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"What is a Submarine Tender?"
Submitted by George Herold

It is a Navy Yard except there is no dry dock. Hull damage can be repaired by the shipfitters who are skilled artisans that have underwater equipment and can work under water. Their shop can fabricate shapes and fittings from our huge storeroom aboard ship. They have welding and burning tools and the technical skills to repair the hull and any external fittings and plumbing so that everything can be like new.

Torpedoes are pulled and drained of their fuel and disarmed and made safe to handle and brought aboard the tender and overhauled because they are rather sensitive and just being stored in the torpedo room of the submarine might make the exploder not function properly A torpedo is a complicated self propelled vessel that when ejected from its tube into the ocean it starts a steam boiler which using alcohol for fuel makes high pressure steam which cause a turbine to propel it on its way. A gyroscope navigates it on its course at a controlled depth on a prescribed course toward its target. After it has left the tube it would arm itself so that it would explode on contact or as it passed under its target if it missed hitting the enemy.

When a submarine comes alongside, their officers and chiefs come to our repair office and discuss the work that they want done Work orders are made up and issued to the necessary shops and repairs are started. The tender has drawings of every part of all the submarines that we would work on in microfilm. Prints would be made as required and accompany the work orders. If castings are necessary, patterns would be made and delivered to the foundry for casting . If machined parts are necessary, the machine shop would make them.

The Tender has all the equipment to replace or repair any parts that have failed or are necessary. Any instruments that are damaged can be repaired or adjusted either on board the submarine or on the Tender.

Until all the work is done, the Officers and crew of the submarine can dine and sleep on the Tender until they are ready to return. When this is done, a trial run would be set for the submarine to check to be sure that all is as it should be. When ready the vessel Would depart to return to its station or war patrol area after being refueled and armed and completely resupplied.

When a submarine (we call them boats) like undersea boats, returns from a patrol, after the heads of departments consults with the Tender Repair Office, Their personnel would go to a rest camp which the crew of the Tender created on the Island nearby to unwind and relax They might be off their boat on the beach for from three weeks to a month just relaxing and getting in shape for their next patrol. War patrols can be very stressful and hard on ones nerves.

The Tender also maintains relief crews who would man the boat when the regular crew is off. These men would operate the boat and also do maintenance tasks. Each boat would have a complement of about seventy men and nine officers.

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