Tag Archive | Turkish submarine

A 1.2 million mile Sapphire

The French Marine Nationale has long been a fan of naming submarines after gemstones. One of these, Saphir, has been exceptionally popular.

The first French sous-marin Saphir was an Émeraude-class submarine launched in 1908 and was famously scuttled after running aground while trying to force the Turkish Straits in 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign.

Émeraude-class submarine Saphir in port in Toulon, circa 1910

The second Saphir was the lead ship of her class of six submarines built for the French Navy in the mid-1930s. Captured by the Germans in 1942 and transferred to the Italians, she too was later scuttled to avoid capture.

The third Saphir was the successful WWII British RN submarine S-class submarine, HMS Satyr (P214) which was loaned to the French from 1952 to 62.

The fourth Saphir, and thus far most successful, is a Rubis-class nuclear attack submarine (sous-marin nucléaire d’attaque) commissioned on 6 July 1984. After deployments around the world, SNA Saphir (S602) has traveled 1.2 million miles and spent some 120,000 hours submerged. She decommissioned 6 July 2019– her 35th birthday– and the French Navy has released an amazing series of photos of her.

Enjoy, and Vive la France!

Warship Wednesday Aug 24, 2016: 100-feet of Turkish Surprise

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday Aug 24, 2016: 100-feet of Turkish Surprise

chtoqpaumaaonte

Here we see the steam-powered Nordenfelt-type submarine Abdülhamid of the Ottoman sultan’s fleet (Osmanlı Donanması) as she was completed in 1886.

The Ottoman Navy dates back to the 14th Century and was hardened in centuries of warfare with the Greeks, Russians, Venetians, Spaniards, Mamelukes, and Portuguese and ventured as far as the English Colonies in North America and the Indian Ocean by the 17th Century. However, the fleet peaked around 1708 and fell into steady decline, being annihilated first by the Tsar’s navy at Chesma in 1770 and then again by the Brits at Navarino in 1827. This led to a building and modernization spree under the reign of first Sultan Mahmud II, then Abdülaziz.

While the Ottoman Navy was largely inactive during the Crimean War, by 1876 the fleet was again the focus of attention as the country loomed to yet another war with Imperial Russia.

And, after getting another licking at the hands of the neighbors to the North, new Sultan Abdülhamid II had on his hands 13 ironclads including the British made Mesudiye (formerly HMS Superb) as well as a number of dated wooden vessels and river gunboats. Further, the Ottomans had been introduced to the bad end of a new weapon when Russian torpedo boats carrying surfaced launched torpedoes in 1878 sank the Turkish ship Intibah.

Unable to afford to go bigger, the Sultan needed to stretch his funds and innovate.

Enter Swedish industrialist Thorsten Nordenfelt.

With the help of British inventor George Garrett, who had crafted two small steam-powered submersibles in England, in 1885 the Swede living in the British Isles paid to build a 64-foot steam-powered submarine of some 56-tons, which he dubbed unimaginatively the Nordenfelt I.

The Greeks, fearing the Sultan’s ironclads and taking a cue from the Russian use of torpedoes in the late great regional hate, promptly purchased the tiny submarine– though they never used her. Further, and most ominous for the Turks, the Russians were looking at Nordenfelt’s designs as well.

Nordenfelt I in trials in Landskrona, Sweden just before she was handed over to the Greeks. (September 1885)

Nordenfelt I in trials in Landskrona, Sweden just before she was handed over to the Greeks. (September 1885)

With the writing on the wall and already falling behind in the submarine arms race, the Ottomans doubled down and bought two improved Swedish steamboat subs.

Ordered 23 January 1886, the Turkish vessels were longer, some 100-feet overall, and as such topped 100-tons on the surface (160 submerged). Powered by a Lamm locomotive type engine and boiler fed by up to 8-tons of coal, they could make 6 knots on the surface by steam, then did the unusual and shut down the engine to dive and carry on underwater until the pressure on the boiler dropped– usually just a few minutes or so.

Armament was a pair of 14-inch torpedo tubes forward and outside of the pressure hull. An initial stockpile of Schwarzkopf torpedoes (Whiteheads made in Germany) were acquired, each capable of carrying a guncotton warhead some 600 yards. These fish were popular with navies of the time, being purchased by the Chinese and Japanese as well as both the Spanish and Americans on the eve of their dust up in 1898.

For surface action, Mr. Nordenfelt offered a pair of double-barreled 35mm heavy machine guns of his own design. Good guy Thorsten.

Nordenfelt two-barreled 25mm gun on naval mounting. The guns sold to the Turks were the same, except in a larger caliber. (Courtesy: Royal Armouries)

Nordenfelt two-barreled 25mm gun on naval mounting. The guns sold to the Turks were the same, except in a larger caliber. (Courtesy: Royal Armouries)

Barrow Shipyard in England built the two submarines under contract by Nordenfeld in 1886. The first sub, Nordenfeld-2 was dubbed Abdülhamid and was launched 9 June 1886 after the sections were assembled at the Tersane-i Amire shipyards in Constantinople.

Nordenfelt_submarine_Abdülhamid

The second vessel, built as Nordenfeld-3 in sections, was commissioned at Tersane-i Amire as Abdülmecid on 4 August 1887 (though she never had her torpedo tubes fitted).

Library of Congress's Abdul Hamid II Collection https://www.loc.gov/collections/abdul-hamid-ii/?sp=1

Library of Congress’s Abdul Hamid II Collection

The Sultan paid some £22,000 for the two ships and their gear all told, which was quite an inflation from the £1,200 that the Greeks paid for their Nordenfeld boat.

The Ottomans were also forced to establish an entire infrastructure to support their fledgling submarine arm.

Turkish torpedo factory. Library of Congress's Abdul Hamid II Collection

Turkish torpedo factory. Library of Congress’s Abdul Hamid II Collection

Turkish made torps. Library of Congress's Abdul Hamid II Collection

Turkish assembled torps. Library of Congress’s Abdul Hamid II Collection

Divers at the Imperial Naval Arsenal, 1893. Library of Congress's Abdul Hamid II Collection

Divers at the Imperial Naval Arsenal, 1893. Library of Congress’s Abdul Hamid II Collection

Battalion divers at the Imperial Naval Arsenal. Library of Congress's Abdul Hamid II Collection

Battalion divers at the Imperial Naval Arsenal. Library of Congress’s Abdul Hamid II Collection

After trials in the Golden Horn and Bosporus in late 1887, the two submarines sailed together with a tender for the Bay of Izmit in 1888 and the wheels fell off. They suffered from stability problems and super easy to swamp on the surface in any sort of sea state. The longest leg of the trip completed without the assistance from their tender was just 10 miles.

1886

Due to their lack of reliable propulsion while submerged, they were static when awash and, being very primitive indeed, their raw crews (no such thing as experienced submariners in 1888) were unwilling to submerge very deep, though they were thought capable of 160-feet submergence.

Still, that spring, Abdülhamid made history by firing a Schwarzkopf while submerged in the general direction of a target barge– the first such submarine to do so.

Like the Greeks, the Turks soon had their fill of their tricky Nordenfelds and the vessels were docked after the Izmit tests and scrapped in 1914 when it was found they were in condemned condition.

As for Nordenfelt, he had similar luck. Getting out of the U-boat biz after his fourth submarine sank while en route to the Russians, he was forced out of his machine gun company by a fellow named Hiram Maxim in 1890, which he fought in the courts for years without success. Bankrupt, he retired in 1903.

Specs:

Displacement: 100 tons surfaced (160 submerged)
Length: 30.5 m (100 ft.)
Beam: 6 m (20 ft.)
Propulsion: Coal-fired 250 hp Lamm steam engine, 1 boiler, 1 screw
Bunkers: 8 tons of coal
Crew: 2 gunners, 2 firemen, 1 coxswain, 1 engineer, 1 officer (7)
Speed:
6 kn (11 km/h) surfaced (10 on trials)
4 kn (7.4 km/h)
Test depth: 160 ft (49 m)
Armament:
Two 356 mm torpedo tubes, Schwarzkopf torpedoes
Two 35mm Nordenfelt twin machine guns

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has it place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Warship Wednesday Dec.23, 2015: The lost jewel from Bizerte

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday Dec.23, 2015: The lost jewel from Bizerte

960x633

960×633

Here we see the French Émeraude-class diesel-electric submarine (Sous-Marin) Turquoise (Q46), captured by the Turks, in dry dock undergoing repairs in Constantinople, 1916.

The French got into the submarine business about the same time as the Americans, launching Admiral Simeon Bourgois’s Plongeur in April 1863.

Before the turn of the century the Republic had flirted with a half dozen one-off boats before they ordered the four boats of the Sirene-class in 1901 followed quickly by another four of the Farfadet-class, the two Algerien-class boats, 20 Naiade-class craft in 1904, Submarines X, Y and Z (not making it up), the two ship Aigrette-class and the submarine Omega.

All told, between 1900-1905, the French coughed up 36 submersibles spread across nine very different classes.

After all that quick learning curve, they proceeded with the Emeraude (Emerald) class in 1903. These ships were an improvement of the Faradet (Sprite) class designed by Gabriel-Émile-Marie Maugas. The 135-foot long/200-ton Faradet quartet had everything a 20th Century smoke boat needed: it was a steel-hulled hybrid submersible that used diesel engines on the surface and electric below, had 4 torpedo tubes, could dive to 100~ feet, and could make a stately 6-knots.

Farfadet-class boat Lutin (Q10), leaving port in 1903.

Farfadet-class boat Lutin (Q10), leaving port in 1903.

While they weren’t successful (two sank, killing 30 men between them) Maugas learned from early mistakes and they were significantly improved in the Emeraudes. These later boats used two-shaft propulsion– rare in early submarines–, and were 147-feet long with a 425-ton full load. Capable of making right at 12-knots for brief periods, they carried a half dozen torpedo tubes (four in the bow and two in the stern). They also had the capability to mount  a machine gun and light deck gun if needed.

Again, improvements!

Profile of the Emeralds surfaced.

Profile of the Emeralds surfaced.

Class leader Emeraude was laid down at Arsenal de Cherbourg in 1903 followed by sisters Opale and Rubis at the same yard and another three, Saphir, Topase, and the hero of our story, Turquoise, at Arsenal de Toulon in the Med.

Launching 1908

Launching 1908

Turquoise was commissioned 10 December 1910 and, with her two Toulon-built sisters, served with the French Mediterranean Fleet from the Submarine Station at Bizerte.

She repeated the bad luck of the Farfadet-class predecessors and in 1913 lost an officer and several crew swept off her deck in rough seas.

Turquoise-ELD

When war erupted in 1914, the jewel boats soon found they had operational problems staying submerged due to issues with buoyancy and were plagued by troublesome diesels (hey, the manufacturer, Sautter-Harlé, was out of business by 1918 so what does that tell you).

Turquoise_xx_4a

To help with surface ops, Topase and Turquoise were fitted with a smallish deck gun in 1915.

Saphir probably would have been too, but she caught a Turkish mine in the Sea of Marma on 15 January trying to sneak through the straits and went down.

Topase and Turquoise continued to operate against the Turks, with the latter running into trouble on 30 October 1915. Around the village of Orhaniye in the Dardanelles near Nagara there were six Ottoman Army artillerymen led by Corporal G Boaz Deepa who spotted a periscope moving past a nearby water tower.

Becoming tangled in a net, the submarine became a sitting duck. With their field piece they were able to get a lucky shot on the mast and, with the submarine filling with water, she made an emergency surface. There, the six cannoners took 28 French submariners captive and impounded the sub, sunk in shallow water.

Turquoise’s skipper, Lt. Leon Marie Ravenel, was in 1918 awarded the Knight of the Legion of Honour as was his XO. These sailors suffered a great deal in Turkish captivity, with five dying.

German propaganda postcard, note the Ottoman crew and markings

German propaganda postcard, note the Ottoman crew and markings

The Turks later raised the batter French boat and, naming her Mustadieh Ombashi (or Müstecip Ombasi), planned to use her in the Ottoman fleet.

Ottoman Uniforms reports her conning tower was painted with a large rectangle (likely to be red), with large white script during this time.

Via Ottoman Uniforms

Via Ottoman Uniforms

However as submariners were rare in WWI Constantinople, she never took to sea in an operational sense again and in 1919 the victorious French reclaimed their submarine, which they later scrapped in 1920.

Her wartime service for the Turks seems to have been limited to taking a few pictures for propaganda purposes and in being used as a fixed battery charging station for German U-boats operating in the Black Sea.

As for the last Bizerte boat, Topase, she finished the war intact and was stricken 12 November 1919 along with the three Emeraudes who served quietly in the Atlantic.

Turquoise/Mustadieh Ombashi has been preserved as a model however.

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If you have a further interest in the submarines of Gallipoli, go here.

Specs:

1884x1543

1884×1543

Displacement 392 tons (surfaced) / 427 (submerged)
Length, 147 feet
Bean 12 feet
Draft 12 feet
No of shafts 2
Machinery
2 Sautter-Harlé diesels, 600hp / electric motors (440kW)
Max speed, kts 11.5 surfaced / 9.2 submerged
Endurance, nm 2000 at 7.3kts surfaced / 100nm at 5kts submerged
Armament:
6×450 TT (4 bow, 2 stern) for 450mm torpedoes with no reloads
1x M1902 Model 37mm deck gun, 1x8mm light Hotchkiss machine gun (fitted in 1915)
Complement 21-28
Diving depth operational, 130 feet.

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

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