fighting ships of the world



"S", 5th group submarines (1922)

S48 1921

No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
SS159 (ex-SS169) S48   Lake, Bridgeport 10/1920 26/2/1921 10/1922 stricken 9/1945
SS160 (ex-SS170) S49   Lake, Bridgeport 10/1920 23/4/1921 6/1922 stricken 3/1931
SS161 (ex-SS171) S50   Lake, Bridgeport 3/1920 18/6/1921 5/1922 stricken 3/1931
SS162 (ex-SS172) S51   Lake, Bridgeport 12/1919 20/8/1921 6/1922 collision 25/9/1925


Displacement standard, t


Displacement normal, t

903 / 1230

Length, m


Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 Bush-Sulzer diesels / 2 electric motors

Power, h. p.

1800 / 1500

Max speed, kts

14.5 / 11

Fuel, t

diesel oil 177

Endurance, nm (kts) 8000 (10) /


1 x 1 - 102/50 Mk IX, 5 - 533 TT (4 bow, 1 stern, 14)

Electronic equipment SC sonar



Diving depth operational, m



Ship project history: The further development of R class submarines. They were built under three notably differed designs developed by Holland, Lake and Bureau of construction. After the acquisition of these designs by General board in 1917 one submarine was built under each of them as "prototype" (S1, 2 and 3 respectively). Lake variant (S2) appeared unsuccessful, and later Lake built submarines under Bureau design.

Serial building was developed under two designs: 24 submarines (S18-41) by Holland and 14 (S4-17) by Bureau. They were followed by 10 almost same boats of the second series (S42-47 by Holland and S48-51 by Bureau).

The basic difference between Holland  and Bureau designs consisted in a hull construction: in the first case it was fulfilled single-hulled, in second double-hulled. The diving depth was identical. Submarines built by Lake Torpedo Boat, had additional stern TT. As when these submarines were designed, an opinion about necessity of providing of the highest submerged speed was dominated, CT on them were fulfilled as much as possible streamlined. On trials "prototypes" demonstrated outstanding results, achieved 12.5 to 13kts submerged. First World War experience, however, has shown, that superfluous 2-3kts are not so necessary in comparison with safety of crew, therefore already during completion "serial" submarines received less streamlined, but much more convenient CTs.

Though 'S' class submarines notably exceeded the predecessors on the majority of characteristics, naval authorities in 1925 recognized them as unsuccessful because of insufficient endurance for Pacific service.

Modernizations: 1939, S48: + 1 x 1 - 12.7/90, JK sonar

1940s, S48: - SC sonar; + SD radar, QB or QC sonars

Naval service: S51 was rammed by s/s City of Rome off Block Island (New York) 25/9/1925.

S48 1924

Ivan Gogin, 2014