G-2

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The G-2 during the fitting out phase of construction at the Lake Torpedo Boat Co. docks at Bridgeport CT., April 2, 1912. The small deck over the torpedo tube outer door has not yet been installed. G-2 was unusual in that she had three bow torpedo tubes, two inside the hull in the torpedo room, and one outside the hull in the superstructure. The superstructure tube could only be reloaded in port and the weapon in it was not accessible while at sea. You can see the outer muzzle door of the tube here, it folded downward when it opened. There are two guide skids, one on the outer door and one on the bow. These prevent the torpedo from hitting the bow when it is launched. The oval-shaped torpedo loading hatch is open. It appears that the periscopes have not yet been installed. There is a man working over the side on the starboard side. He has his feet on a scaffolding board slung over the side and is crouched down. There is another workman going over the port side of the hull and a man standing on the top of the conning tower.

National Archives photo.

G-2 tied outboard of the G-4 (Submarine No. 26). Submarine Base New London, CT., 1917.

National Archives photo.

The G-2, quite possibly at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA. On 23 August 1917 she left New London for instructional and experimental operations working off the Boston Lightship. With students embarked, she assisted in proving out submarine detection devices for the Experimental Board embarked in the steam yacht USS Margaret (SP-524) and in performing experimental problems with the submarine chaser SC-6. The purpose of the small platform over the forward superstructure torpedo tube is not entirely clear. It may have been there to keep the weapon guided straight during launch, to keep it from jerking upward. There doesn't seem to be any other reason for it.

National Archives photo.

A hand tinted photo of G-2, along with some closeups, taken approximately 1916. The G-2 is underway with good head of "steam" running. Almost the whole crew is on deck, with two officers on the bridge and one Chief Petty Officer standing on deck near the forward end of the conning tower fairwater. The torpedo loading derrick is rigged up on the forward deck, indicating that she is returning from a torpedo firing exercise. After firing an exercise torpedo, the boat would retrieve the expensive weapon and return it to port for servicing. The vertical 31 on the side of her fairwater IS NOT her hull number. It is a squadron identifier used to indicate her place in a surface steaming formation.

Photos in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

The G-2's engine room showing the starboard engine. The G-2 had four White/Middleton gasoline engines for propulsion. Simon Lake also used these engines in the USS G-1 (Submarine No. 19½). The fumes from these engines would oftentimes intoxicate and sicken the crew, in addition to being highly flammable. Diesel engines had none of these effects.

National Archives photo No. NH 80747.

The USS G-2 diving, approximately 1916. The location is not certain but could be a selection of places where she conducted practice cruises such as Norfolk, Charleston, New York, Newport, and Provincetown. The shoreline looks to be too high for Provincetown but may be the Newport area. Note that the flag staff and flag have not been removed so this may have been a dive made for publicity purposes, down and back up again. It is definitely a test dive as the "fish flag" is being flown from the number two periscope.

Photo courtesy of Darryl Baker from the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.

A closeup of the G-2's conning tower fairwater, approximately 1916. The squadron formation 31 identifier is seen, along with flood ports for the watertight superstructure. There is a sailor in the open hatch leading to the control room below. The periscope are fixed height models and do not retract. The thin pipe running up the back of the aft periscope is the ship's air whistle. Above that is the "fish flag" meant to indicate that there is a submerged submarine beneath. The tapered object on top of the fairwater is the hatch to the forward conning tower. There were two conning towers, one for the Captain and one for the Navigator.

National Archives photo.

The bow of the USS G-2 as seen from the bridge. The date is unknown but could possibly be circa 1915 to 1919. There is little to no detail that could place the photo. She is possibly making a speed run of some sort.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

G-2 underway, location unknown, approximately 1916-1917.

National Archives photo.

In the photo on the left is G-2, in the center, flanked by the G-4 (Submarine No. 26) on the left and the L-8 (Submarine No. 48) on the right, circa February 1918, Submarine Base New London, CT. The ice was reported to have been as thick as 18 inches. The crewman on the fore deck of the G-2 is sweeping chipped ice way from the hatch. The photo on the right is the same, but annotated by a person describing what was going on.

G-2 moored alongside G-1 (Submarine No. 19½), probably at Submarine Base New London, CT. approximately 1916-1917. This view is from the port quarter and gives a good view of G-2's aft torpedo tube shutter doors. They split in the center and swung outwards to port and starboard. There was presumably another watertight muzzle door behind these doors. The open hatch led to the motor room.

National Archives photo.

On October 1, 1918 the G-2 ran hard aground on Bartlett Reef while performing experimental work on sound detection devices along with training for the newly established Submarine School in the area of Block Island and Long Island Sound. These photos show G-2 with a modification made to her bow, in which the superstructure was extended all the way to the tip of the bow, with the superstructure torpedo tube removed. The third photo shows G-2 hard aground on Bartlett Reef and rolled to port. Vessel in foreground is trying to render assistance. Probably trying to get a tow line aboard. In the fourth photo the assisting vessel is now pulling away, apparently unsuccessful in getting a tow line over. G-2 was eventually freed and returned to New London for repairs.

G-2 in a floating drydock at the Thames Towboat Company, New London, Connecticut, 1918, quite possibly after her grounding on Bartlett Reef and her salvage.

National Archives photo.

G-2 crew portrait showing the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Joseph E. Austin in the front center with his dog. He is flanked by the six Chief Petty Officers tallied in the notation on the photo. Only 17 of the 18 crew are seen. The 18th may have been the one taking the photo. Now, as then, "The Chiefs ran the boat".

National Archives photo.

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