D-2 Grayling (SS-18) - History

D-2 Grayling (SS-18) - History

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(SS-18: dp. 228; 1. 134'10"; b. 13'11"; dr. 11'8"; s.
13 k.; cpl. 15; a. 4 18" tt.; cl D)

D-2 was launched as Grayling (SS-18) 16 June 1909 by Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass., under subcontract from Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. sponsored by Miss. C. H. Bowles, and commissioned 23 November 1909, Lieutenant Owen Hill in command. She was renamed D-2 on 17 November 1911.

D-2 joined the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet as Flagboat for Submarine Division 3. Along the Atlantic coast, D-2 joined in diving, torpedo, and experimental exercises. She participated in the Presidential Review of the Fleet in North River, N.Y. from 5 to 18 May 1916.

During World War I D-2 served in training and experimental work at New London. She was placed in commission in reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard 9 September 1919 and placed in ordinary 15 July 1921. Towed to Philadelphia Navy Yard, she was decommissioned 18 January 1922 and sold as a hulk 25 September 1922.

D-2 Grayling (SS-18) - History

Photo of the USS D-1 in transit. Objects of unknown origin are piled on the fore deck of the D-1 as she travels. The deck cover over the Torpedo Loading Hatch is partly open and resting on the objects. The man who is the highest on the bridge is the helmsman steering the submarine from a ships wheel mounted to the aft side of the periscope shears. Quite possibly the Captain and the Officer of the Deck just behind the helmsman.

Townsend, Julius C. - Lieutenant - age 29 - Born Missouri
Beisel, Fred C. - Midshipman - age 24 - Born Illinois
Allen, Charles L. - Chief Gunners Mate - age 27 - Born Indiana
Davis, Fred - Gunners Mate 1Cl - age 28 - Born New York - Mulatto
Milligan, Joseph A. - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 23 - Born North Carolina
Demont, Charles - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 23 - Born Minnesota
Crilley, Lawrence - Gunners Mate 3Cl - age 22 - Born New Jersey
Powers, Richard J. - Chief MM - age 28 - Born Connecticut
Bottleberghs, Frank J. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 27 - Born Belgium
Grisler, Charles A. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 31 - Born Pennsylvania
Herbert, John T. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 21 - Born Maryland
Miller, Ariel W. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 22 - Born Massachusetts
Kapp, Ernest E. - Chief Electrician - age 27 - Born North Carolina
Blood, Walter H. - Electrician 1Cl - age 27 - Born Pennsylvania
Peterson, Lars O. - Electrician 2Cl - age 22 - Born Sweden
Lyons, William L. - Electrician 2Cl - age 25 - Born Missouri

USS D-2, D-1 & D-3 shown on May 10, 1915 (the bow of the E-2 can be seen to the left) on the upper westside of New York city moored at the 135th Street piers as part of the Presidential Review for President Wilson with the Atlantic Fleet.

Another view of the above scene with the USS D-3 closest to the camera. This is taken around May 10, 1915 at the 135th Street Piers on New Yorks Upper West Side. The land seen behind and to the right in the photo is the New Jersey “Palisades” and the amusement park of that name.

The tender seen in the photo is the USS Tonopah. The two E-Boats (E-1 & E-2) are moored to her then the D-2, D-1 and finally D-3. This arrangement is known from other photos of this scene.

We were surprised when it was able to identify this submarine. At first only the class was supposed to be determined until it was noticed, with much magnification, she was carrying what looked to be hull number 17. This resulting in a positive identification of the USS D-1.

In mid 1920 US ships were issued hull numbers and the three "D" class submarines became the SS 17, 18 and 19. Current references used only show the D-1 wearing her hull numbers. Though there are crew standing in front of the numbers the slant of the "7" is obvious.

Three D-Boats in a row. At the right is the USS Grayling, later to be renamed D-2. The date is either the the summer of 1910 or 1911. After November 17, 1911 the names were changed to the alphanumeric naming structure.

The two craft to the left are the USS Narwhal and USS Salmon. There in no way in this photo to say which vessel is which without further corroborating evidence, there just isn't the detail needed. All that can be said is the three are sailing in line and the Grayling is in communication with another vessel as the man on the bow is doing using a semaphore flag.

This photo shows the USS Grayling underway during the maneuvers above. The location and date are unknown. Lack of any background makes this nearly impossible. Though a few guess are possible based on the few facts we do have. She was commissioned on November 23, 1909. She is wearing the name “Grayling” which means the date is prior to November 17, 1911 when the submarines name was changed to conform with the Navy’s new alphanumeric naming structure for submarines.

We have this report of the formation of the Third Submarine Division "January 10, 1910 The third submarine division of the Atlantic torpedo fleet has been organized and will consist of these submarine Grayling, Narwhal, Stingray, Tarpon, Bonita, Salmon and Snapper. The Castine and Nina will serve as tenders. This submarine division will remain at Boston until spring." So we know the dated is after January 10, 1910. The men are wearing light clothing so the dating is further narrowing to late spring into summer and even maybe early fall.

Another newspaper report states on: “October 3, 1910 Training ship Severn, submarines Bonita, Grayling, Stingray and Tarpon at Atlantic Highlands. NJ.” Narrowing this photo location down to being possibly waters off Boston and Cape Cod where the Navy maintained training grounds off Provencetown on the tip of the Cape to be photographed in warm weather.

Another report for 1911 summer season states that on: “June 24, 1911 The seven submarines which comprise the third submarine division of the Atlantic torpedo fleet will leave Narragansett bay for a run to Gloucester. Mass. The entire trip will be made submerged, except for the possible necessity of coming to the surface to recharge batteries.” Surfacing for battery recharge would be a prime time to be regrouping and communication between vessels of the Submarine Division as seen here.

Yet again another newspaper reports on “August 5, 1911 The submarines Grayling. Bonita, Narwhal, Salmon, Snapper, Stingray and Tarpon and the tenders Castine and Severn at Boston.” This would put her again in protected waters with the possibility of cruising off Boston and Provencetown. By October the Division was in New York at Tompkinsville, on Statan Island and at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn for work when the name changes took effect.

Two men stand on the bow of the Grayling. One holds a semaphore flag that he has been using to communicate with another vessel. The man at the left has binoculars and is looking at the sending vessel reading the message being relayed by that vessel. The men are probably Quartermasters, (Navigation Department), or Electricians, (Radiomen), trained in the duties of a Signalman. Unlike larger ships submarines had crew that performed multiple duties.

The Graylings' conning tower fairwater is shown here displaying the 3 over 1 symbols showing she was attached to the Third Submarine Division and the the Flagship with the number "1" meaning was her placement or ranking in the Division.

Three crew are seen relaxing on deck. One man at the right sits in the shade on the port side of the fairwater. Another sits looking directly at the camera while at the left a crewman lays on his stomach apparently trying to take a nap. As anyone who has been the military knows, you sleep when you can.

On the bridge at the top of the fairwater is a platform made with a pipe frame and surrounded by a weather canvas to protect the crew, In this picture there are a number of men shown.

The man at the left is a lookout and has binoculars in his hands, The man in the middle is the helmsman and is steering the submarine from a detachable wheel on a hub on the back of the periscope shears. Another lookout is on the right. Barely seen to the left of the helmsman and the left of the right lookout are two more men, one of who must be an officer. The OOD or Officer Of the Deck.

This photo is the same as the one above but shows the entirety of the submarines periscopes. These are fixed 'scopes meaning they neither raise or lower but do rotate. They are positioned so both can be used at th same time and not interfere with the view of the other.

Between them is the ship's air operated whistle. At the top of the #2 periscope is the Submarine Division Three Pennant meaning she is the SUBDIV3 flagship. Normally this is where the submarines commissioning pennant would be flown from.

One man stands on the after deck of the Grayling. To his right are two deck hatches leading into the submarine. The right most leads down into the after battery space forward of the Engineroom bulkhead. The one next to him leads down into the Engineroom itself and allowing air to reach the engines with out having to have the watertight door between the compartments open and keep the noise level down inside the forward compartments.

Photo of a crewman on the USS D-2, circa 1912. The numbers 2 over 4 are a squadron designation not the hull numbers. We have other photographic evidence from this time of the D-2 with these numbers. The D-2 at one point in her career was stationed out of Key West, Florida, home of the 2nd Submarine Squadron. The number 4 is her position with-in the squadron.

Resting on top of the bridge fairwater is the topside helm wheel and the submerged submarine flag. The flag is rigid so it can be seen when attached to the top of the highest periscope. This was so the submarines wouldn't be run down while making practice dives and exercises. Forward is the stub, with locking keys, of a ventilator and another vent cowl is seen aft of the first one.

Close-up of the crewman and the numbers 2 over 4. These are a squadron designation not the hull numbers. The D-2 at one point in her career was stationed out of Key West, Florida, home of the 2nd Submarine Squadron. There are other photos of the D-2 with a 2 over 3. For one reason or another she shifted her position in the squadron. There are also photos of her in Submarine Squadron 3 with a 3 over 2 attached to her fairwater.

USS D-2 running a long the New England coast circa 1912 to 1915. This is possibly Cape Cod in the background as there are no trees to be seen which leads to this opinion.

Originally christened “Grayling” her name was changed on November 17, 1911 to D-2.

Another interesting fact about this vessel was she was commissioned with a commanding officer who was a “Mustang”. Owen Hill was an Irish immigrant who joined the US Navy as an enlisted man and worked his way up through the Navy ranks. He was a Chief Gunner (Warrant Officer) in 1900 and in the first crew of the first US Navy Submarine, USS Holland. He later achieved a full commission as an Line Officer in the Navy. That was a number of years before this photo was taken. He retired as a Lt. Commander.

D-2 diffidently has a large bell on for speed for her class in this photo. The D boats had a top surface speed of 10 to 11 knots. Despite this the image is dramatic with bone in her teeth and white water flowing from her limber holes. Still, these boats could have their problems, note the towing shackle in her bow.

There are nine men topside one of who seems a bit out of place to the others. (second from right) It is suspected he might be a rider. His uniform doesn’t look right. The men highest on the conning tower have their arms wrapped around the #1 and #2 periscopes to hold on. In this seaway the submarine is probably rolling to a large degree.

The out of place person might be someone like Commodore Arthur Curtiss James of the New York City Yacht Club who was known to have struck up many friendships with numerous officers of submarines under construction at the Fore River Shipyard where his Bark rigged Auxiliary Yacht, Aloha was built. Owen Hill being one of them. Then again this may be someone entirely different. As was pointed out by Submarine Historian David Johnston: ". I really do think that the mystery [man] is a yacht club commodore and was just being given a courtesy joy ride. [A lot] of the commissioned officers in the Navy at that time came from Blue Blood families and a connection to a yacht club by the CO is a very real possibility."

The USS D-1 photographed at Key West, Florida circa 1918. There are 4 "four piper" destroyers moored behind. Based on the radio mast configurations and periscope spacing, the two subs inboard of the D-1 are most likely the E-1 and E-2. Barely seen on the far inside of the nest, right at the photo edge, is another D class submarine. There is a crew member, perhaps the topside watch, standing on the deck just aft of the after bridge cover support stanchion. The submarine is no doubt putting in a battery charge as she is running her port engine which seems to be the preferred engine for battery charges on these early boats. It, as well, was attached to the in-line air compressor used to fill the ships air flasks.

As explained in a photo above, the numbers 2 over 4 seen here are squadron and placement numbers and there are photos of the D-1 wearing the 2 over 4 designation, as did the D-2. Though not definitive, we are making the assumption this is the D-1. As submarines shifted home ports and squadrons these numbers would shift and change. A data base compiled for the year 1919 shows all the D and E craft stationed out of Key West in Submarine Division 2.

This photo is thought to be the USS D-2 leaving from Providence, Rhode Island and passing Conimicut Light at the mouth of the Providence River. On August 19, 1912 the D-2 is reported to have left Newport, RI and travelled to Providence. This photo is dated, on the back, as being September 7, 1912. The photo taker even signed his named to the picture as Anthony W. Robinson though he placed the location as Boston Harbor. We can find no evidence of a light house that looks like the one in this photo but comparisons with images of the Conimicut Light are a virtual match.

USS D-2 drawing showing the control rooms and batteries. The compartment is actually divided into two halves with a 60 cell battery in each section. The battery, a Modle 23-WL manufactured by: Electric Storage Battery Company, had a total capacity of 2,970 amp/hr at a 3 hour discharge rate. Beneath the batteries are the main and auxiliary ballast tanks as well as an auxiliary fuel tank. The ballast tanks hold 35½ tons of ballast water and the fuel tank carry's 1,362 gallons of gasoline or another 4.25 tons. The Adjusting Tank with 23c/f carries another 172 gallons or 1,371 pounds of sea water.

Above the deck compartment is divided by a bulkhead almost directly amidships. It sits just aft of the stern planes control wheel, seen in the center of this drawing. This section of the control room also contained sleeping accomodations for officers and the crews head in the forward starboard corner. In teh opposite port corner sat the gyro compass. Access to the bridge was in this section of this space just central to the stern plases control. Running across the bulkhead were the levers for opening and closing the kingstons valves for allowing water into the ballast tanks and Adjusting Tank.

USS D-2 Control Room showing the forward and after parts. The large circular object in the center is the bridge access trunk. Just the left of that is the central dividing bulkhead with a watertight door to starboard side, (bottom), this bulkhead divides the two battery compartments.

To the right or forward half of the control room are the stern planes control station to the port side, shown just above the bridge access trunk. Forward of that are lockers, the radio station and electrical supply panels. On the starboard side, (bottom), are the trim station and forward of that are the CO and XO bunks and the crews head forward of that.

USS D-2 Engine and Motor Room areas. The D Class subs were the last to be powered by Gasoline engines and the D-2 had two 300 Horse Power engines aft of the control room. In the forward art of the compartment is a deck access trunk. In the overhead flanking this trunk are two gravity tanks for fuel. Gasoline is pumped up to them and then any water in the fuel separates and sinks to the bottom of the tank and fuel is drawn off the top. These tanks are cleared of any settled water on a regular basis. Plus any dirt or other debris settle to the bottom of these tanks also. The electrical switch panel for the electric motor control is also in this area.

Under and outboard of the engines are high pressure air flasks used for blowing the ballast tanks and for rolling the engines over. Above the engines, seen as an angled line is the pressure hull of the submarine and shown above this line is one of the two mufflers for the engines.

Bingham, Donald C. - Lieutenant - age 27 - Born Alabama
Jewell, Joseph W. - Ensign - age 23 - Born New Hampshire
Stephens, William H. - Chief Gunners Mate - age 26 - Born Ireland
Burnett, Arthur F. - Gunners Mate 1Cl - age 24 - Born Massachusetts
Brooks, Lewis - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 25 - Born Ohio
Young, George S. - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 23 - Born Michigan
Rogers, James D. - Gunners Mate 3Cl - age 29 - Born Ohio
Garrison, George W. - Chief Machinists Mate - age 47 - Born Maryland
Singleton, Roy F. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 27 - Born Pennsylvania
Wright, Lawrence A. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 27 - Born New York
Drew, Walter H. - Machinists Mate 1Cl - age 29 - Born Massachusetts
Blackburn, George - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 22 - Born Pennsylvania
Doyle, Fred - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 37 - Born Rhode Island
Truse, Leo S. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 20 - Born Michigan
Thorpe, James E. - Machinists Mate 2Cl - age 21 - Born Pennsylvania
Daniels, James H. - Chief Electrician - age 27 - Born West Virginia
Gruber, Henry J. - Electrician 1Cl - age 23 - Born New York
Wilson, Elmer E. - Electrician 1Cl - age 26 - Born District of Columbia
Saunders, Sidney L. - Electrician 2Cl - age 23 - Born Massachusetts
Van Etter, Allan - Electrician 2Cl - age 22 - Born Ohio
Siedschlag, Harry M. - Gunners Mate 2Cl - age 23 - Born Michigan

The USS D-2 is seen in this photo wearing her "SS" hull number. Number 18. Behind her is the USS D-1 with her SS 17 number on her fairwater. There is a third submarine in the distance left, it could be the USS D-3 SS 19 but that can't be verified as the photo quality is too poor. The submarine is noted as to having this photo taken on the Thames River just off the Submarine Base. Time is circa 1920.

There are line handlers topside with heavies ready to toss to the pier or vessel she may be getting ready to moor to. Mooring lines are piled on the deck ready to be pulled to the mooring. There look to be a helmsman and an officer on the bridge. There does not look to be any engine exhaust so she is most likely answering bells on battery so she has access to her reverse gearing, which she is using. You can see the prop wash traveling forward along the hull.

Hull numbers were issued to all Navy ships in mid 1920 into 1921. Though these submarine were so designated they were destined to soon be mothballed within six months or so and be scrapped within a year. They had very little time to wear these new numbers.


Phase II oncology clinical trials are commonly carried out via non-randomized single-arm designs. In particular, Gehan’s two-stage single-arm design was perhaps the first design ever forwarded for phase II oncology trials [1]. In it, stage one is conducted to ascertain whether the regimen under study displays enough anti-cancer activity to justify further investigation, with this decision based upon whether at least one tumour response is observed amongst a small number of patients. Following the observation of at least one response, stage two is then constructed to try and ensure that the true response rate can be estimated to a certain precision.

Whilst Gehan’s design was once commonly utilised [2], it was later replaced as the typical approach to phase II trial conduct by two two-stage group sequential designs offered by Simon [3]. Importantly, the parameters of Simon’s designs are those which, amongst the parameter combinations that control the operating characteristics of a particular hypothesis test, minimise the expected sample size under a nominated uninteresting response rate, or minimise the trial’s maximal possible sample size. The simplicity of Simon’s designs, and their efficiency at weeding out inactive agents, has led to their evident sustained popularity [4–6].

Moreover, the fact that Simon’s designs are still commonly utilised has meant that developing methodology for their extension remains an active area of research. Several recent such presentations have focused upon a so-called flexible two-stage design framework that allows, in particular, the second stage sample size to be dependent on the number of responses observed in stage one [7–11]. Interestingly, these flexible designs therefore have parallels with Gehan’s once popular design, which also specifies the stage-two sample sizes in a response adaptive manner.

Ultimately, Gehan’s design fell out of common use because, unlike Simon’s designs, it provides no means of formally testing whether a regimen’s observed response rate is sufficiently large to warrant its further development [2]. That is, it affords no method for controlling a study’s type-I error-rate or power to a desired level. Indeed, the latest available figures on phase II oncology trials suggest Gehan’s approach is now used infrequently in comparison to Simon’s designs. Specifically, Langrand-Escure et al. (2017) [6] reviewed phase II clinical trials published in three top oncology journals between 2010 and 2015. They identified only six studies that utilised Gehan’s design. However, on our further inspection, only three of these articles cited Gehan’s paper. Therefore, to more accurately quantify how often Gehan’s design has been employed in recent years, we carried out a narrative literature review, ultimately finding evidence that Gehan’s design is being used more regularly than previous reviews suggest.

Specifically, we surveyed the 200 articles, according to Google Scholar, which have cited Gehan’s 1961 paper since January 1 2008. Additionally, we reviewed the 1872 articles on PubMed Central, with a publication date later than January 1 2008, that contained “Gehan" in any field. We found 52 papers that stated they had utilised either Gehan’s methodology, or a modified version of it, with many in high impact oncology journals. Further details of how this survey was conducted are provided in Additional files 1 and 2. Moreover, two of the articles found by Langrand-Escure et al. (2017) [6] were not identified in our search. Consequently, it is possible that substantially more published trials have utilised Gehan’s design in recent years than our narrative review suggests. And, of course, there may well be numerous unpublished trials that have utilised his approach, given that many studies remain unpublished [12], and as it has been argued previously, single-arm trials may be more susceptible to non-publication than their randomised counterparts because their small sample size leads to a perception that they have less intrinsic value [13].

Therefore, methods that improve Gehan’s original design, and provide further evidence on its statistical characteristics, are of value to the trials community. Here, our focus is on providing such methodology. Significantly, we describe how techniques for flexible two-stage single-arm trials can be used to incorporate hypothesis testing in to Gehan’s design. We further expound on how this test can be optimised in order to maximise its power. Following this, we describe modified approaches to specifying the second-stage sample sizes in Gehan’s design, in order to permit the design’s desired operating characteristics to be more commonly attained.

The primary motivation for our work is then to utilise our results to be able to present a thorough comparison of our modified versions of Gehan’s design to Simon’s designs. We achieve this based on two real trial examples, and discuss important considerations around the power of the designs, along with the precision to which they can estimate the response rate on trial conclusion. We conclude with a discussion of the potential scenarios in which our enhanced versions of Gehan’s design could be useful within the context of developing a novel treatment regime.

U.S. Army liberates Dachau concentration camp

On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division.

Established five weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as German chancellor in 1933, Dachau was situated on the outskirts of the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich. During its first year, the camp held about 5,000 political prisoners, consisting primarily of German communists, Social Democrats, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During the next few years, the number of prisoners grew dramatically, and other groups were interned at Dachau, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma peoples, homosexuals and repeat criminals. Beginning in 1938, Jews began to comprise a major portion of camp internees.

Prisoners at Dachau were used as forced laborers, initially in the construction and expansion of the camp and later for German armaments production. The camp served as the training center for SS concentration camp guards and was a model for other Nazi concentration camps. Dachau was also the first Nazi camp to use prisoners as human guinea pigs in medical experiments. At Dachau, Nazi scientists tested the effects of freezing and changes to atmospheric pressure on inmates, infected them with malaria and tuberculosis and treated them with experimental drugs, and forced them to test methods of making seawater potable and of halting excessive bleeding. Hundreds of prisoners died or were crippled as a result of these experiments.

Thousands of inmates died or were executed at Dachau, and thousands more were transferred to a Nazi extermination center near Linz, Austria, when they became too sick or weak to work. In 1944, to increase war production, the main camp was supplemented by dozens of satellite camps established near armaments factories in southern Germany and Austria. These camps were administered by the main camp and collectively called Dachau.

With the advance of Allied forces against Germany in April 1945, the Germans transferred prisoners from concentration camps near the front to Dachau, leading to a general deterioration of conditions and typhus epidemics. On April 27, 1945, approximately 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to begin a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee, far to the south. The next day, many of the SS guards abandoned the camp. On April 29, the Dachau main camp was liberated by units of the 45th Infantry after a brief battle with the camp’s remaining guards.

As they neared the camp, the Americans found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies in various states of decomposition. Inside the camp there were more bodies and 30,000 survivors, most severely emaciated. Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. It is officially reported that 30 SS guards were killed in this fashion, but conspiracy theorists have alleged that more than 10 times that number were executed by the American liberators. The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.

D-2 Grayling (SS-18) - History

USS S-28 (SS-133), lost off Oahu, Hawaii, on July 4, 1944

The following American submarines have been lost since 1900, listed chronologically by date of loss. When the date of loss is not precisely known, a "best guess" date is given. See also our Lost Submarines by Month page.

The "Men Lost" column below lists only the number of men who died as a result of the sinking, including passengers (civilians, foreign nationals, and Army personnel), as well as men who later died as POWs. These figures do not include men lost in events that occured prior to the loss of the vessels. However, those men are included with their shipmates on the pages for the individual submarines linked to below.

If the numbers of men lost as shown on this page appear to conflict with those found on other sources, please see our Discrepancies in Numbers of Lost Submariners page for further information.

Please view the "Additional Losses" pages for listings of men were lost while serving on vessels that were not sunk. The 26 men who died on USS Bass (SS-164) are listed on an individual page.

*One man was killed by enemy gunfire 12 days before the boat was lost on the same patrol. If he is included, the number of men lost with Amberjack would be 73.

A case could be made for including a number of other submarines on this list:

"USS" Alligator (Civil War - never actually commissioned) - under tow and unmanned, set adrift in a storm and presumed to have sunk near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on April 2, 1863.

H. L. Hunley (Civil War) - Confederate submarine - lost 21 men in three sinkings, the last of which occured on February 17, 1864, in Charleston, South Carolina, outer harbor.

USS D-2 (SS-18) (formerly Grayling) - sank at pierside with all hands aboard at New London, Connecticut, on September 14, 1917. Her entire crew was rescued. She was refloated, repaired, and returned to service.

ex-USS G-2 (SS-22) - decommissioned vessel that sank in Long Island Sound as a test vehicle on July 30, 1919. Three men lost.

USS R-6 (SS-83) - sank at San Pedro, California, due to a malfunction in one of her torpedo tubes on September 26, 1921. She was refloated on October 13, 1921, and returned to service. Two men, John Edward Dreffein and Frank Amzi Spalsbury, were lost.

S-48 (SS-159) (pre-commissioning) - sank in Long Island Sound during builder's trials by flooding through a ballast tank manhole cover on December 7, 1921. All aboard escapred through a torpedo tube. The boat was commissioned on October 14, 1922. No men lost.

USS S-38 (SS-143) - sank in Anchorage Bay, Alaska, alongside the tender USS Ortolan on July 17, 1923, when a crew member removed a valve cover, flooding the motor room. No men lost.

ex-USS R-8 (SS-85) - decommissioned vessel that sank at her moorings in Philadelphia on February 26, 1936. No men lost. She was later raised and used as a target.

USS Bass (SS-164) - used in limited capacity after the fire that killed 26 of her crew on August 17, 1942.

ex-USS S-49 (SS-160) - decommissioned vessel that was apparently reacquired by the Navy about 1941, "as equipment," for use in experimental work at the Naval Mine Warfare Proving Ground, Solomons, Maryland. Shortly after being towed to Solomons from Baltimore, the former S-49 foundered off Point Patience in the Patuxent River on December 16, 1942 and sank in 102 feet of water. No men lost.

USS Salmon (SS-182) - used in limited capacity after her eleventh war patrol (September 24-November 3, 1944) due to severe damage from enemy action. No men lost.

USS Halibut (SS-232) - used in limited capacity after her 10th war patrol (October 8-November 19, 1944) due to severe damage from enemy action. No men lost.

ex-USS S-37 (SS-142) - decommissioned vessel that was intended to be sunk as a target off San Diego, California. On February 20, 1945, she broke her tow cable and sank in 50 to 60 feet of water. Three days later, a salvage attempt failed, and she sank in shallow water off Imperial Beach, California. No men lost.

USS Lancetfish (SS-296) - flooded through an aft torpedo tube and sank on March 15, 1945. She was raised eight days later and decommissioned March 24, 1945. She was in commission for only 41 days. No men lost.

ex-USS R-1 (SS-78) - decommissioned vessel in Key West, Florida, that sank in shallow water on February 21, 1946. She was raised and sold for scrap on March 13, 1946. No men lost.

ex-USS Tarpon (SS-175) - was decommissioned on November 15, 1945, and then served as a training vessel for the 8th Naval District. She was sold for scrap on June 8, 1957. She foundered south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, while being towed to the scrap yard on August 26, 1957. No men lost.

USS Chopper (SS-342) - service life shortened after suffering damage in an uncontrolled dive and ascent on February 11, 1969. No men lost.

Guitarro (SSN-665) (pre-commissioning) - sank at the pier at Mare Island Naval Shipyard due to a combination of unfortunate actions by shipyard workers on May 15, 1969. No men lost. The incident delayed her commissioning until September 9, 1972.

ex-USS Bugara (SS-331) - sank while under tow to be used as a target near Cape Flattery, Washington, on June 1, 1971. No men lost.

USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610/SSN-610) - service life shortened after suffering damage in a collision with USS Leftwich (DD-984) on November 29, 1982. No men lost.

USS Nathanael Greene (SSBN-636) - decommissioned instead of being repaired after a grounding on March 13, 1986, to conform to SALT agreement. No men lost.

USS Bonefish (SS-582) - declared a functional loss after suffering a fire on April 24, 1988. Three men lost, listed on "Additional Losses - Post-WWII."

USS Baton Rouge (SSN-689) - service life shortened after suffering damage in a collision with a Russian submarine on February 11, 1992. No men lost.

USS Miami (SSN-755) - decommissioned instead of being repaired after suffering a fire on May 23, 2012. No men lost.

Former U.S. submarines lost while serving in Foreign Navies

Polish ORP Jastrząb, formerly British RMS P.551, and formerly USS S-25 (SS-130) - scuttled after being badly damaged by friendly fire from HNoMS St. Albans and HMS Seagull on May 2, 1942. Five men lost.

British RMS P.514, formerly USS R-19 (SS-96) - rammed and sunk by the Canadian Navy minesweeper HMCS Georgian on June 21, 1942. All hands (at least 37 men) lost.

Turkish Dumlupinar (D-6), formerly USS Blower (SS-325), lost in collision with MV Naboland on April 4, 1953. Ninty-four men lost.

Pakistani PNS Ghazi, formerly USS Diablo (SS-479) - sank under mysterious circumstances on December 4, 1971. Ninty-two men lost.

Peruvian BAP Pacocha (SS-48), formerly USS Atule (SS-403) - accidentally rammed and sunk by Japanese fishing trawler Kyowa Maru on August 26, 1988. Eight men lost.

Missile Types

Missile Class Range News
Avangard HGV 6,000+ km In development
SSC-8 (9M729) GLCM 2,500 km Operational
Kinzhal ALBM 1,500-2,000 km Operational
Kh-101 / Kh-102 ALCM 2,500-2,800 km Operational
RS-26 Rubezh ICBM/IRBM 2,000-5,800 km In development
SS-20 "Saber" IRBM 5,000 km Obsolete
RS-28 Sarmat ICBM 10,000+ km In development
SS-N-6 (R-27) "Serb" SLBM 2,400-3,200 km Obsolete
SS-N-27 "Sizzler" ASCM 220-300 km Operational
SS-N-26 “Strobile” ASCM 300 km Operational
SS-26 “Iskander” SRBM 500 km Operational
SS-21 “Tochka” SRBM 70-120 km Operational
SS-1 “Scud” SRBM 190-550 km Obsolete
SS-N-30A “Kalibr” LACM 1,500-2,500 km Operational
SS-18 “Satan” ICBM 10,200-16,000 km Operational
SS-N-21 “Sampson” (RK-55) Cruise Missile 2,400-3,000 km Operational
Kh-55 ALCM 2,500 km Operational
SS-N-23 “Skiff” SLBM 11,000 km Operational
SS-27 “Topol-M” ICBM 11,000 km Operational
SS-N-18 “Stingray” SLBM 6,500 km Operational
SS-25 “Topol” ICBM 10,500-11,000 km Operational
SS-19 “Stiletto" ICBM 10,000 km Operational
RS-24 Yars ICBM 10,500 km Operational
SS-N-32 “Bulava” SLBM 8,300 km Operational

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D-2 Grayling (SS-18) - History

The 18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Horst Wessel was formed around a cadre from 1. SS-Infanterie-Brigade (mot) and included mainly Hungarian volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) from the Banat.
Elements of the division was used for anti-partisan duties in Croatia during training until June 1944 while the rest was in Hungary where the division took part in the occupation of Hungary.
Elements of it fought against the Slovak uprising in September and October 1944 as SS-Kampfgruppe Schäfer but it was not until one month later the division fought as a whole unit for the first time, this was against the Red Army south of Budapest.
It later fought in Silesia and Bohemia with the survivors surrendering to Czech and Soviet forces at the end of the war.

The SS-Kampfgruppe Riepe was formed in April 1945 from replacement soldiers for the Horst Wessel division with the additions of Estonians from 20. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS. It was commanded by SS-Sturmbannführer Julius Riepe and fought the Red Army in Silesia and Sudetenland.

Known war crimes

On 28 September 1944 captured eight Jews near Stara Cernova and handed them over to the divisions Feldgendarmerie for "special handling". (1)


18. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division (Jan 1944)
18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Horst Wessel (Jan 1944 - May 1945)


SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Trabant (25 Jan 1944 - 3 Jan 1945)
SS-Gruppenführer Josef Fitzthum (3 Jan 1945 - 10 Jan 1945)
SS-Oberführer Georg Bochmann (10 Jan 1945 - ? Mar 1945)
SS-Standartenführer Heinrich Petersen (? Mar 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Chief of Operations (Ia)

Major i.G./SS-Sturmbannführer Erich Wulf (20 Dec 1943 - 15 June 1944)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Erich Stüber 15 June 1944 - 20 July 1944)
Hauptmann Schneider (20 July 1944 - 25 July 1944)
SS-Sturmbannführer Emil Stürzbecher (25 July 1944 - 25 Aug 1944)
Major i.G. Günther H. Wind (25 Aug 1944 - ? May 1945)

Quartermaster (Ib)

SS-Obersturmbannführer Heinrich-August Barner
SS-Hauptsturmführer Helmut Meyer

Chief Intelligence Officer (Ic)

SS-Hauptsturmführer Erich Stüber

Chief Personnel Officer (IIa)

SS-Sturmbannführer Alois Eckmayr

Judge Advocate (III)

Chief Administrative Officer (IVa)

SS-Sturmbannführer Hans-Michael Schottes

Chief Medical Officer (IVb)

SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Albrecht Wiehler

Area of operations

Hungary (Jan 1944 - July 1944)
Eastern front, central sector (July 1944 - Oct 1944)
Poland & Czechoslovakia (Oct 1944 - May 1945)

Manpower strength

30 June 1944 8.530
20 Sep 1944 10.063
Dec 1944 11.000

Honor titles

Horst Wessel (9 Oct. 1907 – 23 Feb. 1930) was a Berlin SAleader who was killed in an actually non-politically motivated incident, but was nonetheless stylized as one of the Nazi’s most important “martyrs”. (He also wrote the lyrics of the Nazi party’s “anthem”, which was thus named the “Horst-Wessel-Lied”.) This name was chosen as the division was originally intended to recruit heavily from the SA, but since it was raised as late as 1944, when most of the physically fit SA men of appropriate age for military service had already been drafted by or had volunteered for the armed forces and also due to general hostilities between the SA and the SS, not nearly enough of them were available. Some sources state that Hitler urged Himmler to name an SS unit after Horst Wessel, especially since the Army and the Air Force had already done so, but that Himmler was somewhat less than enthusiastic about the idea.

Horst Wessel on parade in Nuremberg 1929

(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (1)
- Wiehler, Dr. Albrecht, 05.02.1945 (5223), SS-Obersturmbannführer, 18. SS-Frw.Pz.Gren.Div. “Horst Wesel
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (21)
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (5)
- Fitzner, Hermann, 05.03.1945, SS-Oberscharführer, 2./SS-Flak-Abt. 18
- Henschel, Boris, 25.12.1944, SS-Obersturmführer, 1./SS-Art.Rgt. 18
- Jakobi, Alois, 15.02.1945, SS-Oberscharführer, 6./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 39
- Riepe, Julius, 25.10.1944, SS-Hauptsturmführer, I./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 40
- Trabandt, Wilhelm, 15.02.1945, SS-Oberführer, 18. SS-Frw.Pz.Gren.Div. “Horst Wessel”
Holders of the Knight's Cross (3)
- Bochmann, Georg [140. Sw] 30.03.1945 SS-Standartenführer Führer 18. SS-Frw-Pz.Gren.Div "Horst Wessel"
- Lipinski, Hans 02.01.1945 SS-Obersturmführer d.R. Führer 1./ SS-Flak.Abt 18
- Riepe, Julius 13.01.1945 SS-Sturmbannführer Führer I./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt 40

Order of battle

SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 39 (SS-Standartenführer Heinrich Petersen, SS-Sturmbannführer Karl Hoffmann)
- I. Btl. (SS-Hauptsturmführer Ernst Hoyer, SS-Hauptsturmführer Ernst Meyer)
- II. Btl. (SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Herwegh)
- III. Btl. (SS-Sturmbannführer Josef Schumacher)
SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 40 (SS-Obersturmbannführer Ernst Schäfer)
- I. Btl. (SS-Sturmbannführer Julius Riepe)
- II. Btl. (SS-Sturmbannführer Herbert Teufel)
- III. Btl. (SS-Sturmbannführer Kurt Prochaska)
SS-Artillerie-Regiment 18 (SS-Standartenführer Hans Blume)
- I. Abt. (SS-Sturmbannführer Karl Hoffmann)
- II. Abt. (SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Köhler)
- III. Abt. (SS-Hauptsturmführer Herbert Zeder)
- IV. Abt. (SS-Sturmbannführer Alfred Förster)
SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 18 (SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Sonne, SS-Hauptsturmführer Claus von Fehrentheil, SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Wagner)
SS-Panzer-Abteilung 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Lorenz Baier, SS-Hauptsturmführer Franz Wunsch)
SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Fritz Neubert)
SS-Flak-Abteilung 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Dr. Albert Warninghoff, SS-Sturmbannführer Günther Karnitzky)
SS-Nachrichten-Abteilung 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Walter Behn)
SS-Pionier-Bataillon 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Peter Fink, SS-Obersturmbannführer Wolf Griebner)
SS-Verwaltungstruppen-Abteilung 18
SS-Wirtschafts-Bataillon 18
SS-Nachschub-Truppen 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Konrad Zahn)
SS-Instandsetzungs-Abteilung 18 (SS-Sturmbannführer Willi Schmid)
SS-Feldgendarmerie-Abteilung 18
SS-Feldersatz-Bataillon 18 (SS-Hauptsturmführer Paul Liebermann)
SS-Sanitäts-Abteilung 18 (SS-Obersturmbannführer Wieprecht, SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Wiehler)

Officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen and Concentration Camps

Concentration Camps 7
Einsatzgruppen 1
(includes officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen or Concentration Camps either prior to or after service in this unit)


The tactical marking of the division was the SA symbol.

The "Horst Wessel" cuff title was authorized for this unit.

(Courtesy of The Ruptured Duck)

A collar tab with SA runes was manufactured but most likely not issued.

(Courtesy of The Ruptured Duck)


1. "Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes" by James Pontolillo, page 137.

Sources used

John R. Angolia - Cloth insignia of the SS
Mark W.A. Axworthy - Axis Slovakia: Hitler's Slavic Wedge 1938-1945
Georges M. Croisier - Waffen-SS (PDF)
Terry Goldsworthy - Valhalla's Warriors: A history of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945
Steve Kane - Waffen-SS Forces in the Balkans: A checklist (in World War II Journal, Vol 7)
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
Charles K. Kliment & Bretislav Nakládal - Germany's First Ally: Armed forces of the Slovak state 1939-1945
Richard Landwehr - Emergency Battle-Groups of the Waffen-SS, part I (in Siegrunen, No 79)
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
James Pontolillo - Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes
Marc J. Rikmenspoel - Waffen-SS Encyclopedia
James C. Steuard - Tactical Markings of the Waffen-SS, Part III (in AFV News Vol 3, No 3)
Frank Thayer - SS Foreign volunteer collar insignia and their reporductions (in The Military Advisor, Vol 4 No 2)
Wilhelm Tieke & Friedrich Rebstock - Im letzten Aufgebot: Die 18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Horst Wessel
Gordon Williamson & Thomas McGuirl - German military cuffbands 1784-present
Gordon Williamson - The Waffen-SS: 11. to 23. Divisions
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference material on this unit

Wilhelm Tieke & Friedrich Rebstock - Im letzten Aufgebot: Die 18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Horst Wessel

Fly Quality

Walking out of a relatively noted fly shop along a fairly famous river, I glance down at the few dozen Missing Link Caddis, Hippie Stompers and Dust Bunnies and I ponder why are there nearly two C-notes sitting in the palm of my hand? It is mid-June, I have some hope and collective reports from various underground resources the drakes are going down tonight- but where? South? North? Main stream? Who knows. All I know is the four dozen Hairy Drakes I stashed away from Jerry Regan after the Midwest Expo have a date with destiny on some silky smooth water only to be interrupted by voracious explosions from recently rejected Mr Brown. Am I the only one who wonders what makes a quality fly and why do we pay $30 per dozen for a good fly? I decided to dig deeper.

We need to look at the basics. Hook and material. I called up Josh Graffam, recently promoted Sales Manager for Umpqua Feather Merchants, and asked “What makes your flies worth the platinum pricing?”

Josh responded -“There are a few things that set our flies apart, one the of the most important is the hook. We tie exclusively on Tiemco or in a few cases, signature tiers request a specialty hook that’s unique to their pattern. We also take great care in sourcing and high grading materials so that our factories are provided with the very best components which in turn creates the highest quality commercially tied flies. With over 200 signature tiers featured in our lineup, we have one of the most diverse and comprehensive selections available in fly shops around the world.”

This leads to the second part of fly choice- design. Who is coming up with the latest patterns? What makes them work? I met Charlie Craven over a sales meeting last year and he had some great insight, being not only a signature tyer but also a shop owner. “It’s about darn time fly prices went up. Fly prices have been stuck in the eighties for decades, literally. The amount of time and work that goes into creating & testing a pattern is often a lot longer than most think. If you can produce a quality fly that fishes well cheaper than what a company has been doing for 40 years, by all means, go ahead.” Most guys don’t sit down and put materials on a hook via mystical formula and voila- the Next Copper John is born. Generally, a fly is born out of a need, and deeper inspiration often evolves from time on the water. Then scratches on paper, time at the vise, time on the water, more time back at the vise, sometimes, professional tyers like Mr. Craven let a pattern soak for some time and then come back to it with improvements or revisions. “Great patterns must be durable, effective, problem solving fish catchers.” – Mr Craven interjects.

Take the Missing Link Caddis for example. Mike Mercer had been catching fish all day and later in the evening watched a pod of rising fish on the Lower Sacramento River. After throwing a variety of caddis and coming up empty handed, he whipped up a few ‘dries’ to try out. They had a flashabou tinsel wrapped softex body to hang below the surface and split ‘V’ wing made of Z-lon, and they worked!! Today, a well tied Missing Link Caddis in olive green and red can fool many a trout feeding on emergers of a variety of caddis and other bugs. All of these innovative tyers get a small portion of fly sales when you purchase a royalty fly from their appropriate company.

So what does it really matter? I could buy a dozen El Cheapo Zoo Cougars from Big “X” Fly Company for half of what many other brand companies offer. They can sell them cheaper because they are. Hooks and materials can be substandard, like not really tungsten when advertised they are. Often they won’t swim properly. IF they catch a fish, they won’t last for more than one. They are not paying royalties to Mr, Galloup. I heard a story from an angler who broke 4 stonefly nymphs on a couple browns in the same day. He claimed they were a size #10, and I wondered if he was snagged into the bottom more than a fish, but he insisted he felt the fish break the hook. I then questioned his leader choice. He was using #12 maxima. Be sure to match proper tippet size to hook size in the event you hook an immovable object, your leader will give and not the hook. The hooks may have been compromised, but since they were purchased from a Big Box Outdoor retailer, it would be unlikely all the flies in the bin were of the same origin. You are the consumer and have the power to request the name of the company your favorite fly shop gets a majority of their flies. Since fly shops generate nearly 30% of annual sales from those little buggers of marabou and rubber legs. Many shops employ their off season shop jockeys to fill bins of regionally exclusive flies like Borchers Drakes because Big Fly can’t or won’t do them justice. A good fly shop will mix batches between three reputable fly manufacturers in the event of a weather or shipping related incident, they won’t be without Purple Haze or Meat Whistles for summer rush. You can also do your own due diligence and blind order a dozen Stimulators from three separate companies and see how they compare. Be sure to look closely at the hackle, how many wraps of body hackle and head wraps. Are they symmetrical? Consistent? Is the head wrapped and cemented? Do the same with your favorite nymph pattern- Prince Nymph, Bead Head Hares Ear, or Copper John. Dissect the results and see how the flies stack up from the bottom to the top. Some companies will take the short road and wrap less lead on nymphs or use a lighter metal for bead-heads so they don’t get to desired depth as fast as other nymphs might.

We as fly anglers are a tedious lot. We spend our money on fancy waders with zippers, the latest in carbon fiber fast action rods and light composite reels upwards of thousand dollars, yet we scrimp on the one thing that actually has us connected to the trout we seek. If you are willing to spend the money on all the external items in fly angling, is a ninety cent fly worth risking a record trout on? The next time you are sitting on that log waiting for that brown drake hatch to occur, the very same hatch you dreamt of all winter and only have two nights a year to capitalize on a trout worthy of bragging rights over morning coffee, make sure the fly you chose is worthy of its adversary.

Tom and Rod had great day looking for trout at every bend.

The Eastland Disaster Killed More Passengers Than the Titanic and the Lusitania. Why Has It Been Forgotten?

At 7:18 a.m. on July 24, 1915, the crew of the Great Lakes excursion steamer Eastland prepared for that morning's journey and hauled in its gangplank, forcing a tardy passenger to leap aboard from the wharf along the Chicago River.

Despite the cool, damp weather, 2,573 passengers and crew crowded aboard the Eastland, the atmosphere festive. The latecomer, E.W. Sladkey, headed to the promenade deck to join coworkers from the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works factory in nearby Cicero. The Eastland was one of five vessels chartered to carry Western Electric workers and their families on a day-long outing from downtown Chicago to a park 38 miles across Lake Michigan to the southeast. More than 7,000 tickets had been sold.

Among those aboard the Eastland were George Sindelar, a Western Electric foreman, with his wife and five children. James Novotny, a company cabinetmaker, accompanied his wife and their two children. Anna Quinn, 22, and her neighbor and fellow Western Electric clerk Caroline Homolka, 16, had chosen their outfits carefully, for this was the social event of the year for many of the young workers—not only a rare Saturday break in the manufacturing and assembling telephone equipment, but also an opportunity to meet other eligible singles.

The Eastland was the first boat scheduled to leave, and employees had been encouraged to get there early. By a few minutes after 7 a.m., men, women and children were boarding at the rate of 50 per minute, with two federal inspectors keeping careful count, per normal practice. The Eastland was licensed to carry 2,500 passengers plus crew. As a steady drizzle began to fall, many of the women, especially those with young children, took refuge below decks. In the main cabin, a band played for dancing on the upper deck, passengers jostled to find seats or leaned against the railing, calling out to arriving friends.

As the Eastland filled with passengers between 7:10 and 7:15 a.m., it began to list to port, away from the wharf. The movement didn't seem to alarm the partygoers, but it caught the attention of the harbormaster and some other observers on land. By the time Sladkey made his last-minute leap, however, the 275-foot-long boat had righted itself, if only briefly.

At 7:23, it listed even further to port. Water poured through the open gangways into the engine room. The crew there, realizing what was about to happen, scrambled up a ladder to the main deck. 

At 7:28 a.m., the Eastland listed to a 45-degree angle. The piano on the promenade deck rolled to the port wall, almost crushing two women a refrigerator slid to port, pinning a woman or two beneath it. Water poured into open portholes in the cabins below deck. The most deadly shipwreck in Great Lakes history—a calamity that would take more passenger lives than the sinking of the Titanic or the Lusitania—was under way.

Few, if any, of the passengers boarding that day noticed that the Eastland carried a full complement of lifeboats, life rafts and life preservers. It was in compliance with the law. And that created a serious hazard.

The 1912 sinking of the Titanic gave rise to a "lifeboats-for-all" movement among international marine safety officials. In the United States, Congress passed a bill requiring lifeboats to accommodate 75 percent of a vessel's passengers, and in March, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed what became known as the LaFollette Seaman's Act.

During the debate over the bill, the general manager of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company had warned that some Great Lakes vessels, with their shallow drafts, "would turn 'turtle' if you attempted to navigate them with this additional weight on the upper decks." Too few legislators listened.  

By July, 1915, the Eastland, which had been designed to carry six lifeboats, was carrying 11 lifeboats, 37 life rafts (about 1,100 pounds each) and enough life jackets (about six pounds apiece) for all 2,570 passengers and crew. Most were stowed on the upper decks. No tests were conducted to determine how the additional weight affected the boat's stability—even though it already had a troubled history.

The Eastland was built in 1902 to carry 500 people for lake excursions and to haul produce on the return trips to Chicago. The boat had no keel, was top-heavy and relied on poorly designed ballast tanks in the hold to keep it upright. Repeated modifications increased the vessel's speed and passenger capacity—and made it less stable.

"It was said of her that she behaved like a bicycle, being unstable when loading or unloading but stable when under way," wrote transportation historian and economist George W. Hilton, whose 1995 book, Eastland: Legacy of the Titanic, provides a meticulous investigation. Safety inspectors focused only on the Eastland's performance while underway, and the boat routinely was certified as safe.

In July 1904, the boat nearly capsized with 3,000 people aboard. Two years later, it listed heavily with 2,530 passengers onboard. The Eastland soon developed a reputation as unsafe, a "hoodoo boat," in the slang of the day. "The passengers appeared to recognize the potential dangers of the ship better than the management or the inspectors did," Hilton wrote.

Indeed, an official of the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company, which bought the Eastland for $150,000 in 1914, testified at a coroner’s inquest a few days after the accident, "I didn’t know much about the boat except that we got it at a bargain. All I do is sign blank checks."

Critical to a boat's stability is what is known as its metacentric height. Floating objects are like an upside-down pendulum, with a center of gravity and the ability to roll, or heel, to either side before righting itself. The distance between fully upright and the maximum heel—the point beyond which it will capsize— is its metacentric height.

Referring to the Eastland, Hilton wrote: “For such a ship, where the distribution of passengers was highly variable, normal practice would have been to provide a metacentric height of two to four feet, fully loaded.”

Changes made to the Eastland before July 24 had reduced its metacentric height to four inches.

Within two minutes after it listed 45 degrees to port, it rolled over, as reporter Carl Sandburg wrote for the International Socialist Review, “like a dead jungle monster shot through the heart.”

Small boats attempt to rescue survivors gathered on the exposed side of the excursion boat SS Eastland which overturned in the Chicago River. (© CORBIS)

By 7:30 a.m., the Eastland was lying on its side in 20 feet of murky water, still tied to the dock. The vessel rolled so quickly, there was no time to launch the lifesaving equipment. As the boat settled on its side, many passengers simply climbed over the starboard railing and walked across the exposed hull to safety, never even getting their feet wet. Sladkey was one of them. So was the Eastland's captain, Harry Pedersen.

They were among the lucky ones.

"When the boat toppled on its side those on the upper deck were hurled off like so many ants being brushed from a table," wrote Harlan Babcock, a reporter for the Chicago Herald. "In an instant, the surface of the river was black with struggling, crying, frightened, drowning humanity. Wee infants floated about like corks."

About 10,000 people were milling about the riverfront that day—grocery and poultry merchants, their customers, Western Electric workers waiting to board other ships. Horrified onlookers raced to the rescue, some jumping into the river. (According to one account, a man contemplating suicide at the river's edge jumped in and began saving lives.) Others threw whatever they could grab to provide flotation for those struggling in the water, including boards, ladders and wooden chicken crates. Some of the crates struck passengers in the water, knocking them out and putting them under. Parents clutched children and disappeared together beneath the brown water—or lost their grip and watched their children sink out of sight. "God, the screaming was terrible, it's ringing in my ears yet," a warehouse worker told a reporter.

Helen Repa, a Western Electric nurse on her way to the outing, heard the screaming from blocks away. The trolley she was riding in came to a halt in traffic. When a mounted policeman told her an excursion boat had overturned, Repa assumed it was one of the boats chartered for the picnic. Dressed in her nurse's uniform, she hopped onto the rear step of a passing ambulance. "People were struggling in the water, clustered so thickly that they covered the surface of the river," she would recall. "The screaming was the most horrible of all."

When she arrived at the riverfront, Repa scrambled onto the Eastland's hull and saw passengers being hauled out of the river and others being dragged through portholes. Many were cut and bleeding. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, which quickly was overwhelmed. Repa directed a hospital employee to telephone Marshall Field & Company, the department store, for 500 blankets. Then she called restaurants and asked for hot soup and coffee to be delivered to the hospital.

As survivors made it to the dock, Repa decided to send the less injured home. "I would simply go out into the street, stop the first automobile that came along, load it up with people, and tell the owner or driver where to take them," she later wrote. "And not one driver said no."

By 8 a.m., almost all of the survivors had been pulled from the river. Then came the gruesome task of locating and removing bodies.

"The crowding and confusion were terrible," Repa wrote. Rescuers, emergency personnel and curious onlookers flocked to the scene. By noon, divers and rescue workers finally reached bodies that had been trapped underwater in the portside cabins. "After that time all the bodies that came up seemed to be women and children," Repa recalled.

Seven priests arrived to hear confessions or administer last rites. "There was little work for them," one reporter wrote. "The results of the Eastland's somersault could be phrased in two words—living or dead."

Stretcher-bearers traversed the hull as bodies were lifted out. "I wondered dully why they waited for stretchers at all," wrote Gretchen Krohn in the New York Times. "All the bodies carried past were so rigid that poles to carry them by seemed superfluous and the pitiful shortness of most of them." Sometimes, she continued, "they had to put two bodies on the same stretcher. Death had so tightened that final parting embrace." Because of a shortage of ambulances, American Express Company trucks were enlisted to transport bodies.

As news of the disaster spread rapidly through the city, families of Western Electric workers now feared the worst. Young Blanche Homolka and Alice Quinn, whose older sisters had left early that morning in high spirits, waited for hours at a streetcar stop, watching as passengers disembarked, their clothing muddy and disheveled. They waited in vain Caroline Homolka and Anna Quinn were among the dead.

As the casualties mounted, the nearby Second Regiment Armory was converted to a morgue. Corpses were placed in rows of 85 as the identification process began. Just before midnight, the public was admitted, 20 at a time, to look for family members. The morbidly curious elbowed their way in as well, along with some thieves who stole jewelry from the bodies.

When Chicagoans awoke on Sunday, the magnitude of the disaster was nowhere more apparent than in the close-knit Polish, Czech and Hungarian communities near the Hawthorne Works in Cicero. House after house was draped in black crepe and families sat in mourning.

Just 10 weeks earlier, the Lusitania had been torpedoed and sunk, with a death toll of 785 passengers. In 1912, 829 passengers had died aboard the Titanic (plus 694 crewmembers). Both of those disasters took place on the high seas.

After the Eastland rolled, 844 passengers died on a sluggish urban river, 20 feet from the dock. Seventy percent of them were under the age of 25.

Victims of the Eastland Ship Disaster in Chicago. Photograph, 1915. (© Bettmann/CORBIS)

An estimated 500,000 people arrived to view the disaster scene, crowding onto bridges and the river's edge. Boat owners charged 10 or 15 cents to ferry the curious past. Newspapers around the country gave the story front-page coverage for days.

On Wednesday, July 28, Chicago was a city of funerals. So many were scheduled that there were not enough hearses. Marshall Field & Company provided 39 trucks. Fifty-two gravediggers, working 12 hours a day, couldn't keep up with the demand. Nearly 150 graves had to be dug at the Bohemian National Cemetery alone. By day's end, almost 700 Eastland victims had been buried.

Among them were the seven members of the Sindelar family: George, the Western Electric foreman his wife, Josephine, and their five children, ages 15 to 3. Their white caskets arrived at the service stacked precariously on the back of a Model T Ford.

By July 29, all of the bodies lying in the armory morgue had been claimed except one, a boy identified only as Number 396, who had been nicknamed "Little Feller" by police and morgue workers. The body was taken to a funeral home, where two children recognized him as their friend Willie Novotny, age 7. He had lain unclaimed because his parents—James, the cabinetmaker, and his mother, Agnes, had died on the Eastland along with his 9-year-old sister, Mamie.

Novotny's grandmother confirmed the identification when she took a new pair of brown knickerbockers to the authorities. "If it’s Willie, he’s got pants like these," she said. "It was a new suit he went to the picnic in, and two pairs of pants came with it. These are the others."

"'Little Feller' now has a name," reported the Chicago Daily Tribune.

When the Novotnys were buried, on July 31, more than 5,000 people attended. The funeral procession stretched more for than a mile.

Affixing blame for the accident began immediately. Eastland Captain Harry Pedersen, chief engineer Joseph Erickson and other crewmembers were taken into custody on Saturday—in part to protect them from the angry crowd that had gathered at the scene.

Within three days of the accident, seven inquiries were underway. Cook County officials asserted their jurisdiction immediately. After interviewing witnesses and crewmembers, County Attorney Maclay Hoyne told reporters: "The United States [Steamboat] Inspection Service is directly responsible for this disaster. Now is the time to inspect the inspectors. Chicago. should demand that and nothing else.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary William C. Redfield, dispatched to Chicago by President Wilson, seized the Eastland, enlisting the help of U.S. District Judge (and future major-league baseball commissioner) Kenesaw Mountain Landis, in whose courtroom federal proceedings would be heard.

Despite the haste, it would take 24 years to conclude litigation related to the Eastland disaster.

In the end, blame was pinned largely on Erickson, the chief engineer, for mismanaging the ballast tanks in the hold to right the Eastland before it capsized. Erickson, who initially was represented by Clarence Darrow, died as the proceedings dragged on. That made him—in the view of Hilton, the historian who analyzed thousands of pages of maritime and legal documents about the Eastland disaster—a convenient fall guy.

Although evidence strongly suggested that Pedersen had been negligent, he was not prosecuted. Nor were officers of the steamship company. All criminal charges were dropped and the owners avoided any legal finding of negligence.

The blame, Hilton concluded, rested in a poorly designed boat that had been rendered top-heavy as a result of the post-Titanic safety measures.

Civil lawsuits to resolve more than 800 wrongful-death claims dragged on for two decades. Maritime law limited liability to the value of the Eastland, set at $46,000. Claims filed by the salvage company hired to tow the vessel from the accident scene and the coal company that supplied fuel took precedence. In the end, victims and families received little or nothing.

Ted Wachholz, president of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society, has a theory on why the Eastland looms so much smaller in the American memory that the Titanic or the Lusitania: "There wasn't anyone rich or famous onboard," said Wachholz. "It was all hardworking, salt-of-the-earth immigrant families."

Eastland: The Legacy of the Titanic, by George W. Hilton (Stanford University Press, 1995).

The Sinking of the Eastland: Americas Forgotten Tragedy,” by Jay Bonansinga  (Citadel Press, 2004)., the web site of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society

“Eastland Disaster as Reporter Saw It,” New York Times, July 25, 1915, p. 2

“The Experiences of a Hawthorne Nurse,” by Helen Repa, Western Electric News, August 1915

Chicago Daily Journal, July 24, 1915, p. 3

“Stretchers Made an Endless Chain,” New York Times, July 25, 1915, p. 3

“Little Feller Now Has a Name,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 30, 1915, p. 5

About Susan Q. Stranahan

Susan Q. Stranahan is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Time and Rolling Stone, among others.

May says BBC should continue to fund free TV licences for the over-75s

Labour’s Rosie Cooper asks if the government will take back responsibility for free TV licences for the over-75s from the BBC.

May says the government expects the BBC to carry on giving over-75s free TV licences.

UPDATE: This is from ITV’s Robert Peston.

Robert Peston (@Peston)

PM just put very public pressure on BBC to honour commitment to provide free TV licences to those aged 75 and over. Nightmare for the the corporation which fears it cannot afford to provide the multi-hundred million pound cost that is rising as the population ages

February 13, 2019

Heidi Allen, a Conservative, says she welcomes what Amber Rudd said about the link between universal credit and increasing food bank use. It is not that there has been a link, she says there is a link. She urges May to reform the way UC operates.

May says there have been a number of changes to who UC operates already. The government will continue to review it. But UC is a system that encourages people into work. The legacy system left people trapped on benefits.

Watch the video: USS Grayling The Grayling Story (June 2022).


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