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.
Just serving two days on her first (and only) WWII combat patrol before the cease-fire was issued in August 1945, the Balao-class submarine USS Stickleback (SS-415) served as a training ship until her GUPPY IIA conversion in the 1950s. She managed to complete five sometimes dicey Cold War patrols, spending lots of time creeping around Soviet Red Banner Pacific Fleet assets including snapping photos of two Sverlov class cruisers.
Taking some time off, she stood out of Pearl on 28 May 1958 with the John C. Butler-class destroyer escort USS Silverstein (DE-534) and a torpedo retriever on an antisubmarine warfare exercise.
As Stickleback was going to a safe depth about 19 miles off Oahu the next day, she lost power and broached about 200 yards ahead of the steaming Silverstein, who was unable to avoid a collision and holed the submarine on her port side, riding over the submarine’s pressure hull.
USS SILVERSTEIN (DE-534) and USS STICKLEBACK (SS-415) Collide 19 miles out from Barbers Point, Oahu Hawaii on 29 May 1958. The photo was taken in a HUP-2 piloted by Ensign Rucks, PHAAN R.K. Ahlgren, photographer. USN 1036229
While the submarine Sabalo (SS-302), destroyer escort Sturtevant (DE-239), and rescue ship Greenlet (ASR-10) quickly responded, the combined efforts were unable to correct the flooding, Stickleback at 19:57 made her last dive in 1,800 fathoms of water. Luckily, she suffered no losses and all 82 of her crew were taken off.
Silverstein would be mothballed at San Francisco the next year and would be disposed of in 1973.
Now, Stickleback has been discovered by the Lost 52 Project. She is one of four US Navy submarines lost since the end of World War II
When compared to the large U.S. fleet boats used in the Pacific in WWII, the Royal Navy’s 49 U-class submarines were downright tiny. At just 700-tons submerged and 191-feet oal, these boats were originally designed as coastal training subs. However, with the Italians and Germans giving the UK a run for their money in the Med, the Brits started churning these craft out in numbers.
Armed with a half dozen 21-inch tubes, they could carry 8 warshot torpedoes and a 3-inch pop gun on deck. They gave a good account of themselves, sinking a large number of Axis transports and freighters carrying much-needed supplies to Rommel and his Italian compatriots in North Africa– although they suffered severe losses of their own, with 19 U-class sisters going down during the war.
Photograph FL 3433 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 8308-29)
This brings us to HMS Urge. Commissioned 12 December 1940 at Vickers, she lasted 17 action-packed months during which she managed to torpedo the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto, damaging her in the First Battle of Sirte. She had better luck on 1 April, 1942 when she torpedoed and sank the 6844-ton Italian Giussano-class light cruiser Giovanni delle Bande Nere.
The Regia Marina’s Giovanni delle Bande Nere, some 10-times HMS Urge’s size, was bushwacked by the hearty British submarine with two torpedos and sent to the bottom on April Fools Day, 1942, breaking in half and taking 381 Italian sailors with her.
However, Urge went missing at the end of that month and was never heard from again.
— That is until 76-year old Belgian diver Jean-Pierre Misson, poking around off Tobruk, Libya, came across something very submarine-like. It now appears that Italian dive bombers reaped retribution for their lost cruiser.
The rest here
We’ve talked about the I-400 and her sister the 401, Japan’s underwater aircraft carriers in past Warship Wednesdays. These lurking submarine sneak attack leviathans could tote a few seaplanes and, it was planned, for them to attack such strategic targets as the Panama Canal. Well, the funny thing about super weapons is that they often aren’t given a chance to be that super.
In the end, the 400 and 401 were captured by the Navy and, to prevent the Soviets from getting a look at these tasty treats, were scuttled in very deep water off Barber’s Point. In 2013 one was found, but was missing its famous hangar.
Well it looks like researchers from the University of Hawaii and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration got the funding for one more dive and it proved worthwhile