Since I had some time, I decided to take a tour of the Silversides.
The USS Silversides is a Gato Class Submarine and the first to be named after the silversides, which is a type of fish. She was built at the Mare Island Navy Yard near San Francisco in August of 1941. She would end up patrolling for most of the war and during that time, she would sink over 90,000 tons worth of shipping and this put her in the top five of US submarines.
The USCG McLane was built as a patrol craft in 1927. During World War II, she served as a subchaser, but I'm not sure of her record. In 1968, the McLane was decomissioned.
In 1946, she was placed in reserve until 1947 at which point she became a training ship for the Naval Reserve in Chicago. She remained in that role until 1969, at which time she was stricken from the Naval Register. In 1973, she would become part of a Naval Museum in Chicago until 1987, at which point she was moved to her current location. In 2004, she received some pretty extensive repairs.
She has the best combat record of any surviving US submarine.
A display of her kill flags and other battle ribbons. She had 12 battle stars and one Presidential Unit Citation. She would sink 23 ships.
Her 4 inch deck gun. This would typically be used for ships that needed finishing off and were unescorted. A submarine would not (or probably could not) go toe to toe with a destroyer or other escort ship.
Looking down her sites
Looking up at her flags.
I believe this is her 40 mm anti-aircraft gun. This would only be used if she were caught on the surface. Typical protocol was for a submarine to dive if spotted by aircraft.
Looking down her deck.
The outer shell of a submarine is pretty much used for her sailing characteristics on the surface. World War II subs were typically faster on the surface than they were underwater. This led to the tactic where the submarine would surface out of radar range of a convoy at night. They would circle around the convoy and wait where the convoy would be if it didn't change course. The inner hull was the submarine's pressure hull and allowed the submarine to dive.
One of the torpedo tubes.
US fleet submarines had six torpedo tubes in the front and four in back. They would carry 24 torpedoes total.
One of the showers. I remember reading about this in the Ed Beach novels. They would always complain about the size of them. I can see why.
The officer's galley.
The officer's wardroom. This is where the officers would eat and talk to each other.
The Captain's quarters. The Captain was typically the only crew member that had his own room. But then again, it was stressful being a captain of a submarine.
I believe this is either the junior officer's quarters or the senior enlisted men. They were crowded but not as crowded as the men.
The Yeoman's station. That quaint object in the middle is a typewriter.
The conning tower of the submarine.
This panel is an indicator of the open hatches and what not. If all the lights were green, it meant that it was safe to dive.
the steering station.
The crew's galley.
The crew's berthing space. There weren't enough beds for all of the crew members, so they established a practice called hot bunking. The crew that just got off duty would occupy the bunks of the crew going on duty.
The crew's mess area. If there is one thing you can take away from a tour of a submarine, it is pretty cramped.
The gages for the engines.
The Silversides was powered by four diesel engines. These were used to charge the batteries which in turn were used for propulsion. Other countries had separate propulsion depending on whether the sub was on the surface or underwater.
One of the decorations of the ship.
Gates for the batteries.
Another shot of the deck gun.
This unit is called a hedge hog. It was used by Allied escorts to attack Axis Submarines.
The McLane. When I look at this flag, I think of one of the scenes in Tora! Tora! Tora!
Another shot of the McLane.
The McLane's main armament, which I believe was a 47mm gun.
Officer's quarters on the McLane.
This is very similar to the enlisted berthing on the submarine. I don't know if these guys hot bunked though.
Like other ships, the Captain doesn't have to share his quarters.
Depth charge racks that were added during the war.
A shot of the McLane's bridge.
The Silversides was replaced by a nuclear submarine also called the Silversides. While that version of the Silversides didn't fight in combat, it did other things. This was the helm of that sub.
One more shot of the Silversides before leaving.