Main Deck Aft Perisicope shears and antennas Main deck forward Spacer for image fit
Conning tower Spacer for image fit
Forward end of submarine Spacer for image fit
After end of submarine. Spacer for image fit
Center of submarine Spacer for image fit
Bottom of submarine Spacer for image fit
Main Deck Aft Perisicope shears and antennas Main Deck Forward Conning Tower After Torpedo Room Maneuvering Room Motor Room After Engine Room After Engine Room Lower Flat Forward Engine Room Forward Engine Room Lower Flat After Battery Compartment (Crew Berthing) Crew's Mess and the Galley Radio Room Control Room Pump Room Forward Battery (Officer's Country) Forward Torpedo Room
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Forward of the conning tower in this photo is a four-inch main deck gun. A small target, typically under 500 tons, would often be attacked with gunfire. Even in this case, the submarine would maneuver underwater to make a surprise attack - called a "battle surface". The technique was as follows: while still submerged, the gun crew would assemble in the control room ready to start up the ladder. Maximum speed would be ordered and the surfacing alarm would be sounded. The tanks would be blown but the diving officer would try to hold the boat down with the dive planes while the tanks were being emptied. When he was unable to hold her down anymore he would reverse his planes, the ship would pop to the surface and the gun crews would run out, standing in water, spin the gun around to aim at the enemy, open the breech, put the shell in and fire. All this could be done in less than 40 seconds. Meanwhile, all topside shell lockers would be opened to provide ready ammunition for the guns, more men would hasten topside, ammunition would be passed from the magazine below the crew's mess, and the battle would continue with a rapidly surfacing submarine.

Located on the forward gun deck of the conning tower in this photo is a single 20 millimeter gun, and on the after gun deck a 40 millimeter gun. These guns were primarily used as anti-aircraft weapons, and would also fire upon smaller surface targets. When a submarine is on the surface it is particularly vulnerable to attack from aircraft and the normal defense was diving. By the end of WW II there were fewer large targets worth expensive torpedoes so they upgraded the guns. At the end of the war Pampanito had a 5" 25 cal gun on the aft main deck, 40mm guns forward and aft on the gun decks, and a twin 20mm gun forward on the main deck. Lookouts were posted on the elevated platforms on either side of the periscope shears to keep a watchful eye for potential danger. If an airplane was sighted the order would be given to "clear the bridge," and they would dive instantly and be fully underwater at periscope depth in about 30 seconds.

Photo of the bow from the pier.

Other Features Forward on Deck

Bow Buoyancy Tank: The pointed bow of the submarine is formed by the bow buoyancy tank. Water entered the tank through the arch shaped holes at the waterline forward and was vented through flapper valves in the forward deck. It provided a bubble forward for surface travel and an up angle when blown during surfacing from a dive.

Bowplanes: These "wings" are located against either side of the bow. They are rigged (lowered) when diving and stored raised (upright) when traveling on the surface. The bow planes primarily control the depth of the submarine; the stern plane, the angle on the boat.

Animated photo showing rigging and tilting of bowplanes.

Capstan and Anchor Windlass: The capstan is located on the forward deck, the anchor windlass below the forward superstructure, and the anchor is raised against the port bow.

(See the Bow Planes, Capstan and Anchor Windlass mechanisms below the main deck forward.)

Torpedo Tube Shutter Doors: Located in the bow at the waterline, the large rectangular shutter doors can be seen. One door is above the waterline, one can partially be seen and the third is located below the water. There are 3 on each side of the submarine. The shutter door is hinged to the outboard side of the muzzle door of the torpedo tube. As the muzzle door was opened the shutter door slid forward and in toward the centerline to allow the torpedo to exit the submarine.

Draft Marks: The numbers on the hull aft of the shutter doors indicate the depth to the keel (each number is above 10, so that, for example, Pampanito is drawing just under thirteen feet.)

Limber Holes: The arch-shaped holes cut into the side of the superstructure above the shutter doors are the flood ports for the bow buoyancy tank. This tank is vented through flapper valves located in the deck above the tank.

Sailor used to represent audio tour. Sailor used to represent audio tour. To hear more in the Sailor's Voice: MP3 Sound IconAudio tour in MP3
Pericope icon used to represent the Fleet Submarine Online books Pericope icon used to represent the Fleet Submarine Online books For more technical information, see:
The Fleet Submarine Online training manuals.
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Version 2.10, 7 Jul 2022