In 1917, the Navy contracted Jackson and Sharp , Wilmington Delaware to build eight wooden submarine chasers.
One hundred men did the job within six months, using the rail car shop for the task. Seen here in ice-covered waters
is the sub chaser S.C. 345.

SC-1 class submarine chaser

The SC-1 class was a large class of Submarine chasers built during World War I for the United States
Navy. They were ordered in very large numbers in order to combat attacks by German U-boats,
with 442 boats built from 1917 to 1919.


In 1916, the then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the US Navy to
design a small anti-submarine vessel that could be built quickly in small civilian boatyards, as if war
came, larger shipyards would be busy building larger warships.[1] Consideration was given to
adopting an 80 ft (24 m) wooden Motor Launch built in large numbers by ELCO for the British
Royal Navy, but the General Board of the United States Navy thought that these boats were too
small to be effective seaboats. The task of designing the new type was given to an experienced
designer of small boats, Albert Loring Swasey.[N 1] He drew up a design for a 100 ft (30 m) wooden
boat, emphasizing seaworthiness over speed. At first it was intended to use two 300 brake
horsepower (220 kW) engines, but a shortage of these engines resulted in the design being changed
to use three 220 hp (160 kW) gasoline engines.

Armament was initially planned to be two 3 inch guns, but the aft gun was usually replaced by a
depth charge thrower to attack submerged submarines,[1] with two Colt machine guns completing
the armament. Many boats were fitted with hydrophones for detecting underwater noises, with
either a K-tube fish-type device of 30 mile range or SC and MB tubes of 5 mile range.[3]
An initial order of 345 SC boats placed in 1917 was planned to be delivered by the end of 1917, with
further orders for the French Navy pushing the total ordered up to 448.

Operational history

Deliveries started in July 1917,[2] with deliveries continuing into 1919,[3] with 441 boats built, and
the remaining seven boats canceled.[2] One hundred were sold to France,[4] and a further 121 US
Navy SC boats were deployed to Europe to operate off Britain and France and in the Mediterranean,
where they supported the Otranto Barrage with the remaining US Navy boats operating off the East
Coast of the United States.

The US Navy lost six SC-boats during World War I;[3] USS SC-60 lost in collision with the tanker
Fred M. Weller on October 1, 1918, USS SC-117 in a fire on 22 December 1917,[7] USS SC-132 lost in
collision June 5, 1918,[7] SC-187 in a collision on August 4, 1918,[7] USS SC-209 by friendly fire from
the trawler Felix Taussig on August 27, 1918 and USS SC-219 by fire on 19 February 1918.[8][10]
France lost three SC-boats.

Following the end of the war, four boats (USS SC-274, USS SC-302, USS SC-311 and USS SC-312)
were transferred to Cuba, while 14 boats were transferred to the US Coast Guard in 1919–1920. Eight
of the French SC-boats remained in service at the outbreak of World War II.

SC-2 Class overview

Operators:        United States Navy
United States Coast Guard
United States Army
French Navy
Cuban Navy
Built:        1917–1919
Planned:        448
Completed:        441
Cancelled:        7
Lost:        9
General characteristics
Type:        Submarine chaser
Displacement:        85 tons full load, 77 tons normal load
Length:        110 ft (34 m) oa
105 ft (32 m) pp
Beam:        14 ft 9 in (4.50 m)
Draft:        5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Propulsion:        Three 220 bhp (160 kW) gasoline engines, 2400 gallons fuel
Speed:        18 kn (33 km/h)
Range:        1,000 nmi (1,900 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement:        27
Sensors and processing systems:        One Submarine Signal Company S.C. C Tube, M.B. Tube, or K
Tube hydrophone
1 × 3-inch (76.2-mm)/23-caliber gun mount
2 × Colt .30 caliber (7.62 mm) machine guns
1 × Y-gun depth charge projector
Delaware Military History