Porpoise Class (1933) SSM

The Porpoise Class (1933) of submarines were the first and only submarine class specifically designed for the Royal Navy as minelayers. They were based on lessons learned from the converted M3 submarine, being fitted with a conveyor belt-like chain within a deep casing which discharged mines through stern doors.

Although six were built and more were planned, these were cancelled when a new type of mine was developed which could be laid through a 21in torpedo tube.

However the boats of the class completed most of the British submarine minelaying of WW2. A total of 3,000 being laid, the bulk (2,284) by Rorqual which was the only one to survive the war.

HMS Seal, was caught on the surface by German aircraft after having been damaged by a mine and with stern and rudder damage and having had her engine fail. So she surrendered and was later commissioned into the German Navy as UB on 30-Nov-1940. Apart from the propaganda value she was of little operationally and laid up, 31-Jul-1941. Later scuttled 03-May-1945.

HMS Porpoise was the 77th and last British submarine loss of WW2 when she was bombed and sunk by Japanese aircraft in the Malacca Straits on 16-Jan-1945.

Rorqual was sold and scrapped on 17-Mar-1946.


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This page last edited - 19 January, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.