French submarine, built 1898-1900. In 1896 the new minister fo marine, M Lockroy, proposed an open competition to design a submarine for the French
Navy with 160km (100 mile) endurance on the surface and 16km (10 mile) submerged. No fewer than 29 designs were submitted from all over the world, but
the designs of a Frenchman, Maxime Laubuef,won with a remarkable boat.
was the first submarine with seperate propulsion systems for surfaced and submerged running. An oil fired steam boiler provided
steam for a small 220hp triple expanision engine. Oil fuel was accommodated in compartments outside the pressure hull, with ballast tanks, making her
the first double hulled submarine in the world.
was described as a submersible torpedo boat, as she had a flat deck (yep she looks like a rather thick giant surf board with
casing to enable her to navigate in moderately rough weather without waves constantly breaking over the conning tower. When ready to dive the steam
was shut down in the boiler and the tiny funnel was telescoped into the hull and closed by a heavy hatch. Below the surface she functioned like
existing submarines, with a battery driven 80hp electric motor. Her chief drawback was that the procedure for shutting off the steam, collapsing the
funnel and closing off the openings took 15 minutes.
She could however be navigated on the surface to her theatre of operations, and this gave her much more flexibility than the exsisting all electric
types. She was immediately christened a sousmersible
, to distinguish her from thesousmarins
of her day ( In the 70s Purnell's reference
was made to the nomenclature being reversed, with nuclear (steam driven) 'submarines', and diesel electric 'submersibles')
Another virtue of the Narval's
design was that her stout construction of 13mm (0.5 inch) plating on the pressure hull and 6mm (0.25 inch) on
the outer casing. One one occassion she collided with a tug - and the tug sank.
Her big ballast tanks gave her a 42% margin of buoyancy, as against 2-3% in the contemporary Holland designs.
was ordered as hull Q.4 in June 1898, and was laid down five months later. She was launched complete on 21 October 1899, and a series of
intensive trials followed to evaluate her unique capabilities. All doubts were expelled after she showed that she was much safer and easier to handle
than the previous boats, and orders for four more (the Sirene
Class) followed almost immediately. Narval
was stricken in 1909, but
during her short career she had provided the inspiration for many successful submarines, most notably the first German U-Boats.
Personal notes. Yes she looked like a giant surf board..pointy bow broad stern. Fixed stabilizers (?) at the stern and stubby broad dive planes
foward. the conning tower looked like an upturned toilet pedestal with the funnel immediately behind with several deck hatches. four collared torpedos
were recessed externally into bays into the side of the hull level with the conning tower, all in the stern third of the boat. Fixed handrails ran
down both sides of the conning tower. Although ancient today, she has the look of a strongly built vessel. Nothing fragile about her.
Displacement: 117/202 tonnes (surfaced/submerged) Length: 34m (111 feet 7 inches) oa Beam: 3.8m (12 feet 6 inches) Draught: 1.86m (6 feet 1 inch)
Machinery: 1 shaft reciprocating steam/electric 220 ihp/ 80shp = 9.8/5.3 knots (surfaced/submerged) Armament: 4x 45cm (17.7 inch) torpedos (in drop
collars amidships) Crew: 13.
Another comparison of different Frech boats of the same name, different eras.
French submarine class, built 1951-60. As soon as the French shipyards had been rebuilt after the devastation of the Second World War, a new class of
modern hunter killer submarines was ordered, based on the German Type XXi and on allied wartime experience. Two boats were ordered under the 1949
budget, with a further two under the following year's budget. These boats were built in seven prefabricated 10m (33 feet) sections, but the last two
boats, ordered under the 1954 budget were built at different yards by conventional methods.
The original diesel-electric propulsion system of two Schneider 4000 hp 7 cylinder 2 stroke diesels were replaced in a reconstruction programme phased
over the years 1965-70, carried out at the Lorient arsenal. The new propulsion system uses (again 1970s reference source) three SEMT-Pielstick 12
cylinder diesels driving two electric motors developing 1500hp each, and two 40hp cruising motors. During the reconstruction the new submarines were
equiped with a new streamlined sail housing the periscope standards. A new weapons system and modern sensors were fitted, and the two stern torpedo
tubes were removed. the boats are (were re-) fitted with Thomson-CSF DUUA-1 sonar. The Narval
class are (were) spacious boats, and (have)
proved successful in the Marine Nationale.
No. and Name Builder Launched Completed
Cherbourg Arsenal 12/54 12/57
Cherbourg Arsenal 05/55 10/57
Cherbourg Arsenal 09/55 08/58
Cherbourg Arsenal 12/55 08/58
Normand, Le Havre 09/58 04/60
Seine Maritime 12/58 05/60
Scrapping dates? Well, we will have to find those one day, won't we?
Displacement: 1640/1910 tons (surfaced/submerged) Length: 78m (256 feet) oa Beam: 7.2m (23 feet 7 inches) Draught: 5.5m (18 feet) Machinery: 2 shaft
diesels/2 electric motors, 4000 bhp/5000hp= 16/18 knots (surfaced/submerged) Armament: 8x 55cm (21.7inch) torpedo tubes (six bow, two stern) 22
Reading the notes the above looks like the original construction specs.
Well. Until later. Have to go - my wife wants her computer back!