Puslapio vaizdai

JANUARY 25, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force, timed 15.45 (3.45 p. m.), January 25, states Capt. E. J. King relieved Admiral F. H. Brumby as commander S-4 salvage force this date, in order that Admiral Brumby might resume regular command of control force prior to departure for winter exercises off Guantanamo. A later dispatch, timed 21.55 (9.55 p. m.), states Bushnell arrived Provincetown. Falcon left Boston having completed installation of air cooler, heater, and minor miscellaneous jobs. Moderate fresh westerly gales still blowing at Provincetown. JANUARY 26, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force, timed 9.35, January 26, states weather bright and clear, fresh to strong westerly winds, rough rolling seas, making diving impracticable; temperature 28°. New apparatus in Falcon will be thoroughly tested as far as depth of harbor permits, using dummy diver and special test-control valve. JANUARY 27, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force, timed 9, January 27, states weather bright and clear and slight sea; temperature 22°. Falcon and Bushnell under way from harbor at 7 o'clock. Diving will begin as soon as usual tests warrant.

A later dispatch timed 17.45 (5.45 p. m.) states weather continued fine with smooth sea, temperature 23°. Diving began about 10. Eadie made fast new descending line, Carr cleared out-deck lockers and Eiden followed by Wilson cleaned bitumastic off plating on top of torpedo room. Kelly attempted to burn hole but unsuccessful because of ignition failure. Crilley cleared up stray lines, hose and other gear which had accumulated in way of divers. No difficulty during the day with divers air lines. All new apparatus in operation.

Another dispatch timed 19.25 (7.25 p. m.) states that diving was resumed to-day after 12 days when no diving was practicable on account of either weather or clogging of divers air lines on tests conducted before attempting to send divers down.

JANUARY 28, 1928

A dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 9.55 January 28, states weather overcast and cloudy with fresh northeast winds, temperature 30° with moderate to rough seas and light snow. Diving doubtful.

A later dispatch states Diver Kelly attempted to burn hole in top plating torpedo room but unsuccessful because of air failure. Experience to date with gas under water burning torch emphasizes the advisability of expediting electric burning torch. Wind and sea increases, northeast storm warning displayed, so Falcon unmoored and all vessels except Sagamore on wreck watch are now in harbor. Moderate northeast gales are now blowing.

JANUARY 29, 1928

A dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 9.05, January 29 states fresh northeast gale with snow and thick weather blowing, temperature 24°. Bushnell has a boat sunk at boom and all boating is hazardous, ships and boats encased in ice. Mahan dragged anchor. Vessels storm bound.

A later dispatch states wind shifted to northward of west and moderated considerably; temperature 22°. Bushnell recovered the boat sunk alongside, hoisted it on board.

JANUARY 30, 1928

A dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 9.05 states weather bright and clear, moderate sea; temperature 19°. Bushnell, Wandank, Falcon, and S-6 proceeded out of harbor. Falcon moored over S-4. Activities somewhat hampered by bad condition of boats and boat engines.

A later dispatch tiined 19.05 (7.05 p. m.) states weather became and continued good all day chiefly on account of the lee afforded by direction of wind; temperaature 24°. Divers inside control room and engine room succeeded in hooking down battery ventilation bulkhead flapper valve on battery room side. Other divers outside secured flapper valves on control room and engine room. air apparatus functioned well all day and divers had no trouble with air.


JANUARY 31, 1928

A dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 8.45, January 31, states gentle northwesterly breeze, smooth sea; temperature 38°. Diving is now under way.

A later dispatch timed 19.45 (7.45 p. m.) states excellent diving weather all day; temperature 29°. Divers inside and outside control room made further endeavors to secure latch of flapper valve on battery room side of battery ventilation duct, but without success. Duct is collapsed forward of valve and there is some obstruction in valve. All valves on the air-blowing manifold checked and set for blowing main ballast tanks. Air escaped by a damaged mail ballast tank. Divers inside control room and outside of engine-room hatch unlatched and opened flapper valves in air-ventilation duct and removed from valve-casing duct one blanket and some blue prints. Divers continued operations for unwatering middle and after main ballast tanks and safety tanks.

FEBRUARY 1, 1928

A dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 8.25, February 1, states weather overcast and cloudy, moderate southerly winds; temperature 35°, slight sea. Falcon remained in moorings all night blowing air into ballast and safety tanks, but without success, perhaps because of wrong valve settings.

A later dispatch timed 19.40 (7.40 p. m.) states weather remained overcast and cloudy, wind decreased, smooth sea; temperature 37°. Divers inside control room and outside engine-room hatch working on valves and closing doors. Valves reset and checked. Examined for air leaks. Inside of motor room thoroughly examined. Holes cut around periscope for insertion of hose. S. C. tube removed from top of torpedo room and opening closed to make torpedo room air-tight for blowing. New apparatus in Falcon diving air system has been in regular use since installed and has so far functioned as expected. Divers have had no further trouble clogged air lines.

FEBRUARY 2, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 8.50, February 2, states northwest gale blowing, sea entirely too rough for diving. All vessels in harbor except Wandank on wreck watch; temperature, 26°. Will proceed with setting up cement gear on Falcon, divers' drill with salvage hatches on S-6; also made arrangements for applying high-pressure air to blow through and clear out external air-charging lines on S-4, which appear to be clogged, probably from long disuse. Continued other preparations for further work on S-4.

A later dispatch timed 19.20 (7.20 p. m.) states wind still blowing fresh; temperature 27°. Accomplished work mentioned in morning's dispatch.

FEBRUARY 3, 1928

A dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force time 8.35, February 3, states gentle northerly breeze, smooth sea; temperature 21°. All vessels underway at 7. Falcon moored and diving has begun.

A later dispatch timed 19.42 (7.42 p. m.) states good to fair diving weather all day, moderate sea; temperature 23°. Divers removed cross arm S. C. tube and taped off tube in torpedo room. Divers inside and outside located valves in external air-charging lines which did not exist in S-6. Valves opened and Falcon began blowing air into middle and after main ballast and safety tanks, also began placing of special fittings in control room for unwatering same. Continued throughout the day preparations for unwatering compartments. Continuous blowing from Falcon caused air bubbles at surface. It is considered likely there is a break in the salvage tank line to forward main ballast tank and also that check valves in same line are not functioning so must take further steps to blow ballast tanks.

FEBRUARY 4, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 8.30, February 4, states moderate to fresh southwesterly breezes and moderate to rough sea, temperature 40°. Will endeavor to begin diving but rising wind and sea may prevent.

A later dispatch timed 19.30 (7.30 p. m.) states wind increased to strong southwesterly and sea rough; temperature 43°. Falcon managed to stay in moorings by using own anchors and additional lines. (This dispatch gives minor details of divers efforts to prepare compartments for unwatering and blowing.)

FEBRUARY 5, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 8.45, February 5, states slight sea; temperature 34°, and all vessels underway from harbor at 6.45 p. m. Falcon moored and diving begun.

A later dispatch timed 20 (8 p. m.) states weather and sea conditions remain the same; temperature 29°. Put air pressure on motor room and completed unwatering this compartment. Divers succeeded in stopping leaks in ballast tank blow lines in control room. Put pressure on middle and after main ballast tanks and safety tanks. Air bubbles came to surface. Divers placed wooden bin over conning tower hatch. Divers cemented main air indicator valve and wooden bin over conning tower hatch. Received and unloaded electric arc cutting outfit.

FEBRUARY 6, 1928

Dispatch from commander S-4 salvage force timed 8.45, February 6, states strong northerly winds; temperature 18°, Falcon having difficulty in mooring due to lines being frozen stiff.

A later despatch timed 21.35 (9.35 p. m.) states moderately light airs, sea smooth; temperature 20°. Falcon moored at 9, divers took down blowing hose and secured it to compartment salvage air connection on conning tower. Then divers went inside S-4, closed and secured doors of control and engine rooms. Divers set valves correctly for blowing fuel oil. Careful examination made to find source of air bubbles from control room when that compartment was put under pressure. Divers found air escaping from outboard ventilator line where cut. Air from control room probably due to springing of flapper valve. Divers in engine room making preparations for bolting on air blowing connections for fuel oil tanks. With air temperatures from 17° to 22° the air plant on the Falcon operated satisfactorily.


Shortly after salvage operations began the salvage forces were organized, duties prescribed and instructions issued by the commander of the S-4 salvage force in general accordance with attached sample organization and administration order, in order that salvage operations might be conducted smoothly and expeditiously.

As of interest a recent letter from commander S-4 salvage force is quoted in full: U. S. S. "BUSHNELL,"

Off Provincetown, Mass., January 28, 1928.

From: Commander S-4 SALVAGE FORCE.
To: Chief of Naval Operations.

Subject: Progress on the salvage of U. U. submarine S-4 to date.

1. "Salvage" operations on the S-4 began as of December 24, 1927, following the visit of the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations to the Falcon off Provincetown, Mass., on that date. Up to that time the operations on the S-4 had been conducted entirely on the "rescue" basis (from the time of the sinking of the S-4 on December 17, 1927).

2. A prime factor in any salvage operation is the quality and number of divers available. There are now 14 divers who have been "proved" on this job or on the S-51 job, or both. There are about as many more divers who look promising but whom there has not yet been time or opportunity to "prove," but from whom it is expected to get enough to bring the number of "proved" divers to above 20. With this number of "proved" divers it should be possible to keep up continuous daily work with allowance for those sick, indisposed, or otherwise temporarily unavailable, without unduly exhausting their energies.

3. Since salvage operations began (on December 24, 1927) five weeks have elapsed. It is roughly estimated that the salvage of the S-4 is about one-third complete as of this date. The work in hand is to complete the necessary work on the hull of the S-4, both inside and outside. When all such work has been completed and, as far as practicable, tested out, the work of placing and securing pontoons will be undertaken.

4. The estimated progress of salvage (one-third) includes some of the work done during the " rescue operations, namely, the washing of tunnels at frames 20 and 46. The delays that have been encountered have been due to (1) the clogging of divers' air lines with ice and/or snow, and (2) the weather and sea conditions incident to the winter season.

5. The records show the following data as to diving days, etc. (half days) during these salvage operations:

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6. New apparatus, consisting chiefly of a cooler (sea water) and a heater (steam), were developed and made up on the navy yard, Boston, and were installed in the Falcon January 24, 25. This apparatus is similar in character and in function to that recommended to be installed in the Falcon early in December, 1925, following similar experience in the clogging and stoppage of divers' air lines with ice and/or snow.

7. Tests so far made and experience so far had with the modified and added installations in the Falcon's low-pressure air system tend to show that the expected results are being effected, namely, (a) the cooler, by reducing the temperature of the compressed air to that of the surface sea water, causes a very considerable amount of water and even ice particles, to be eliminated; then, (b) the heater, by heating the air (as it comes from the coller), raises its temperature sufficiently so that its dew point is not reached in its subsequent travel through (1) the divers' air manifold, (2) the divers' air hose (about 400 feet) with its connecting nipples every 50 feet, and (3) its expansion through the divers' control valves (from 90 pounds to about 45 pounds per square inch), all of which inherently causes the air temperature to drop; (c) comparative tests with (1) complete apparatus, (2) heater cut out, and (3) both heater and cooler cut out, show that, when condition (3) or (2) causes stoppage or clogging of divers' air lines and condition (1) is then substituted, the stoppage or clogging is largely or wholly eliminated, so that entries in column (C) of table in paragraph 5 may be expected to diminish.

8. As to weather and sea conditions, those for the first three weeks of the salvage operations were undoubtedly favorable beyond any reasonable expectation, and the average weather for the past two weeks must be considered representative of the conditions to be expected, as normal winter weather appears finally to have set in. The expectation can only be that for at least the next two months (February and March) the percentage of diving days (weather) will not be greater than that for the past two weeks. The expected date of completion of the salvage operations can not, therefore, be placed earlier than about May 1, 1928.


It must be remembered that the above items chronologically arranged are but a few of the things attempted and done by the department, first and third naval districts and those immediately engaged with the rescue work and later salvage work of the S-4. The items are only indicative in a small measure of the steps taken by the department and other naval activities to effect rescue of those in the S-4 and later in the salvage of that vessel. Many items of interest in connection with the steps taken were not recorded in the desire for haste. This is particularly true of those in immediate charge of the rescue and salvage work at the scene. They had no time to make voluminous records and reports and none

were required they were far too busy in a most important task to be bothered by records and reports.

The responsible authorities, in charge on the spot, had the resources of the entire Naval Establishment at their disposal and were so informed.

That they did not have greater success in the rescue work can not be attributed to lack of energy, lack of support, or cooperation. All that could humanly be done it is believed was done. They were attempting that which appears to have been humanly impossible.

Off Provincetown, Mass., January 26, 1928.

From: Commander S-4 Salvage Force.
To: Force.

Subject: Organization and general administration of S-4 salvage force; third


References: (a) Letter re subject dated December 25, 1927.

(b) Letter re subject (first modification) dated December 28, 1927. (c) Letter re subject (second modification) dated January 4, 1928. 1. This order supersedes and replaces the references, which should be destroyed. 2. Officers:

Commander H. Gibson, senior aide.

Ensign J. M. Smith, aide, communications.

Commander H. E. Saunders (C. C.), salvage officer.

Lieut. H. Hartley, deputy salvage officer.

Lieut. L. Kaplan (C. C.), assistant salvage officer (material).

Chief Gunner C. L. Tibbals, diving supervisor.

Chief Gunner W. F. Loughman, assistant diving supervisor.

Chief Gunner F. J. Kaiss, assistant diving supervisor.

Lieut. Commander G. H. Mankin (M. C.), diving medical officer.

Lieut. Commander A. Osenger, force engineer and repair officer.
Lieut. J. A. Topper (M. C.), force medical officer.

Lieut. C. F. Sandgren (S. C.), force supply officer.

3. Ships and duties:

(a) Bushnell (flag), depot vessel for material and personnel; repair vessel, Lieut. Commander H. M. Branham.

(b) Falcon, salvage and diving vessel, Lieut. H. Hartley.

(c) Wandank, tender to Falcon, Lieut. T. Fertner.

(d) Sagamore, tender to Falcon, Chief Boatswain G. Cregan.

(e) S-6, model for S-4, Lieut. W. Wakefield.

(f) Mallard, tender for pontoons, barges, etc., Lieut. R. Rohange.

(g) Mahan, Commander G. N. Barker; Maury, dispatch vessel (as assigned) Commander J. B. Glennon.

(h) C. G. No. 171, local dispatch service.

4. Duties of ships:

(a) Bushnell, procure, distribute and account for all material, provisions, etc. (navy yard, Boston is supply base), utilize shops for fabrication, repair and overhaul of material of all vessels, house and mess personnel, furnish boats as required, furnish working party to Falcon daily as required, station near Falcon. (b) Falcon, as above, moored over S-4.

(c) and (d) Wandank and Sagamore tend Falcon; portable moorings, handling lines, and gear, wreck watch, etc.

(e) S-6 Available for examination (as sister ship to S-4), trial of apparatus, rehearsal of divers, etc., station near Falcon.

(f) Mallard, tend derrick lighter United States and other floating equipment, tend and tow pontoons and barges, and other duties as assigned.

(g) Despatch vessel, leave Boston daily about 9.30 for Provincetown (Bushnell); leave Provincetown (Bushnell) daily about 15 for Boston, transport passengers, mail, provisions, material, etc.

(h) C. G. No. 171, maintain daily local schedule as ordered.

5. General instructions:

(a) All orders and requests coming from Falcon that relate in any way to salvage work, shall be obeyed as if coming direct from the force commander.

(b) All vessels report daily at noon by flag or visual or radio (1) fuel on hand (2) water on hand. Notify Bushnell (flag) specially by dispatch when fuel oil or fresh water or fresh provisions fall below 50 per cent of capacity.

(c) Keep Bushnell informed of all requirements as to material, provisions,

repairs, etc. (See separate letter dated December 25, 1927.)

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