Inter-War Construction - Submarines
The first submarines built were those of the "D" (Dekabrist) Class; the first of these were commissioned in 1927. They have an overall length of about 240 feet and a beam of 24 feet. Their normal surface displacement is 920 tons, submerged 1150 tons. They were designed to have a surface full speed of 15 knots and submerged speed of 8 knots. They have 6-21" torpedo tubes forward and 2 aft and carry a total of only 10 torpedoes.
These were not a very popular type of submarine, so they gave way to the "Ln (Linenaya Lodka) class. These are similar to the "D" class except that they are slightly larger (1300 tons normal surface displacement, 1500 submerged 266 feet long overall) and that they were fitted for minelaying, carrying 20 contact moored mines. Their torpedo tubes were placed similar to those of the "D" class, but they carried twice as many torpedoes. As these two types of submarines were not considered to be entirely satisfactory, construction on them was stopped on the "D" class in 1934 and on the "L" class in 1937.
In 1934, the first 'SCHCH" (SCHCHUKA) class submarine was completed. It turned out to be highly satisfactory as a type of medium-sized boat and was still, at the outbreak of the war in June, 1941, being constructed with but few variations; it is possible that boats of this type are still being built. They have a normal surface displacement of 660 tons, submerged 820 tons, and an overall length of 200-225 feet; they have a full surface speed of 14 knots and are designed to have a full submerged speed of 8 1/2 knots; on the surface, they have a cruising radius of 5000 miles at 10 knots and submerged an 80-mile cruising radius at 5 knots. They have a total of 6 torpedo tubes, 4 forward and 2 aft, and carry a total of 10 torpedoes. It has been reported that some of these boats are fitted for minelaying, but there is no confirmation of this fact. The main difficulty appears to be that only 2 of the forward torpedo tubes can be fired simultaneously; perhaps this has been altered on newer models. These boats are generally popular, are easy to handle even in a rough sea, but are apt to be a "little lively" on the surface.
Obviously seeing the need for a smaller type of submarine, which, could patrol the Russian coasts near the shore, construction " was started on the "M" (Malutka) class at about the same time that the "Schch" class were being built; the first of these boats were commissioned in 1935. They have a standard surface displacement of 185-204 tons and a submerged displacement of up to 256 tons; they are about 140 feet long and have a beam of 10-11 feet. They have 2 18" or 21" torpedo tubes and carry 2 torpedoes. These boats present a rather strange silhouette, with a disproportionately large conning tower taking up about l/5 of the entire visible length of the hull.
During this period, the Russians were also constructing larger submarines. In 1935, the first "P" (PRAVDA) class boat was completed; these boats, because of their being not entirely satisfactory, were replaced by the "K" (improved Pravda) class in 1938. Little is known about these classes, but from their external appearances, their design shows Italian influence. It is believed that: they have a standard surface displacement of 1500 tons, submerged 1800 tons; they are about 280 feet long and have a beam of about 22 feet. They have a full surface speed of 18 knots and have a cruising radiiats of 7000 miles at 9 knots; submerged they have a full speed of 8-1/2 knots and a cruising radius of 125 miles at 5 knots. They have a total of 8 torpedo tubes, but the number of torpedoes carried is not known; they may be fitted for minelaying. These are the largest submarines yet designed and constructed under the Soviet Regime. The chief difference between the "P" and "K" classes appears to be in the shape of the conning tower; there are possibly other variations in dimensions and armament. The tonnage of the "K" class may be slightly more than that of the "P" class. They are said to be qxiite successful boats, capable of rapid diving.
The latest type of submarine to be constructed under the Soviet Regime is the "S" x(Stalinets) class; they may have, been intended to take the place of the "D" class. They have a normal surface displacement of 750 tons, submerged' 1000 tons. They have a full surface speed of 22 knots, and have a cruising radius of 9000 miles at 11-1/2 knots; submerged they have a maximum radius of 108 miles at 9 knots. They have U torpedo tubes forward and 2 aft and carry a total of 12 torpedoes; these boats are not equipped for minelaying. They have simple, easily understood operational characteristics and are fully capable of keeping the sea and are well fitted out. The bridge and conning tower are very small and the decks very free from obstruction; the overall silhouette is considered excellent.
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