Maxime Laubeuf and the Naraval

France, 1896 the Minister of Marine held an international competition for a submarine with a surface range of 100 miles and a submerge range of 10. There were 29 entries, the winner was Naraval submitted by former chief engineer of the French Navy, Maxime Laubeuf (1864- 1939).

Commissioned in June 1900, the French steam and electric submarine Narval used the twin-hull design, with an inner pressure hull inside an outer hydrodynamic hull. Diving tanks set laterally enabled conventional ship forms, thus improving running characteristics afloat. At the same time the internal pressure hull could be designed with a circular cross-section ideal for external pressure load.

The French submarine Aigette in 1904 further improved the concept by using a diesel rather than a gasoline engine for surface power.

France was undoubtedly the first navy to have an effective submarine force.  These 200 tons ships had a range of over 100 miles on the surface, and over 10 miles underwater.

Large numbers of these submarines, with different variants, were built, with seventy-six completed before 1914.

Specifications, Sirene class:

Displacement (srf/sub tons): 157/213            
Dimensions (L*B*D meter): 32.5*3.90*2.50
Propulsion: 1*triple- expansion steam engine, one boiler, 250hp, 1*electric motor, 100hp, one shaft
Speed (srf/sub knots): 9.8/6.0
Range (srf/sub n/miles@knots): 600@8/55@3.8
Diving depth (feet): unknown
Complement: 13 officers and enlisted
Torpedo: 4*17.7” (450mm) Drzewiecki drop- collars torpedoes
Mines: none
Armament: none

Only one Naraval was built, completed in 1899, and 4 Sirene class- completed in 1901. The Sirene was the production version slightly shorter, with an 11 ton increase in displacement and marginally more powerful engine. Naraval was stricken in 1909 but the 4 Sirene boats all survived World War I and stricken in 1919.

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