Spotlight: Submarine Chasers

In 1916, after 2 incidents with German submarines off the east coast of the United States, the U.S. Navy recognized an urgent need for a new kind of vessel, one heavy enough for weather at sea, but nimble enough for antisubmarine maneuvers. The result was the 110 foot submarine chaser.

Outboard Profile for 110 Foot Submarine Chaser from RG 19, Alphabetical Series of Ship Engineering Drawings (NAID: 30010079)

The enabling legislation specified that the subchaser design be “economical and expeditious.” Demand for steel and shipyards was already at a peak for larger vessels under the Naval Construction Act of 1916, so these craft would be built from wood, and at a size suitable for quick turnaround in smaller commercial shipyards.

This Booklet of General Plans is for SC-448, whose construction at the US Naval Station in New Orleans was cancelled when the war ended in November 1918.

                                                   RG 19 Plans for SC-448, NAID 28264940                                                    Click the images for larger views

Crew for the subchasers consisted of two officers and 24 men– the inboard arrangement plan and profile show that quarters were tight. Space is at a premium, including space for gasoline. With capacity to cover just a third of an Atlantic crossing, the 200+ subchasers headed to Britain, France and the Mediterranean were either towed or accompanied by escorts with fuel and provisions.

440 of these wooden SC boats were constructed and placed in service during the World War I era. The design proved very effective, and an improved wooden 110′ SC was put into production for World War II.