The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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||2730 tons standard displacement
3900 tons submerged
|Dimensions||371' by 33'3" by 15"9"
113.08m by 10.13m by 4.80m
|Maximum speed||17 knots surfaced
6.5 knots submerged
|Armament||4 21" bow/2 21" stern torpedo
tubes (24 torpedoes)
2 6"/53 guns
||2-shaft M.A.N. diesel-electric
(5600 bhp surfaced, 1600 shp submerged)
|Bunkerage||560 tons diesel oil
18,360 gallons (69,500 liter) gasoline (Nautilus)
|Range||9380 nautical miles (17,370 km) at 10 knots surfaced
50 nautical miles (90 km) at 5 knots submerged
||Two bow and two stern exterior torpedo tubes added to Nautilus in early 1942 during her refit. Narwhal did not receive the extra tubes until early 1943.
The Narwhals were completed in 1930 as part of the V program, and were originally designated V-5 and V-6. They were the culmination of the cruiser sub concept in the U.S. Closely resembling Argonaut but with a heavier torpedo armament in place of mine laying capability, they were big and roomy, which made them natural candidates for transport missions such as the raid on Makin. They also incorporated a number of innovative safety and rescue features prompted by the losses of S-51 and S-4. However, they could rarely maintain the design speed of 17 knots, and they were clumsy, slow-diving boats that were easily detected surfaced or submerged. Subsequent submarine designs would be considerably smaller than the Narwhals.
Both ships spent most of the war on transport missions, which in addition to the Makin raid included landing a reconnaissance force at Attu. Nautilus was assigned to island reconnaissance duty in 1943, and spent 18 days taking 2000 pictures of potential landing areas at Tarawa.
Under refit at San Francisco
Ian and Tuck (2001)
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