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ANTONY PRESTON, JOHN BATCHELOR
THE SUBMARINE SINCE 1919

All this time Russia's submarine force remained an enigma. Armed with as much information about German developments as her technicians could get, she worked hard to modernise her fleet. By the early 1950s the first of the new "W" Class were seen;although claimed to have been started in 1944 it is clear that they owed a lot to the Type XXI. They became the standard postwar type, and many were transferred to other navies. In 1961 work began on converting twelve to missile-firing submarines on the lines of the American Tunny and Barbero. One boat carried a single Shaddock surface-to-surface missile in a cylinder which elevated 20-25пїЅ for firing, but others carried twin cylinders, and the third variant carried four Shaddock cylinders faired into a streamlined fin. There was also a radar picket version.

British Oberon Class. The thirteen Oberons are the Royal Navy's latest conventional submersibles, and also its most successful export design, as a number have been built for other navies. They embody many features of the German Type XXI, and have the reputation of being the most silent submarines in service. Displacement: 1,610 tons (surfaced). Armament: Eight 21-in torpedo-tubes (6 forward, 2 aft); 30 torpedoes carried. Speed: 12 knots (surfaced), 17 knots (submerged)

The next Russian submarine type to appear was the Class, whose existence was doubted until 1952, when the first blurred photographs appeared in Western magazines. This was the class which was reputed to have tried the Walther propulsion system in the first few units, but the remainder quickly reverted to diesel-electric propulsion. They were more closely related to the Type XXI than the previous class, and at least 25 were built. A further ten were converted to fire two ballistic missiles from vertical tubes in the fin, and a slightly enlarged version called the "G" Class was built at the same time to fire three missiles.

Russian "J" Class. This class of conventional submersibles carry four Shaddock surface-to-surface cruise missiles in launchers housed in the deck casing. Sixteen were completed by 1967

Great importance was attached in Western newspapers throughout the 1950s to the size of the Russian submarine fleet, but at the time its numbers were swollen by the large number of obsolescent "M", "S" and "Shch" Glass and other boats which had survived the Second World War. When the new construction came into service it was possible to pay off these old submarines, and by the end of the decade it is doubtful if any were still used for anything but training.

The best submersibles

TheRoyal Navy contented itself with modernizing its "T" and "A" Class boats, during the 1950s, along the lines of the American "Guppy" programme. Unfortunately the earlier "Ts" and the "S" Class had riveted hulls, which made them unsuitable for modernisation, but several were modified for experimental work. At the same time a new class of submarines was built to incorporate the latest ideas. These were known as the Porpoise Class, and they were followed by the very similar Oberon Class, which acquired an enviable reputation for reliability and quietness. Since 1962 a total of 14 have been sold to foreign buyers, and they are regarded as the best conventional submersibles available.

Russian "Y" Class. This is the Russian version of the Polaris submarines, with sixteen vertical tubes for launching the 1,350-mile range SS-N-6 missile. The first were reported in 1968 and 32 have been built

TheFrench had to rebuild their submarine force from scratch after the war. Apart from a handful of worn-out pre-war submarine, and some borrowed from the British, they had only five incomplete hulls which were worth rebuilding. Taking advantage of a British offer of four "S" Class for training, they set to work to redesign the five Creole Class hulls which had survived the war. These came into service between 1946 and 1953, and lessons were incorporated in the six Narval Class built in 1951-5. Two more classes were designed in the 1950s, of which the later Daphne Class of 1957-67 proved as commercially successful as the British Oberons.

Holland found herself in a similar situation in 1945, with her fleet comprising worn out or borrowed submarines. In 1954 the Dolfijn, first of a unique class, was laid down. She had a triple hull, with three separate cylinders disposed in a triangle. This novel idea had the advantage of making better use of the internal space available, and also gave great strength, but it has not been repeated in any other navy.

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