Norwegian Navy Submarine Branch
June 2009 mark’s the centenary year since the launching of Norway’s first submarine at Germaniawerft in Kiel.
This submarine, which was christened "Kobben" and later on- in 1913, renamed A-1, surpassed all expectations and in 1911 a decision was made to build another three submarines at the same shipyard. A fifth was also started, but it was confiscated by the German navy when the First World War broke out.
The history of Norwegian submarines really began in 1808, when a village genius and blacksmith, Mikkel Hallsteinson
Lofthus from Hardanger, designed the first known Norwegian underwater boat. He submitted drawings to a society in
Bergen that promoted useful products, but the boat was never built. There was too little interest and not enough money.
However this was put right 101 years later.
"Kobben" was commissioned on Nov’ 28th, 1909. After its launching and completion of diving tests in the Great Belt.
It arrived in Horten two weeks later and after a few days it went into full service with a crew of 12 men. "Kobben"
remained in service until 1919. It was broken up some years later, but its conning tower was preserved and is mounted
as a memorial at the Navy officers` training school in Horten.
After the World War I, the Storting ,Norwegian Parliament, granted funds for new submarines, this time choosing the American Holland class which had the same diving depth as the A class but carried a larger crew (23 men). Between 1923 and 1930 six Norwegian submarines were built by the main Navy shipyard in cooperation with the Kaldnes and Thunes yards.
Norway took over three submarines from the British Navy during the Second World War and a further three after the war. The Germans also left behind fifteen submarines. Four of these were repaired and incorporated into the Norwegian Navy. They had a crew of 47 men and a diving depth of 180 meters.
In line with the Navy`s Fleet Plan of 1960, the Storting approved the building of fifteen new submarines during the period from 1964 to 1967. These were of a German Type 207 and called the Kobben class. Further additions, also German Type 210, were made to the fleet between 1989 and 1992. These Ula class submarines are often described as the world`s most advanced coastal submarines, with an official diving depth of 250 meters.