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Amphion class submarine

The Amphion class (also known as the "A" class) of diesel-electric submarines were ordered by the Admiralty in 1943. They were originally designed to replace the S-class[?] and T-class[?] submarines, which were too slow and unable to dive deep enough for deployment in Pacific waters during World War II. They were an enlargement of the T class, arranged for fast, simple construction and to utilise much of the materials and equipment set-aside for the T boats. They had a high, flared bow for excellent sea performance and featured an effective air conditioning system essential for Far East submarine operations. They were operated by a crew of between 60 and 68. Originally, 46 submarines were ordered, but only 18 were built and 16 of them actually commissioned.

The Amphion class was the only new British design produced during World War II. It was faster and had a greater range than its predecessors, the hull was entirely welded, and it was quieter underwater. However, only two of the boats were completed before the end of the war -- Amphion[?] was launched in August 1944, followed by Astute in -- and neither saw enemy action.

After World War II various modifications were made to these Overseas Patrol Submarines, as they were known. A snort mast based on the schnorkel used by U-boats during the war, a radar which could be used from periscope depth, and a night periscope were added. The boats' upper decks and conning towers were redesigned to be more streamlined.

The Amphion class served the Royal Navy for almost three decades, and was gradually replaced with the Porpoise[?] and Oberon[?] classes. The last Amphion-class boat, Andrew[?], was decommissioned in 1974.

Table of contents


Built at Vickers-Armstrong[?], Barrow-in-Furness[?]

Built at Cammell Laird[?], Birkenhead

Built at Scotts of Greenock[?]

Built at HM Dockyard, Chatham

In 1945, orders were cancelled for Andromache, Answer, Antagonist, Antaeus, Anzac, Aphrodite, Approach, Arcadian, Argent, Argosy, and Atlantis from Barrow-in-Furness[?], and Abalord, Acasta, Ace, Achates, Adept, Admirable, Adversary, Agate, Aggressor, Agile, Aladdin, Alcestis, Asgard, Asperity, Assurance, Astarte, Austere, Awake, and Aztec from other yards.

General Characteristics

  • Displacement: 1385 tons surfaced, 1620 tons submerged
  • Length: 280.5 feet
  • Beam: 22.3 feet
  • Depth: 16.8 feet
  • Test Depth: 350 feet
  • Shafts: 2
  • Speed: 18.5 knots surfaced, 8 knots submerged
  • Endurance: 10,500 miles at 11 knots surfaced
  • Armament
    • Torpedoes: six 21-inch bow tubes (2 external, one-shot, later removed), four 21-inch stern tubes (2 external, one-shot, later removed), 16 torpedoes or 26 mines carried internally
    • Guns: one four-inch gun, one 20mm Oerlikon[?] anti-aircraft cannon, three .303-caliber machine guns
  • Complement: 61 officers and men

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