:: B CLASS (1904-1906) ::

B class attack submarine (1904-1906) High resolution picture

The B class was a short series of attack submarines launched between 1904 and 1906 for the Royal Navy. Equipped with a petrol engine, these primitive submarines proved to be unreliable, and the lack of any internal bulkhead exposed the crew to the exhaust fumes of their petrol engines. Ventilation was provided only for the electric batteries and not for the living area, which lacked the most minimal comfort. Due to this, sea endurance was expected to be only four days during summer and three days during winter. With the exception of one unit sunk in 1912 because of a collision, the remaining vessels served during the First World War, albeit they were already becoming obsolescent.

The only successful war action was performed by the B11, which ventured into the Dardanelles in December 1914 after being upgraded with new batteries and reinforced hydrofoils (to prevent submarine nets from damaging them). There the submarine sighted the old Turkish ironclad Mesudiye (reconverted into a pre-dreadnought in 1903), which in that moment was idle. Lieutenant Holbrook approached the target and launched a torpedo from a distance of 700 meters, which hit and quickly sank the ship. But despite this success, from that moment the bulk of operations in the Sea of Marmara would be assigned to the more powerful submarines of the E class.

B class: 11 units (B1 to B11)

Type: Attack submarine

Length: 43.3 meters

Beam: 3.8 meters

Draught: 3.4 meters

Displacement (surfaced): 292 tonnes

Displacement (submerged): 321 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 1 x petrol engine 600 horsepower, 1 x electric motor 180 horsepower, 159 x battery cell

Speed (surfaced): 12 knots (22 kilometers/hour)

Speed (submerged): 6.5 knots (12 kilometers/hour)

Range (surfaced): 740 nautical miles (1370 kilometers) at 8.7 knots

Range (submerged): 25 nautical miles (46 kilometers) at 6.5 knots

Test depth: 30.5 meters

Complement: 15

Armament: 2 x 457-millimeter torpedo tube (at prow), 4 x torpedo

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