Been very busy this weekend. Had a camp-out with my son’s Boy Scout unit, and on Saturday afternoon the troop took a tour of the World War II submarine USS Silversides (SS 236) in Muskegon, Michigan.
Here’s a view of the boat’s superstructure from the aft (all pictures can be clicked for a larger version):
The Silversides was a Gato-class fleet sub. Despite what the docent said, she was launched in August of 1941. She was commissioned on December 15 of that year (eight days after Pearl Harbor) and set out on the first of 14 war patrols the following April.
This is the second time Murdoc’s toured the boat. His favorite compartment remains the forward torpedo room. Here are the starboard tubes:
The third starboard tube is just visible at the bottom of the picture. Sections of decking would need to be pulled aside to allow access to the lower tubes. The Gato-class subs had six forward-firing tubes and four rear-firing tubes. The rear tubes contained electric torpedoes, while the (main) forward tubes fired hydrogen-powered fish.
Here’s the wet side of the control room:
Here is the “christmas tree” board which indicates the condition of the boat’s hatches and other things one wants to know before giving the order to dive:
Red lights? Consider postponing your dive until discussing things with the captain.
Speaking of submariner no-nos, here are some apparently important warning tags:
I’m skeptical that the sub would sink if I opened those. (Besides, I think it’s actually sitting on the bottom of the channel.) But I wasn’t going to test my theory.
Question: What is this thing? It’s on the port side of the conning tower facing aft.
Did WW2 subs have much in the way of countermeasures? The cover sure doesn’t seem to be what you’d expect to see on a countermeasures release system. But just now it occurs to me that this might be deckside storage for ammunition for the 4″ deck gun. Someone help Murdoc out.
Finally, here’s a shot of a Mk-15 Hedgehog anti-submarine launcher:
The Silversides, at Muskegon’s Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum, is a great way to spend an afternoon. In addition to the Silversides, they’ve got the Coast Guard cutter USCGC McClane (W 146) and the original conning tower from the Gato-class submarine USS Drum (SS 228) which had to be replaced after the Drum suffered severe damage from a Japanese depth-charge attack.