The J class, the fastest British submarine of WW-I

The British J class Submarines were built under an emergency war program caused by an erroneous report that the German Navy had U-boats at sea or under construction capable of attaining speeds of 18-20 knots. At that time the British Navy was experimenting with steam driven turbine powered submarines, which were later to become the K class. As these vessels were only experimental they were forced to design a fast submarine using existing technology. The resulting J class submarines were over 100 feet longer than their predecessor the E class.

Unique to British submarines the J class was designed with triple screws making them the fastest of their time with a surface speed of 19.5 knots.

The 3 propeller design was also an unsuccessful attempt to provide fast submarines capable of operating with surface ships particularly the main battle fleet (21 knots), the aim being to lure enemy vessels into a submarine trap. Equipped with a powerful long range wireless they were ideally suited to reconnoiter in enemy water, prior to this the E and D class boats patrolling in the Heligoland Bight could only transmit over a range of 50 miles. The 11th submarine flotilla was stationed mainly at Blyth during WW-I, consisting of the 6 J class submarines and the 6 G class submarines. This unit was to see some heavy action with many enemy ships to their credit, including the German battleships Grosser, Kurfurst and the Magdeburg.

The unit was to suffer very few casualties during the war however one of the most tragic incidences of the war occurred on the October 15, 1918 when the Royal Navy decoy ship Cymric mistakenly attacked and sunk the J-6 with the loss of 16 men.

Specifications, HMS J-1, J class:
Keel laid down by Portsmouth Royal Dockyards, launched on November, 1915
Displacement (srf/sub tons): 1,204/1,820            
Dimensions (L*B*D feet): 275`6*23`0*14`1
Propulsion: 3*1,200hp 12-cylinder Vickers diesel engine, 3*450hp electric motors for submergence driving three!! shafts
Speed (srf/sub knots):
Range (srf/sub n/miles@knots): 5,000@12.5/un known
Diving depth (feet): 180
Complement: 5 officers 39 enlisted
Torpedo: 4*18" bow torpedo tube, 2*18" stern torpedo tube, containing a total of 12 torpedoes
Mines: none
Armament: 3" main deck gun
In January 1915, eight  J class submarines were ordered, however only seven were built during 1915-17. At the completion of the war Britain transferred the six remaining submarines to the Australian Navy.

Image Country Year Description
Liberia 2001 J-5,built May 18,1916 at H.M.Dockyard
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