USS O-8 (SS-69)

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O-8 (SS-69) with the "Victory Fleet" off New York City in 1919
O-8 with the "Victory Fleet" off New York City in 1919
United States
Name: USS O-8
Ordered: 3 March 1916
Builder: Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, Massachusetts
Laid down: 27 February 1917
Launched: 31 December 1917
Commissioned: 11 July 1918
Decommissioned: 27 May 1931
Recommissioned: 28 April 1941
Decommissioned: 11 September 1945
Struck: 11 October 1945
Fate: Sold for scrap, 4 September 1946
General characteristics
Type: O-class submarine
  • 521 long tons (529 t) surfaced
  • 629 long tons (639 t) submerged
Length: 172 ft 3 in (52.5 m)
Beam: 18 ft 1 in (5.5 m)
Draft: 14 ft 5 in (4.4 m)
Installed power:
  • 880 bhp (660 kW) (diesel)
  • 740 hp (550 kW) (electric)
  • 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
  • 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph) on the surface
Test depth: 200 feet (61.0 m)
Complement: 2 officers, 27 men

USS O-8 (SS-69) was one of 16 O-class submarines built for the United States Navy during World War I.


The O-class submarines were designed to meet a Navy requirement for coastal defense boats.[1] The submarines had a length of 172 feet 3 inches (52.5 m) overall, a beam of 18 feet 1 inch (5.5 m) and a mean draft of 14 feet 5 inches (4.4 m). They displaced 521 long tons (529 t) on the surface and 629 long tons (639 t) submerged. The O-class submarines had a crew of 29 officers and enlisted men. They had a diving depth of 200 feet (61.0 m).[2]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 440-brake-horsepower (328 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 370-horsepower (276 kW) electric motor. They could reach 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) on the surface and 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) underwater. On the surface, the O class had a range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph).[2]

The boats were armed with four 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes in the bow. They carried four reloads, for a total of eight torpedoes. The O-class submarines were also armed with a single 3"/50 caliber deck gun.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

O-8 was laid down on 27 February 1917 by Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 31 December 1917 sponsored by Mrs. Alice C. Burg, and commissioned on 11 July 1918 with Lieutenant Commander R.A. Burg in command. During the final stages of World War I, O-8 operated out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on coastal patrol duty from Cape Cod to Key West, Florida. She departed Newport, Rhode Island, on 2 November 1918 with other subs ordered to duty in European waters; the duty was cancelled, however, as the Armistice with Germany was signed before the vessels reached the Azores.

The end of the "war to end all wars" did not terminate O-8’s Naval career; she now operated in a training capacity at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. In 1924, she sailed for duty in Panama, where she was classified a second line submarine on 25 July 1924. Reverting to a first liner on 6 June 1928, she sailed from New London in February 1931 to Philadelphia and decommissioned there 27 May.

The imminence of World War II sparked the recall to service. O-8 recommissioned at Philadelphia on 28 April 1941, with Lt. John S. McCain, Jr. taking command.[3] In June she returned to Submarine School, New London to train students there until war's end.

Departing New London on 25 August 1945, the ship steamed to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and decommissioned there on 11 September 1945; she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 October 1945 and was sold to John J. Duane Company of Quincy on 4 September 1946.

USS O-8 (SS-69) arriving in port, ca. 1927


  1. ^ Friedman, pp. 86–87
  2. ^ a b c Gardiner & Gray, p. 129
  3. ^ Famous American Admirals


  • Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links[edit]