ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR INNES McCARTNEY is an historian and nautical archaeologist, specializing in 20th-century naval vessels. He lectures widely on a number of associated subjects. A passion for shipwrecks has led to some famous discoveries, including the submarine M1 and the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable. His previous book, Lost Patrols, detailed his uncovering of the 121 submarines sunk in the English Channel. He lives and works in Penzance, Cornwall.
TONY BRYAN is a freelance illustrator of many years' experience who lives and works in Dorset. He initially qualified in Engineering and worked for a number of years in Military Research and Development, and has a keen interest in military hardware - armour, small arms, aircraft and ships. Tony has produced many illustrations for partworks, magazines and books, including a number of titles in the New Vanguard series.
NEW VANGUARD • 145
BRITISH SUBMARINES OF WORLD WAR I
ILLUSTRATED BY TONY BRYAN
First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Osprey Publishing, Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 OPH, UK 443 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016, USA E-mail: [email protected]
AUTHOR'S NOTE I would like to thank the staff at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum for their great help over the years that I have studied British submarine conflict. In particular, Debbie Corner, Curator of Photos, was most helpful in identifying several not-so-well-known images for this book.
© 2008 Osprey Publishing Ltd.
EDITOR'S NOTE All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, optical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Enquiries should be addressed to the Publishers.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
For ease of comparison between types, imperial measurements are used almost exclusively throughout this book. The following data will help in converting the imperial measurements to metric: 1 mile = 1.6km lib = 0.45kg 1 yard = 0.9m lft=O.3m 1in. = 2.54cm/25.4mm 1 gal = 4.5 liters 1 ton (US) = 0.9 tonnes
All images are courtesy of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum ISBN: 978 1 84603 334 6
Page layout by: Melissa Orrom Swan, Oxford, UK Index by Alan Thatcher Cartography by Peter Bull Map Studio Typeset in Sabon and Myriad Pro Originated by PDQ Digital Media Solutions Printed in China through Worldprint
08 09 10 11 12
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
FOR A CATALOGUE OF ALL BOOKS PUBLISHED BY OSPREY MILITARY AND AVIATION PLEASE CONTACT: NORTH AMERICA Osprey Direct, c/o Random House Distribution Center, 400 Hahn Road, Westminster, MD 21157 E-mail: [email protected]
ALL OTHER REGIONS Osprey Direct UK, P.O. Box 140 Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA, UK E-mail: [email protected]
Osprey Publishing is supporting the Woodland Trust, the UK's leading woodland conservation charity, by funding the dedication of trees.
DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
• • • • • • •
Pre-war coastal classes The D-Class submarine The E-Class submarine The H-Class submarine Later coastal classes Overseas classes Fleet classes
THEATRES OF OPERATION • • • •
The Baltic The Dardanelles Home waters British submarine losses in World War I
BRITISH SUBMARINES OF WORLD WAR I
INTRODUCTION The contribution that British submarines made to the Allied war effort in 1914-18 far outstripped any expectation that would have been made of it at the outset of the war. Small in size and primarily made up of obsolete designs, the Royal Navy Submarine Service grew in strength and confidence as the war progressed, and, when given the right operating conditions, was able to yield some important successes. In the Baltic the crucial iron ore trade between Germany and Sweden was all but curtailed by no more than five British submarines. The small Baltic flotilla also largely interrupted the activities of the German High Seas Fleet in this sector and claimed two important surface units. The Submarine Service won four Victoria Crosses - Britain's highest award for gallantry - in the Dardanelles. In so doing it almost wiped out the Turkish Navy and halved its Merchant Marine. The contribution of so few submarines to such an achievement stands in stark contrast to the losses on land during the campaign. In home waters British submarines were used in a largely defensive role until late in the war, when their capability as an anti-V-boat weapon brought a steady stream of successes from 191 7 to 1918 . Nevertheless, constant patrolling of the Bight of Heligoland brought several encounters with the High Seas Fleet, where several larger enemy warships were damaged. Although losses were high, British submarines had shown that these small craft possessed the capability to deny large stretches of the sea to the enemy. Unlike a battleship a submarine could be replaced rapidly. Some 150 new submarines joined the fleet during the war, while 54 were lost. At the Armistice Britain's submarine force was ascendant and had been imbued with a fighting tradition it subsequently has never lost.
DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Pre-war coastal classes The earlier B- and C-Classes were employed during the war, notably in the Baltic and Dardanelles. Ostensibly obsolete, their roles had to be matched carefully to the right theatres, with their ultimate withdrawal from frontline service being inevitable. 4
Eleven B-Class submarines were built from 1904 to 1906. They constituted further British development of the coastal design pioneered by John Philip Holland and first adopted by the Royal Navy in 1901. The displacement was nearly double that of the A-Class (completed from 1903 to 1908), but the boats were still limited in endurance and capability. The increased reserve buoyancy over the A-Class was a distinct advantage, reducing the possibility of being swamped in poor weather. Yet the B-Class still had no internal bulkheads and few crew comforts. A major design breakthrough was the retrofitting of hydroplanes forward as well as aft, which dramatically increased underwater stability. B-Class submarines were armed with two 18-in. torpedo tubes. During World War I B-Class submarines played a largely subsidiary role in home waters and in the Mediterranean. Only BI0 was sunk during the war, when it became the first submarine ever to succumb to air attack, whilst at Venice. Bll won notable acclaim for the sinking of the Turkish ironclad Messudieh, in the Dardanelles, winning the Submarine Service's first Victoria Cross. Only B3 served throughout the war, as the others were mostly laid up when worn out or converted into patrol craft.
HMS/m H8 under way. This rare aerial view, taken from Airship C2, nicely displays the features of the H-Class. Note the streamlined shape and the foldaway forward hydroplanes.
HMS/m 811 under way in a harbour with crew members on deck. The caption relates to her remarkable exploits in the Dardanelles, where she claimed a Turkish cruiser. The photo is pre-war, with the caption added later. Note 85 surfacing in the background.
HMS/m (3 under way in Portsmouth Harbour, 1907. The crew are in 'ceremonial' positions. The two crew members at the base of the conning tower are standing on the conning tower hydroplanes. The crew are all smartly dressed but are not in full uniform. This is obviously an official event as AS and A6, which are beyond (3, are similarly engaged. The two battleships are HMS Barfleur, on the left, and HMS Duncan, alongside in the background. Packed with explosives, (3 was used to destroy the mole at Zeebrugge in 1918.
Between 1905 and 1910 38 C-Class submarines were built. They represented a further refinement of the Holland design and were a marginal improvement on the earlier B-Class. The later C-Class vessels were fitted with two sets of hydroplanes as built, which was a major design improvement, although propulsive technology was still at a primitive level. The C-Class was the final British submarine class to be fitted with petrol engines. Moreover their battery technology barely allowed the submarine to submerge for more than a few hours. Nevertheless, 34 C-Class submarines were to operate with the Royal Navy during World War I, achieving some notable successes. C26, C27, C32, and C35 were transported by barge and train to form part of the Baltic flotilla. C32 was scuttled in 1917 and the others in 1918, when the Russian base was closed. The remaining C-Class vessels served in
home waters in operational and training roles. Four were lost to enemy action. To their credit, these obsolete submarines sank three U-boats. C3 was used in the Zeebrugge Raid in April 1918, where it was deliberately blown up beside the mole. The D-Class submarine The development of the D-Class began in 1905 and marked a departure in British submarine design. For the first time, the Admiralty designers were tasked with developing a submarine that could be employed on offensive operations along an enemy's coastline. Previously British submarines had been conceived for deployment in the harbour and coastal defence role. The major technological leap forward that was required to build an overseas class of submarine was the diesel engine. It took five years of trial and error to create the right levels of reliability and performance with the diesel propulsion unit. This meant that D-Class submarine production did not get into full swing until 1910. Originally, 19 were to be built, but after eight had been completed, production was switched to the newer, larger E-Class. To develop an overseas submarine meant that a series of r...