United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Connecticut / USS Nevada / USS Tonopah

USS Nevada, a single turret, harbor defense monitor, circa 1905. She was later renamed Tonopah and reclassified a monitor second line (BM-8). She was a coal burner.

3,255Built / Launched11/24/1900
Length252' 0"Built ByBath Iron Works
Bath, Maine
Beam50' 0"ClassArkansas
Draft12' 6"Commisioned3/5/1903
Renamed Tonopah3/2/1909
Speed (rated)13.0ktsDecommissioned?1919-1922?
Compliment220DispositionSold 1/26/1922
The Arkansas class was the last group of monitors to be constructed for the U.S. Navy although the navies of Great Britain and Italy built and used monitors for shore bombardment during World War I and the former used them during World War II as well. Single turreted monitors, they mounted the most modern heavy guns in the U.S. Navy at the time they were built 12 inch 4- calibre weapons. The Arkansas class did not see any combat during World War I and instead served as submarine tenders. Alexander C. Brown, writing in the Society of Naval Architects and marine Engineers Historical Transactions noted in a penetrating comment that:

" Monitors found their final employment as submarine tenders in World War I for which their low freeboard hulls made them well suited. It is significant to note, however, that in this humble capacity they were ministering to the needs of that type of craft which had logically replaced them for initially envisaged monitors were designed to combine heavy striking power with concealment and the presentation of a negligible target area..."
The monitor Connecticut was renamed Nevada (q.v.) in January 1901, while building.

Nevada (q.v.), a double-turreted monitor, was renamed Tonopah on 2 March 1909 so that the name Nevada could be assigned to Battleship No. 36.
Tonopah: An alternative spelling of the word tunanpin which means "black bear" and refers variously to sub-clans of the Iowa, Missouri, and Oto Indian tribes of North America.

The first Nevada, a double turreted monitor, was laid down as Connecticut, 17 April 1899, by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; launched 24 November 1900; sponsored by miss Grace Boutelle; renamed Nevada January 1901; and commissioned 5 March 1903, Comdr. T.B. Howard in command.

On 2 March 1909, the monitor was renamed Tonopah to allow Battleship Number 36 to be named Nevada. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet's submarine force as a tender, Tonopah operated along the east coast from Massachusetts to key West until January 1918. Then briefly assigned to Bermuda, she was ordered to Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, Azores in February. Between then and December she tended the submarines K-1, K-2, K-3, K-5, and E-1 and submarine chasers operating in the strategic area of the Azores.

In December, she was towed to Lisbon, and upon her return to the United States, decommissioned at Philadelphia. Classified BM-8 (1July 1920), she was sold, 26 January 1922 to J. G. Hitner, Philadelphia, Pa.
Although the last monitor was stricken from the Navy List before World War II, the type nevertheless played a role in the career of the Navy's greatest wartime leader. USS Tonopah served periodically as Lt. Chester W. Nimitz's (later Fleet Admiral Nimitz) flagship when he was Commander, Atlantic Submarine flotilla, From 20 May 1912 to 30 March 1913.
History from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.

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