W-class submarines

W-class submarines

British W-class submarines were built for the Royal Navy as experimental boats, and were based on the French Schneider-Laubeuf design.

This design was modified very heavily by the Navy, which resulted in removing the issues of the previous design; the main difference was the removal of the drop-collars. The W-class subsequently performed significantly better, offering brilliant diving control and far more efficient venting and flooding systems.

Only four of the W-class submarines are constructed, being delivered between 1913 and 1916. In fact, the first two submarines took 15 and 17 months to build, which was hailed as a remarkable feat compared to other submarine building times during World War One.

The four W-class submarined were eventually transferred to the Italian Navy in 1916. W4 is thought to have been sunk by a mine after its transfer, while all three of the other submarines were striken after the war.

See the table below for more information on the characteristics of the W-class submarine:

W-class submarines statistics:

Number completed before 1919  4
Number completed after 1919  0
Lost in action  0
Lost accidentally  0
Prototype date  1915
Surface tonnage  340
Submerged tonnage  508
Length  171 feet
Engine  Diesel
Horsepower  650
Screws  2
Surface speed  13 knots
Submerged speed  8.5 knots
Torpedo tubes  18 inches
Number of torpedoes tubes  2
Guns  1
Crew 19

MLA Citation/Reference

"W-class submarines". HistoryLearning.com. 2023. Web.