USS Drum (SS-228)


USS Drum was the first of the Gato class fleet submarines to be completed, and the only one in service at the start of World War II. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard laid her keel on September 11, 1940 and launched her on May 12, 1941. She was commissioned on November 1, 1941.

Drum made 13 patrols in the Pacific during World War II. She sank 15 ships, for a total of 80,580 tons, ranking her 20th for total ships sunk, and 8th for tonnage.

After the war ended, Drum was decommissioned on February 16, 1946. On March 18, 1947 she began her service as a Naval Reserve Trainer, stationed in Washington, DC. She served in this capacity until June 30, 1968 when she was replaced by USS Torsk (SS-423). On April 16, 1969 Drum was transferred to the USS Alabama Commission to be used as a memorial in Mobile, AL. She was opened to the public on July 4, 1969.

An interesting feature about Drum as a memorial is that her conning tower is open to the public, which is not the case with most of the submarines that are preserved. The photo at right is looking forward in the conning tower. Visible on the forward bulkhead is the helm station, with a gyro-compass repeater to the right. On the left, the rudder angle indicator and engine telegraph can be seen. The lower body of the forward periscope is visible in the upper right corner of the photograph.

This photo shows my brother Mike at the bottom of the ladder leading up from the control room to the conning tower, taken from above. There is a hatch here that can be shut, sealing the conning tower from the control room below. Also located in the conning tower is a hatch leading to the bridge above. The conning tower on Drum is not the one she was originally built with. On her eighth patrol in late 1943, she received a depth charge attack that severely damaged her conning tower. After returning to Pearl Harbor, she was sent on to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in the United States for a replacement.

This photo shows the port side of Drum's control room. To the left in the picture is the ladder leading up to the conning tower. The two large wheels are the fore and aft dive plane controls, and the large dial above each is a depth guage.

USS Drum specifications.
Length: 312 feet
Width: 27 feet
Draft: 17 feet
Rated Diving Depth: 300 feet
Displacement: 1600 tons surface, 2400 tons submerged
Armament: Ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, 6 forward, 4 aft
Torpedo capacity: 24 (10 preloaded in tubes, 14 reloads)
Complement: 10 officers, 70 enlisted (wartime)

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