Tag Archives: R-8 submarine

Somebody lose a sub? Or twice sunk, twice found!

Word from Maryland is that a dive team from Atlantic Wreck Salvage spotted something interesting on their side-scan sonar off the coast of Ocean City. On further research, it appears they have located ex-USS R-8 (Submarine No. 85).

USS R-8 found by Atlantic Wreck Salvage,

The 569/680-ton R-type diesel boat, some 186-feet overall, was laid down in 1918 at Fore River in Quincy, Mass but was completed too late for the Great War.

USS R-8 (SS-85) In a harbor, during the 1920s, with a great view of her 3-inch deck gun. In addition, she carried, as did the rest of her class, four forward torpedo tubes. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph Catalog #: NH 41516

R-8 fitted out at Boston during the fall of 1919 and spent some time in the Gulf of Mexico and points south, operating out of P-cola, prior to transfer to the Pacific Fleet in June 1921. Based at Pearl Harbor for almost 8 years, she notably searched for the missing Dole Flight Aviators in August 1927.

Ordered back to the east coast for inactivation in 1930 at the ripe old age of 11, she was decommissioned 2 May, berthed at Philadelphia until 1936, accidentally sinking at her moorings that February. Raised, the ruined sub was stricken and towed off Hampton Roads in August to be used as a target vessel for an aerial bombing test.

As noted by DANFS, “Four near misses with 100 lb. bombs sank her 71 miles off Cape Henry, Va.”

USS R-8 (SS-85) in near-miss by a 100-pound aircraft bomb during target tests in the Atlantic, 18 August 1936. Splashes around the ship are from bomb casing fragments. NH 85199

Atlantic Wreck Salvage reportedly will continue to document the wreck, which was previously undiscovered.