Warship Wednesday August 1
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steampunk navies of the 1866-1938 time period and will profile a different ship each week.
- Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, Aug 1
Here we have the classic old experimental submarine (submersible) USS Plunger SS-2. The tiny ship, only 64-feet long, was only the second official submarine that the US Navy owned. She was commissioned 19 September 1903 and served as an experimental boat. In 1905 she had the distinction of visiting former Secretary of the Navy and then-current President Teddy Roosevelt at Oyster Bay. The Bully Teddy spent three hours aboard, taking the wheel and even submerging five times in the shallow water, the first President to submerge while in office.
Roosevelt wrote from Oyster Bay to Hermann Speck von Steinberg: “I myself am both amused and interested as to what you say about the interest excited about my trip in the Plunger. I went down in it chiefly because I did not like to have the officers and enlisted men think I wanted them to try things I was reluctant to try myself. I believe a good deal can be done with these submarines, although there is always the danger of people getting carried away with the idea and thinking that they can be of more use than they possibly could be.” To another correspondent he declared that never in his life had he experienced “such a diverting day … nor so much enjoyment in so few hours.”
In 1909 she was under the command of one very young and very wet Ensign Chester Nimitz who lead a huge crew of one Chief and five sailors. The small but hearty young boat served for ten years in more or less active duty , then spend almost another ten in mothballs as a target before she was scrapped in 1922. She spent WWI hoisted aboard the hulk of the former Civil War monitor Puritan, then more than 50-years old, a blend of the Navy’s past and future if there ever were one.
Displacement: 107 long tons (109 t)
Length: 64 ft (20 m)
Beam: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Draft: 11 ft (3.4 m)
Speed: 8 kn (9.2 mph; 15 km/h) surfaced
7 kn (8.1 mph; 13 km/h) submerged
Armament: 1 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tube