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The M-Boat

USS M-1
USS M-1 SS 47
The USS M-1 was the only "M" class submarine built. She was the longest submarine to be built to date by the United States until the USS T-1.
The M-1, shown here on builders sea trials, was suppose to embody all the newest technology in submarine construction and design. Her battery was of a new design and was to have solved some of the past flaws in submarine battery design and operation. Based on her short operational life span and the lack of any other "M" class submarines being built, it is probably safe to assume there were many flaws still present in her design.
Commissioned Feb 16, 1916 and decommissioned March 15, 1922. She was sold for scrap Sept 25, 1922.

USS M-1 in frame on the ways
USS M-1 in frame on the ways October 1, 1914
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 in frame on the ways
USS M-1 in frame on the ways October 1, 1914
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

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USS M-1 seen here in frame on the ways at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Mass. April 9, 1915.

Barely seen to the extreme right is the USS L-9. Even though her keel was laid 4 months after the M-1 she was launched less than a month after the M-1 and commissioned 6 months prior to the M-1. The M-1 was a larger submarine measuring 31 feet longer. There was just more submarine to build than an "L" class plus she was to be a class leader and many things were new to the design. The L-9 was to be sent to Europe and make war patrols out of Bantry Bay, Ireland. The problem prone M-1 would not leave home waters.

In the foreground a workman has weighted down a canvas to give him protection from the weather. The capstan has been installed ahead of the forward hatch. In the background is seen Mill Cove in North Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


USS M-1 sliding down the ways Sept 14, 1915
USS M-1 sliding down the ways Sept 14, 1915.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 sliding down the ways Sept 14, 1915
USS M-1 sliding down the ways Sept 14, 1915.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 control room looking forward
USS M-1 control room looking forward and starboard.
The door goes fwd to the forward battery compartment and berthing.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 control room looking forward
USS M-1 control room looking forward and port.
Helm is to the right and bow and stern planes to the left.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 control room looking aft
USS M-1 this is thought to be the aft end of the control room looking aft.
It contains the galley stove and sink and electrical panels. Door would lead to the engine room.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 offices quarters?
USS M-1 this is thought to be the offices quarters? looking aft.
Bunk on right is lifted up to expose stowage. Sink on aft bulkhead.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 on seatrial


USS M-1 crew
USS M-1 crew

USS M-1 Pierside Oct 18, 1915
USS M-1 Pierside Oct 18, 1915

USS M-1 Pierside Oct 18, 1915
USS M-1 Pierside Oct 18, 1915

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USS M-1 seen from the deck of an accompanying vessel. The photo looks to have been taken off Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass. It is hard to determine what a date for this might be. Due to there being a number of people on the fore deck in the location where the deck gun may have been we can not tell if the gun has been installed or not. That fact would be a good indicator of date if we knew.

The M Class had many flaws that resulted from simply trying to scale up in size of the successful L Class design that contributed to her ultimate failure. Her newly designed batteries also had many problems. In the end, after 5 years of use and attempts to solve her problems, the vessel was decommissioned and sold for scrap to Joseph G. Hitner in Philadelphia.

Interesting to note that on first sea trials, even before her engines were installed, the M-1 made a test dive at Provincetown on battery alone to a depth of 40 feet. Maybe to test the new double hull design. The source didn't explain why this was done.

The photo comes from the scrapbook of Commander James Joseph Hughes, who may have taken the photo. He served on a number of submarines and served on a number of administrative staffs. He commanded the USS R-18 when he was a Lieutenant.

Photo Is Now In The Private Collection Of Ric Hedman


USS M-1 3/23 retracting deck gun mounted at EB, 1917
USS M -1 3"/23 retracting deck gun mounted at EB, 1917
Photo courtesy of Bill Lightfoot, author of Beneath The Surface.

USS M-1 3/23 retracting deck gun mounted at EB, 1917
USS M -1 3"/23 retracting deck gun mounted at EB, 1917
Photo courtesy of Bill Lightfoot, author of Beneath The Surface.

USS M-1 3/23 retracting deck gun mounted at EB, 1917
USS M -1 3"/23 retracting deck gun mounted at EB, 1917
Photo courtesy of Bill Lightfoot, author of Beneath The Surface.

USS M-1 interior, forward battery compartment looking aft.
USS M-1 interior, forward battery compartment looking aft.
The tube hanging down is the housing for the 3"/23 recessed deck gun.
Door to the Control Room is on the left of the gun housing.
Crews bunks can be seen triced up to the overheads.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 interior, forward battery compartment looking forward.
USS M-1 interior, forward battery compartment looking forward.
There apears to be a folding sink on the door going forward.
Crews bunks can be seen triced up to the overheads.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 interior, forward battery compartment looking forward.
USS M-1 interior, forward battery compartment looking forward.
There apears to be a folding sink on the door going forward.
Crews bunks can be seen triced up to the overheads.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 engine room looking forward.
USS M-1 engine room looking forward.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 engine room looking aft.
USS M-1 engine room looking aft.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 motor room looking forward.
USS M-1 motor room looking forward.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 engine room looking aft and port.
USS M-1 engine room looking aft and port.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

USS M-1 moored with the L-2, L-4 and L-9.
USS M-1 moored with the L-2, L-4 and L-9 April 5, 1916.
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

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USS M-1 seen here underway on the surface. Their wasn't much at first to identify this vessel but after comparing various images from our own collection and online sources that narrowed it down to the M-1. The largest features were the stepped bow plane fairings and the offset anchor windless housing. The wood "Thump Board" strips under the anchor chain were another clue and the massive cast iron lifting eye seen just forward of the C-Tube listening head were clinchers.

Forward of the bow anchor light mast is the second device used for locating targets underwater, the "Y-Tube" with their distinctive tapered rubber "rats". This device was stationary. All three Y-tube heads were 4 feet from each other and only two heads were used at any one time thus triangulating the target relative to the submarine. The C-tube was movable and was rotated and a target was located but actual direction relative to the submarine was not a certain thing.

Photo In The Collection Ric Hedman


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This close up of the USS M-1 taken from the above image show that the bow planes have been rigged out and used to stabilize the submarine while underway. The Starboard plane can just be seen to the right of the bow plane fairing and gearing. The Port plane is buried in the bow wave.

A good shot of the massive cast iron lifting eye is seen in this image. The lifting eye was directly attached to the top front of the pressure hull and protrudes through the superstructure. There is a like lifting eye on the stern of the submarine.

Photo In The Collection Ric Hedman


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This close up from the above photo of the USS M-1 shows the anchor chain windless that helped ID this photo with the slight offset to port and the wood Thump Boards below the chain are the the details that helped firm up the identification.

The M-1 was only in commission for 5 years and one month. She was suppose to be the answer for many of the Navy's desires to have a "Fleet Submarine". One that had the range and one that could keep up with the surface fleet of fast battleships in speed. She was to be the scout that roamed out ahead of the fleet and made first contact with an enemy. She proved to be plagued with underpowered engines and poor battery performance. She performed crew training during WW I but made no war patrols.

Photo In The Collection Ric Hedman


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