Tour of a WW2 Sub

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Yesterday, I took my nephew to see Alcatraz Island. I really don’t like to go into San Francisco unless I have to – parking alone was $30 – with surly attendants at no extra charge –  but there are some interesting things to see at Fisherman’s Wharf, besides the boat that leaves for “The Rock”.

About a 20 minute walk from that embarkation point was the restored Liberty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien and the WW2 Sub USS PAMPANITO (SS-383).

This was a quick tour as we had to get back but I thought you would like to see these photos taken as I toured the boat.

One things really impressed me about this – the tight spaces – there wasn’t even a shower – and 75 man crew crammed into this tube for 70 days at a time.

Yet some years ago, when I was in Chicago I toured one of the few captured German U-Boats – and the Pompanito looked like a limo compared with the U-Boat.

The silent service has always been all volunteer, and claustrophobics need not apply.

 

We’ll start at the access hatch towards the stern and work our way out to the hatch near the bow.

Welcome aboard.

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You submariners – what was the purpose of these holes near the bow?

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Aft torpedo room

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Getting though these bulkheads was something – I was trying to pictrue a dozen – haveing to do it fast

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This was the engine control room

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I was surprised at how tight these were – and with a crew of 75 – say 70 EM – means they shared these racks

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The Galley – couldn’t believe how small it was.

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The officers qtrs – a small closet with 4 racks

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The Captains Quarters

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Moving on to the forward torpedo room and out…

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Tour of a WW2 Sub

  1. leachristina65

    Thanks for the pictures! I am always amazed at what sailors and submariners voluntarily go through to keep us safe.

  2. Great stuff, Bill… and thank you for it. My Navy son was a submariner as an EM before he crossed over to the Dark Side. His life on boomers was a life o’ luxury compared to that lived by the submariners who preceded him.

    • Bill Brandt

      Buck – it amazed me – to have gone through that boat – that there were 75 on it – and racks for maybe a 3rd of them?

      I guess that makes sense if you consider 8 hour shifts.

      And getting through the bulkheads – I stepped through 3 or 4 – thought I had to be a contortionist getting my legs – then body – through that small opening – and I am then imagining having to do that fast – with a dozen or more others behind me – as if your life depended on it – which it could.

      I would think, too, that if we were to have a tour through a boomer we would be still shocked at the tight spaces – but compared to this sub – as you say – a lot of luxury.

      Then too those guys are living under water for weeks/months at a time.

      My hat is off to them.

      I’ll work on getting the Alcatraz pics up next – thought I wouldn’t enjoy it – I saw it 40 years ago – went for my nephew – but ended up having a great time.

  3. Busbob

    Enjoyed the pix, have been to that area many times and never did want to go on board the sub. Small spaces and all that. I had a high school buddy who went into attack subs, he could never understand why I was landing on a carrier and I could NEVER understand why he wanted to be underwater 6 months. Go figure.
    Interesting to note the last picture, we (the U.S.) lost 52 subs in WWII. The Germans lost–this shocked me–761 subs.

    • Bill Brandt

      Busbob – what shocked me – and my numbers might be a bit off but my current-in-consumer-electronics 30 year old nephew is playing with his iPhone – but according to a stat he brought up on the way back the US Navy’s Submarines had a bit over 1% of the personnel but sunk 51% of the Japanese ships.

      Still, as I told him I can’t think of anything more terrifying than being 100s of feet under water and being depth charged …Some of them, by the last picture, didn’t come back — their fates known only to them and God.

  4. grandpabluewater

    Those are the flood ports at the bottom of the bow bouyancy tank.
    They let the water in when diving and out when the tank is blow dry as part of a surfacing procedure.

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