:: TENCH CLASS (1944-1951) ::

Tench class attack submarine (1944-1951) High resolution picture

The Tench class, built between 1944 and 1951, represents the pinnacle of the United States submarine weapon during the Second World War; the last units remained in service until 1975. Albeit the previous Balao class was an excellent design in most aspects, extensive patrol experience during war time showed up several issues that were addressed in the new class. The new direct-drive electric motors were much quieter than the reduction gear arrangement installed in the previous classes. The new subdivision, with eight watertight compartments besides the conning tower, and a more solid construction, with a steel pressure hull of up to eight inches in thickness, rendered these submarines as more apt for survivality than their predecessors. But not everything was so good. The Tench class - like the preceding classes - was justifiably criticized due to its poor underwater maneuverability, a defect which was never solved despite the efforts.

From 1947 the units of the Tench class were subject to upgrades imposed by the achievements of German wartime technology: the outer surfaces were streamlined, so every deck gun was removed, and the capacity of the batteries was increased. This conversion program was called GUPPY (Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program) and had in total seven stages called GUPPY I, GUPPY II, GUPPY IA, Fleet Snorkel, GUPPY IIA, GUPPY IB, and GUPPY III. The largest part of the units received as well a number of experimental modifications: snorkel, sonar test platforms, radar pickets, missile launchers, target boats and amphibious transports. After receiving these updates, the North American attack submarines should have matched as much as possible the standards set by the German Type XXI in 1943 (at least leaving apart the poor underwater maneuverability).

Tench class: 33 units (SS-417 to SS-424, SS-427, SS-428, SS-435 to SS-437, SS-475 to SS-490, SS-522 to SS-525)

Type: Attack submarine

Length: 95 meters

Beam: 8.3 meters

Draught: 5.2 meters

Displacement (surfaced): 1595 tonnes

Displacement (submerged): 2455-2468 tonnes

Propulsion: 2 x shaft, 4 x Diesel-electric group 1350 horsepower, 2 x electric motor 1370 horsepower, 252 x battery cell

Speed (surfaced): 20.25 knots (37.5 kilometers/hour)

Speed (submerged): 8.75 knots (16.2 kilometers/hour)

Range (surfaced): 11000 nautical miles (20000 kilometers) at 10 knots

Range (submerged): 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) at 3 knots

Test depth: 120 meters

Complement: 81

Armament: 10 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube (6 at prow, 4 astern), 28 x torpedo, 1-2 x 127-millimeter 25-caliber deck cannon, diverse configurations with 40 or 20-millimeter antiaircraft cannons and 7.62 or 12.7-millimeter machine guns

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