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SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION – GOSPORT BRANCH Royal Navy Submarine Service

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1 SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION – GOSPORT BRANCH Royal Navy Submarine Service
Presents A brief history of the Royal Navy Submarine Service

2 In the beginning The Royal Navy submarine service began in 1901 with the purchase of its first submarines. The Irish inventor John Holland and his business partner, American Isaac Rice, convinced the British Admiralty to buy five of their Holland boats (Holland 1 to Holland 5) shortly after they had sold boats to the US Navy. The British boats were built under licence in Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers. (Holland 1 is now on display in the Submarine Museum in Gosport)

3 1901 to 1914 In 1901 Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson VC, the Controller of the Navy talking about submarines said they were:- “Underhand, under water and damned un-English, the crews of all submarines captured should be treated as pirates and hanged". This was also the opinion of most senior naval officers at the time but in 1900, Britain was the only major maritime power not to have at least an embryo submarine flotilla however, despite vehement condemnation of the submarine as a means of waging war, those determined to find out what all the fuss was about prevailed in the argument. Holland I was launched in 1901 and the RN's Submarine Service was born. 1904 On their first fleet manoeuvres, the five British Hollands were assigned to defend Portsmouth – and managed to "torpedo" four warships. Of this, Admiral John “Jacky” Fisher wrote, "It is astounding to me, perfectly astounding, how the very best amongst us fail to realize the vast impending revolution in Naval warfare and Naval strategy that the submarine will accomplish!"

4 1901 to 1914 On a more sombre note: "A1" – first of a brand-new all British designed class of improved Holland's – was run over by an unwitting passenger ship, and sank with the loss of all hands. "A1" was salvaged and put back in service. The pioneering days of the submarine, in all the navies which embraced the new technology, brought disaster as well as triumph. However, it was not long before increasing range and endurance meant that submarines became fearsome offensive weapons and formidable opponents. A Class Submarine

5 1901 to 1914 The first 12 years of the new submarine flotilla saw many improvements to the design of submarines but on the whole they were still very basic. One problem with earlier boats was that they were powered by petrol engines. There were problems with fumes and the ever present danger of fire or explosion. The main problem. However, was that they could not safely dive very deep and were vulnerable to collision with surface vessels who where often not aware that submarines existed. Submarine B1

6 D Class boats at Torquay
D and E class Boats These were the first submarines fitted with the newly invented diesel engines. Submarine D4 was also fitted with the first gun to be mounted on a submarine. (She was commanded by Lt. Martin Nasmith who was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in command of E11 during WW1). D Class boats at Torquay

7 1901 to 1914 E Class E class were basically improved D Class boats. In all, 58 ‘E’ class boats were built, most of them during WW1. They fought mainly in the Baltic and the Dardanelles were many heroic things were accomplished but 29 ‘E’ Class boats were lost, most with all hands. 3 VC’s were also won in ‘E’ boats during the war. Submarine E6

8 World War I Germany had 45, either in service or under construction.
On the eve of World War I, the art of submarine warfare was barely a dozen years old, and no nation had submarine-qualified officers serving at the senior staff level. Prejudice against submarines remained: they represented an unethical form of warfare, and they did not "fit" in the classic, balanced structure of a navy – where battleships were king. No nation had developed any method for detecting submarines, or attacking them if found. Thanks largely to the efforts of Admiral ‘Jacky’ Fisher, Great Britain had the world's largest submarine fleet at the outbreak of war with 105 submarines, either in service or under construction. France had 62 boats in service. Russia had 48 boats. USA had 30 in service; Germany had 45, either in service or under construction. Italy had 21 in service;

9 Upholders Jolly Roger during WW2
WWI The real advances in submarine design came during the first world war of 1914 – 1918. During World War 1 German submarines, attacking Britain's lifelines of trade across the sea, sank 6.5 million tons of allied merchant shipping. The Royal Navy Submarine Service quickly made its mark as well, and finally laid to rest its image of being manned by `unwashed chauffeurs'. Equipped in the main with the excellent E-Class, and operating in the confined and dangerous arenas of the Baltic and Dardanelles, they sank 54 enemy warships, including 19 submarines. From their ranks emerged names like Max Horton, the first CO to fly the Jolly Roger, and Norman Holbrook VC, the first Naval Victoria Cross to be awarded during World War I and the first in the Submarine Service - he was followed by 13 others. Upholders Jolly Roger during WW2

10 WWI The Royal Navy started the war with mainly the older ‘D’ class boats and a few of the newer ‘E’ class of which many more were to be built. During the war boats of the ‘G’, ‘H’ and ‘J’ class were also built. During the course of the war a large number of UK submarines were built and 60 were lost, including 29 ‘E’ boats, along with a total of xxx officers and men. The crew of Submarine E31

11 Post WW1 - 1918 to 1939 UK Submarine Development
During the inter-war years between 1918 and 1939 many different classes of boat were built including some radical designs such as the steam driven ‘K’ class and the diesel-electric driven ‘M’ class boats. The ‘K’ class were a disaster and didn’t last long in service. The very large ‘M’ class were also not very successful. Three were built all with a 12” (300mm) battleship gun on the fore casing. This tended to capsize the boat if fired to either side. M1 was sunk in a collision with a surface ship, M2 was later fitted with a seaplane in a watertight hanger in place of the gun. A launcher was also fitted to launch the plane but the boat later sank. M3 was converted to a mine-layer and was the only one to survive. ‘K’ Class submarine Submarine M1

12 1918 to 1939 UK Submarine Development
Although the Admiralty still weren’t fully convinced of the usefulness of the submarine or how best to use them various experimental boats were designed and used. A typical example is the X1. This was designed to act as a commerce raider. She was the biggest submarine ever built up to that time in 1925 (2,800t) and was armed with six 21” (533mm) torpedo tubes and two twin mount 5.2” (132mm) guns. Submarine X1

13 1918 to 1939 German Submarine Development
Although the Germans had been forbidden to build and operate submarines by the Versailles Treaty at the end of the war, they didn't feel particularly obedient in the matter. Four years after the war ended and working through a front company in the Netherlands named the "Dutch Submarine Development Bureau", the German Krupp company began designing U-boats in 1922, and quickly moved towards actually building them for other countries to maintain the technical capability of producing them. By the summer of 1939, the German Navy had 57 U-boats. Admiral Doenitz felt he needed 300 ocean going submarines to ensure that he could strangle Britain into defeat if war came.

14 WWII In 1939, Britain had 58 submarines available, 47 of which could have been considered 'modern'. Around 270 British submarines were eventually deployed by the UK during WW2, including and supported by the gallant naval forces of the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia and the Free French. The main operating areas for British submarines during the war were:- The North Sea/Norwegian Sea. The Mediterranean: Mainly 1940 to late 1943. The Malacca Straits and into the seas around the East Indies (Indonesia). A total of 74 of pour submarines were lost during the war reflecting the difficulties of their operating areas and targets: the well protected German shipping around Northern Europe, the clear and shallow Mediterranean and the almost unbearably humid Malacca Straits and Indian Ocean.

15 WWII During the Second World War, British submarines proved, for the second time in twenty years, their value and importance as a supreme strategic weapon. 475 enemy merchant ships, 105 warships and 36 submarines had been sunk, with many others damaged. The course of the North African campaign had been decisively altered. However, the cost was a heavy one. 74 boats in the Submarine Service did not return and 3,142 men (1 in 3 who served) were killed and 359 captured. Submarine ‘Saracen’

16 Post WW2 (1948 to 1958) X Craft ‘Midget’ Submarines

17 Submarine ‘Stratagem’
Post WW2 (1948 to 1958) Historically the 1948 Berlin Airlift symbolised the start of confrontation between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union – known as the ‘Cold War’. NATO came into being the next year and the submarine started to take its place as a key player in the conduct of this trial of resolve between East and West. The majority of active units that made up the submarine fleet of the Royal Navy when the possibility of a 'Hot War' with the USSR was very real, were all WW2 veterans. At the start of this period there were about 55 submarines in service. 2- 'U' class submarines 15 - 'S' class (modernised) including 4 un-armed ASW targets. 23 - 'T' class Submarines (Group III, Extended hull or Streamlined) 15 - ‘A’ Class Submarines. Submarine ‘United’ Submarine ‘Stratagem’

18 HMSA Tireless in 1952 (following conversion)
Post WW2 (1948 to 1958) Streamlining HMS Tireless in 1942 HMSA Tireless in 1952 (following conversion)

19 [No gun but hinged snort induction mast abaft the fin]
The ‘A’ Boats Many of the older wartime ‘U’ and ‘S’ class boats were retired during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. These were being replaced by the Amphion or ‘A’ class boats. These were designed during the war to serve in the Far East but were not completed in time to carry out that task although 46 had been planned. The first one, HMS/M Amphion, was completed in August 1944 but did not see active service. 15 more were built with the last, HMS/M Alliance, being launched in 1947. As well as torpedo tubes they were fitted with a 4” deck gun. HMS/M Acheron [No gun but hinged snort induction mast abaft the fin]

20 Post WW2 (1948 to 1958) Up until the end of the war, submarines of all nations which were sunk in two world wars were, with the exception of those sunk by accident or mining, were lost for one of three reasons:- They had to surface for long periods to recharge batteries making them vulnerable Their slow underwater speed deprived them of the ability to outpace the hunting surface vessels or ……. They could not dive deep enough for evasion. There was an urgent need to solve these problems if submarines were to become more effective

21 Tireless with Snort Mast raised
Post WW2 (1948 to 1958) The Dutch had shown a way of remaining dived while charging batteries, with their invention of the Schnorkel before WW2. Indeed, their own submarines which escaped the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies to join the Allied forces had their own Schnorkels, but the technology was ignored by the British, even when the equipment was available in their own harbours. It was known that the Germans were using the schnorkel from 1942 in their Type VII U-boats. Tireless with Snort Mast raised The schnorkel was simply an air-induction mast raised out of the water while at periscope depth, in order to run the diesel engines, which would re-charge the battery. Exhaust gases was usually pushed out through a pipe which remained just submerged. Tireless with Snort Mast raised

22 Propulsion - The way ahead
The Schnorkel, or snort mast, was a great improvement, allowing boats to remain undetected for longer periods but it did not solve all of the problems. What was really needed was a new type of propulsion, one that would make it a 'true' submarine - capable of remaining at depth and at speed for long periods. The nuclear submarine was in the conception stage by 1950 and navies cast around for cheaper alternatives. The Germans had, once again, led the way, using what was known as the ‘Walter’ engine. The first Walter submarine, V80, was actually tested in 1940. German Type XVIIB Hydrogen Peroxide Submarine

23 Propulsion – High Test Peroxide (HTP)
The German Type XVIIB boat U initially scuttled at Cuxhaven in May was rebuilt and commissioned as HMS Meteorite. To supervise the reconstruction, Professor Helmuth Walter his staff came from Germany to Barrow. Meteorite's RN service came to an end in September 1949. It still took five years for the Royal Navy to commission two of its own experimental submarines, HMS Explorer (Mar 1954) and HMS Excalibur (Feb 1955). They were twin screw boats with two modes of propulsion - HTP (or "perhydrol") turbines (15,000 SHP, 25 knots dived) and electric motors (400 Brake Horse Power). HMS Excalibur - Hydrogen Peroxide Submarine

24 Propulsion – High Test Peroxide (HTP)
HTP was not only used as fuel for the propulsion system but was also used to propel torpedoes. HTP proved to be a very dangerous and volatile substance and this led to several accidents. Sadly, the most serious one was when an HTP torpedo exploded in the torpedo tube on HMS Sidon in Portland Harbour in 1955 causing the loss of 13 lives. The Royal Navy immediately discontinued the use of torpedoes using HTP shortly afterwards. HTP was still used in the experimental submarines Explorer and Excalibur (known by their crews as ‘Exploder’ and ‘Excruciater’) for some years after this. The Excalibur wasn’t scrapped until 1968. HMS/m Sidon in 1952

25 A New Breed of Submarine
1958 – HMS/m Porpoise, S01 was completed in April 1958 by Vickers Armstrong. The Porpoise class and the later, similar Oberon class, were in their time, considered one of the quietest submarine classes in the world. These submarines were officially described as INTERMEDIATE SUBMARINE (B), the same description as the extended 'T' class. They were large submarines at 2400 tons submerged, with six forward internal tubes and two stern tubes (that were eventually redundant when the long awaited modern sophisticated torpedoes finally came into reliable service). They had the same ASDIC (SONAR) kit etc as the extended 'T' and modernised 'A'. In particular the 169 and 168 sets. The diving depth is stated as 500 ft. (It is recorded that the steel used in the similar Oberon class allowed something approaching 1,000 ft). The appearance of the Porpoise class signalled the start of a new era in submarine design. They were the first new operational diesel submarine since the 'A' class which were designed and mainly constructed in WW II.

26 ‘O’ Class Oberon Class The Oberon class was a 27 boat class of British-built diesel-electric submarines based on the successful British Porpoise class submarine. 13 were constructed for the Royal Navy, while another 14 were built and exported to other countries' navies The submarine normally carried a payload of 20 torpedoes for the forward tubes; a mix of Mark 24 Tigerfish and Mark 8 torpedoes, Changes from the Porpoise design were primarily to improve the strength and stealth of the submarine. Instead of UXW steel, the hull was built from QT28 steel, which was easier to fabricate and stronger, allowing the submarine to dive deeper. Glass-reinforced plastic was used in construction of the casing for the first time. HMS/M Osiris

27 HMS/M Opossum returning from the first gulf war
‘O’ Class Electronics, sonar, and radar systems were also upgraded to the latest standard. The submarines were equipped with a Type 1002 surface search and navigation radar, a Type 187 Active-Passive attack sonar, and a Type 2007 long range passive sonar. The first of the class to be commissioned into the Royal Navy was Orpheus in 1960 Like the Porpoises, the Oberons were far quieter than their American counterparts. HMS/M Opossum returning from the first gulf war

28 ‘O’ Class The Oberon class was arguably the best conventional submarine class of its time, with an astonishing reputation for quietness that allowed it to exist into the 21st century. Opossum served during the Gulf War and inserted SBS special forces into Iraq and occupied Kuwait. Onyx served in the Falklands war. The Oberon class was briefly succeeded in RN service by the Upholder class submarines. The Upholder class submarines were later upgraded and sold to the Canadian Forces As of 2006, at least fourteen ‘O’ boats are confirmed to have survived in some form: Seven as museum ships or tourist attractions, two preserved in partial form as monuments, while five are to be converted into museum ships.

29 The Nuclear Age At the start of the Cold War. Ageing submarines held the line, but it was recognised, not least by Earl Louis Mountbatten, that nuclear power held the key to counter the growing, eventually huge, Soviet submarine threat. 1958 HMS DREADNOUGHT was built in Barrow by Vickers. She established a line of outstanding SSNs (nuclear powered fleet submarines) which were to play a pivotal role during the cold war. Their contribution, in partnership with their USN counterparts, was to confront the potential enemy wherever he went. By 1991 The cold war, fought to a great degree beneath the waves, was won. HMS Dreadnought

30 Today’s Submarine Flotilla
There are two levels of threat in the modern age. Threats from nations or organisations with ballistic weapons and those without. To defend ourselves we need to be able to counter both levels of threat. For this reason or submarine fleet consists of both Attack or ‘Fleet’ boats (the SSN) and ballistic missile armed boats (the SSBN). The current fleet includes 9 SSN’s and 4 SSBN’s. The roles of both are intended to be preventive i.e. to act as a deterrent. But, for the deterrent effect to be viable, any potential enemy needs to understand that we would not hesitate to use them if our sovereignty or safety was threatened. So far the SSN’s have been used in anger but, thankfully the SSBN’s have not.

31 Fleet Boats (SSN’s) At last, the weaknesses of the earliest submarines has been overcome. The nuclear boats can now travel at a speed to allow them to keep up with the fleet, can dive deep enough to ‘hide’ from surface forces and are quiet enough to make themselves ‘invisible’ to searching ships and submarines. They are also well armed to both defend themselves and deliver a significant blow to any enemy. The SSN can act against both surface and submarine opposition and, when fitted with the ‘Tomahawk’ missile, can target land based installations as well.

32 Fleet Boats (SSN’s) The SSNs of the ‘Swiftsure’ and ‘Trafalgar’ Class are extremely sophisticated, deep diving, high-speed submarines, capable of fulfilling a range of maritime military tasks undreamed of by the strategists of previous generations. The Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile (TLAM) is in service and was first fired in action from HMS SPLENDID in the Kosovo conflict in 1999. SSN’s other roles include reconnaissance, surveillance and the insertion of special forces. HMS TURBULENT

33 Fleet Boats (SSN’s) Astute – is the first of a new generation of attack submarines that will never require refuelling at any time throughout their 25 year service life. The proud and powerful descendants of the tiny Holland One, equipped with ‘Tomahawk’ land attack missiles, ‘Sub-Harpoon’ anti-ship missiles, and GEC-Marconi ‘Spearfish’ torpedoes maintain the vigil for peace HMS ASTUTE

34 SSBN’s The mission profile of a ballistic missile submarine concentrates on remaining undetected, rather than aggressively pursuing other vessels. Ballistic missile submarines are designed for stealth, to avoid detection at all costs. 1968 HMS RESOLUTION, first of the ‘R’ class SSBN’s, conducted the first of 229 unbroken Polaris deterrent patrols. This was a brilliant achievement and vital to the national interest at a time of great global uncertainty. HMS/M RENOWN

35 SSBN’s The ‘R’ class SSBNs were replaced by the Vanguard or ‘V’ class in These boats continue to act as our nuclear deterant to this day. HMS VICTORIOUS

36 CERAMONIAL The first Queens colours were presented to the submarine command in 1959 New colour were presented in 1989 The Centennial Parade was held in 2001

37 Submariners VC’s FOR VALOUR There have been 14 Victoria Crosses awarded to submariners. All for exploits during WW1 and WW2.

38 Submariners VC’s During WW1
The first submariner VC was Lieutenant Norman Holbrook captain of submarine B11. The other WW1 submariner VC recipients were - Lieutenant-Commander Edward Boyle in E14 Lieutenant-Commander Martin Nasmith in E11. Lieutenant-Commander Geoffrey White in command of Boyles former submarine E14 Lieutenant Aubrey Sandford in command of C3.

39 Submariners VC’s During WW2
Lieutenant-Commander Malcolm Wanklyn. in HMS Upholder was the first WW2 submariner VC the others were:- Lieutenant Peter Roberts and Petty Officer Tommy Gould in HMS Thrasher Lieutenant-Commander Tony Miers in HMS Torbay Commander John 'Tubby' Linton who commanded HMS Turbulent Lieutenants Donald Cameron in X6 and Basil Place in X7 Lieutenant Ian Fraser and Leading Seaman James Magennis. were also X-craft men operating in XE1 (There are those who feel that Lieutenant Henty-Creer in X5 – should also be awarded a posthumous VC as well as suitable awards to his brave crew for their part in the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz).

40 Submariners VC’s All submariners are a special breed of men but those who served in submarines during war time were all heroes and a great many gave their lives during those conflicts. A great many were awarded medals of various kinds for their bravery and dedication to duty and there were no doubt many who perhaps should have been decorated but were not, but the 5 men from WWI and the 9 from WWII who were awarded the Victoria Cross epitomise the courage and professionalism of the true submarine hero. As Sir Winston Churchill said:- "Of all the branches of men in the Forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the Submariner. Great deeds are done in the air and on land but, never the less, nothing surpasses their exploits".

41 SUBMARINE ESCAPE In the early Days
In the very early days the only means of rescuing people from a sunken submarines was to salvage the boat and release any survivors. This was in fact done with submarine K1 which sank in the Gareloch. However, after some significant losses including the M1 a suitable method of escape was sought. The first attempt, in 1914, involved the use of a Hall-Rees escape set.

42 SUBMARINE ESCAPE In the early Days
The Hall-Rees set proved to be unreliable, cumbersome and took up too much space onboard and was soon abandoned. In 1929 trials were carried out on several types of personal escape sets and the Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus (DSEA) was chosen as the best option. It was fairly reliable and, above all, compact and easy to stow. In 1931 the submarine HMS Poseidon was run down by a merchant ship and sank. 8 people escaped using the DSEA.

43 SUBMARINE ESCAPE Many lessons were learnt during the early days of submarine escapes. In several sinking's men did escape but there were several problems such as the difficulty in opening the hatch, the rapid build up of CO2 during the flooding up stage, etc. Several innovations were introduced following an enquiry conducted by Rear Admiral Nasmith including purpose built escape hatches and the ‘twill’ trunk which was introduced during the early part of WW2. He also proposed the construction of a 100 foot (30.4 meter) escape training tank (not actually built until 1954). Following the war another committee chaired by Rear Admiral Ruck-Keene recommended the fitting of one man escape chambers. Other innovations introduced were the built in breathing system (BIBS) and immersion suits.

44 Geoff Chalcraft (Who runs a very good submarine web site)
Acknowledgements and special thanks for providing some of the facts and photos in this presentation go to – Dave Hallas (Who produces the SA National Web Site as well as his own ‘BritSubs’ site) Geoff Chalcraft (Who runs a very good submarine web site) The RNSM Museum Ian Callow (For his great Submarine Escape Training Web Site) and The Submariners Association [Presentation produced by Les Catlin – Gosport Branch, Submariners Association]


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