Submarine USS Holland (SS-1)

The USS Holland was the first U-boat of the US Navy after the Civil War and had with their coupled drive of electric motor and diesel engine and two torpedo shafts on technical features that meant not only at the time a huge step forward, but from the principle until today is used.



Launching and design:

The foundations for the construction of Holland formed the submarines, which were designed in 1879 by the emigrated from Ireland John Philip Holland. In the tender of the US Navy in 1888, Holland also submitted concepts of new submarines. The naval leadership decided on its concepts, due to the financial situation, the contract was awarded for construction in 1895.

The first prototype for the Navy was the 1897 Plunger built. However, this still had some shortcomings in the new drive system, which consisted for the first time of a combination of electric motor and diesel engine to load during the trip over the water with the diesel engine, the batteries.


Scientific American Bild der Holland um 1898

Scientific American image of Holland around 1898


In the same year, the USS Holland was launched, whose technology was more advanced and had not so many shortcomings. With this boat, John Philip Holland made the final breakthrough, as he managed to unite the new propulsion technology of the coupled engines, main and auxiliary tanks and the torpedoes firing device in a submarine.


USS Holland (SS-1)

USS Holland (SS-1)


The Holland was built on the Crescent shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the launching took place on May 17, 1897.

The propulsion system was a coupling of a 34kW gasoline engine, which could charge the 66 cell batteries with 56kW during the Überwasserfahrt. With this drive, the boat reached a speed over water of 8 knots and under water of 5 knots.

John Philip Holland was aware of the fact that he would only receive further orders from the US Navy if the overall concept of the submarines offered a decisive military advantage. Thus, he acquired from the company E. W. Bliss a torpedo with launcher, which he tested on the boat. When the tests turned out to be positive, more torpedoes were ordered.


USS Holland im Trockendock

USS Holland in dry dock




History of USS Holland:

The successful tests of the Holland and the military value prompted the US to buy the ship on April 11, 1900 for a sum of $ 150,000 and to integrate it into the US Navy. It was followed by further orders for the construction of submarines, which were later merged in the Plunger class.

Most of the service was trained on the USS Holland cadets of the United States Naval Academy submarine riders. From the summer of 1901, torpedo kills were carried out.


Querschnittskizze der USS Holland

Cross-sectional sketch of the USS Holland




The end of the USS Holland:

On July 20, 1905, the boat entered the Norfolk Navy Yard for repair. However, since the batteries were in a completely desolate condition, they were removed, but not replaced by new ones. On June 24, 1907, the repair work was stopped, the boat put out of service on November 21, 1910 and handed over to the United States Naval Academy.

This sold the boat on 18 June 1913 to the Henry A. Hitner's Sons Company, which had it towed to Petty Island. In early 1916, the rest of the boat was relocated to the Commercial Museum, where it was exhibited. Other exhibitions followed until the boat was finally scrapped in 1932.




Ship data:

Ship type Pilot submarine
Country USA
Launching May 17, 1897
Whereabouts Sold on June 18, 1913

Scrapped in 1932

Drive  Gasoline engine with 34kW

Electric motor with 56kW

Length 16,4 meters
Width 3,1 meters
Draft 2,6 meters
Displacement 65 tons surfaced
Speed  8 knots over water

5 knots under water

Arming  1 x 18 inch torpedo tube

8.4 inches deck gun

Crew 6 man






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