Japanese submarine class 'Ha-201' class.

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Japanese submarine class 'Ha-201' class.

Berichtdoor Leopard » 24 jan 2009, 17:35


Like the German Type XXIIIs, the 'Ha-201 ' class boats were small, fast and handy. They were also too late to be of use, in spite of prefabricated construction. Larger than their German equivalents, they had superior endurance.

The Ha-201-class Sensuikan Taka Sho (Small Fast Submarine) was a new 320-ton coastal defense boat with a test depth of 350-ft. Designed for mass production; they were armed with two torpedo tubes and had a snorkel range above 5000 miles. Their streamlined hull and 1250-hp motor gave them an underwater speed above 13-kts and great maneuverability.

Technically the most interesting of Japan's many submarine designs, the little 'Ha-201' class boats, complemented by the 78-m (255,9-ft) 'I-201' class boats, were the equivalent of the German Types XXIII and XXI respectively. With the Americans pressing ever closer to the home islands, the Japanese seem in 1943 at last to have grasped the fact that they had the wrong types of submarine to tackle their chosen prime targets, warships. Their strategy would best have been served by concentrating their existing boats, as did the Americans, on mercantile targets but, persevering to the end, the Japanese developed the 'Ha 201' class or 'Type STS' as a fast, manoeuvrable design to protect the home islands against warships, Like similar German boats, however, they arrived too late to be of use, their enemy already having achieved absolute superiority.

Using experimental data derived from the pre-war experiments with the 43-m (141-ft) evaluation boat, No. 71, the Japanese planned the rapid production of 90 boats. Even with extensive prefabrication and the use of five separate yards, they managed to complete only about 10, none of which managed an offensive patrol, though 28 more were in an advanced state of construction at the surrender.

The prefix 'Ha' corresponds to 'C', denoting a small boat. The exterior was kept as clean of protuberances as possible, though there was rather a lot of forward casing, The boats were capable of 'grouping-up' for limited bursts of high submerged speed, necessary as they had only two torpedo tubes and attacks needed to be carried out from close range to guarantee success, Interestingly, they were propelled by a single, centreline propeller, set abaft a cruciform control surface assembly, remarkably similar to modern arrangements. They possessed only limited endurance and their crew of 22 could be supported for about 15 days. A type of snort was fitted to allow prolonged periods of submersion, necessary for them to survive at a time when American air power was virtually unchallenged. Together with advanced German submarine types, they yielded the Americans much valuable post-war data to apply to their 'Guppy' programmes.



Type: coastal submarine

Displacement: 377 tons surfaced and 440 tons submerged

Dimensions: length 53.00 m (173 ft 11 in); beam 4.00 m (13 ft 1 in); draught 3.40 m (11 ft 2 in)

Propulsion: surfaced diesel delivering 400 bhp (298 kW) and submerged electric motor delivering 1,250 hp (930 kW) to one shaft

Speed: surfaced 10.5 kts and submerged 13 kts

Range: surfaced 5600 km (3,480 miles) at 10.5 kts and submerged 185 km (115 miles) at 2 kts

Armament: one 7.7-mm (0.303-in) machine-gun, and two 533-mm (21 -in) torpedo tubes (both forward) with four torpedoes

Complement: 22
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