(Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 11: displacement 145 tons (surface), 173 tons (submerged); length 82 feet 5 inches; beam 12 feet 6 inches; draft 10 feet 7 inches; speed 9 knots (surface), 8 knots (submerged); complement 10; armament 2 18-inch torpedo tubes; class Viper)
Cuttlefish (Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 11) was laid down on 30 August 1905 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co. as a subcontractor for the Electric Boat Co., the successor to the J. P. Holland Torpedo Boat Co.; launched on 1 September 1906, sponsored by Miss Eleanor Gow; and commissioned on 18 October 1907, Lt. Edward J. Marquart in command.
Assigned to the 2d Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, Cuttlefish operated along the east coast running experiments, testing machinery and conducting training exercises until going into reserve at the Charleston Navy Yard on 30 November 1909. Recommissioned on 15 April 1910, she served with the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet until joining the Reserve Torpedo Group at the Charleston Navy Yard on 9 May 1911.
Renamed B-2 on 17 November 1911, the boat remained in reserve until decommissioned on 4 December 1912. Two days later, she was towed to Norfolk where she and her sister submarine, B-3, were loaded on board Ajax (Collier No. 14) for transportation to the Far East. Sailing via the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Indian Ocean, Ajax and her two submarines arrived at Cavite on the island of Luzon in the Philippines on 30 April 1913. B-2 and her sister were launched on 12 May and recommissioned on 2 August 1913 as units of the Asiatic Fleet's 1st Submarine Division.
During ensuing operations, she had close brushes with disaster. For instance, while the submarine was running submerged to conduct a battery test soon after arriving in the Philippines, Lt. Baxter suddenly observed through her periscope the grey side of a ship cross B-2's bow. He dove immediately to avoid a collision, but the submarine's periscope struck an Army ferry on a run from Corregidor to Manila. Although the mishap mangled the periscope rather severely, neither vessel suffered significant damage.
After World War I erupted in Europe during the summer of 1914, B-2's duties were expanded to include patrols to enforce the neutrality of Philippine waters. She also continued to help devise and improve the techniques of submarine operations. Her service in the Philippines lasted through the armistice, though her active career ended 19 months beyond the end of the Great War. B-2 was decommissioned on 12 December 1919, and she was subsequently sunk as a target during destroyer gunnery drills conducted off the entrance to Manila Bay. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 17 January 1922.
14 June 2004