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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-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 >

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 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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