United States F-class submarine

Last updated
USN F-class submarines;h63259.jpg
These boats are (from front to back):
F-4, F-2, F-3, and F-1. Note the "fish" flags and 13-star "boat" ensigns flown by these submarines.
Class overview
Name: F class
Operators:Flag of the United States.svg  United States Navy
Preceded by: E class
Succeeded by: G class
Built: 1911-1912
In commission: 19121922
Completed: 4
Lost: 2
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Type: Submarine
  • 330 long tons (335 t) surfaced
  • 400 long tons (406 t) submerged
Length: 142 ft 9 in (43.51 m)
Beam: 15 ft 5 in (4.70 m)
Draft: 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)
  • 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph) surfaced
  • 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph) submerged
  • 2,300 nmi (4,300 km) at 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph) surfaced
  • 100 nmi (190 km) at 5 kn (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Test depth: 200 ft (61 m)
Complement: 22

The F-class submarines were a group of four submarines designed for the United States Navy by Electric Boat in 1909. F-1 and F-2 were built by Union Iron Works in San Francisco, while F-3 and F-4 were built by Moran Bros. in Seattle, Washington.

Submarine Watercraft capable of independent operation underwater

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub. Submarines are referred to as "boats" rather than "ships" irrespective of their size.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of US Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 336,978 personnel on active duty and 101,583 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 290 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of June 2019, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

Union Iron Works shipbuilding firm in San Francisco

Union Iron Works, located in San Francisco, California, on the southeast waterfront, was a central business within the large industrial zone of Potrero Point, for four decades at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.



They were generally similar to the C-class and D-class submarines built by Electric Boat, but larger at 400 tons submerged vs. 337 tons for the D class. They were single-hulled boats with circular sections laid along the longitudinal axis. Overall length was 142 feet 6 inches (43.43 m) and the beam was 15 feet 5 inches (4.70 m). The E-class and the F-class submarines were the first US submarines to have bow planes. Like the E class, their early-model diesels had problems and were replaced in 1915. [3]

United States C-class submarine

The C-class submarines were five United States Navy submarines built by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, under a subcontract from the Electric Boat Company. Built between 1906 and 1909, and in commission from 1908 to 1919, all five were subsequently sold for scrap in 1920. They were considerably larger than the preceding B class at 275 tons submerged vs. 173 tons submerged, and were the first United States submarines with two-shaft propulsion, doubling the machinery of the B class.

United States D-class submarine

The United States D-class submarines were a trio of submarines built for the United States Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. All three ships served during World War I providing training for crews and officers on the US East Coast, before the class was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1922.

Beam (nautical) width of a ship at its widest point measured at its nominal waterline

The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point as measured at the ship's nominal waterline. The beam is a bearing projected at right-angles from the fore and aft line, outwards from the widest part of ship. Beam may also be used to define the maximum width of a ship's hull, or maximum width including superstructure overhangs.

The hull contained three compartments:

Torpedo self-propelled underwater weapon

A modern torpedo is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with its target or in proximity to it.

There have been a number of 18 inch torpedoes in service with the United States. These have been used on ships and submarines of the US Navy. American "18 inch" torpedoes were actually 17.7 inches (45 cm) in diameter, beginning with the "Fiume" Whitehead torpedo of 1890.

Torpedo tube Device for launching torpedoes

A torpedo tube is a cylinder shaped device for launching torpedoes.

The two diesel engines were clutched to shafts that turned electric motors that could also be used as generators for charging the batteries. The shafts also turned the screws. For submerged operation, the diesels were de-clutched and shut down, with the battery providing all of the submarine's power. The battery was an array of cells in rubber-lined, open-topped, steel jars.

Diesel engine Internal combustion engine with quality rotational frequency governing, internal mixture formation, lean air-fuel-ratio, diffusion flame and compression ignition

The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to the mechanical compression. This contrasts with spark-ignition engines such as a petrol engine or gas engine, which use a spark plug to ignite an air-fuel mixture.

Clutch machine element for rigid, elastic, movable or releasable connection of two shafts

A clutch is a mechanical device which engages and disengages power transmission especially from driving shaft to driven shaft.

Electric motor electromechanical device

An electric motor is an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Most electric motors operate through the interaction between the motor's magnetic field and electric current in a wire winding to generate force in the form of rotation of a shaft. Electric motors can be powered by direct current (DC) sources, such as from batteries, motor vehicles or rectifiers, or by alternating current (AC) sources, such as a power grid, inverters or electrical generators. An electric generator is mechanically identical to an electric motor, but operates in the reverse direction, converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

These vessels included some features intended to increase underwater speed that were standard on US submarines of this era, including a small sail and a rotating cap over the torpedo tube muzzles. For extended surface runs, the small sail was augmented with a temporary piping-and-canvas structure. Apparently the "crash dive" concept had not yet been thought of, as this would take considerable time to deploy and dismantle. This remained standard through the N class, commissioned 1917-1918. Experience in World War I showed that this was inadequate in the North Atlantic weather, and earlier submarines serving overseas in that war (E class through L class) had their bridge structures augmented with a "chariot" shield on the front of the bridge. However, as the F class served in the Pacific, they did not receive this upgrade. Starting with the N class, built with lessons learned from overseas experience, US submarines had bridges more suited to surfaced operations in rough weather. The streamlined, rotating torpedo tube muzzle cap eliminated the drag that muzzle holes would otherwise cause. In the stowed position, the submarine appears to have no torpedo tubes, as the holes in the cap are covered by the bow stem. This feature remained standard through the K class, after which it was replaced with shutters that were standard through the 1950s.

United States N-class submarine submarine class

The United States N-class submarines were a class of seven coastal defense submarines built for the United States Navy during World War I.

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Bridge (nautical) room or platform from which a ship can be commanded

The bridge of a ship is the room or platform from which the ship can be commanded. When a ship is under way, the bridge is manned by an officer of the watch aided usually by an able seaman acting as lookout. During critical maneuvers the captain will be on the bridge, often supported by an officer of the watch, an able seaman on the wheel and sometimes a pilot, if required.


All four F-class submarines spent their careers in the Pacific Fleet, primarily based in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California with a stint in Hawaii. F-4 was lost off Hawaii on 25 March 1915 due to a battery acid leak corroding the hull. F-1 and F-3 collided off San Diego on 17 December 1917, and F-1 was lost. F-2 and F-3 survived to be decommissioned and scrapped in 1922 to comply with the limits of the Washington Naval Treaty.

United States Pacific Fleet Pacific Ocean theater-level component command of the United States Navy

The United States Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is a Pacific Ocean theater-level component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to the United States Indo-Pacific Command. Fleet headquarters is at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with large secondary facilities at North Island, San Diego Bay on the Mainland.

San Pedro, Los Angeles Neighborhood of Los Angeles in Los Angeles

San Pedro is a community within the city of Los Angeles, California. Formerly a separate city, it consolidated with Los Angeles in 1909. The Port of Los Angeles, a major international seaport, is partially located within San Pedro. The district has grown from being dominated by the fishing industry to become primarily a working class community within the city of Los Angeles.

California U.S. state in the United States

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Vessels in class

Related Research Articles

USS <i>F-2</i> (SS-21) United States Navy submarine which served during World War I

USS F-2 (SS-21) was an F-class submarine built for the United States Navy during the 1910s.

USS <i>G-1</i> (SS-19½)

USS G-1 (SS-19½) was the lead ship of her class of submarine of the United States Navy. While the four G-boats were nominally all of a class, they differed enough in significant details that they are sometimes considered to be four unique boats, each in a class by herself.

<i>Balao</i>-class submarine class of American attack submarines

The Balao class was a successful design of United States Navy submarine used during World War II, and with 120 units completed, the largest class of submarines in the United States Navy. An improvement on the earlier Gato class, the boats had slight internal differences. The most significant improvement was the use of thicker, higher yield strength steel in the pressure hull skins and frames, which increased their test depth to 400 feet (120 m). Tang actually achieved a depth of 612 ft (187 m) during a test dive, and exceeded that test depth when taking on water in the forward torpedo room while evading a destroyer.

USS <i>Adder</i> early US submarine

USS Adder, later renamed A-2, was one of seven Plunger-class submarines built for the United States Navy (USN) in the first decade of the 20th century.

USS <i>Moccasin</i> (SS-5) Plunger-class submarine

USS Moccasin (SS-5) was one of seven Plunger-class submarines built for the United States Navy (USN) in the first decade of the 20th century.

<i>AA-1</i>-class submarine

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, intended to produce a high-speed fleet submarine. 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. The class was later renamed as the T class.

United States S-class submarine submarine class

The United States' S-class submarines, often simply called S-boats, were the first class of submarines with a significant number built to United States Navy designs. Others of this class were built to contractor designs.

USS <i>M-1</i> (SS-47) submarine of the United States navy

USS M-1 (SS-47) was a unique submarine of the United States Navy. M-1 was designed as a test bed for the newest technology in submarine construction and design. As well as being the world's first double-hulled design, her battery was of a new design and was to have solved some of the past flaws. While no other M-class submarines were built, the lessons learned were incorporated into the following AA/T class.

USS <i>K-3</i> (SS-34)

USS K-3 (SS-34) was a K-class submarine built for the United States Navy during the 1910s.

USS <i>C-2</i> (SS-13)

USS C-2 (SS-13) was one of five C-class submarines built for the United States Navy in the first decade of the 20th century.

USS <i>C-4</i> (SS-15)

USS C-4 (SS-15) one of five C-class submarines built for the United States Navy in the first decade of the 20th century.

USS <i>C-5</i> (SS-16)

USS C-5 (SS-16) was one of five C-class submarines built for the United States Navy in the first decade of the 20th century.

USS <i>B-2</i> American B-class submarine of the United States Navy

USS B-2 (SS-11) was one of three B-class submarines built for the United States Navy in the first decade of the 20th century.

United States B-class submarine

The B-class submarines were three United States Navy submarines built by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, under a subcontract from the Electric Boat Company. They were eventually stationed in the Philippines, an American possession, beginning in 1912–15. They were shipped there on colliers. All three were stricken and expended as targets 1919–22.

The G-class submarines were a class of four United States Navy submarines. While the four G boats were nominally all of a class, they differed enough in significant details that they are sometimes considered to be four unique boats, each in a class by herself. They were the result of agitation for competition in submarine design; all previous US submarines were designed by Electric Boat. G-1, G-2, and G-3 were designed by Simon Lake of the Lake Torpedo Boat Company, while G-4 was designed by American Laurenti. G-1 was built by Newport News, G-2 and G-3 by Lake, and G-4 by Cramp.

United States E-class submarine submarine class

The E-class submarines were a class of two United States Navy submarines, built by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company of Quincy, Massachusetts under a subcontract from the Electric Boat Company. They were used as coastal and harbor defense submarines prior to World War I. When hostilities broke out, the E class were mostly used as training boats; however, E-1 operated on war patrols based in the Azores. During this time, the need for an improved permanent bridge structure was discovered; the temporary piping-and-canvas bridges were inadequate in the North Atlantic.

United States H-class submarine

The United States H-class submarines were Holland 602 type submarines used by the United States Navy.

United States K-class submarine

The K-class submarines were a class of eight submarines of the United States Navy, serving between 1914 and 1923, including World War I. They were designed by Electric Boat and were built by other yards under subcontracts. K-1, K-2, K-5, and K-6 were built by Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, K-3, K-7, and K-8 by Union Iron Works in San Francisco, and K-4 by Seattle Construction and Drydock Company in Seattle, Washington. All were decommissioned in 1923 and scrapped in 1931 to comply with the limits of the London Naval Treaty.



  1. Navsource.org USS F-1 page
  2. Gardiner, p. 127-128
  3. Gardiner, p. 127-128
  4. "F1 (SS-20)" . Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  5. "F-2" . Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  6. "F-3" . Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  7. "F-4" . Retrieved 19 January 2014.