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USS Holland (AS-3)
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Class: HOLLAND (AS-3)
Design Navy AS-3
Displacement (tons): 8,008 light, 11,570 full
Dimensions (feet): 513.1' oa, 460.0' pp x 61.1' wl x 22.75' mn, 22.8' mx
Original Armament: 8-5"/51 4-3"/50
Later armaments: 8-5"/51 4-3"/50 4<8-20mm (1942);
4-5"/38 4-40mmT 12-20mm (1943);
2-5"/38 4-40mmT 12-20mm (1946)
Complement 456 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 15.87
Propulsion (HP): 7,000
Machinery: Parsons geared turbine, 1 screw
||6 Dec 19
||NYd Puget Sound
||11 Apr 21
||12 Apr 26
||1 Jun 26
||21 Mar 47
||18 Jun 52
||3 Oct 53
FY 1918. The Naval Appropriation Act for FY 1917 that became law on 29 Aug 16 authorized a three-year building program of ten battleships, six battle cruisers, ten scout cruisers, fifty torpedo-boat destroyers, nine fleet submarines, fifty-eight coast submarines, one experimental (Neff) submarine, and two gunboats. To support these combatants it also authorized three fuel ships (oilers), one repair ship, one transport, one hospital ship, two destroyer tenders, one "fleet submarine tender," and two ammunition ships. Sixty-six of these ships including one fuel ship, the hospital ship, and one ammunition ship were to be begun during FY 1917, the others were to be funded and begun during the following two fiscal years. The submarine tender was funded in FY 1918 (Act of 4 Mar 17), and the funding for the ship was increased in FY 1920 (Act of 11 Jul 19) to permit the commencement of construction.
On 19 Oct 16 the General Board forwarded to SecNav characteristics common to all fleet auxiliaries that might be included in the FY 1918 building program, and on 20 Oct 16 it forwarded the special characteristics that it recommended for the FY 1918 Fleet Submarine Tenders. These two documents were slightly modified versions of characteristics first issued in 1913 for the FY 1915 building program and largely repeated in 1914 and 1915 for FY 1916 and 1917. The speed of all new fleet auxiliaries (ammunition, fuel, hospital, repair and supply ships, destroyer and submarine tenders, and transports) was to be at least 14 knots sustained, their steaming radius was to be 8,000 miles at 10 knots, and they were to have twin screws housed under the stern except that the tenders were to have single screws. (The Board added this exception in 1915 out of concern that destroyers or submarines moored alongside might damage twin screws.) The submarine tenders were to be completely equipped to meet the ordinary demands of six fleet submarines of contemporary design and were to have a minimum draft compatible with other characteristics and good sea-going qualities but not to exceed 18 feet (increased from 15 feet in 1915) at deep load draft. They were to have quarters for the officers and men of the six submarines in addition to their own complement. They were to have an armament of 4-5" guns and 4-3" anti-aircraft guns (the AA guns being added in 1915) plus one underwater launching tube for use in adjusting torpedoes. . Their masts were to be fitted with booms capable of handling weights up to 10 tons, and they were to have an apparatus for lifting the tail of fleet submarines. The "fleet submarines" to be supported had a surface displacement of about 1,200 tons.
The Bureau of Construction and Repair completed preliminary designs for the new submarine tender in late December 1917. It produced two schemes, a 3,711-ton (full load) design that was practically a duplicate of BUSHNELL and a 9,850-ton (normal load) design that followed very closely the design of the destroyer tender. In forwarding the schemes to the Navy Department on 2 Jan 18 BuC&R pointed out that the larger vessel was required in order to provide for the large cruising radius, the extensive passenger accommodations, the large number of torpedoes to be stowed, the submerged torpedo tube, and the capacities of the various storerooms desired by the General Board, CNO, and the various Bureaus. While the characteristics called for 14 knots the experiences of the war indicated that 16 knots was preferable and the auxiliaries of the current building program were being designed for that speed. Torpedo protection was provided as in the destroyer tender to protect cargo torpedoes and ammunition as well as serve as reserve fuel oil tanks for the submarines. The machinery spaces of the destroyer tender were essentially duplicated in the submarine tender. The armament in this design was 4-5" and 4-3" guns.
The adoption of the larger design was approved by SecNav on 11 May 18. The circular of requirements was completed and made available to bidders in January 1919. The design had grown to 10,600 tons (normal load) by February 1919, and bids received in early April showed that the cost of the ship would considerably exceed the sum appropriated for her. In the meantime Captain Thomas C. Hart, in the Submarine Section of CNO's office, had protested on 21 Dec 18 that too much of the ship was laid out on the lines of a cruising man-of-war to some sacrifice as a submarine tender. He felt that features like the 16-knot speed and torpedo protection were unnecessary in a ship that was "simply a Mobile Base" and that the design for the destroyer tender had been followed too closely. In June 1919 the General Board replied that it did not consider the HOLLAND design unnecessarily large nor unduly expensive, noting that the requirements for the submarine tender had increased in proportion to the increased size and requirements of submarines added to the fleet and that the increased cost had already been approved by the Department and was in the process of being accepted by Congress. The Board did, however, recommend increasing the ship's 5" battery from 4 to 8 guns to match the destroyer tender (AD-3) and transport (AP-2) of contemporaneous design, a recommendation that SecNav approved on 24 Jun 19. In explaining on 28 Nov 19 its insistence on large batteries for fleet auxiliaries the Board stated "that in submarine warfare a sufficient battery on an auxiliary vessel is absolutely necessary, that the fire from a two gun broadside is not sufficient, and that it is often impracticable to detach fighting vessels from the fleet to protect auxiliary vessels."
The ship was ordered from the Puget Sound Navy Yard at the end of 1919 but construction proceeded slowly, probably mainly because of funding issues, and she was only completed in mid-1926. Her overall length may have increased during construction from 483.9' originally through 506.0' in 1924 to the final 513.1'. In 1936 she was listed as designed to tend 8 large submarines and 1 submarine rescue ship (ASR) with a maximum capacity of 12 large subs and 1 ASR. In 1940 she was tending twelve fleet type submarines, the ASR ORTOLAN, plus the light cruiser RICHMOND when she was in company. Her single 21" submerged torpedo tube was probably removed during the 1930s -- it is listed in the 1935 Ships Data Book but is not mentioned in a 1941 guide to the ship's tender and repair facilities. In 1941 the ship had four cargo booms, two rated at 10 tons at the foremast and two of 8 tons at the mainmast. The submarine lifting gear on the ship's bow consisted of two hooks on two anchor chains that, when connected to the anchor windlass, could together hoist a maximum load of 300 tons through a vertical distance of about 18 feet from the load waterline of the ship.
During 1941 splinter protection was added around the ship's guns. During 1942 ship's force carried out a number of alterations, including fitting a 15-foot radar mast for a SC radar on the forward end of the pilot house, adding 12 .50 cal AA machine guns that had been turned in by submarines to the four already installed and later replacing eight of these 16 weapons with 20mm guns, and blanking off 104 air ports on the second deck. In around March 1942 studies were made of the gun battery arrangement of the DOBBIN (AD-3) class resulting in a suggested upgrade to 4-5"/38 guns, 4-1.1" quad AA mounts, and 12-20mm AA guns. The destroyer tenders were not rearmed but the same arrangement appeared possible in HOLLAND and on 14 Nov 42 BuShips proposed to VCNO and BuOrd a scheme by which this battery would be fitted and items would be removed as weight compensation including the existing armament, all but 24 feet of the foremast and two of its cargo booms (leaving a stub mast to serve the remaining two booms), similar reductions to the mainmast, the after searchlight platform, the stern anchor, and some boats. Otherwise the battery could be accommodated with little rearranging of the superstructure. The modifications were made during an overhaul at Mare Island between February and May 1943 except that 4-40mm twin mounts were substituted for the 1.1" quads and the 13 wood and glass windows in the pilot house were replaced by 7 airports. On 26 May the ship described her new appearance as "clipper bow, 2 5-inch centerline guns forward, no foremast, forearm booms rigged from superstructure, radar mast with signal yard amidships, shorter stack with deckhouses outboard of same, shorter after mast with radar and 2 5-inch centerline guns aft, motor launches stowed between stack and after mast."
With new submarine tenders rapidly entering the force, Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet on 31 Oct 44 requested approval of alterations to make HOLLAND his Force Flagship. The changes involved installing additional electrical generators, radio equipment and command spaces. To support additional radio antennas the mainmast was raised 16 feet and 28-foot spreaders were mounted on both masts in an overhaul at Pearl Harbor between November 1944 and January 1945. BuShips was becoming increasingly concerned about the ship's stability and on 14 Dec 44 explained to CNO that the ship had an extensive torpedo protection system but because of the relatively small displacement and the moderate stability of the ship a heavy list would follow extensive underwater damage and a heavy hit near the after bulkhead of the engine room would probably result in foundering. The Bureau added that these characteristics were of long standing and that a recent directive from CNO to remove as much topside weight as possible would help improve the stability of the ship in the average operating condition.
By mid-April 1945 CinCPac planned to convert HOLLAND to an Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship (ARG) and make her flagship of Commander Service Squadron Ten upon completion of conversion. The conversion was authorized by CNO on 3 May 45. This was part of a plan to convert HOLLAND, BEAVER (AS-5), and OTUS (AS-20) to ARG-18, ARG-19, and AGP-21 (later ARG-20) respectively. On 9 Aug 45 ComServPac wrote the ship (which had been at Guam as ComSubPac flagship since January 1945) that he was sending an officer to assist in the conversion, which would be accomplished by the ship's force on a basis not to interfere with her repair ship work. On 19 Aug 45 ComServRon 10 asked ComServPac to approve the removal of number 2 and 3 5" guns because of the doubtful stability of HOLLAND, and the alteration was approved on 28 Aug 45. On 21 Aug 45, the war now being over, CNO asked ComServPac if the conversion and reclassification of HOLLAND to ARG were still required and on 23 Aug 45 ComServPac replied that they were and that the conversion would be limited to the replacement of torpedo and battery shop facilities and minor space rearrangements to accommodate a service division staff. CNO therefore on 28 Aug 45 recommended the reclassification of the ship from AS-3 to ARG-18 effective 20 Sep 45 and SecNav approved the action on 31 Aug 45. She was released from the Submarine Force on 15 Sep 45 and served as flagship for ComServRon 10 and as an ARG in various Japanese and Chinese ports from 29 Sep 45 to 6 Jun 46 before returning to San Diego for inactivation.
||To ARG-18 20 Sep 45. In USN reserve 1946-50. On disposal list 7 Apr 50. Sold by Navy to Bethlehem Steel Co.
Compiled: 21 Jun 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012