S-42 through S-47

From PigBoats.COM

Design and Construction Notes

These six boats made up the third contract awarded to Electric Boat. All were built at Bethlehem Quincy. The EB designers tinkered with the design somewhat, and these boats were six feet longer and approximately 33 tons heavier than their sister boats. They had a rearranged ballast and fuel tank arrangement and had modifications to their duct keel and Kingston valve installations in an attempt to make them faster divers. They also had a slightly modified but distinctive elongated version of the rounded bow plane pivot covers of the 30 series. The after ventilation intake was incorporated into the conning tower fairwater structure and a full gun access trunk that let into the control room was installed at the forward end of the fairwater. These boats represented the ultimate refinement of the EB S-boat design and were probably the best liked of the series.

The surviving boats were all extensively modernized during the war, receiving air conditioning, radars, updated sonar, and radio updates. They also received extensive changes to their topside arrangement, with cutdown fairwaters, new gun platforms, and rebuilt aft superstructures. After 1942 their original 4"/50 caliber Mk 9 deck gun was replaced with a 3"/50 caliber Mk 17 gun, as the larger guns were needed on the fleet boats.

S-44 is notable because she delivered a level of payback for the disastrous Allied defeat at the Battle of Savo Island by sinking the Japanese heavy cruiser Kako the day after the battle on August 10, 1942. Unfortunately, S-44 was lost in action on her fifth patrol off the Aleutians on October 7, 1943. Two men survived. The rest remain "on eternal patrol".

S-42 (SS-153)

Photo in the personal collection of Ric Hedman.
Photo in the personal collection of Ric Hedman.
S-42 is seen leaving Pearl Harbor, in the main channel off Hospital Point, approximately 1931. She has been modified for safety, with rescue/marker buoys added along with a motor room escape hatch. Note the differences in her conning tower fairwater configuration as compared to the 20 and 30 series boats.

See more S-42 photos

S-43 (SS-154)

U.S. Navy photo.
U.S. Navy photo.
S-43 is seen in the harbor at San Diego, circa 1930. Naval Air Station North Island is in the background, along with the Navy's first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley (CV-1). The boat may have been moving up to moor to a tender, which would have been anchored somewhere near Ballast Point. Line handlers are present topside, and awnings have already been rigged over the gun and on the aft deck, indicating that she has returned from a run at sea.

See more S-43 photos

S-44 (SS-155)*

U.S. Navy photo NH 42263 via NHHC.
U.S. Navy photo NH 42263 via NHHC.
S-44 underway in San Diego Harbor, probably near the 32nd Street destroyer base. The date is circa 1930.

See more S-44 photos

S-45 (SS-156)

U.S. Navy photo NH 1373 via NHHC.
U.S. Navy photo NH 1373 via NHHC.
S-45 underway in an unknown location, probably shortly after her commissioning, 1925. Note the new design for the bow plane pivot fairings on the bow, an elongated oval version of the fairings on the 30 series boats. Her radio mast is fully raised, which elongates the radio aerial wires that run from the bow all the way to the stern. This was needed for long-range communications with the relatively low power radio sets of the day.

See more S-45 photos

S-46 (SS-157)

U.S. Navy photo NH 42189 via NHHC.
U.S. Navy photo NH 42189 via NHHC.
S-46 getting underway from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, April 1927. She is enroute to the Mare Island Navy Yard, CA. via the Panama Canal. USS S-44 (SS-155) is in the foreground, and the Clemson-class destroyer USS Moody (DD-277) is in the background. Guantanamo was a frequent port of call for Atlantic Fleet units during this period.

See more S-46 photos

S-47 (SS-158)

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.
Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.
S-47 is shown getting underway from a nest of submarines, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, June 1927. There is another 40 series S-boat, an unidentified S-boat, and one of the early V-boats (either V-1, V-2, or V-3) in the nest. The large ship in the background is the minelayer USS Shawmut (CM-4), and to the left of her is an Eagle-class patrol vessel. Shawmut would be renamed Oglala in 1928, and would be sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She was later salvaged and put back into service as an Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship (ARG-1). There are other ships in the background on the right, but they can not be identified.

See more S-47 photos

Return to the S-class page | Return to the Submarine Classes page
(*) Indicates a boat lost during WWII.

Page created by:
Ric Hedman & David Johnston
1999 - 2023 - PigBoats.COM©
Mountlake Terrace, WA, Norfolk, VA
webmaster at pigboats dot com