Military Review

Walrus submarines

During the prolonged construction of the submarine "Shark", "Minoga" and four boats of the Lake system, the navy ministry held several competitions for the best project of submarines on assignments developed by MGSH. None of the submitted projects received full approval of MGSH, but their consideration contributed to the development of assignments that corresponded to the real possibilities of that time. For example, after a meeting of representatives of the ITC and MGSH, held 18 August 1909, and recognized the best projects of the Nevsky and Baltic plants (surface displacement 490 and 450 tons, respectively), MGSH clarified the requirements for submarines.

"Walrus" in Sevastopol, 1915 year. In the background is the hospital ship Peter the Great.

This clarification was as follows:
- 25 underwater travel miles at 12 knots and 30 economic stroke miles at 4-5 knots;
- speed in the surface position of 16 nodes;
- the number of traverse torpedo tubes - 8.

The displacement of submarines was not limited, but at the same time it was recommended to avoid "an extreme increase in size and cost." The desired groove is the 3,6 meter; 6 days autonomy and dive time - 3 minutes. The "hull fortress" was designed to sail at a depth of 150 feet (45,5 meters).

The submarines with these elements were intended by MGSH to carry out auxiliary operations in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland regions - actions on enemy communication lines and on a strategic position (the so-called "strategic purpose").

In tactical terms, submarines were supposed to carry out "mine attacks on the enemy, who came to the boat position" and "on the enemy, which relies on any point of the protected coast." The greatest importance was attached to "shooting at the beam, then at the nose and, as a result, at the stern."

October 14 Baltic Plant 1909 presented a draft submarine with a tonnage of 600 tons with an explanatory note and specifications to MTC. The project was a further development of the Akula submarines and was developed by I.G. Bubnov. with the participation of the Department of scuba diving of the Baltic plant, which was headed by engineer-technologist Bubnov GG (brother of Ivan Grigorievich Bubnov). In an effort to use their theoretical calculations in practice to obtain the smallest resistance of the hull, Bubnov IG designed a single-hull submarine, having a contour, formed along mathematical lines. The sections of the submarine, except for the extremities, were circular, strictly related to the size of formula dependencies with grooves and length. The extremities were in the form of normal contours of a surface vessel. The power of electric motors and diesel engines were refined during the testing of the model in the Swimming pool, which was led at that time by I.G. Bubnov.

The project was approved by the Ministry of Transport and Transport and the Moscow City School, and in December 1909 the Minister of the Sea decided to order two submarines for the Baltic Shipyard. However, the preparatory work for the construction of these submarines in 1910 was shifted due to the lack of loans. The allocation of funds was delayed due to the discussion in the State Duma of the next version of the shipbuilding program, which was proposed by the Maritime Ministry. Only in the spring of 1911 was the “Program for strengthening the Black Sea fleet”, Which included, among other vessels, the construction of six submarines. They decided to order three boats to the Baltic Shipyard under the 1909 project, which by then had been finalized taking into account the comments of the MTK, and had a surface displacement of 630 tons.

The final draft was discussed in April and November 1911 of the year with the participation of Vice-Admiral, Chairman of the MTC, Lille V.A., Major General Krylov A.N., officers of the diving unit of the GUK, submarine commanders and shipboard mechanical engineers. Positive reviews about the submarines "Shark" and "Lamprey" by Lieutenant Brovtsyna I.A. and Senior Lieutenant S. Vlasyeva to a significant extent predetermined the orientation of the Marine Ministry to the development of submarines of the Bubnova IG system.

At the same time, the captain of the first rank, P. P. Levitsky, the commander of the Baltic Sea submarine brigade and the head of the Scuba diving training detachment, as well as the shipbuilding engineer Zhuravlev, BM. spoke (quite reasonably) for the need to install watertight bulkheads. However, their proposal did not receive support: the main arguments of the opponents, including Bubnov IG, were the need to rework the project, increase the lead time and cost, and make the boat heavier. The submarine officers objected to the partial solution of the problem (due to the separation of the engine and battery reassembly), arguing that it was impossible for the commander to personally monitor the internal situation.

Doubts about the lack of surface stability (the metacentric initial height was 203 mm) and turning ability were dispelled by the results of the spec. test submarine "Shark" in April 1911 year. Approved by Vice-Admiral, Maritime Minister, I.K. Grigorovich 18 May, the project was adopted to guide the construction, which was carried out by a specially created Nikolaev branch of the Baltic plant. 25 June 1911, work began on all three submarines. The captain-captain mechanical engineer Lukyanov VS, who was in fact a builder from the factory, was appointed head of the Nikolaev department. Lukyanova V.S. in the summer of 1913, the ship and marine engineer lieutenant Steller B.E. Shipbuilding engineers, captain VA Karpov, lieutenant A.Ya. Smirnov, were successively appointed to monitor the construction. and Colonel Matrosov R.A. The term of construction was determined in 24 of the month, the full cost of each submarine - 1 800 thousand rubles. October 11 submarines 1911 of the year were enrolled in the fleet lists. The ships were given the names "Walrus", "Nerpa" and "Seal".

Despite some difficulties that were associated with the order of the metal, changes in the project, delivery of equipment and documentation to Nikolaev from St. Petersburg, the construction was carried out quite successfully.

The submarine readiness on the hull on 1 January 1913 of the year was 41,89 - 43,55 percent of full (the trigger readiness was about 60 percent). The planned deadlines were disrupted due to the non-delivery of the diesel engines on time ordered by 1912 in January abroad - at the “Germany” shipyard owned by Frederick Krupp. The fact is that the desire of the Navy to buy powerful 1140-powerful modern engines in a short time (from 16 to 21 a month) ran into the reluctance and unwillingness of the German company to quickly solve the problems of their creation. Those. The conditions drawn up at the Baltic Shipyard and approved by the Marine Ministry turned out to be quite tough and oriented towards the future. The total mass of two diesel engines should not exceed 55,2 tons, the reverse time - 15 sec., Fuel consumption (crude oil, diesel or a mixture of them) - 220 tons / hp. per hour at 400 rpm and full power. Bench tests provided for 100 hour work with 20 reverse and 1140 horsepower.

The threat of disrupting engine supplies appeared in the 1912 year, a year later it turned out that the installation of diesel engines on submarines could not be expected before the end of the autumn 1914 year. Before the start of the First World War, not one of the engines was supplied to Russia, and they remained in Germany. It can be assumed that Krupp company specialists were in no hurry to fulfill the order, immediately receiving 20 percent of its value (143600 rubles in gold). True, there is evidence that the shipyard "Germany" also disrupted the delivery of diesel engines for German submarines. Its failure to build a two-stroke engine forced the fleet of Germany to use the services of another company.

The submarine "Nerpa", overtaking the rest of the submarines in readiness, was launched on August 15 1913 in Nikolaev on the day of the official bookmark. The trigger weight of the hull was about 194 tons. The following day, a ceremony was held to lay the submarines "Walrus" and "Seal", which were launched on September 15 and October 19 on October 1913, respectively. The readiness of the Nerpa submarine for 1 on July 1914, according to the hull, was 73,58% (submarines Seal and Walrus - slightly more than 70%). At the same time, the threat of war required the introduction of urgent measures to accelerate the completion of submarines.

According to the report of Vice-Admiral Rusin A.I. Chief of MGSH from 21 July 1914 of the year, Admiral I. Grigorovich authorized the removal of six diesels from Amur gunboats and their urgent delivery to Nikolaev for installation on the Morzh submarines. At the same time, around-the-clock operation was introduced at their construction.

Forced use of non-standard engines having much lower power (250 hp each) allowed to count on the maximum surface speed of 11 nodes. Factory tests of the submarine "Nerpa" in order to accelerate the completion were carried out in August-October near Nikolaev on the rivers Bug and Ingul. They showed the reliability of the ascent and the dive systems, the correct operation of the rudders, good agility, and the excellent work of the electric motors, which ensured the maximum surface speed at 13,95 knots. Diesels installed the Nerpa submarine in November 1914, the installation of diesel engines and loading of the battery were completed in January 1915 of the year on the Seal submarine, and in March of the same year the Morzh.

The draft of the Walrus submarines with the greatest length of 67,06 meters and diameter in the middle part of 4,47 meters in the surface position was 3,91 meters. Robust housing made of 10-mm steel sheets; The main set served frames set by 305 millimeters. In the stern and bow, the robust hull was limited to double spherical bulkheads 12 mm thick, between which differential tanks were located. In the extremities, the set of the light hull consisted of forged steel brakes, channels, frames and beams at the 5-millimeter thickness of the cladding sheets and an additional 4-millimeter belt at the waterline. A lightweight, waterproof superstructure (the so-called "upper platform") above a sturdy hull, having a width of 2,2 meters, rose above the stern to the 1,5-1,85 meters. For sheathing, steel sheets 2 and 3 mm thick were used. The middle part of the superstructure is a deck tank with ventilation valves.

The main ballast tanks (fore and aft capacity - 42,3 and 40,4 tons, respectively) were located in the extremities, their filling during immersion was carried out using pumps. In the middle part of the hull, inside the robust hull, there were two medium tanks - “tear-off” (filled with water in case of an emergency ascent and replacing the tear-off keel) and leveling. These tanks had a cylindrical shape and were made of 8- and 6-millimeter sheets, respectively. The positional position was achieved by filling the end tanks of the main ballast, while the ventilation valves of the deck tank were closed. To continue the transition to the underwater position, the last tank was filled by gravity (opening of the ventilation valves). The estimated time of transition from the surface to the underwater position was 3 minutes. Immersion depth - 45,5 meters, the strength of the hull was calculated to a depth of 91 meter. Reserve buoyancy - 21,5 percent.

Ascent was carried out either by blowing all tanks of the main ballast (in case of emergency ascent) or the middle tank when pumping water from end tanks. Compressed air was stored in air-safety cylinders under the pressure of 200 atmospheres, with a total volume of 1,77 m 3.

To replenish the air supply, two compressors were installed — the bow compressor (200 l / h capacity, English company Eluil) and the aft one (lnh capacity 500, Swedish Ludwigsberg plant), which, besides electric drive, had a 45-strong auxiliary engine (dynamo -a machine). The surface run was provided by two 4-cylinder four-stroke diesel engines with an estimated power of 250 hp. each at 350-360 rpm. A full supply of fuel in special tanks (54,4 tons) was enough for 2600 miles at a speed of 10 nodes, without taking into account the charging of the battery. On submarines, to ensure underwater travel, two DC electric motors were installed (at a voltage of 120 volts, power of each 500 hp). The separation of the propeller shafts was carried out in two places of the friction and cam clutches. Electric motors in charging mode worked as a generator. Two three-bladed propellers equipped with a device for changing the pitch.

The 2155 Ah battery pack consisted of 240 elements of the Meto system. Its mass was 170 tons (the mass of the hull and practical items reached 300 tons).

The submarine installed two main centrifugal sump pumps with a capacity of 500 tons per hour and an auxiliary pump with a capacity of 45 tons per hour. The ventilation system consisted of two separate battery blowers.

The set of anchor device consisted of "surface" (one weighing 160 kg and two - according to 540 kg) and "underwater" anchors.

The vertical rudder was controlled from the central post, the stern and bow horizontal rudders (with a total area of ​​21,2 m 2) - from the corresponding posts in the stern and bow. Above the middle part of the body, two periscopes of the Hertz system were installed in a solid wheelhouse. A binnacle for a removable compass was placed on the roof of the easy fencing of the cabin, and a permanent compass was placed in the central post.

The armament of a submarine consists of two bow and two stern torpedo tubes from the GALessner plant and eight external lattice apparatuses of the Dzhevetskogo system, SK The vehicles were charged with twelve 450 mm torpedoes of the 1912 model of the year.

In the autumn of 1915, on the basis of an assessment made at MGSH based on the combat experience of submarines, they were armed with artillery. On the submarines "Nerpa" and "Walrus" they installed one 47- and 57-millimeter gun each, on the "Seal" submarine - one 57 mm caliber gun and one Japanese 76 caliber gun.

The crew consisted of 4 officers, 43 non-commissioned officers and sailors. The officers had separate cabins. The submarines took stocks on the 10 days of sailing and could be continuously underwater for 24 hours. The "Walrus" type submarines were evaluated by a "standing commission for testing naval vessels" headed by Rear Admiral A. Belogolov. The insufficient completeness of the tests and the abbreviated program are explained by the ice situation, as well as the poor organization of the transitions to Sevastopol from Nikolaev. At the crossings, incapable submarines were not escorted, endangered by the enemy and even threatened by their forces. So, for example, 20 December 1914, the submarine "Nerpa" with accurate fire from Sevastopol mistakenly covered coastal battery number 18 and only by chance saved the submarine from death.

The test results showed that the Walrus type submarines did not reach the level of missions for both surface and submarine speed, however, a sufficient range for the conditions of the Black Sea, the relative reliability of mechanisms and systems, and strong armament provided these vessels with fairly high marks from submariners. Numerous minor bugs were eliminated or taken into account when building other types of submarines. The most serious shortcomings of the Walrus submarines were: the lack of compartmentalization; the negative impact of side cuts for Dzhevetsky mine-miners on the seaworthiness of boats; the inconvenience of synchronous control of the bow and stern horizontal rudders; long, for the conditions of war, the time of immersion.

Having entered the fleet, the Morges-type submarines turned out to be the most modern submarines on the Black Sea and actively participated in the battles on enemy communications in the 1915 campaign. For example, in the 05.09.1915 battle with an escort of the enemy in the Kefken area, the Nerpa submarine under the command of Senior Lieutenant Wilken V.V. successfully interacted with the destroyers "Fast" and "Piercing." Although the attempt by the submarine to attack the Turkish cruiser Gamidiye was not crowned with success, its appearance forced the enemy ships to retreat, leaving the transports unprotected. As a result, the Russian destroyers destroyed three coal transport - "Eresos", "Illyria" and "Seyhun" with a total displacement of 7101 brt.

In the 1915-1917 campaigns, in addition to these ships, the Nerpa submarine sank or captured the steamer 3, the 5 small and 3 large sailing ships, the motor schooner and barge. Among submariners of the Black Sea Fleet, MA Kititsyn, a second-rank captain, distinguished himself as the commander of the submarine Seal, under whose leadership 12.10.1916 seized the Rodosto transport (3662 displacement). The German team left the ship only after a fierce battle at 9-3 cable runs, during which the submarine used up all the shells, only one 76 millimeter-round shell remained.

In just three military campaigns, the submarine "Seal" captured or destroyed 8 steamers (including Zonguldak, 1545 gross tonnage), 33 motorized and sailing coaster, damaged transport.

In 1916-1917, the Walrus submarine captured and sank two steamboats, a motor schooner, 8 of sailing ships, including a large brig Belguzar, brought with a cargo of kerosene 352 tons to Sevastopol. The submarine in May 1917, the campaign did not return. No details of her death. It was probably blown up by a mine near the Bosporus. The revolutionary events of 1917 of the year caught the submarine "Nerpa" in Nikolaev on the overhaul. 26 May 1922, she was put into operation the Black Sea Naval Forces. Renamed 31.12. 1922 of the year in the "Political Commissar" (No. 11) in 1925-1926 was overhauled, but without modernization, therefore 3 in November 1929 was excluded from service, and in 1931 was dismantled for metal.

The submarine "Seal", captured by 01.05.1918 in Sevastopol by German troops, and then in December 1918 by the British, was part of the Black Sea White Guard fleet. In November, the Seal submarine 1920 moved to Constantinople, and in December to Bizerte, where in 1924 the ship came under the jurisdiction of the French government. The submarine "Seal" at the beginning of the 1930-s dismantled the metal.

Subs of the type "Walrus" entered history of the national fleet as the most active and productive, from the pre-war programs that went to the sea. The experience of building, testing, and using these submarines in combat operations greatly influenced the development of Russian submarine shipbuilding.

Walrus submarines


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  1. 755962
    755962 26 November 2012 09: 42
    A wonderful excursion into the history of our fleet. I take off my hat to the courage of the Russian sailors and their feat in the development of the submarine. I am waiting for publications on other projects.
  2. shurup
    shurup 26 November 2012 09: 43
    Great selection of photos!
  3. AK-47
    AK-47 26 November 2012 09: 54
    Yes, our ancestors didn’t slurp cabbage soup!
  4. altman
    altman 26 November 2012 17: 04
    wonderful article and great photos, I see many of them for the first time !! good
  5. bazilio
    bazilio 26 November 2012 18: 22
    Thanks to the author, very interesting, and a lot of photos.
  6. Somad
    Somad 26 November 2012 19: 39
    The article is great! I especially liked the selection of photographs of those times. All the same, how little we know about the truly heroic pages of the formation of the Russian submarine fleet. Yes, and about the fleet in general. More to such excursions. Thanks to the author! hi
  7. zemlyak
    zemlyak 27 November 2012 14: 41
    A wonderful article, everything is arranged on the shelves, a high-quality selection of photos on this topic. The author is a big plus and thanks