USS Argonaut (SM-1)

USS Argonaut (SM-1)

For other ships of the same name, see USS Argonaut.

USS Argonaut underway.
Career (United States)
Name: USS Argonaut
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine
Laid down: 1 May 1925
Launched: 10 November 1927
Commissioned: 2 April 1928
Fate: Sunk by Japanese destroyers off Rabaul on 10 January 1943
General characteristics
Type: V-4 (Argonaut)-class composite direct-drive diesel and diesel-electric submarine
Displacement: Surfaced: 2,710 long tons (2,750 t) (standard); 3,046 long tons (3,095 t) (full load)
Submerged: 4,161 long tons (4,228 t)
Length: 358 ft (109 m) (waterline), 381 ft (116 m) (overall)
Beam: 33 ft 9.5 in (10.300 m)
Draft: 16 ft .25 in (4.8832 m)
Installed power: 2 × 120-cell Exide ULS37 batteries, 2 × Ridgway electric motors, 1,100 hp (820 kW) each, 2 × shafts
  • 2 × BuEng direct-drive 6-cylinder 4-cycle diesel engines, 1,400 hp (1,000 kW) each
  • 1 × BuEng 6-cylinder 4-cycle diesel engine, 450 hp (340 kW), driving a Ridgway 300 kW (400 hp) electrical generator

Surfaced: 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h) (design); 13.6 kn (15.7 mph; 25.2 km/h) (trials)
Submerged: 8 kn (9.2 mph; 15 km/h) (design);

7.43 kn (8.55 mph; 13.76 km/h) (trials)
Range: 8,000 nmi (9,200 mi; 15,000 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h); 18,000 nmi (21,000 mi; 33,000 km) @ 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h) with fuel in main ballast tanks
Endurance: 10 hours @ 5 kn (5.8 mph; 9.3 km/h)
Test depth: 300 ft (91 m)
Capacity: 173,875 US gal (658,190 L) diesel fuel

As Built: 8 officers, 78 men

1931: 7 officers, 9 chief petty officers, 71 enlisted
Armament: As Built: 4 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes (bow; 16 torpedoes), 2 × 40 in (1,000 mm)minelaying tubes aft (60mines), 2 × 6 in (150 mm)/53 cal Mark XII Mod. 2 wet type deck guns
1942: 8 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 4 external; 20 torpedoes), minelaying tubes removed, 2 × 6 in (150 mm)/53 cal Mark XII Mod. 2 wet type deck guns
Notes: Two Battle stars

USS Argonaut (SF-7/SM-1/APS-1/SS-166 (Never formally held this classification)) was a submarine of the United States Navy, the first ship to carry the name.

Argonaut was laid down as V-4 on 1 May 1925 at Portsmouth Navy Yard. She was launched on 10 November 1927, sponsored by Mrs. Philip Mason Sears, the daughter of Rear Admiral William D. MacDougall, and commissioned on 2 April 1928, Lieutenant Commander W.M. Quigley in command.

V-4 was the first of the second generation of V-boats commissioned in the late 1920s, which remain the largest non-nuclear submarines ever built by the U.S. These submarines were exempt by special agreement from the armament and tonnage limitations of the Washington Treaty. V-4 and her sister ships V-5 (Narwhal) and V-6 (Nautilus) were designed with larger and more powerful diesel engines than those that propelled earlier V-boats, which were failures. Unfortunately, the specially built engines failed to produce their design power, and some developed dangerous crankshaft explosions. V-4 and her sisters were slow in diving and, when submerged, were unwieldy and slower than designed. They also presented an excellent target to surface ship sonar and had a large turning radius.

Designed primarily as a minelayer, and built at a cost of US$6,150,000, V-4 was the first and only such specialized type ever built by the United States. She had four torpedo tubes forward and two minelaying tubes aft. At the time of construction, V-4 was the largest submarine ever built in the U.S., and was the largest in U.S. Navy service for 30 years.

Her minelaying arrangements were "highly ingenious, but extremely complicated", filling two aft compartments. A compensating tube ran down the center of the two spaces, to make up for the lost weight as mines were laid, as well as to store eight additional mines. The other mines were racked in three groups around this tube, two in the fore compartment, one aft, with a hydraulically driven rotating cage between them. Mines were moved by hydraulic worm shafts, the aft racks connecting directly to the launch tubes, which had vertically sliding hydraulic doors (rather than the usual hinged ones of torpedo tubes). Each launch tube was normally loaded with four mines, and a water 'round mines (WRM) tube flooded to compensate as they were laid, then pumped into the compensating tube. Eight mines could be laid in 10 minutes.

Read more about USS Argonaut (SM-1):  Inter-War Period, Awards