We interrupt your regularly scheduled stream of blogs about our trip to Italy to pay a special tribute to all veterans. I spent last night on the USS Cobia, docked at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI with my scouts. Plenty of places on board to think about the veterans who have served our country, for all of whom I am thankful!
Yes, space was tight on the USS Cobia. Seventy submariniers, seventy days, eight hours on the surface running the diesel engines to charge batteries for every twenty two hours submerged. Three bathrooms like this one.
There was one shower in the officer’s quarters. The rest of the crew washed at small sinks. We joked about launching any scouts who got too “energetic” out the forward torpedo tubes…
World War II submarines aren’t very big…but this shot through the bulkhead leading to the officer’s quarters and mess makes it look long…
One of the things they did while they were running the diesels on the surface to recharge batteries was desalinate water. These two “stills” distilled 1000 gallons of freshwater from seawater during the 8 hour charging stint.
One of the benefits of sleeping on the USS Cobia, besides the overpowering aroma of sweat in confined quarters, is the opportunity to go a few places where the daytime tours don’t, including the conning tower and lower level of the engine room.
The “wheel” on the right controlled the trim of the “wings” or hydrofoil near the bow of the submarine while the one on the left controlled the rear hydrofoil. Note the “saltwater depth to keel” gauge with three key depths noted by a red mark.
48 feet was the maximum depth where the radar mounted on the conning tower could be used
67 feet was the maximum depth where the periscope could be used
150 feet was the minimum depth where the subs were safe from enemy aircraft and also the depth where they switched to the “deep range” gauge higher on the wall between the two wheels.
I asked Matt Karolek if he wanted to be awakened in time for sunrise through the periscope…but he passed on the opportunity.
I like the composition and content of the shot I took of the port side of the large deck gun better…but the lighting on the starboard side makes this a much better picture. The submariner who sat on this side adjusted the elevation of the gun. The guy on the other side turned the gun. They were both quite exposed to enemy fire. Because of this only a few men were allowed on deck at any given time.
Submariners who worked in the engine room or who shot the deck guns sacrificed their hearing for our freedom. 52 US WWII subs were “lost”, including over 3100 submariners. All gave some, some gave all.