This is V-1 (SF-4) in June of 1926, with the standard pre-war navy grey scheme. V-1 was the first of the "V-boats", a series of nine "fleet submarines" designed for a possible war with Japan in the Pacific.
V-1 is shown as launched at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. The bulbous forefoot of the class is evident, as well as the flared bow with its single anchor. The bulbous bow was thought to improve wavemaking resistance, and the design of the stem was meant to keep the deck drier in rough weather. Four torpedo tubes in the bulbous bow and two in the flat stern made up the boat's primary anti-ship armament, with a single 5"/51-caliber deck gun in a Mark 18 wet mount forward of the fairwater. Telescoping retractable masts fore and aft provide anchor points for the ship's long-range radio antennas. V-1 also shows the usual loop antenna arrangement favored by the USN for underwater HF reception. Two periscopes atop the fairwater retracted into the conning tower below, with a third "Number 1 scope" forward of the fairwater being operated from the control room below. This arrangement was found to be unnecessary and was removed on later USN submarine designs. Kingposts aft of the fairwater were used to launch the two whaleboats carried under the deck casing, and small torpedo reload derricks are sited fore and aft.
V-1 would become BARRACUDA (SS-163) when the USN submarines received their names in 1931, after which point the class designator "B-1" would be painted over the existing "V-1" on the fairwater.
This is V-2 (SF-5) in August of 1927 while in drydock at the Boston Navy Yard. By this time, the V-boats had received additional limber holes along the deck casing, to allow for faster diving. Otherwise V-2 is almost identical to V-1 as built.
This is V-3 (SF-6) in February of 1929. V-3 has received the "SC-tube" sonar array forward (just ahead of the torpedo reload derrick). This is the definitive configuration of the V-1 class in the 1920s.
This is BASS (SS-164) in August of 1935, wearing the overall pre-war gloss black favored by the submarine force in the 1930s. Changes to the boat include the addition of a large and prominent raised escape trunk aft, and the replacement of the 5"/51-caliber deck gun with the common 3"/50-caliber wet mount seen on many later designs. BARRACUDA (SS-163), BASS, and BONITA (SS-165) would be decommissioned in this configuration in the late 1930s, before being reactivated during World War II.
This is BASS (SS-164) in March of 1943, after her last major refit at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She is camouflaged in the overall black of Measure 9.
BASS, like her sisters BARRACUDA (SS-163) and BONITA (SS-165), was brought out of retirement immediately prior to the start of World War II. The BARRACUDA class boats were assigned to the Canal Zone, where they each made a number of defensive patrols (guarding the canal from an attack that never came), before they were all sent to the US East Coast for conversion into transport submarines. This conversion entailed removing the main engines (propulsive power being provided by the diesel auxiliaries) and their replacement with cargo space. Presumably their intended mission would be to resupply guerrillas in the Pacific, but this role was already being admirably filled by the NARWHAL class submarines, and the underperforming BARRACUDAs spent the rest of the war at New London as training submarines.
The main external difference visible in the BARRACUDA class post-1943 are the extensive modifications to the fairwater, following a similar tack as the other submarines of the period. 20mm Oerlikon single mounts have appeared fore and aft, and the large cigarette deck above its free flooding structure has been cut away, replaced with a gun platform aft. Water tight canisters for 20mm ready service ammunition sit on each side of the fairwater for each gun. The SJ surface search radar antenna has been mounted above and ahead of the pilot house, with the SD air search set on the old antenna mast. A DF loop sits between the number 2 periscope and the SD radar.
BASS would end the war in this configuration, being scuttled as a sonar target off Block Island in late 1945.
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