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AA-1-class submarine
USS AA-1 (SS-52).jpg
USS AA-1 (SS-52)
Class overview
Builders: Electric Boat Corporation
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: M-class submarine
Succeeded by: N-class submarine
In service: 1920–1927
Completed: USS T-1, USS T-2, USS T-3
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,107 tons surfaced, 1,482 tons submerged[1]
Length: 268 ft 9 in (82 m) overall
Beam: 22 ft 10 in (7 m)
Draught: 14 ft 2 in (4.32 m)
Propulsion: (as built) four New London Ship and Engine Company (NELSECO) four cycle six-cylinder diesels, 1000 hp (746 kW) each, and two Electro Dynamic main motors, 675 hp (503 kW) each, direct drive; one NELSECO four cycle four-cylinder auxiliary diesel; two banks of 60 Exide batteries[2]
(re-engined) two Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg AG (MAN) four cycle ten-cylinder diesels, 2350 hp (1752 kW) each[3]
Speed: 20 knots (surfaced)
10.5 knots (19.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 60 m
Complement: four officers, 5 chief petty officers, 45 enlisted[4]
Armament: six 18 inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes (four bow, two external, 16 torpedoes),[5] (as built) two 3in/25 caliber deck guns
(as modified) one 4in/50 caliber

The AA-1 class was a class of three experimental submarines of the United States Navy, built toward the end of World War I, between 1916 and 1919. The design was not a success and none of the submarines saw active service. However, the lessons learned were applied to the design of the later V-boats.

History[edit | edit source]

In the early 1910s, only a dozen years after Holland inaugurated the Navy's undersea force, naval strategists had already begun to wish for submarines that could operate as long range reconnaissance vessels, in closer collaboration with the surface fleet than the Navy's existing classes, which had been designed primarily for coastal defense. These notional "fleet" submarines would necessarily be larger and better armed, but primarily, they would need a surface speed of some 21 knots (39 km/h) to be able to maneuver with the battleships and cruisers of the line.

In the summer of 1913, Electric Boat's chief naval architect, former naval constructor Lawrence Y. Spear, proposed two preliminary fleet-boat designs for consideration in the Navy's 1914 program. In the ensuing authorization of eight submarines, Congress specified that one should "be of a seagoing type to have a surface speed of not less than twenty knots." This first fleet boat, laid down in June 1916, was named Schley after Spanish-American War hero Winfield Scott Schley. With a displacement of 1,106 tons surfaced, 1,487 tons submerged, on a length of 270 feet (82 m), Schley (later AA-1, and finally T-1) was twice as large as any previous U.S. submarine. To achieve the required surface speed, two tandem 1,000-horsepower (0.75 MW) diesel engines on each shaft drove twin screws, and a separate diesel generator was provided for charging batteries. Although Schley and two sisters authorized in 1915 -- AA-2 (later T-2), and AA-3 (later T-3) -- all made their design speed of 20 knots (37 km/h), insoluble torsional vibration problems with their tandem engines made them very troublesome ships.

They were based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia as part of Submarine Division 15 in the Atlantic Fleet. On 17 July 1920, the three boats were reclassified as Fleet Submarines and given the designations SF-1, SF-2, and SF-3. Their names were changed to T-1, T-2, and T-3 on 22 September 1920.

All three boats had been decommissioned by 1923 and placed into storage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Between 1925 and 1927, T-3 was restored to service in order to test German diesel engines, then returned to Philadelphia. All three were struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 19 September 1930 and sold for scrap on 20 November 1930.

Ships in class[edit | edit source]

USS AA-1, T-1[edit | edit source]

  • Designation: Submarine No. 52, SS-52, SF-1
  • Builders: United States (Fore River Shipbuilding in Quincy, Massachusetts)
  • Laid down: 21 June 1916
  • Launched: 25 July 1918 (List)
  • Operator:  United States Navy
  • Commissioned: 30 January 1920 (List)
  • Decommissioned: 5 December 1922 (List)
  • Status: Sold for scrap 20 November 1930
  • Operations: Trials and training

USS AA-2, T-2[edit | edit source]

  • Designation: Submarine No. 60, SS-60, SF-2
  • Builders: United States (Fore River Shipbuilding in Quincy, Massachusetts)
  • Laid down: 31 May 1917
  • Launched: 6 September 1919 (List)
  • Operator:  United States Navy
  • Commissioned: 7 January 1922 (List)
  • Decommissioned: 16 July 1923 (List)
  • Status: Sold for scrap 20 November 1930
  • Operations: Training

USS AA-3, T-3[edit | edit source]

  • Designations: Submarine No. 61, SS-61, SF-3
  • Builders: United States (Fore River Shipbuilding in Quincy, Massachusetts)
  • Laid down: 21 May 1917
  • Launched: 24 May 1919 (List)
  • Operator:  United States Navy
  • Commissioned: 7 December 1920 (List)
  • Decommissioned: 14 July 1927 (List)
  • Status: Sold for scrap 20 November 1930
  • Operations: Training, engine trials

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Orbis, 1978), Volume 22, p.2442, "T.1".
  2. Alden, John D., Commander, USN (retired). The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1979), p.210-1.
  3. Alden, p.210-1.
  4. Alden, p.22.
  5. Fitzsimons, p.2442, "T.1".

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.


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