British K class submarine

British K Class Submarine

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British K class submarine

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The K class submarines were a class of steam-propelled submarines of the Royal Navy designed in 1913. Intended as large, fast vessels which had the endurance and speed to operate with the battle fleet, they gained notoriety, and the nickname of Kalamity class, for being involved in many accidents. Of the 18 built none were lost through enemy action but 6 sank in accidents. Only one ever engaged an enemy vessel, hitting a U-boat amidships though the torpedo failed to explode.

Design and development

In 1913 an outline design was prepared for a new submarine class which could operate with the fleet, sweeping ahead of it in a fleet action. At that time the only way which they could have sufficient surface speed, of 24 knots (44 km/h), to keep up with fleet was to be steam powered. In a fleet action, the submarines would get around the back of the enemy fleet and ambush it as it retreated.

The boats were to be 338 ft (103 m) long and displace 1,700 tons on the surface. The design was not proceeded with until results from trials of HMS Nautilus and Swordfish had taken place, and in the event a slightly smaller three-screw submarine, the J class, was designed. By the middle of 1915 it was clear that the J class would not meet expectations, in particular they would only reach 19 knots (35 km/h) — still less than the 21 knots (39 km/h) needed to accompany the fleet.

The K class design was...
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