Cruiser submarine

A cruiser submarine was a very large submarine designed to remain at sea for extended periods in areas distant from base facilities. Cruiser submarines were successful for a brief period of World War I, but were less successful than smaller submarines during World War II. Large submarines remained vulnerable to damage from Defensively equipped merchant ships (DEMS), were slow to dive if found by aircraft, offered a large sonar echo surface, and were less able to defensively maneuver during depth charge attacks.[1]

Surcouf FRA
Surcouf had the largest guns of any cruiser submarine.

History

The cruiser submarine concept originated during the unrestricted submarine warfare campaign of 1917. Three German Type U 139 submarines and seven former merchant submarines, each armed with two 15-centimetre (5.9 in) guns, patrolled areas distant from their North Sea bases to sink Allied merchant shipping as part of an effort to end World War I by starving the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. These distant patrols enjoyed unique immunity to the defensive convoy measures which limited successful submarine attacks in the vicinity of the British Isles.[2]

The First World War combat experience of these submarines encouraged all major navies to build submarine cruiser prototypes between the world wars, but their cost discouraged most from further production. Developments were further limited by the London Naval Treaty of 1930, under which each signatory was permitted to possess no more than three large submarines, each above 2,000 tons (2,032 metric tons) but not exceeding 2,800 tons (2,845 metric tons) standard displacement, with guns not exceeding 6.1 in (150 mm) in caliber.

Japanese focus on the distances of their Pacific trade routes encouraged development of the widest variety of submarine cruisers, including the A, B and J types. Germany decided against building projected 3,140-ton type XI U-boats with an aircraft hangar and four 5-inch (13 cm) guns.[3] Long-range submarines with less impressive deck guns, including Type IXD2 U-boats and United States Navy fleet submarines, evolved through the Second World War; and may be identified as cruiser submarines in comparison to submarines designed for shorter patrols over lesser distances.[1]

Examples

Name Nation Surface displacement Submerged displacement Speed Guns Torpedo tubes Crew Year Reference
Surcouf  France 3,250 tons 4,304 tons 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) 2 × 203mm (8in) 50 caliber 10[4] 118 1934 [5]
Narwhal-class  USA 2,730 tons 4,050 tons 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) 2 × 6"/53 caliber 6 90 1928 [6]
Type U-139  Germany 1,930 tons 2,483 tons 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) 2 × 15 cm (5.9 in) 6 62 1916 [7]
Type U-151  Germany 1,512 tons 1,875 tons 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) 2 × 15 cm (5.9 in) 6 56 1917 [7]
Type J1  Japan 2,135 tons 2,791 tons 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) 2 × 14 cm (5.5 in)/40 caliber 6 80 1926 [8]
Type B1  Japan 2,584 tons 3,654 tons 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) 1 × 14 cm (5.5 in)/40 caliber 6 100 1940 [9]
Type AM  Japan 3,603 tons 4,762 tons 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) 1 × 14 cm (5.5 in)/40 caliber 6 100 1944 [10]
HMS X1  Royal Navy 2,780 tons 3,600 tons 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) 4 × 5.2 in (13 cm) 6 110 1923 [11]
Kaidai class  Japan 1,833 tons 2,602 tons 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) 1 × 12 cm (4.7 in) 6 80 1930 [12]
K-class  Soviet Union 1,490 tons 2,104 tons 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph) 2 × 10 cm (3.9 in) 10 67 1939 [13]
Type IXD2  Germany 1,616 tons 1,804 tons 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) 1 × 10.5 cm (4.1 in) 6 57 1938 [13]
Cagni class  Italy 1,461 tons 2,136 tons 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) 2 × 10 cm (3.9 in) 14 85 1940 [14]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Blair, p.501
  2. ^ Tarrant, pp.44-60
  3. ^ Lenton, pp.198&199
  4. ^ Avalanch Press page on Sucouf says 8 external tubes (2x4), apparently one each 55cm & 40cm (1x4 each), but not how many in the hull.
  5. ^ le Masson, p.157
  6. ^ Silverstone, p.186
  7. ^ a b Gray, p.227
  8. ^ Watts, p.167
  9. ^ Watts, p.185
  10. ^ Watts, p.200
  11. ^ Lenton & Colledge, p.136
  12. ^ Watts, p.188
  13. ^ a b Taylor, p.104
  14. ^ Kafka & Pepperburg, p.790

Sources

  • Blair, Clay (1996). Hitler's U-Boat War. The Hunters 1939-1942. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-58839-8.
  • Gray, Edwyn A. (1972). The Killing Time. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • Kafka, Roger; Pepperburg, Roy L. (1946). Warships of the World. New York: Cornell Maritime Press.
  • le Masson, Henri (1969). Navies of the Second World War. The French Navy 1. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
  • Lenton, H.T. (1976). German Warships of the Second World War. New York: Arco Publishing Company. ISBN 0-668-04037-8.
  • Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J. (1964). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
  • Potter, E.B.; Nimitz, Chester W. (1960). Sea Power. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
  • Tarrant, V.E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive 1914-1945. London: Cassell & Company. ISBN 1-85409-520-X.
  • Taylor, J.C. (1966). German Warships of World War II. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
  • Watts, Anthony J. (1966). Japanese Warships of World War II. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
Japanese submarine I-1

The Japanese submarine I-1 was a J1 type submarine built by Kawasaki, Kobe, for the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was a large cruiser submarine displacing 2,135 tons and was the lead of four boats built in the class.

She was commissioned on 10 March 1926 and served in the Second World War. On 29 January 1943, during Operation Ke, the New Zealand naval trawlers Kiwi and Moa intercepted and wrecked her after a surface battle at Kamimbo Bay, Guadalcanal.

Japanese submarine I-156

The Japanese submarine I-156 was a Kaidai-class cruiser submarine of the KD3B sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1920s. She supported Japanese forces during the invasion of Malaya in December 1941 and the Dutch East Indies campaign in early 1942.

Japanese submarine I-168

The Japanese submarine I-168 (I-68, until 20 May 1942) was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine active in World War II. A KD6 sub-class boat, I-168 was built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the early 1930s. At the Battle of Midway she sank the only American warships lost in the battle: the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) and the destroyer USS Hammann (DD-412). At that time she was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Yahachi Tanabe.

Japanese submarine I-174

The Japanese submarine I-174 (I-74, until 20 May 1942) was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine of the KD6B sub-class, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the mid-1930s.

Japanese submarine I-175

The Japanese submarine I-175 (I-75, until 20 May 1942) was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine of the KD6B sub-class, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the mid-1930s.

Japanese submarine I-177

Japanese submarine I-177 was a Kaidai-type of cruiser submarine that served during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). I-177 was a KD7 subclass boat, commissioned on 28 December 1942 and sunk by USS Samuel S. Miles (DE-183) on 3 October 1944, with no survivors.

Japanese submarine I-178

Japanese Submarine I-178 (I-78, until 20 May 1942) was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine that saw service during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Commissioned on December 26, 1942, I-178 was a KD7 sub-class boat that sailed on just two patrols off the east coast of Australia during 1943, going missing sometime after 17 June 1943.

Japanese submarine I-180

Japanese submarine I-180 (originally I-80) was a Kaidai type (KD7 sub-class) cruiser submarine of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Ordered in 1939 under the 4th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme, she was laid down at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on 17 April 1941 as I-80. Launched on 7 February 1942, she was renumbered I-180 on 20 May 1942, and completed on 15 January 1943.

Japanese submarine I-181

Japanese submarine I-181 (originally I-81) was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD7 sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1940s. She was lost with all hands when she was ran aground in New Guinea after a battle with American ships in early 1944.

Japanese submarine I-182

The Japanese submarine I-182 (originally I-82) was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD7 sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1940s. She was sunk with all hands by an American destroyer in mid-1943.

Japanese submarine I-183

The Japanese submarine I-183 (originally I-83) was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD7 sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1940s. She was sunk with all hands by an American submarine in mid-1944.

Japanese submarine I-185

The Japanese submarine I-185 (originally I-85) was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD7 sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1940s. She was sunk with all hands by an American destroyer during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in mid-1944.

Japanese submarine I-60

The Japanese submarine I-60 was a Kaidai-class cruiser submarine of the KD3B sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1920s. The boat supported Japanese forces during the Dutch East Indies campaign in early 1942 until she was sunk by a British destroyer on 17 January.

Japanese submarine I-70

The Japanese submarine I-70 was a Kaidai type of cruiser submarine active in World War II. A KD6 boat, I-70 was built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the early 1930s. At that time it was commanded by Commander Sano Takao.

Japanese submarine I-73

The Japanese submarine I-73 was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD6A sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1930s. One month after participating in the IJN's attack on Pearl Harbor, she was sunk by United States Navy submarine USS Gudgeon.

Junsen type submarine

The Junsen type submarine (巡潜型潜水艦, "巡洋潜水艦", Junsen-gata sensuikan, "Cruiser submarine") was a ship class of submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). There were four submarine designs of the Junsen type: J1, a modified J1, J2 and the J3.

Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Imperial Japanese Navy submarines originated with the purchase of five Holland type submarines from the United States in 1904. Japanese submarine forces progressively built up strength and expertise, becoming by the beginning of World War II one of the world's most varied and powerful submarine fleets.

Type A1 submarine

The Type A1 submarine (巡潜甲型潜水艦, Junsen kō-gata sensuikan, "Cruiser submarine type A"), also called I-9-class submarine (伊九型潜水艦, I-kyū-gata sensuikan) were a trio of aircraft-carrying cruiser submarines built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1930s. All three participated in the Pacific War and were lost.

Type B1 submarine

The Type B1 submarine (巡潜乙型潜水艦, Junsen Otu-gata sensuikan, "Cruiser submarine type B"), also called I-15-class submarine (伊一五型潜水艦, I-jū-go-gata sensuikan) was the first group of boats of the Type B cruiser submarines built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1940s. In total 20 were built, starting with I-15, which gave the series their alternative name.

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