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Piqua I (SP-130)

(SP-130: dp. 575; l. 2271; b. 24-5-; dr. 9-8- (mean); s. 20 k.; cpl. 65; a. 4 3-, 1 6-pdr.)

A city in Ohio named for a tribe of Shawnee Indians which formerly inhabited the region.


The first Piqua (SP-130) was built as the yacht Kanawha II by Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, N.Y., in 1898; acquired by the Navy, from her owner, John Borden, 28 April 1917; and commissioned the same day with the designation SP-130, Lt. Comdr. John Borden in command.

During her first three weeks of naval service, Kanawha II performed various duties in the New York area. Then outfitted for distant service, she got underway, for Europe, 9 June 1917. She arrived at Brest, 4 July, in the vanguard of the flotilla of ships of war sent to France following the entry of the United States into World War I.

Two weeks after her arrival she began patrol off Brest. On 3 September, she sighted her first enemy periscope off the French coast, but was unable to press an attack. Toward the end of November, on the 28th, she sighted another closing on a convoy. She issued a submarine warning and the U-boat was later tracked and sunk by two other patrol vessels equipped with depth bombs. The convoy continued undamaged. On 16 July 1918, while steaming in convoy the former pleasure craft, renamed Piqua 1 March 1918, sighted the conning tower of a third U-boat, on a heading almost parallel with the course of the convoy.

Piqua closed and at 11,000 yards, firing commenced. The gun crew, unable to see their target, aimed according to ranges and bearings estimated and called down to them from the bridge. Although she scored no hits, her shells forced the U-boat to abandon her prey.

Piqua continued to operate off the French coast through the end of the war, and into 1919. On 20 May, she sailed for New York and a month later, after stops in the Azores and at Bermuda, anchored off Tompkinsville, Staten Island. Later shifted to Morris Heights, she decommissioned and was returned to her owner 1 July 1919.

Published: Fri Aug 21 08:42:32 EDT 2015