British H-class submarine

H4 at Brindisi, August 1916
Class overview
Preceded by: E class
Succeeded by: J class
In commission: 26 May 19151945
Completed: 42
Lost: 9
Retired: 33
General characteristics
  • Group 1+2 :
  • 363 long tons (369 t) surfaced
  • 434 long tons (441 t) submerged
  • Group 3 :
  • 423 long tons (430 t) surfaced
  • 510 long tons (518 t) submerged
  • Group 1+2 :
  • 150 ft 3 in (45.80 m)
  • Group 3 :
  • 171 ft 0 in (52.12 m)
Beam: 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m)
  • Group 1+2 :
  • 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) surfaced
  • 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) submerged
  • Group 3 :
  • 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph) surfaced
  • 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph) submerged
  • Group 1+2 :
  • 1,600 nmi (3,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • Group 3 :
  • 2,985 nmi (5,528 km) at 7.5 kn (13.9 km/h; 8.6 mph) surfaced
  • Group 1+2+3 :
  • 130 nmi (240 km) at 2 kn (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) submerged
Complement: 22
An H-class submarine under construction.
Three H-class submarines (lower left).
HMS H5, H6, H7, H8, H9, and H10 with the drydocked British armoured cruiser HMS Carnarvon (at upper left) during World War I, sometime between the 1915 commissioning of the submarines and the 4 May 1917 sale of H6 to the Netherlands.

The British H-class submarines were Holland 602 type submarines used by the Royal Navy. The submarines constructed for the British Royal Navy between 1915 and 1919 were designed and built in response to German boats which mined British waters and sank coastal shipping with ease due to their small size. The H class was therefore created to perform similar operations in German waters, and to attack German submarines operating in British waters.

Despite their cramped size and lack of a deck gun on some submarines, the class became enormously popular amongst submariners, and saw action all around the British Isles, some being transferred as far as the Adriatic. Due to the later arrival of most of the class, they were unable to have a massive impact, only destroying two German submarines U-51 and UB-52 for the loss of four of their own number in the First World War.

Post-war many were retained in the Royal Navy for training purposes, and four more were lost in wrecks during the 1920s. At the outbreak of the Second World War they were hopelessly obsolete, but nevertheless were retained in training and coastal warfare roles to help the Royal Navy cope with heavy losses to the submarine fleet during the early stages of the war. Two were sunk during this duty by German countermeasures. The Canada-built boats were equipped with Fessenden transducers, which were missing from the US-built boats.


Group 1

Group 1 was built in Canada at the Canadian Vickers Yards in Montreal before being transported across the Atlantic and deployed from Britain. This was necessary because British shipyards were too overcrowded and busy to construct submarines at this time.

Group 2

The second group was constructed simultaneously with the first group, but at Fore River Yard at Quincy, Massachusetts in the then-neutral United States. When the US government discovered the construction, they impounded all the completed units, only releasing them following their own declaration of war two years later. To escape this difficulty, the British government gave six units to the Chilean Navy as partial payment for the appropriation of six Chilean ships for British service in 1914.

Group 3

Group 3 was the largest group, and was constructed in 1917–1919 in Britain, shipyard space having been granted to the project and more boats needed following the seizure of those building in the United States. They were built by Vickers, Cammell Laird, Armstrong Whitworth and William Beardmore at several locations, and most of the boats enjoyed long careers in the Royal Navy.

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to British H class submarines.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/18/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.