THE SUBCHASER ARCHIVES – SHIP NOTES
UNITED STATES SUBMARINE CHASERS
Notes on SC 121, Todd Woofenden, The Subchaser Archives, www.subchaser.org rev. 03-23-05
Built: Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia (SC 116 and SC 118 to SC 136)
Duties: SC 121 was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, and was assigned to the Special Hunting Group with USS Paterson, which engaged in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) along the northeast coast of the U.S. Lt. A.Y. Lanphier, who had participated in the tactical training of subchaser officers, took command of the USS Patterson Group on August 22, 1918. As of that date, the Group consisted of twelve chasers: SC 22, SC 23, SC 111, SC 121, SC 186, SC 188 SC 203, SC 209, SC 232, SC 234, SC 2405 and SC 270 .
The Group commenced hunting operations, proceeding northward from Norfolk, VA to the Delaware breakwater. The hunt continued until August 27, 1918, when SC 209 was fired on and sunk by USS Felix Taussig, which had mistaken the chaser for an enemy submarine. All but eight men on SC 209 were killed. This incident underscored an irony of the submarine chaser design, that its pilot house resembled the conning tower of a submarine running on the surface.
The chasers in the Group proceeded to New London, Connecticut (which served as the primary base for submarine chasers in the northeast). Thereafter, the Group participated in additional hunts along the coast. On September 23, 1918, SC 186 reported sound contact with a submarine, and an attack was made, with no confirmed results. On October 19, 1919, USS Patterson and SC 121, SC 237 and SC 245 hunted for a wrecked sea plane, which was located by USS Patterson. On November 23, 1918, the Group was dissolved and the chasers were ordered to Base 2, Norfolk, VA.
Information on SC 121 is from Lewis Clephane’s monograph, History of the Submarine Chasers in the World War. Navy Department Office of Naval Records and Library Historical Section, Washington Government Printing Office, 1920.