USS Holland (SS-1)

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1 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tube[2]

USS Holland (SS-1) was the United States Navy's first commissioned submarine, named for her Irish-American inventor, John Philip Holland, although not the first submarine of the US Navy, which was the 1862 Alligator. The boat was originally laid down as Holland VI, and launched on 17 May 1897.


Design and construction

The work was done at (Ret.) Navy Lieutenant Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard of Elizabeth, New Jersey for John Holland's company, then known as the Holland Torpedo Boat Company.[4] The craft was built under the supervision of John Holland who designed the vessel and its details. The keel to this craft was laid at this time with both men present at the scene located at Nixon's Crescent Shipyard. The two men worked together using many of John Holland's proven concepts and patents to make the submarine a reality, both men complementing each others contributions to the development of the modern submarine.

Holland included many features that submarines of the early 20th century would exhibit, albeit in later, more advanced forms. It had both an internal combustion engine for running on the surface, and an electric motor for submerged operation. She had a reloadable torpedo tube and a deck gun, in its case a pneumatic dynamite gun. There was a conning tower from which the boat and its weapons could be directed. Finally, she had all the necessary ballast and trim tanks to make precise changes in depth and attitude underwater.


Holland VI eventually proved its validity and worthiness as a warship and was ultimately purchased by the American Government for the sum of $150,000.00 on 11 April 1900. It was considered to be the first truly successful craft of its type. The United States Government soon ordered more submarines from Holland's company, which were to be known as Plunger-class. These became America's first fleet of underwater naval vessels.

Holland — along with six other Holland-type submarines — was based in New Suffolk, New York on the North Fork of Long Island from 1899–1905, prompting the hamlet to claim to be the "First Submarine Base" in the United States.[5]

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