS V-2 crew relaxing under an awning. The location is possibly Panama though it may also be San Diego or Hawaii. There just isn't enough information other than the awning. The date is some time prior to March of 1931 when her name was changed to Bass from V-2.

Some of the crew have brought up blankets and pillows to lay on the deck to relax upon. Interesting to note that the bow of the starboard launch is protruding through the decking over the small boat storage locker. The kingposts for launching and retrieving these boats are see at the outer edges of the awning. There is a portable shower rigged on the very back edge of the conning tower fairwater. The hose leading to it can be seen arcing to the right and toward the left.

Original Photo in the Private Collection

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USS V-2 (SF-5), in drydock at the Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yard, probably in the late summer of 1927. The V-2 and her sisters V-1 and V-3 were preparing for a long trip, she being transfered to the Pacific Coast in November 1927 along with Submarine Division 20.

In the photos from the stern the boat’s two stern torpedo tubes can clearly be seen, and the outer muzzle doors of both tubes are open. Above the tubes on either side of the hull are the angular propeller guards. On top of the hull, just forward of the flag staff is a cone shaped fairing for one of the boat’s three radio antenna masts. The concept of operations for the fleet submarine called for very long range radio communications. To achieve this, the V-2 and her sisters were equipped with two different sets of radio aerial wires. One set (probably for short range comms) had two heavy thick wires running from the stern fairing, up to a support stanchion on either side of the periscope shears, and down to a similar fairing on the bow. A second set of wires was attached to a mast that retracted into this fairing. These wires then ran to a heavy retractable mast aft of the periscope shears on the conning tower fairwater, then down to another retractable mast on the fairing at the bow. The bow mast (as seen in the bow photo) retracted down into the fairing and a tube that penetrated the bow buoyancy tank and then ran down between the torpedo tubes. The aft mast retracted down into the steering gear room above the rudder.

Also very prominent in these photos are the V-2’s small boats, seen in the photo below and in other close-ups, used for liberty launches when the boat was anchored out. These boats were housed in deck fairings aft of the conning tower fairwater and were covered over with teak deck slats. To launch the boats the decking above them would be removed and the boats hoisted out of the fairings using a large kingpost/boom crane, each located just forward of the fairings.

In the bow photos, seen below, two distinctive features of the V-2 stand out. The first is the bulbous bow, shaped somewhat like the nose of a porpoise or shark. This unusual design was intended to provide additional buoyancy and keep the bow above the waves at high speed. Unfortunately it was poorly conceived and it actually caused the bow to burrow into the waves, making for a very wet deck. The bow tapers to a very narrow width below the tank then flairs out again into a circular cross section in order to accommodate the bow torpedo tubes. When viewed from straight ahead, the bow looks a lot like a figure 8. The anchor can also be seen, and it is housed in a hawespipe inside the bow buoyancy tank. It gives the distinct impression of being held in the mouth of a shark. The windlass and pulley used to haul in the anchor was housed in a small bump fairing on the main deck just forward of the radio mast fairing.

On March 9, 1931 the V-2 was renamed Bass, in accordance with a new Navy effort to move away from the traditional letter/number names for submarines. The fleet boats were now to have names of fish and marine creatures. A few months later her hull number was also changed and she was reclassified into the general submarine series as SS-164.

The color photo, seen below, was taken 81 years later and shows the same dry dock at the now closed Boston Navy Yard. It is remarkable to note that many of the same buildings in the 1927 photo are still in existence today.

Written by DCC(SS/SW) David L. Johnston, USN

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Detail of the small boats raised from the under deck storage using the distinctive masts that the 3 early V class boats incorporated in thier design.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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USS V-2 in dry dock circa September 1927. The lower masts for the USS Constitution,(Old Ironsides), lay along side the dry dock to the right.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The same dry dock shown in a September 2008 photo taken by David Johnston.

Photo taken by David Johnston.

USS Bonita (V-3) and USS Bass (V-2)  in 1931
USS Bonita (V-3) and USS Bass (V-2)  in 1931

USS Bass (V-2) on the bottom

USS Bass (V-2)shown in an artist sketch as she lies on the bottom south of Block Island off the east end of Long Island, NY.

Bass was recommissioned at Portsmouth, N. H., 5 September 1940 and assigned to Submarine Division 9 Atlantic Fleet. Between February and November 194i she operated along the New England coast and made two trips to St. Georges, Bermuda. She arrived at Coco Solo, C. Z., 24 November and was on duty there when hostilities broke out with Japan.

During 1942 Bass was attached to Submarine Division 31, Squadron 3, Atlantic Fleet. Between March and August, while based at Coco Solo, she made four war patrols in the Pacific, off Balboa. On 17 August 1942, while at sea, a fire broke out in the after battery room and quickly spread to the after torpedo room and starboard main motor, resulting in the death of 25 enlisted men by asphyxiation. The following day Antaeus (AS-21) arrived to assist the submarine and escorted her into the Gulf of Dulce, Costa Rica. Both vessels then proceeded to Balboa. Bass remained In the Canal Zone until October 1942 when she departed for Philadelphia, arriving on the 19th. After undergoing repairs at Philadelphia Navy Yard Bass proceeded to New London, Conn., where she conducted secret experiments off B lock Island in December 1943. She was again in Philadelphia Yard for repairs from January to March 1944. During the remainder of the year she was attached to Submarine Squadron 1, Atlantic Fleet, and operated out of New London in the area between Long Isl and and Block Island. Bass was decommissioned at the Submarine Base New London 3 March 1945 and "destroyed" 12 March 1945. She was used as part of a Mine Test and sits on the bottom in two pieces.



USS Bass (V-2) on the bottom
USS Bass (V-2)shown in an artist sketch as she lies on the bottom south of Block Island off the east end of Long Island, NY.


USS Bass (V-2) on the bottom
Map of where the Bass lies on the bottom south of Block Island off the east end of Long Island, NY.


USS V-3 SS 165
USS V-3 SS 165 (ex-Bonita) shown just after launch.

USS V-3 with tugs along side after launch
USS V-3 with tugs along side after launch
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

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The newly commissioned USS V-3 moored in Boston Harbor next to the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides". The man on top of the bridge is signaling with semaphore flags. The letter he is creating is "R". Aft of the Conning Tower Fairwater is the port small boat mast, the boom is laying at deck level. The men are standing on top the port boat storage decking. circa May 1926 to November 1927. At this time the V-3 was assigned to Submarine Division 20. In November 1927 the whole Division transferred to San Diego arriving on December 17, 1927.

Boston Public Library/National Archives Photo

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The newly commissioned USS V-3 moored in Boston Harbor next to the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides". The man on top of the bridge is signaling with semaphore flags. The letter he is creating is "U". Forward of the Conning Tower Fairwater is the 5"/58 caliber deck gun. circa May 1926 to November 1927. At this time the V-3 was assigned to Submarine Division 20. In November 1927 the whole Division transferred to San Diego arriving on December 17, 1927.

Boston Public Library/National Archives Photo

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The newly commissioned USS V-3 moored in Boston Harbor next to the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides". The man on top of the bridge is signaling with semaphore flags. The letter he is creating is "Y". Forward of the Conning Tower Fairwater is the 5"/58 caliber deck gun. circa May 1926 to November 1927. At this time the V-3 was assigned to Submarine Division 20. In November 1927 the whole Division transferred to San Diego arriving on December 17, 1927.

Boston Public Library/National Archives Photo

V-3 hauled on on a marine railway for upkeep
V-3 hauled out on a marine railway for upkeep

USS V-1, USS V-2 & USS V-3
USS V-1, USS V-2 & USS V-3 (not necessarily in that order) along side the tender USS Argonne AS-10 at Panama, December 1927.

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The USS V-3 seen here in late 1927 or early 1928 sailing out through the Golden Gate. We know the time frame since in mid 1928 the 5'/51 caliber guns on the first 3 V-Boats were removed and replaced by smaller 3'/50 caliber guns. The V-3 clearly has her 5"/51 gun.

Directly behind the after deck of the submarine is the location where the North End of the Golden Gate Bridge will be constructed. This is known because of the presence of the Lime Point Light House seen at the right edge of the photo. The lighthouse is still there today although many of the buildings have been torn down around it.

The very small building seen set on the shore to the left of the light house is the approximate position of the North West bridge pier footing.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

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A Close-Up of the gun and conning tower of the V-3. Several men acan be seen on the bridge and around 8 or 9 men are sitting on the starboard small boat fairing aft of the conning tower fairwater.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

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A Close-Up from the photo of the Lime Point Light House. The light house still stands today though many of the buildings seen here have been removed. This structure was crucial in the identification of the photos location. The roadway seen on the hillside can still be seen today as well.

The very small building seen set on the shore to the left of the light house is the approximate position of the North West bridge pier footing.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

USS V-6, USS V-3
USS V-5, Narhwal and USS V-3, Bonita moored dockside.
Location unknown, most likely San Diego, circa 1932.

From the private collection of Ric Hedman

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The photo shown here of the submarine USS Bonita SS 165, (B-3) (ex-V-3), shown here in the process of mooring to another submarine, this being the USS Dolphin SS 169, (D-1) (ex-V-7), at Balboa, Canal Zone, Panama in April 1934. She and other Submarine Division 12 submarines and major fleet components; battleships, cruisers, tenders, etc, are passing through the canal to the Caribbean and Fleet Problem XV and then north to New York for the Presidential Review. Two battleships, the one on the right is most likely the California BB-44, can be seen in the background of the photo. Identity of the other isn't known at this time. The tugs probably belong to the canal authority since it seems the Navy did not keep any tugs there.

The vessels in Bonitas' group heading to New York from the Pacific were the Submarine force known as Submarine Division 12 with the USS Bushnell, a tender and the Flagship of Rear Admiral John W. Greenslade, commander, submarine force, U S fleet. USS Holland, another tender. Also the USS Ortolan, a rescue vessel and the submarines Barracuda, Bass, Bonita, Nautilus, Dolphin and Narwhal. The last being contingent on the completion of a overhaul at the Navy Yard, Mare Island.

Various components of the combined fleet went their own ways for the various war game aspects of "Fleet Problem XV". (Fleet Problem 15). The Outcome of these war games is that for the first time, though there is a "plan of attack", commanders were encouraged to 'emphasize on decisive offensive action, reliance on individual initiative, and development of decentralized command and control". After the Games the fleet sailed north to the Presidential Review in New York.

This was a very significant war game and proved to be just what the US Navy needed starting December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The major units of the "Line of Battle" having been sunk that day. Commanders now needed to use the knowledge learned at the 1934 war games to hold and eventually win the Pacific War. Bonita did her part in this learning process and helped to bring the success to the US and her Allies.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

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This first of several close ups shows a man at the left on the bow of the Bonita. This man is standing at the Jack Staff and waiting to raise the Union Jack when the first line to go over, signaling that the submarine is now moored. The raising of the Jack coincides with the raising of the American Flag on the Flag Staff at the stern. At the same time the "under way colors" are struck or taken down. You can see the man has the folded bundle of the Jack in his left hand.

Moving to the right in the photo is a Chief Petty Officer. An enlisted man, no doubt a line handler. Next is an officer who is in command of the fore-deck doing something with his megaphone that allows him to broadcast his voice to greater distances. Next are three more enlisted men/line handlers. The middle man has a prepared 'heavie', (hee-vee), ready to toss to the waiting submarines deck. The heavie has been divided into two halves, one half in each hand. Last, at the right is another officer standing at the fore hatch. Both officers seem to be wearing web belts and holsters with pistols in them.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

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Moving aft, to the left is the same officer seen in the last close up. To his left is the forward hatch which on this class of submarine is offset to port and in fact you can see a superstructure fairing around the hatch combing. Behind is a tripod affair. This may be a brace to hold wind chute to direct air and wind down the hatch into these un-air conditioned boats.

Moving to the right in the photo, right between the tripod and the next group of men is a "JK" listening devices. An early form of SONAR. It was developed in 1929 and employed the newly developed Rochelle Salt Crystals since they were comparatively more sensitive than the quartz crystals. It is deck mounted and sits on a short set of legs. When used it had a listening range of about 5 miles with average water conditions and gave bearings accurate to within a few degrees.

The next group of men all look to be line handlers waiting to go to work.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

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This close up shows two enlisted men standing in front of the recently installed 3"/50 gun mount. The 3 inch gun replaced the original 5"/51 caliber deck gun. This one has the high aspect mount allowing it to be used for anti aircraft.

The ships bell is mounted to the front step of the conning tower fairwater. An access door into the bridge structure is seen as well with a man standing in the opening.

The round portholes are for a topside helmsman to view out. During nasty weather this covered area offered shelter for those steering and conning the submarine on the surface. A canvas sun shelter covers the open bridge from tropical sun.

On the side of the bridge, just above the letter "B" stands either the captain or maybe the conning officer, watching the proceedings. The letter B would have been followed by a dash and the number 3, not seen.

Other crew can be seen on the after deck. Below the railing, on the side of the hull, can be seen the fold down boarding ladder allowing people to get aboard from small craft. Probably for her own boats stored in the "tubs" on the back deck.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

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This last photo shows the back deck of the submarine. The most prominent features seen here are the two small boat "tubs", for lack of a better word, where the submarines two launches are stowed. One of the two masts used to launch and retrieve these small craft is seen. These are hollow masts with cutouts to allow water to flow in and out. A large number of crew used as line handlers are topside. All the way aft is a man standing by the flagstaff ready to raise the American Flag as the first line goes over. The underway flag will be struck at this time also.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.

Fleet Problem XV, May 7, 1934
From the private collection of Ric Hedman

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