USS Phenakite (PYc-25) "The Kentucky Ghost Ship"

Would you like to see USS Phenakite (PYc-25) (1942) Implemented into the US Coastal Tree?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

How should USS Phenakite (PYc-25) (1942) be implemented?
  • Tech Tree Ship
  • Premium Ship
  • Event Ship
  • Battlepass Ship
  • Squadron Ship
  • I said no in the previous question

0 voters

What BR should USS Phenakite (PYc-25) (1942) be implemented at?
  • 1.0
  • 1.3
  • 1.7
  • 2.0
  • Other (please explain in the comments)
  • I said no in the first question

0 voters


(Photo Caption: USS Phenakite (PYc-25) on patrol in 1942)

This is a suggestion for a unique coastal patrol ship with a lot of history. The ship more specifically; is the former steam yacht Celt which was commissioned into the US Navy as USS Sachem (SP-192) during World War I. Sachem would also later serve under the name USS Phenakite (PYc-25) during the Second World War. This suggestion, however, will cover only USS USS Phenakite (PYc-25) during her Second World War service. This ship would be an interesting little addition to the US Coastal Tree, owing to not just her unique history; but also because she represents a unique type of warship that is not often very well represented or even remembered, especially in video games.

Background

Spoiler

During wartime, it is often common practice for belligerent nations as part of their war efforts to requisition civilian vessels from their owners for use as everything from troop transports, patrol ships, rescue ships, and even command ships. One such ship was the Steam yacht Celt which would enter service in 1917 for the US Navy as USS Sachem (SP-192). The former yacht would later serve as USS Phenakite during the Second World War. Celt started life out as a private Steam yacht for a wealthy railroad executive and served many roles in her life; from being a racing yacht and an ordinary pleasure yacht to patrolling the coastal waters during the First and Second World Wars. The vessel even did stints as a fishing vessel, a sightseeing boat, and most famously a floating laboratory for Thomas Edison to develop new Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) technologies.

History

Spoiler

For the History of USS Sachem (SP-192) please see the suggestion for that ship which can be found here: USS Sachem (SP-192)- Edison’s Floating Laboratory - Suggestions / Naval - War Thunder — official forum

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(Photo Caption: S/Y Sachem in 1919 following her return to civilian service)

Following the end of the ship’s First World War service, the former steam yacht Celt, now under the name Sache; was eventually transferred back to her Pre-War owner Manton Bradley Metcalf Sr. However, with the yacht continuing to age he would only use the ship until 1919 when he sold the yacht to the banker Roland Leslie Taylor.

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(Photo Caption: F/V Sachem in 1932 sailing at full speed)

Following the sale, she would continue to serve as a yacht until 1932 when Taylor sold her Jacob “Jake” Martin who decided to convert Sachem into a fishing vessel, under the name F/V Sachem, as part of this conversion she was extensively refitted and lost her original steam engines for more modern diesel engines. During this phase of her career, the Sachem would gain even more popularity and would be rented out for major fishing excursions over the next ten years. She would serve in this capacity as a fishing vessel until 1942 when she was once again called up for service following the entry of the United States into the Second World War

On 17 February 1942 following the entry of the United States into the Second World War, the US Navy once again requisitioned the former Steam Yacht for patrol service. To this end, she was sent to Robert Jacobs, Inc and refitted for further wartime service as a coastal patrol yacht. She would subsequently be renamed USS Phenakite (PYc-25) on 3 March 1942. And finally commissioned on 1 July 1942 at Tompkinsville, N.Y. with Lt. John D. Lannon in command. Following Phenakite’s commissioning, she was ordered to report to Fleet Sonar School in Key West Florida where she would be assigned to Service Squadron 9.

During the next two years, Phenakite would embark student officers and sailors for daily at-sea training cruises and would act as a sonar training ship. As part of these duties, she would range the submarine operating area off the Florida Keys while her students would practice sonar tactics and maneuvers. In addition, Phenakite served as an escort between the operating area and Key West and undertook the important duty of being a night patrol ship in the approaches to Key West harbor, which was considered a strategic area for the US Navy. Phenakite would serve in this role until 2 September 1944, when she was reassigned to duty with the 3rd Naval District and redeployed to New York where she arrived on 10 November 1944. However, following her arrival, she would be decommissioned at Tompkinsville on 17 November.

However, this would not last long and on 29 November she was recommissioned again and assigned to the Naval Reserve Midshipmen Training School, in Flushing Bay, Long Island. During this time, she primarily sailed and cruised in the Long Island Sound as she once had with midshipmen crews embarked for training purposes and would spend the rest of the war undertaking these duties. In August 1945 with the end of the war Phenakite was ordered to disembark the midshipmen aboard her and return to Tompkinsville where she was decommissioned on 2 October 1945 for the final time. The former Phenakite would then be sold back to Jacob Martin on 29 December 1945, ending over three years of full military service.

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(Photo Caption: The Sightseer (Ex-Sachem/Phenakite) following her sale to the Circle Line for use as a sightseeing boat)

The ship, however, would not remain in Martin’s service for very long as in 1946 after she had been formally struck from the Naval Vessel Register, he made the decision to sell her to the Circle Line of New York as a sightseeing vessel. The reasoning for this decision was due to the ship’s material condition and his inability to reconvert the Patrol Yacht back into a fishing boat due to Post-War economic realities. She would thus be refitted to serve as a sightseeing boat and would serve under the name of Sightseer and later Circle Line V until her final retirement in 1983. Following her retirement, the Ex-Circle Line V was stripped of all useable equipment and would then proceed to languish in the port of New York for several years until 1986, when the Circle Line decided to sell the hulk to a gentleman by the name of Robert Miller who intended to convert the then 84-year-old yacht into a houseboat in Kentucky.

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(Photo Caption: The Ex-Circle Line V awaiting her fate in a New Jersey Scrapyard in 1984)

During this time, however, while preparing the ship for the voyage to Kentucky for her conversion the new owner Robert Miller was approached by a representative of the famous singer Madonna. The representative requested Mr. Miller’s permission to use the vessel as a backdrop for a future music video. Mr. Miller would end up agreeing to this proposal and the former Sachem would appear in the 1986 music video of 'Papa Don’t Preach’. Following this, she was eventually towed to Kentucky and into a creek on Mr. Miller’s property to begin her conversion. However, due to rising costs and the needs of the vessel being beyond the ability of Miller and his family, the project was shelved and the ship eventually faded into obscurity and disappeared from the historical record.

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(Photo Caption: The former Steam Yacht Sachem, also known as the “Ghost Ship” as she appears today)

However, this would not be the end of Sachem’s story as she was eventually rediscovered in 2012 by kayakers and has since then regained popularity and is most often referred to as “The Ghost Ship”. Since then, several groups have come forward with various proposals to recover and even potentially restore the venerable Sachem/Phenakite to her either the wartime configuration or its original configuration but for now, she sits quietly in the same creek where she has been since 1986 awaiting her fate.

Specifications as USS Phenakite (PYc-25) 1942:

Spoiler

General Specifications:
Displacement: 360 long tons (370 t)
Length: 183 ft (56 m)
Beam: 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)
Draft: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)

Powerplant:
Propulsion: 7-cylinder Fairbanks-Morse 37D 14 diesel engine producing 805 Shp (600 kW)
Speed: 13.5 knots (15.5 mph; 25.0 km/h) (1942)

Complement:
Complement: 40 Crew

Armament as of 1942

Primary Armament:
1 × 1 3”/23 (76mm) gun

Secondary/Anti-Aircraft Weaponry
4 × 1 M2 HB .50cal Browning Machine Guns

ASW equipment
2 × Mark 6 Depth charge racks

Additional Photos

Spoiler

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(Photo Caption: Advertisement for the newly refitted Diesel Fishing Vessel Sachem during her 1937 season)

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(Photo Caption: F/V Sachem alongside one of the standard fishing boats of the 1930s, the F/V Tambo III)

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(Photo Caption: The last known photo of Sachem prior to the Second World War)

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(Photo Caption: Captain Homefield of the USS Phenakite (PYc-25) during the Second World War)

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(Photo Caption: The Circle Line V in 1960 passing under the Brooklyn Bridge)

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(Photo Caption: The Circle Line V in 1969 touring the East River in New York City)

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(Photo Caption: Ex-Sachem/Phenakite/Sightseer/Circle Line V sailing up the Ohio River in 1988 powered by a Caterpillar Diesel Engine on her way to Mr. Miller’s Property)

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(Photo Caption: The “Ghost Ship” Ex-Sachem/Phenakite as she appears today)

Text Sources

Spoiler

1901-1916 | USS Sachem 1902 (uss-sachem.org)
1917-1919 | USS Sachem 1902 (uss-sachem.org)
History | USS Sachem 1902 (uss-sachem.org)
Phenakite (navy.mil)
Phenakite (PYc-25) (navsource.org)
The “Ghost Ship” — Ronny Salerno
USS Phenakite - Wikipedia

Image Sources

Spoiler

History | USS Sachem 1902 (uss-sachem.org)
Phenakite (PYc-25) (navsource.org)
The “Ghost Ship” — Ronny Salerno

1 Like

+1

1 Like

I’m fairly certain anyone who voted 1.0 has never played naval