2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Manitowoc Maritime Museum

USS Cobia is a Gato-class submarine that was made for the United States Navy and named for fish called cobia.  She was launched in November of 1943.

It's hard to see the submarine because it blends into the color of the museum.  This sub was commissioned in March of 1944.  It was decommissioned in May of 1946 but recommissioned in July of 1951 before its final decommission in March of 1954
From Wikipedia, "By 1959, the Navy considered Cobia obsolete as a deployable warship and transferred her to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Naval Reserve Center. There she served as a training platform for the next eleven years.  On 1 July 1970, the Navy struck Cobia from the Naval Register, and she was towed to Manitowoc, Wisconsin to serve as an international memorial to submariners. In 1986, Cobia was incorporated as a part of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum declared a National Historic Landmark, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places."

All members of the crew had to be volunteers that had endured rigorous mental and physical evaluations.   All crewmembers had to know every job on the ship from cook to captain.  If something happened to one of them, they had to be able to operate the submarine.

Submariners received above average pay and food so joining this service was considered desirable.  The conditions they endured during their service was anything but desirable.  They were deployed for six months at a time and most of the time was spend underwater, never seeing the sun or feeling the wind.  Space was extremely cramped and average temperatures in the submarine usually exceeded 100°.  Remember at this time most of the crew smoked so the air in the ship was deplorable.

The museum offers tours of the Cobia.  This ship is 311' 9" long, 37'3" wide and has a draft of 17'. 

We were in a group of 25 people so there was very few places in the submarine where I could take photos.  We were led down onto a section of the hull that was covered in wood and just figured it was something that was added to accommodate the tours.  No, the teak wood was actually part of the active ship.  Teak was used because it didn't float.  If the sub was damaged and submerged, floating wood would give away its position.  The tour entered the forward torpedo bay which held most of the 24 torpedoes (6 in the tubes) and bunks for some of the crew.

From the bow torpedo room we passed officers quarters before coming to the command center.  This is where the submarine was operated. 

The Electric Boat Company that built this sub in Connecticut rated the ship's hull as good to 300'.  She could go further but by 600' she would have crumpled like a tin can. 

Looking up in to the sail.

The communications center had its own room next to the command center.

We passed by the officers eating and recreation area before coming to the kitchen.  Yes this closet is the whole kitchen.  They cooked for 70 crew and 10 officers.  Food was stuffed into any space they could find.  After the kitchen was the crew eating and recreation area.  They had a radio and a tv.  The ship had two movies on board.  By the end of the cruise crewmembers had the movie's dialogue memorized so they would turn off the sound and take turns doing all the audio.

Of course we had to maneuver through bulkhead doors as we proceeded through the submarine.  We went through the main crews quarters, bunks two deep and head to foot.  There were a few small lockers for each crew members personal belongings.

The engine room was just a maze of machinery.  It contained four modified train engines that were used to charge over 250 batteries.  The batteries are what actually ran the submarine.  This was the hottest room on the sub.  Eighty percent of Cobia is still operational, including the engines.  The last compartment was the aft torpedo room which also had bunks for some of the crew.

All of the museum wasn't Cobia related.  It also included a huge section on NOAA, small ship models, some boats and a huge engine with attached propeller.

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