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British C class submarine
|General Characteristics (except K26)|
|Displacement:||287 tons surfaced/316 tons dived (group 1)|
290 tons surfaced/320 tons dived (group 2)
|Length:||143.2 ft (? m)|
|Beam:||13.6 ft 6 in (? m)|
|Propulsion:||Single 600 shp (? MW) petrol engine|
Single 200 shp (? MW) electric motor
|Speed:||12 knots (? km/h) surfaced/7 knots (? km/h) dived (group 1)|
13 knots (? km/h) surfaced/8 knots (10 km/h) dived (group 2)
|Range:||Surface: 1500 nautical miles at 7 knots (? km at ? km/h)|
Dived: 50 nautical miles at 4.5 knots (? km at ? km/h) (group 1)
|Armament:||Two 18 inch (460 mm) bow torpedo tubes with two reloads|
The British C class submarines were the last class of petrol engine submarines of the Royal Navy and marked the end of the development of the Holland-class in the Royal Navy. Thirty eight were constructed between 1905 and 1910 and they served through World War I.
With limited endurance and only a 10% reserve of bouyancy over their surface displacement, they were poor surface vessels but their spindle-shaped hull made for good underwater performance compared to their contempories.
Three had been sent to Hong Kong in 1911 and during the war the remainder were mainly used for coastal defence, based at Leith, Harwich, Hartlepool, Grimsby and Dover, some operating with Q ships which were decoying U-boats. The technique was for a trawler to tow the submarine and communicate with it by telephone. When a U-boat surfaced to shell the trawler, the British submarine would slip its tow and attempt to torpedo the U-boat.
The first boat commissioned, HMS C3 was packed with explosives and blown up in an attempt to destroy a viaduct during the Zeebrugge raid on 23 April 1918, for which her commander Lieutenant Richard Sandford was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Four operated in the Baltic Sea, based at Revel (now Tallin) as part of the blockade of Germany trying to prevent the import of iron ore from Sweden. They were sent there in September 1915 by a tortuous route—towed around the North Cape to Archangel and taken by barge to Krondstadt via the White Sea Canal. Three of these boats were destroyed in 1918 to prevent capture by German troops who had landed nearby.
Ten of the submarines were lost during the war, including HMS C16 which was mistakenly rammed by HMS Melampus . The surviving boats were disposed of at the end of the war with the exception of HMS C4 which was retained for trials until she was scrapped in 1922.
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