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Warship Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018: 41 and his paddle-wheel flattop

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018: 41 and his paddle-wheel flattop

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-41715

Here we see the training aircraft carrier USS Sable (IX-81) moored in an icy Great Lakes harbor, probably Buffalo, New York, on 8 May 1943, the day she was placed in commission. Of note, she and a similar vessel– responsible for training thousands of budding Naval aviators in the fresh water of the Lakes– were the last paddle-wheel, coal-fired U.S. Navy ships on active duty.

Yes, paddle-wheeled.

Coal-fired.

Aircraft carriers.

In the 1920s, the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company (D&C) ordered a large side-wheel excursion steamship, Greater Buffalo, from the American Ship Building Company of Lorain, Ohio.

Built to a design by marine architect Frank E. Kirby, she was an impressive 518-feet overall with “26 parlors with bath; 130 staterooms with toilets; automobile capacity, 125; 650 staterooms; crew of 300 including officers.” Some 7,300 tons, she used 9 coal-fired boilers to power her inclined compound steam engine suite, which in turn drove 35-foot paddlewheels.

She was a gorgeous and well-appointed ship in Great Lakes service, often carrying as many as 1,500 paying passengers per excursion on the Lakes in the summer seasons between 1925 and 1942.

Her lounge

Hotel Buffalo wagon meets the Greater Buffalo as the liner arrives in Buffalo, N.Y., on the first trip of the 1942 season– the ship’s last (Detroit Free Press)

In late 1942, a plan to convert large Great Lakes steamers to training carriers in the 9th Naval District, far away from threatening U-boats and mines, was hatched and Greater Buffalo, along with fellow Kirby-designed Seeandbee, were acquired by the War Shipping Administration and fitted for flight.

S.S. Greater Buffalo arrives in Buffalo, N.Y., on Aug. 6, 1942, to be converted into aircraft carrier USS Sable (IX-81). Note the three funnels, you will see these again.

Seeandbee went on to become USS Wolverine (IX 64) while Greater Buffalo would be USS Sable (IX 81). While Wolverine picked up a 550-foot long Douglas-fir aircraft deck, Sable would be given a nice steel flight deck, as well as an island superstructure. The fact they did not have a hangar, elevators, or magazine did not matter too much, as they were just for the role of practicing traps and launches.

A great before and after. USS Wolverine (IX-64) at Buffalo, New York, in early 1942 just after completion. At left is the stern of SS Greater Buffalo, just beginning conversion to USS Sable (IX-81). Photo courtesy of C.C. Wright. Catalog #: NH 81059

The 518-foot deck, hundreds of feet shorter than those used on fleet carriers, was considered OK in an “if you can dodge a wrench” kind of way, and given eight arrestor wires as a bonus safety measure, which no doubt came in handy. As of note, even the old Langley‘s flight deck was 542-feet long. Still, for aviators headed to “jeep” carriers, it was spacious (e.g. the Bogue-class escort carriers had just a 439-foot long flight deck.)

Converted at the Erie Plant of the American Shipbuilding Co., Buffalo, N. Y.; Sable was commissioned on 8 May 1943, CPT. Warren K. Berner (USNA 1922) in command, and became one of only two coal-fired paddle-wheelers in Navy service. As such, she was a throwback to an early time.

Sidebar: The Navy exits coal

The first oil-burning American destroyer, USS Paulding (DD-22), was commissioned in 1910, at the same time the new USS Nevada-class battleships were planned for solely oil as fuel. In 1914, the last American battleship that was coal-fired, USS Texas (BB-35), was commissioned– the final large warship built for the U.S. Navy to rely on West Virginia’s finest and even she had a mix of 14 Babcock & Wilcox coal-fired boilers with 6 Bureau Express oil-fired boilers. In the mid-1920s, most of the battleships kept after the Washington Naval Treaty that did not burn oil was extensively converted to do so. Likewise, by the early 1930s, the old “peace cruisers” that smoked bricks were put to pasture. By 1940, the only purpose-built warships I can find on the Naval List still set up to burn coal were the old patrol gunboats Sacramento (PG-19) and Tulsa (PG-22), each of which, due to their 12-knot speed and light low-angle armament, were of marginal use outside of waving the flag in times of peace. Further, every single one of the Navy’s aircraft carriers burned oil. Yes, even the converted collier USS Langley (CV-1), was turbo-electric.

For reference, the iron paddlewheel gun-boat USS Wolverine, ex-USS Michigan, had been the last Navy paddle wheeler before Wolverine/Sable, and she left the fleet in 1923.

United States Navy sidewheel steamer USS Wolverine, ex-USS Michigan, in a Great Lakes port in the 1900s. Laid down in 1842, she spent her career– including the Civil War, in the Lakes. Wolverine was decommissioned on 6 May 1912, although the Navy kept her as an auxiliary until 1923.

Now back to our story.

For a sidewheeler, Sable was a deceptively good-looking aviation ship.

USS Sable (IX 81) formerly the Greater Buffalo, commissioned as a training ship on May 8, 1943, on the Great Lakes for carrier pilots. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, 80-G-41716, now in the collections of the National Archives.

80-G-354765: USS Sable (IX-81) underway on the Great Lakes, June 1945. See the funnels?

Similarly, Sable was made ready for bluejackets and aviation crews, picking up several experienced hands from the recently-lost USS Lexington.

Crews’ Quarters scene, taken on 8 May 1943, the day the ship was placed in commission. Note the suspended pipe berths and bedding. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-41717

Sable’s Aviators’ Lecture Room, 3 June 1943. Officers present are Lieutenant Commander B.A. Bankert, Sable’s Air Officer (seated) and Lieutenant G.M. Cole, her Flight Deck Officer. Note the suspended pipe berths along the compartment’s bulkhead, and what appear to be dining room chairs used for student seating. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-41719

Sable departed Buffalo on 22 May 1943 and reached Chicago, Ill., her assigned home port, on 26 May 1943. Sable qualified her first two pilots just three days later– the first of many.

The training aircraft carrier USS Sable at the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan in Chicago

Importantly, the freshwater flattop served as a testbed for a revolutionary development in naval warfare for the age– an armed carrier-launched drone.

The Navy’s TDN-1 was a TV-guided remote-controlled assault drone developed by the Navy in 1942. Envisioned to operate from carriers under the control of a nearby TBM Avenger (or land-based with a PBY chase plane), the 37-foot-long twin-engine aircraft could carry either a 2,000-pound bomb or an aerial torpedo. The launches from Sable of the type are widely considered the first US drone to take off from an aircraft carrier– eat your heart out Stingray.

TDN-1 drones parked on the Sable’s flight deck, off Traverse City, Michigan, during flight tests on 10 August 1943. Note the inscriptions and cartoons on the aircraft noses, including Fatstuff and Coop’s and Roy on the nearer TDN, and Dilbert on the more distant one. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-387161

Sable (IX-81) Launching a TDN-1 drone while steaming off Traverse City, Michigan, during flight tests on 10 August 1943. Note this aircraft’s unoccupied cockpit. The TDN was intended for use as a television-guided attack drone. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-387174

In West Grand Traverse Bay, off Traverse City, Michigan, with two TDN-1 drones on her flight deck for tests, 10 August 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-387151

When it came to training aircrews, accidents on Sable and Wolverine were to be expected.

As noted by the Navy:

Between 1942 and 1945, the years of the carriers’ operations, there were 128 losses and over 200 accidents. Although most losses resulted in only minor injuries, a total of eight pilots were killed. These numbers seem significant until it is considered that during that time over 120,000 successful landings took place, and an estimated 35,000 pilots qualified. The training program, in this light, was a huge success.

General Motors FM-2 Wildcat fighter Upended after a barrier crash onboard USS Sable (IX-81), during pilot training in the Great Lakes, May 1945. Another FM-2 is flying past in the top center. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Photo #: 80-G-354753

Additionally, Sable and her twin trained thousands of deck crews and landing signals officers in how to move, launch and recover aircraft in high tempo operations. Without such men, the war in the Pacific would have been impossible.

USS Sable: Landing Signal Officer, LT Whitaker, in action during training operations on the Great Lakes, May 1945.

In just two years, Sable made an amazing 50,000 landings alone. By comparison, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) only recently hit her 50,000th trap in 2012, 23 years after she joined the fleet.

SNJ Texan trainer makes the ship’s 50,000th landing on Sable, during training operations on the Great Lakes, May 1945. Catalog #: 80-G-354737

Among those trained on her decks was one TBM Avenger pilot, George H.W. Bush, who volunteered for flight training on his 18th birthday.

Flying from the light carrier USS San Jacinto (which was a “small” flattop but still had a longer deck, 552-feet, than Sable!), he completed 58 combat sorties, picking up the DFC and three air medals before VJ Day.

While Bush went on to a bright future, Sable would soon be forgotten in the victory.

Decommissioned on 7 November 1945, Sable was stricken from the list of ships on the Navy Register on 28 November 1945. Sold by the Maritime Commission to H. H. Buncher Co., Pittsburgh, Pa., on 7 July 1948, as a scrap hull, she was reported as “disposed of” on 27 July 1948. Likewise, the Navy decommissioned Wolverine on 7 November 1945 and she was sold for scrap in December 1947.

Other than her plans, which are in the National Archives, few relics of the ship exist today.

However, her legacy to aviation history may be more enduring.

It is estimated that well over 100 aircraft working from Sable and Wolverine were lost during the war due to accidents– as of course they were slow, small and unforgiving platforms filled with (by nature) fledging and unsure aviation hopefuls. By Navy records, at a minimum, the losses included: 41 TBM/TBF Avengers, one F4U Corsair, 38 SBD Dauntless dive bombers, four F6F Hellcats, 17 SNJ Texans, two SB2U Vindicators, 37 FM/F4F Wildcats and three experimental TDNs.

Many of these have been located over the years, providing fodder for aviation museums around the world as they airframes are in generally good condition due to fresh water immersion if the zebra mussels haven’t gotten to them. Many of the aircraft have been found in good condition with, for instance, “tires inflated, parachutes preserved, leather seats maintained, and engine crankcases full of oil. Often paint schemes are well preserved, allowing for easier identification.”

One such F4F-3 (BuNo 4039) lost from Wolverine and recovered in 1991 is on display in a “Sunken Treasures” scene in Pensacola as she would appear on the bottom of the Lakes.

In December 2012, a WWII aircraft, FM-2 Wildcat 57039 was discovered and salvaged in Lake Michigan. She had been lost by Ensign William Forbes on 28 December 1944 as he flew from Sable. She is being restored by the Air Zoo Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan (Photo: Michigan Tech)

As for Bush’s tie-in with the Sable and his Great Lakes area flight training, the Naval Air & Space Museum also has a restored N2S Stearman Kaydet, BuNo 05369, that he logged flights on from NAS Minneapolis.

The name “Sable” has not graced another U.S. Navy ship.

Specs:
Displacement 6,584 t.
Length 535 ft.
Beam 58 ft.
Propulsion
two compound reciprocating engines
Scotch boilers
Ship’s Service Generators
two turbo-drive 75Kw 120V D.C.
three turbo-drive 100Kw 120V D.C.
two sidewheels
Complement: 300 crew when in civilian service
Armament: none

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

USPS gives a salute to Mighty Mo

Next year, this will be my go-to Forever stamp:

And they did it in Measure MS-32/22D camo!

The USS Missouri (BB 63) stamp will celebrate the nation’s “*Last Battleship.”

The release will coincide with the 75th anniversary of Missouri’s 11 June 1944, commissioning. The stamp art depicts Missouri in the disruptive camouflage she wore from her commissioning until a refit in early 1945. Missouri earned numerous combat awards and citations during her decades of service, which include World War II, the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm. She played a momentous role when she hosted the ceremony marking Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. Designed by art director Greg Breeding, the stamp features a digital illustration by Dan Cosgrove.

How about a closer look at her late-WWII scheme for comparison?

Looks like Cosgrove did a great job. For reference: The U.S. Navy Iowa-class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) during battle practice in Chesapeake Bay on 1 August 1944. She is wearing Camouflage Measure 32 Design 22D. (U.S. Navy photo 80-G-453331)

*Last Battleship: Wisconsin (BB-64), while ordered later than BB-63, commissioned 16 April 1944, two months before Missouri, while both follow-on sisterships USS Illinois (BB-65) and USS Kentucky (BB-66) never made it into the fleet. Further, Missouri decommissioned 1 March 1992, after all of her sisters went cold in 1990-91. In result, “Mighty Mo” was the final battleship to be completed by or operated for the United States, though not the last dreadnought built overall as the RNs short-lived HMS Vanguard commissioned post-war on 12 May 1946.

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018: The spaghetti boats of Mar del Plata

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018: The spaghetti boats of Mar del Plata

Colorized by my friend, Diego Mar, of Postales Navales

Here we see the fine Italian-made Santa Fe (Cavallini)-class submarine ARA Santa Fe (S1) of the Argentine Navy sailing past Castello Aragonese in Taranto in 1933.

With the recent tragic loss of ARA San Juan, it should be remembered that the blue and white banner of the Armada de la República Argentina has been waving proudly over submarines for almost a century, with the fleet’s Comando de la Fuerza de Submarinos being established some 85 years ago and Santa Fe and her twin sisterships, known in Argentina as the “Tarantinos” due to their origin, started it all.

The Italians had started building submarines as far back as 1892 when the Delfino took to the water. Although they don’t get a lot of press, the Regina Marina put to sea with a formidable submarine force in both World Wars and the Spanish Civil War, which was used to good effect. In WWII, for instance, domestically made Italian subs working briefly in the Atlantic claimed 109 Allied ships, amounting to almost 600,000 tons. Further, Buenos Ares and Rome had a prior relationship stretching back to the 19th Century when it came to ordering naval vessels, so the two were natural partners when the Latin American country wanted in on submersibles.

Contracted with Cantieri navali Tosi on 15 October 1927, the Argentine government arranged for three submarines to be constructed at Taranto to a design of the Cavallini type derived from the Italian Navy’s Settembrini-class boats. At just over 1,100-tons when submerged and some 227-feet long, these were not big boats by any means, but they a modern and efficient design.

Argentina submarines Sumergibles Salta, Santa Fe y Santiago del Estero. Año under construction in 1929. Astillero Franco Tosti. Tarento. Italia.

Equipped with Tosi diesels and electric motors, they could make 17.5-knots surfaced and about half that while submerged, which was pretty good for a 1920s era submarine. Using a saddle-tank hull design with five compartments, they could make an impressive 7,100 nm at 8 knots surfaced, allowing them to deploy from Italy to their new homeland non-stop when completed and complete 30-day patrols. With a crush depth of 300~ feet, they mounted a 4-inch gun on deck and eight 21-inch torpedo tubes, making them capable of sinking a battleship with a single salvo. The Italians later developed the design into their Archimedes-class submarines.

ARA Santa Fe (S1) was class leader followed by ARA Santiago del Estero (S2) and then ARA Salta (S3), all completed by early 1933, all named after Argentine provinces, a tradition in the Armada. After a shakedown in the Med with Italian-trained crews and a short work-up cruise to the Canary Islands, they were on their way to Argentina.

Inspected by national leaders to include President Agustín Pedro Justo upon their arrival at their new homeland, they were given their naval ensigns in October 1933, scarcely six years after they were ordered.

The submarines were tended by the old (Italian-made) protected cruiser ARA General Belgrano until the latter was stricken in 1947, and then her place was taken by the coastal battleship ARA Independencia.

Argentine Santa Fe class submarines, Mar del Plata, circa 1947. Submarinos Tarantinos with coastal battleship ARA Independencia

Operating from their base at Mar del Plata, the class would train and exercise regularly, and stand to (uneventful) service in WWII to protect Argentina’s neutrality and later (on paper) join the effort against Germany after the country declared war on 27 March 1945.

Famously, the last two German U-boats to surrender, U-530 and U-977, did so to Argentine military forces on 10 July and 17 August 1945 at Mar del Plata, respectively and were briefly in the custody of the country’s submarine flotilla until transferred to the U.S. Navy.

U-977 lies in in Mar del Plata, Argentina; rusty and weather-beaten after 108 days at sea – Photograph courtesy of Carlos J. Mey – Administrator of the Historia y Arqueologia Marítima website http://www.histarmar.com.ar/ via U-boat Archive

Post-war service continued with more of the same and the Santa Fe-class subs, growing long in the teeth and being hard to repair due to their 1920s Italian parts, often made by companies no longer in business after 1945, meant their timeline was limited. Santa Fe was stricken in Sept. 1956, followed by Santiago del Estero in April 1959.

Salta would outlast them all, making her 1,000th dive in 1960 before striking on 3 August. The last of the Tarantinos was sold for scrap the following April. Salta‘s flag, as well as several artifacts from her days in the Armada, are on display at the Museo de la Fuerza de Submarinos in Mar del Plata but that is not the end of her legacy.

On 1 April 1960 the US and Argentine Navy signed an agreement to transfer two Balao-class submarines, USS Macabi (SS-375) and USS Lamprey (SS-372) who went on to be renamed ARA Santa Fe (S-11) and ARA Santiago del Estero (S-12), respectively, and were manned in large part by veteran submariners who cut their teeth on the Italian-built boats. Serving until 1971, they were in turn replaced by two other GUPPY-modified Balaos, USS Chivo (SS-341) and USS Catfish (SS-339) who served as (wait for it) ARA Santiago del Estero (S-22) and ARA Santa Fe (S-21). The latter, a Warship Wednesday Alumni, had somewhat spectacularly bad luck in the Falklands, becoming the first submarine taken out of service by a helicopter-fired missile.

Speaking of the Falklands, in 1971, Argentina ordered a pair of new Type 209/1200 submarines from Germany, named ARA Salta (S-31) and ARA San Luis (S-32), the latter was more or less active in the Falklands but faced the double-edged sword of not being sunk although an entire British task force (including modern SSNs) were looking for her but in turn not being able to make a hit with her malfunctioning torpedoes.

ARA Salta S31, a Type 209 SSK now some 45 years young and still on active duty

Salta is still on active duty although San Luis has since been decommissioned. With the recent loss of San Juan, Salta and one remaining TR-1700 type U-boat, ARA Santa Cruz (S-41), are the only operational Argentine subs.

Argentine submarine classes in a nutshell from 1933 to current. Between the 11 boats, only six names were used.

For more information on the boat and her class, see the dedicated memorial group for them at Los Tarantinos Argentina 1933 -1960 (Historia de submarinos) and the articles on the class at ElSnorkel (Spanish) and Histarmar.

Specs:

USN Submarine Sighting Guide ONI 31-2A June 1958 with Salta compared when she was likely one of the last 1920s-ordered submarines on active duty anywhere

Displacement: 755 tons (1155 submerged)
Length: 227 (oa) ft.
Beam: 21.91 ft.
Draft: 16.56 ft.
Diving depth: 80m operational
Engines: 2 Tosi diesels, 3,000hp. One electric motor, 1,043kW
Speed: 17.5 knots on the surface, 9 submerged
Range: 7,100nm at 8 knots surfaced on 90 tons of fuel oil, 80nm at 4kts submerged
Crew: 40
Armament:
1x 4″/40 Odero-Terni deck gun
2x machine guns
8x 21-inch torpedo tubes (4 forward, 4 aft)
1x 40mm/60cal Bofors single added in 1944 for WWII service

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018: The Quilt City Slugger

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018: The Quilt City Slugger

Bain News Service Collection, Library of Congress photo LC-B2-11-14

Here we see the Dubuque-class gunboat USS Paducah (Gunboat No. 18) of the U.S. Navy on a sunny Spring day, 28 May 1912, while assigned to the Caribbean Squadron. This humble 200-feet of rock and roll served Uncle in both World Wars and kept on chugging post-1945.

Designed at the turn of the century as a slow (12 knot) but decently-armed (2 4-inch, 4 6-pounders, 2 1-pounders) steel-hulled gunboat capable of floating in two fathoms of brackish water, the Dubuque-class gunboats were both built at the Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, N.Y.

Both class leader Dubuque and sister Paducah were the first U.S. Navy warships named after those mid-sized river cities, which seems appropriate as the ships themselves could be used in rivers, bays, and lakes otherwise off-limits to larger men-of-war of the day. Still, they were handsome ships with a pair of tall stacks, twin masts, and a raked bow, and fast enough for what they were intended for.

With their armament pumped up while under construction from a pair of 4″/40cals as designed to a full set of six of these guns (rivalling light cruisers of the day) and augmented by a Colt M1895 Potato-Digger machine gun for landing duties, they were well-suited to wave the flag in far-off climes on the cheap and patrol out-of-the-way backwater ports in Latin America, West Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Yes, they were the Littoral Combat Ships of 1905!

USS DUBUQUE (PG-17). NH 54576

Commissioned 2 September 1905, Paducah was soon dispatched to the Caribbean Squadron “to protect American lives and interests through patrols and port calls to the Caribbean and Central and South American cities.”

Patrolling Mexican waters in the aftermath of the Vera Cruz incident through the summer of 1914, she then returned to her Caribbean operations, performing surveys from time to time.

At the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, prior to World War I. NH 42990

Group portrait of ship’s baseball team, prior to World War I. Description: Courtesy of Mr. Jacoby. Catalog #: NH 42993

In dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, prior to World War I. Description: Courtesy of Mr. Jacoby. Catalog #: NH 42991

In dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, prior to World War I. Gunboat astern is either MARIETTA or WHEELING. Description: Courtesy of Mr. Jacoby. Catalog #: NH 42992

In dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard New Hampshire, September 1916. On left is USS EAGLE, 1898-1920. Description: Courtesy of John G. Krieger, 1967 Catalog #: NH 43475

When the U.S. entered WWI in 1917, Paducah was tapped to perform overseas escort and coastal patrol duties in Europe, reaching Gibraltar 27 October. Based from there, the plucky gunboat escorted convoys to North Africa, Italy, the Azores, and Madeira.

She logged an attack on an unidentified U-boat 9 September 1918 after it had sunk one of her convoys, and was credited with possibly damaging the submarine, although this was not confirmed by post-war audits. Her sister Dubuque spent the Great War investigating isolated harbors and inlets in the Caribbean and on the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia to prevent their use by German submarines, an ideal tasking for such a vessel.

After post-WWI survey duty in the Caribbean, Paducah was re-engined with twin 623.5ihp vertical triple-expansion engines, and her armament reduced. She then transferred to Duluth, Minn in May 1922, to serve as a training ship for Naval Reserve forces in the 9th District. Sister Dubuque likewise pulled the same service, taking Reservists on cruises from her home port of Detroit into Lakes Superior and Michigan every summer, and icing in for the winter. Good duty if you can get it.

Photographed during the 1930s, while serving as a training ship for Naval Reserves on the Great Lakes. NH 76516

When WWII came, both Paducah and her sister returned to the East Coast in early 1941, and, based at Little Creek, Va. throughout the conflict, trained Armed Guard gunners in Chesapeake Bay for details on merchant vessels. Some 144,970 Armed Guards served during the war, trained at three bases, with over 1,800 killed or missing in the conflict. Witnessing a staggering 1,966 air attacks and 1,024 submarine attacks, 467 guard crews participated in destroying enemy planes in addition to engaging surface raiders and submarines.

USS Dubuque, 12 December 1941 Norfolk, VA Photo caption: “Looking down from the crow’s nest toward the bow of the U.S.S. Dubuque, which is now being used to train gun crews for U.S. Armed Merchant ships. In the foreground, is a rangefinder, while crews move about two slim, deadly looking guns similar to those being used on merchantmen.” International News Sound photo via Navsource http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/09017.htm

Decommissioning 7 September 1945, both transferred to the Maritime Commission 19 December 1946 and Paducah was sold the same day to one Maria Angelo, Miami, Fla. Then came a second career for Paducah as Dubuque was sent to the breakers.

Purchased for a song by the Israeli group Haganah and renamed Geulah (Hebrew: Redemption) a scratch crew of mostly-American volunteers sailed her first to France and then Bulgaria, taking aboard an amazing 2,644 Ma’apilim refugees for passage to Palestine through the British blockade.

Fitting out as a Palestine immigrant blockade runner, probably at a Florida port on 5 March 1947. She was renamed GEULAH for that role. Courtesy of Paul H. Silverstone, 1983 Catalog #: NH 94973

The British trailed her off Palestine and raided the vessel in Haifa harbor, impounding the ship among others used by the Israelis until the new government formed. (See fellow Warship Wednesday alumni Gresham).

SS GEULAH, ex-USS PADUCAH (PG-18) Arriving off Palestine with Jewish immigrants on 2 October 1947, being intercepted by HMS Mermaid. Courtesy of Paul H. Silverstone, 1983 Catalog #: NH 94972

Geulah being boarded by British troops after she had been towed into the port of Haifa, during the night of 2 October 1947. Photo from “The Jews’ Secret Fleet” by Murray S. Greenfield and Joseph M. Hochstein, Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, and New York Via Navsource http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/09018.htm

Later the Israeli Navy was able to reclaim Paducah/Geulah in 1948 after independence, but following inspection, the desperate organization realized they were not that desperate, and, after a brief stint as a tramp steamer, sold her for scrap in Naples in 1951.

The only other Paducah commissioned in the Navy was the 109-foot large harbor tug, YTB-758. Built at the Southern Shipbuilding Corp., Slidell, La., she joined the fleet in 1961 and was decommissioned 1970. Struck from the Naval Register, 25 June 1999, she is in commercial service today in Connecticut as Patricia Ann, berthed at New London.

The large harbor tug USS PADUCAH (YTB-758) nudges the attack carrier USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CVA-67) toward pier 12, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia. Catalog #: K-61228 National Archive. Photo by JOI TOM Walton Wed, Oct 30, 1968

The silver punch bowl from the old gunboat Paducah, donated to the Quilt City in 1946 by the Navy, is on display at the city’s Market House Museum.

Specs:

USS DUBUQUE (PG-17) and USS PADUCAH (PG-18) Drawing by F. Muller, circa 1902 NH 54575

Displacement 1,237 t.
Length 200′ 5
Length between perpendiculars 174′
Beam 35′
Draft 12′ 3″
Propulsion: Two 235psi Babcock and Wilcox boilers, two 500ihp Gas Engine Power Co. vertical triple-expansion engines, two shafts, 200 tons coal
1921 – Two 630ihp vertical triple-expansion engines.
Speed 12 kts, as designed
1921 – 12.9 kts.
Complement 162, as designed
1914 – 172
1921 – 161
Armament:
(1905)
Six 4″ (102/40) Mk VII mounts (replaced by newer 4″/50s in 1911)
Four Driggs-Schroeder Mk II 57mm 6-pounders
Two 1-pounders
One .30-06 cal. Colt machine gun
(1921) Four 4″/50 rapid fire mounts and one 3″/23 mount
(1940)
One 5″/38 dual-purpose mount
Two 4″/50 gun mounts
One 3″/50 dual-purpose mount

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

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The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

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Warship Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018: The first steamer-on-steamer scrap

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018: The first steamer-on-steamer scrap

“Battle of the steam-frigate Vladimir with the Turkish steam frigate Pervaz-i Bahri on November 5, 1853, by Alexey Petrovich Bogolyubov. 1850s Canvas, oil. via wiki commons.

Here we see the British-built steam frigate Vladimir of the Russian Imperial Navy who, 165 years ago this week, won the first naval battle between two steamships.

While steam-powered warships started to appear in numbers on all sides during the Crimean War and then became standard in the U.S. Civil War, they had an earlier start when the floating steam-powered battery Demologos was built in the U.S. during the War of 1812 to defend New York City. The Royal Navy commissioned the early paddle sloop HMS Medea in 1833. Not to be outdone, the Tsar ordered the 28-gun paddle frigate Bogatyr in 1836 (predating the U.S. Navy’s own inaugural paddle gunboat USS Fulton by a year) and over the next 20 years Russia picked up almost two dozen more of these early steamships before moving on to screw-driven vessels.

Steam frigate Bogatyr by Russian maritime artist Vladimir Emyshev

Paddle frigate Gremyashchy built in 1849-1851 by Russian shipbuilder Ivan Afanasyevich Amosov at the Okhta shipyard

One of these was Vladimir, ordered from the private shipyard of Ditchburn & Mare’s, Blackwall, after a design of Mr. Burry & Co, Liverpool.

Some 179-feet long at the waterline, she was an iron-hulled paddle frigate capable of making 10.5-knots on her Rennie of London 1,200 ihp steam engine by design. She made a trials voyage from Plymouth covering 154 miles in just 13 hours, at a sustained rate of 11.75-knots, belching smoke from her twin stacks. It was all pretty impressive for the era.

Paddle frigate Vladimir by naval artist A.N. Ivanov

In fact, she was handier than some of the British Admiralty-built vessels in the RN, and at a cheaper price– a fact not lost on the Mechanic’s Magazine of 1848.

The 758-ton vessel mounted a 9.65-inch shell gun as well as four 24-pounder gunnades, although this was later upped to 13 guns including two 10-inch shell guns, three 68-pounders, six 24-pounders and a pair of 18-pound chase guns.

Sailing for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in 1848, the Vladimir became the flagship of VADM Vladimir Kornilov and, by 1853, the country was at war with their traditional enemy in the area, Turkey.

With LCDR Grigory Butakov in command of the Russian paddle frigate, she met the 10-gun Turko-Egyptian armed steamer Pervaz-i Bahri (Lord of the Seas) on 5 November. Spotting her around 8 in the morning at a distance, Butakov laid on the coal and closed by 10 a.m.

Butakov soon assessed that the Turk had no stern-firing guns and, after delivering an initial salvo broadside, moved to that exposed quarter. With her shell guns firing over the bowsprit, Vladimir soon disabled the steering of the enemy steamer, destroyed her observation deck, knocked away her stack, and then, closing with the wounded ship, started to rake her decks with canister.

The slaughter was kept up for two hours.

Her skipper killed along with 58 of her crew, Pervaz-i Bahri struck her colors by 1 p.m. and was taken as a prize by a Russian boarding party who renamed her Kornilov in honor of their admiral.

Butakov lost just two men in the action and was quickly promoted to Captain 2nd Rank, and knighted in the Order of St. George.

As for Vladimir, the Crimean War was her downfall, being trapped in the harbor at the siege of Sevastopol. Butakov did, however, according to Russian sources, try out a new tactic then of taking on ballast to one side, increasing the elevation of his guns to extend the range to hit British and French infantry outside of the besieged city.

As the Allies moved in, the steamer was scuttled 30 August 1855.

The destruction of Vladimir

Adm. Kornilov had already been killed on Malakhov Hill the previous October during the first bombardment of the city by Anglo-French troops.

Vladimir‘s cannons were later salvaged by divers and she was raised after the war in 1860 by an American firm, though found to be too damaged to repair and turned into a floating workshop for the naval base. In the end, she was sunk as a target ship for good in 1891.

As for Butakov, he later rose to admiral in 1878.

Butakov

A number of flags from the ship as well as caps and epaulets from Butakov and Kornilov’s telescope are maintained in the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg. It seems the Communists couldn’t bring themselves to get rid of them post-1917.

The battle, vessel, and her skipper have been commemorated in a series of models, stamps, and paintings.

Specs:

Displacement: 758-tons
Length: 200 ft oal, 179 wl
Beam: 35.9 ft.
Draft: 14.5 ft.
Machinery: Rennie, London four-boiler steam plant, 1,200 ihp, twin paddlewheels
Speed: 10.5 kts, 2,000-mile range at 8
Crew: 150
Armament:
(Designed)
9.65-inch shell gun
4x 24-pounder gunnades,
(1853)
2x 10-inch shell guns,
3x 68-pounders,
6x 24-pounders
2×18-pound chase guns.

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018: The surprisingly long-lasting ghosts of the fleet

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018: The surprisingly long-lasting ghosts of the fleet

USS Specter’s hull number blotted out for wartime security via Navsource

With it being Halloween today, I couldn’t resist taking a stab at a spooktastic WW. While the tale of the USS Water Witch is a long and interesting one, I think I’ve done a lot of Civil War stuff lately and I have a big post (spoiler) coming up on the USS Cairo, so I skipped ahead to the 20th Century. Although the U.S. Navy has, by and large, stuck to names associated with naval heroes, states, cities, battles, and lawmakers, Interestingly enough, a pair of WWII minesweepers made it into service with the names USS Phantom and USS Specter, and both have interesting backstories.

So how could I resist?

In early 1941, the Navy set its sights on a hybrid class of new steel-hulled oceangoing sweepers built with lessons learned from their previous designs, that of a 180-foot, 750-ton vessel that could both clear mines and, by nature of their forward and aft 3″/50 guns, provide a modicum of escort support. Since they could float in 9’9″ of water, they were deemed coastal minesweepers at first.

Preliminary design plan, probably prepared during consideration of what became the Admirable (AM-136) class. This drawing, dated 2 May 1941, is for a 750-ton (full load displacement) vessel with a length of 180 feet. The scale of the original drawing is 1/8″ = 1′. The original plan is in the 1939-1944 “Spring Styles Book” held by the Naval Historical Center U.S. Navy photo S-511-34

First of the class of what would eventually turn into orders for 147 ships (of which 123 were completed) was USS Admirable laid down as AMc-113, 8 April 1942 in Tampa, Florida.

The twin subjects of our tale today: Phantom (AM-273) was laid down by the Gulf Shipbuilding Co., Chickasaw, Ala., and commissioned 17 May 1944; while Specter (AM-306)–which was ironically supposed to be named “Spector”– was laid down by Associated Shipbuilders, Seattle, Wash. and commissioned on 30 August 1944. Phantom spent the rest of 1944 doing coastal patrol off the East Coast while Specter soon set off for the Pacific as the war.

By 1945, both were active in the West Pac, with Phantom picking up three battle stars while Specter won four, seeing service off Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Saipan, and the Japanese Home Islands.

Both were busy clearing minefields, patrolling, and performing escort duty, looking for submarines, suicide boats and Japanese kamikaze (Specter shot down one off le Shima on 25 May). Specter notably swept mines post-war at Nagasaki, Sasebo, Bungo Suido, and Tsushima while Phantom did the same off Okinawa and the China coast, remaining hard at work into the next year.

USS NIMBLE (AM-266) Caption: End ship in a nest of nine minesweepers and LCIS, at San Diego, California, circa 1945-46. Other ships in nest include PIVOT (AM-276), PHANTOM (AM-273), LCI-633. Description: Courtesy of Ted Stone 1979. Catalog #: NH 89284

The mines thinning, Phantom was decommissioned 10 October 1946 at Subic Bay while Specter was sent stateside, joining the mothball fleet at Orange, Texas after decommissioning 26 February 1947.

In the interest of propping up Chiang Kai-shek and his flagging KMT– as well as drawing down surplus– Phantom was stricken and transferred to the Nationalist Chinese Navy 15 June 1948. There, she served briefly as ROCS Yung Ming until scrapped in 1951.

As for Specter, she remained at Orange where she was duly redesignated from AM-306 to Fleet Minesweeper (Steel Hull). MSF-306, on 7 February 1955 while in reserve.

On 1 July 1972, after 26 years gathering red rust in Texas, she was struck and transferred the next year to the Armada de México to join a gaggle of other sisters used as patrol boats in an effort to keep out the “red menace” from Cuba. She became first ARM DM-04 and was later renamed ARM General Manuel E. Rincón (C-52).

For reference, the first of a score of Admirables to go south of the border was ex-USS Jubilant (AM/MSF-255)

Photo caption: National Defense Reserve Fleet, Orange, Texas (6 Dec 1962) – The former Admirable-Class Minesweeper USS Jubilant (AM 255) is being transferred to the Mexican Navy as DM-01 (D 1). She is the first five out of twenty U.S. Navy minesweepers being sold to Mexico from the World War II “mothball fleet.” U.S. Navy Commander A.F. Holzapfel said the vessels are destined for Mexico’s Yucatan patrol area to guard against Cuban infiltration. She will be renamed and reclassified as the ARM Riva Palacio (C 50) United Press International photo

The 20 Mexican Admirables, if you are curious:

ARM DM-01 (ex USS Jubilant MSF 255) (renamed General Vicente Riva Palacio C -50)
ARM DM-02 (ex USS Hilarity MSF 241)
ARM DM-03 (ex USS Execute MSF-232) (renamed ARM General Juan N. Méndez C-51).
ARM DM-04 (ex USS Facility MSF 233).
ARM DM-04 (ex USS Specter MSF 306) (renamed ARM General Manuel E. Rincón C-52), transferred in 1973 and also first registered as ARM DM-04.
ARM DM-05 (ex USS Scuffle MSF 298) (renamed ARM General Felipe Xicotencatl C-53).
ARM DM-06 (ex USS Eager MSF 224).
ARM DM-07 (ex USS Recruit MSF 285).
ARM DM-08 (ex USS Success MSF 310).
ARM DM-09 (ex USS Scout MSF-296).
ARM DM-10 (ex USS Instill MSF 252).
ARM DM-11 (ex USS Device MSF 220) (renamed E-1) (renamed at the end ARM Cadet Agustín Melgar C-54).
ARM DM-12 (ex USS Ransom MSF 283) (renamed ARM Lieutenant Juan de la Barrera C-55).
ARM DM-13 (ex USS Knave MSF 256) (renamed ARM Cadet Juan Escutia C-56).
ARM DM-14 (ex USS Rebel MSF 284) (renamed ARM Cadet Fernando Montes de Oca (C-57)
ARM DM-15 (ex USS Crag MSF 214)
ARM DM-16 (ex USS Dour MSF 223) ) (apparently re-registered E-6)
ARM DM-17 (ex USS Diploma MSF 221) (renamed ARM Cadet Francisco Márquez (C-59)
ARM DM-18 (ex USS Invade MSF 254) (renamed ARM General Ignacio Zaragoza C-60)
ARM DM-19 (ex USS Intrigue MSF 253) (renamed ARM Vicente Suárez C-61)
ARM DM-20 (ex USS Harlequin MSF 365) (converted to ARM Oceanographic, research H-02, later renamed ARM General Pedro María Anaya A-08 and finally ARM Aldebaran BE-02)

ARM DM-17 (ex USS Diploma MSF 221) 20 November 1988, Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico, via Navsource

Most of the class would be stricken in Mexican service by the mid-1980s, with the exception of the 11 above that were redesignated corvettes (hence the C-designation) and continued to serve as offshore patrol craft for another decade or more. Specter/DM-04/Rincón survived until 2001.

The last Admirable in Mexican service, ex-USS Harlequin (AM 365)/Oceanográfico/Anaya/Aldebaran was still operational until 2007 when she was sunk as a reef.

The 11 old C-designated Admirables would be replaced in their patrol role by Auk-class minesweepers converted in the 1990s to install a helicopter pad for a German-made MBB BO 105CB helicopter. They looked wacky. Almost like a minesweeper dressed up as a frigate for Halloween.

Former AUK class minesweeper in Mexican navy note helicopter pad for BO105. Photo by Armada de Mexico (SEMAR)

Former AUK class minesweeper in Mexican navy note helicopter pad for BO105. Photo by Armada de Mexico (SEMAR)

These, in turn, were all replaced in by the 2000s by the domestically-built Holzinger-, Durango-, and Oaxaca-class offshore patrol vessels, 1,500-ton ships of a much more modern design.

the Admirable-class sweepers have been a very popular model over the years:

lindberg-1-130-uss-sentry-am-299-admirable-class-wwii-us-navy-minesweeper

As for Phantom/Specter’s Admirable-class sisters, 24 were given to the Soviets in 1945 and never returned, others remained in use by the Navy through the Korean War era, and some, along with their PCE-gunboat sisters, were later passed on to the South Korea, the Republic of Vietnam, and the Dominican, Myanmar, and Philippine navies. The latter still uses a few, now with 80 years on their hulls.

Since 1993, the only Admirable-class vessel left above water in the U.S. is USS Hazard (AM-240).

Now a National Historic Landmark, she was retired in 1971 and, put up for sale on the cheap:

1971-newspaper-ad-for-the-disposal-of-uss-hazard-msf-240-an-admirable-class-minesweeper-of-the-wwii-us-navy

Hazard was installed on dry land at Freedom Park on the Missouri River waterfront in East Omaha where she is open to the public.

Please visit her, see if she has any treats.

hazard-buried-in-freedom-park

According to the NPS:

The ship was transferred to Omaha with all of her spare parts and equipment intact. The only equipment missing from USS Hazard is the minesweeping cable. All equipment (radio, engines, ovens, electrical systems, plumbing) is fully operational. USS Hazard still retains its original dishes, kitchen utensils, and stationery. USS Hazard is one of the best preserved and intact warships remaining from World War II. USS Hazard is a virtual time capsule dating from 1945.

Specs:

Image by shipbucket

Image by shipbucket

Displacement: 945 t (fl)
Length: 184 ft. 6 in (56.24 m)
Beam: 33 ft. (10 m)
Draft: 9 ft. 9 in (2.97 m)
Propulsion:
2 × Cooper Bessemer GSB-8 diesel engines
National Supply Co. single reduction gear
2 shafts
Speed: 14.8 knots
Complement: 104
Armament:
1 × 3″/50 caliber gun
1 × twin Bofors 40 mm guns
6 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannons
1 × Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar
4 × Depth charge projectors (K-guns)
2 × Depth charge tracks

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Peru’s u-boats, USN adjacent

140923-N-ZF498-067 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sep. 23, 2014) Peruvian submarine BAP Islay (SS-35) pulls alongside the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Islay participated in a maneuvering exercise with Theodore Roosevelt, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston Churchill (DDG 81), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Farragut (DDG 99). Theodore Roosevelt is currently out to sea preparing for future deployments. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Seaman Anthony N. Hilkowski/Released)

Peru has been in the submarine business hot and heavy for over a century, and for much of that has had a very close relationship with the U.S. Navy.

The Latin American country started off their involvement with subs back in the 1880s, when one Federico Blume y Othon came up with a small Toro Submarino submersible equipped with a cable-layed torpedo (more of a mine) that was neat but not successful, although it was an interesting footnote to the War of the Pacific between Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Fuente: Museo de la Marina de Guerra del Perú, sección de Submarinistas, via Superunda.

Then came a pair of Holland-esque 151-foot submarinesBAP Teniente Palacios and BAP Teniente Ferré— that were ordered from Schneider in France and operational by 1913. Both were disposed of by the 1920s.

Sumergible Palacios

Peru’s first effective subs (and first U.S. connection) were four 187-foot R-class submarinesBAP Islay (R-1), BAP Casma (R-2), BAP Pacocha (R-3), and BAP Arica (R-4)— ordered from the Electric Boat Company in Connecticut, delivered in the mid-1920s. Carrying four torpedo tubes, these diesel-electrics were involved in both the Colombian-Peruvian War and Peruvian-Ecuadorian War before being upgraded back at Groton to extend their life after WWII, at which point they were probably the last 1920s-era diesel boats still in front-line service. Of note, the U.S. Navy used some 27 R-class boats of their own.

The four Peruvian R-class subs. Built during Prohibition in Connecticut, they remained with the fleet until 1960

To replace these were four more Electric Boat-produced modified U.S. Mackerel-class submarines ordered in 1953. Termed the Abtao-class in service, the quartet– BAP Lobo/Dos de Mayo (SS-41, BAP Tiburon/Abato (SS-42), BAP Atun/Angamos (SS-43) and BAP Merlin/Iquique (SS-44)— remained in service in one form or another into 1998.

Peru then picked up a pair of aging U.S. Balao-class diesel boats in 1974–  BAP Pabellón de Pica/La Pedrera (SS-49), ex-USS Sea Poacher (SS/AGSS-406) and BAP Pacocha (SS-48), ex- USS Atule (SS-403)— which they kept in service as late as 1995.

BAP Dos de Mayo, Peruvian submarine

Peru has since acquired six German-built Type 209 (1100 and 1200 series) boats, commissioned starting in 1974:

BAP Angamos (SS-31)
BAP Antofagasta (SS-32)
BAP Arica (SS-36)
BAP Chipana (SS-34)
BAP Islay (SS-35)
BAP Pisagua (SS-33)

The evolution looks like this:

Besides Cold War exercises, the Peruvian submarines have been a part of the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) since 2001. In the program, the Latin American u-boats head north and operate with the USN as an OPFOR of sorts. Over the years, submarines from the country have performed such duties 15 times.

The latest, Arica, just wrapped up 89 days of stateside operations supporting “fleet pre-deployment exercises with the Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group and conducted anti-submarine training with the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft and the Helicopter Weapons School.”

“The Arica proved to be a quiet and elusive adversary, providing valuable insights into tactical operations against modern diesel submarines,” said Capt. Robert Wirth, commodore of Submarine Squadron 20.

Crew members from the Peruvian submarine BAP Arica (SS-36) pose for group photos in front of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738) prior to a tour at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., as part of the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) program. The DESI Program is a U.S. Navy partnership with South American countries and supports their diesel-electric submarine operations and fleet readiness events in operating areas off the U.S. east and west coasts.

yokosukasasebojapan.wordpress.com/

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