"A" class Large Patrol Submarines
Individual Specification
Name Pennant Builder Completed Fate
Amphion P439 Vickers 27/3/45 Scrapped 1971
Astute P447 Vickers 30/6/45 Scrapped 1970
Auriga P419 Vickers 12/1/46 Scrapped 1974
Aurochs P426 Vickers 7/2/47 Scrapped 1967
Aenas P427 Cammell Laird 31/7/46 Scrapped 1974
Affray P421 Cammell Laird 2/5/46 Foundered off Guernsey, 16/4/51, due to snapped snorkel mast
Alaric P441 Cammell Laird 11/2/46 Scrapped 1971
Alcide P415 Vickers 18/10/46 Scrapped 1974
Alderney P416 Vickers 10/12/46 Scrapped 1972
Alliance P417 Vickers 14/5/47 Laid up as museum ship, 1978
Ambush P418 Vickers 22/7/47 Scrapped 1971
Anchorite P422 Vickers 18/11/47 Scrapped 1970
Andrew P423 Vickers 16/3/48 Scrapped 1977
Artemis P449 Scotts 15/8/47 Foundered in Gosport 1/7/71, salved 6/7/71, scrapped
Artful P456 Scotts 2/2/48 Scrapped 1972
Acheron P411 Chatham RDY 17/4/48 Scrapped 1972
1:600 "A" class submarine. Very modern for their day, features of note are the raised RDF
scanner, retracted bow planes, forward external torpedoes in streamlined bow, and casing aft
over the external tubes. A 4" gun was caried througout their lives, although the 20mm cannon
was removed post-war. © Andrew Arthur

This class was an improved "T" class, and because it was seen as a 'fresh start' for RN submarines, the name letters"W", "Y" and "Z" were skipped, and "A" selected.
With the end of the European war in sight, the Japanese & Far East theatres were seen as the most likely area of operations, and as such, a good range, fast surface speed and good endurance were necessary. At the same time it was decided to introduce new technical advances, the most important being the all-welded hull, the snorkel, air conditioning & good streamlining.
Until the "A" class, the Royal Navy had not considered the 'snorkel' worth introducing and slowing production, training etc. ( although it had by now been used for some time by the Germans ).
British submarines never really faced stiff competition from an advanced enemy escort force, and had the relative luxury of being able to surface at night 90% of the time to re-plenish air and re-charge batteries. Also, unlike many other countries' submarines, a lot of attention and space was paid to air scrubbers, coolers and re-circulators to keep a submarine's air bearable for many long hours.
The result was one of the best designed of all diesel submarine of their period and long after. They had good sea performance, good armament and a greatly reduced underwater noise level. Also, for the first time ever, a special air conditioning system was installed, all air being sucked into an air conditioning unit from throughout the ship, cooled & reduced in humidity and CO2 and if necessary, extra O2 could be bled in, to keep the submarine's atmosphere, cool, dry and fresh.
Unfortunately, this class were not completed in time for the boats to take part in WWII , but they served for many years and were effectively the backbone of the submarine service until the introduction of the Porpoise and Oberon classes of submarine : and the "A" class were later modified to have a very similar appearance & performance with the Porpoise and Oberon classes.
The last of the "A" class in service was HMS Andrew who was paid off in 1974.

Empty Displacement 1120 tons Length 281.75'
Surfaced Displacement 1285 tons Beam 22.25'
Submerged Displacement 1620 tons Draft 15~17'
Performance & Propulsion
Range 10500 nm @ 11 knots = 40 days
Dive 500'
Speed 17.5 kts ( 8 kts submerged )
Machinery 2 x 8cyl. Admirality diesels @ 4320 hp,
2 x English-Electric electric motors @ 1250 hp
Armament & Complement
Complement 61 officers & ratings
  • Torpedo
    • 4 x 21" bow tubes ( internal )
    • 2 x 21" bow tubes ( external )
    • 2 x 21" stern tubes ( internal )
    • 2 x 21" stern tubes ( external )
    • 16 x 21" torpedoes
  • Gun
    • 1 x 1 x 4" AA
    • 1 x 1 x 20mm Oerlikon AA
    • 1 x 1 x 0.303" MG AA
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