U.S. SUBMARINE ENGINES
The U.S. Navy utilized the internal combustion engine as the basis for propulsion power and to charge the batteries. The early engines used gasoline as fuel, which eventually was changed to the less intoxicating and explosive diesel fuel.
The engines for Holland and the A-boats were made by the Otto Gas Engine Works of Philadelphia. Engines for the B-, C-, and D-boats were made by Electric Boat at Fore River. Lake's G-1 and G-2 had White & Middleton engines (Springfield, Ohio); Cramp used Italian-made FIATS.
The first practical diesels operated on a 4-stroke cycle (4-cycle) like that of a standard gasoline engine. Air sucked in on the down stroke is compressed on the up stroke. At the top of the up stroke, oil is injected under sufficient pressure to overcome the pressure of the air in the cylinder. It immediately ignites, heating the air in the cylinder. The expanding hot air-gas mixture drives the piston down in a power stroke. The spent mixture is expelled on the following up stroke, and the cycle repeats. In the alternative 2-stroke type, air is blown into the cylinder late in the power stroke to blow out (scavenge) spent gas and then provide fresh air for the following (compression) stroke. Every other stroke, rather than every fourth stroke, is a power stroke.
Submarines required unusually lightweight compact engines.
International competition to develop and test a wide variety of lightweight compact diesel engines for submarines went on, from the early boats right through WWII. A wide variety of submarine drive systems were used. Some engines were reversible and could be used for maneuvering. Others were not and had to rely on battery driven electric motors for maneuvering. Engines could be used for propulsion or for battery charging because the engines and main motors were coupled to the propeller shafts with clutches. The advent of the use of four diesel/generator sets culminated as the best compromise. This arrangement provided maximum flexibility for directing power, generated by any combination of diesel/generator sets for battery charging, propulsion and maneuvering operations.
GASOLINE ENGINES WERE SUPPLIED BY:
Otto Gas Engine Works of Philadelphia, PA.
Craig Shipbuilding Co., Long Beach, CA.
White & Middleton Co., of Springfield, Ohio.
Fiat - San Giorgio Ltd., Italy.
DIESEL ENGINES WERE SUPPLIED BY:
The New London Ship & Engine Company of Groton, CT., supplied many diesel engines known as NELSECO.
The Busch Sulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Company of St. Louis, MO supplied a variety of their engines.
The M.A.N. diesel engines were manufactured at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, NY, and at the Electric Boat Company of Groton, CT. They were of the Maschinfabrik - Augsburg - Nurnburg, (German Design).
Hooven, Owens, Rentschler Co., of Hamilton, OH supplied the H.O.R. engines.
The Winton Engine Company of Cleveland, OH was bought by the General Motors Corp., and became the Cleveland Diesel Division which supplied a number of V type engines.
Fairbanks Morse and Co., of Beloit, WI.
The American Locomotive Co., of Auburn, NY.
(From: U.S. SUBMARINES THROUGH 1945 by Norman Friedman, and U.S. Submarine Data Book and United States Submarines by Robert Hatfield Barnes)
Boats listed represent the first of each class. Most boats in each class had the same type engine. Please see the references noted for additional details.
PLUNGER, The first Plunger built by Holland was rejected by the Navy in 1875, A second Plunger was built and launched in 1897, which had three screws and the requirements were for the two outside propellers to be operated by 600 H.P engines and the middle propeller by a 300 H.P engine: This vessel was never accepted by the Navy. Steam was originally specified but for practical reasons, the engines were probably gasoline.
HOLLAND, SS 1: 1 x 50 BHP, OTTO TYPE, GASOLINE (German Design)
EX-PLUNGER, A-1, SS 2: 1 x 180 BHP, OTTO TYPE, GASOLINE
EX-VIPER, B-1, SS 10: 1 x 250 BHP, CRAIG, GASOLINE
EX-OCTOPUS, C-1, SS 9: 2 x 240 BHP, GASOLINE
EX-NARWHAL,D-1, SS 17: 2 x 300 BHP, GASOLINE
EX-SKIPJACK, E-1, SS 24: 2 x 350 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
EX-CARP, F-1, SS 20: 2 x 390 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
EX-SEAL, G-1, SS 19-1/2: 4 x 300 BHP, GASOLINE
EX-TUNA, G-2, SS 27: 4 x 300 BHP, GASOLINE
EX-TURBOT, G-3 SS 31: 2 x 600, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
EX-THRASHER, G-4, SS 26: 4 x 400 BHP, GASOLINE
EX-SEA WOLF, H-1, SS 28: 2 x 475 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
EX-HADDOCK, K-1, SS 32: 2 x 475 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
L-1, SS 40: 2 x 450 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
L-5, SS 44, 45, 46, 48: 2 x 600 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
M-1, SS 47: 2 x 420 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
N-1, SS 53: 2 x 240 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
N-4, SS 56, 57, 58, 59: 2 x 300 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
O-1, SS 62: 2 x 440 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
O-11, SS 72, 74, 75, 76, 77: 2 x 500 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
R-1, SS 78: 2 x 440 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
R-21, SS 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104: 2 x 500 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
S-1, SS 105: 2 x 600 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
S-2, SS 106: 2 x 900 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
S-3, SS 107: 2 x 700 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
S-10, SS 110: 2 x 1,000 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
S-18, SS 123: 2 x 600 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
S-20 rebuilt, SS 125: 2 x 600 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
S-42, SS 153: 2 x 600 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
S-48, SS 159, 160, 163, 164, 165: 2 x 900 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESEL
S-48 rebuilt, SS 159: 2 x 1,000 BHP, DIESEL
SCHLEY, T-1, SS 52: 4 x 1,000 BHP, NELSECO, DIESEL
Note: (The T-1, T-2 and T-3 did not serve during the Second World War).
BASS, V-2, SS 164: 2 x 2,250 BHP, BUSCH SULZER, DIESELS + 2 x 1,000 BHP, MAN, DIESEL/GEN
ARGONAUT, V-4, SS 166: 2 x 1,400 BHP + 1 x 450 BHP, MAN, DIESEL
NAUTILUS, V-6, SS 168: 2 x 2,359 BHP + 2 x 450 BHP, MAN, DIESEL
DOLPHIN, V-7, SS 169: 2 x 1,750 BHP + 2 x 450 BHP, MAN, DIESEL
CACHALOT, V-8, SS 170: 2 x 1,535 BHP, MAN, DIESEL
PORPOISE, SS 172: 4 x 1,300 BHP, WINTON, DIESEL
SHARK, SS 174: 4 x 1,300 BHP, WINTON, DIESEL
PERCH, SS 176: 4 x 1,300 BHP, WINTON, DIESEL
SALMON, SS 182: 4 x 1,535 BHP, HOR, DIESEL
SARGO, SS 188: 4 x 1,535 BHP, HOR, DIESEL
SEADRAGON, SS 194: 4 x 1,535 BHP, HOR, DIESEL
TUNA, SS 203: 4 x 1,350 BHP, FAIRBANKS MORSE, DIESEL
MACKERAL, SS 204: 2 x 850 BHP?, ALCO, DIESEL
MARLIN, SS 205: 2 x 900 BHP?, ALCO, DIESEL
GATO, SS 212: 4 x 1,350 BHP, GENERAL MOTORS, DIESEL
BALAO, SS 285: 4 x 1,350 BHP, GENERAL MOTORS, DIESEL - - - See commentary by Peter Hulme. 1,350 BHP should read 1600 BHP
TENCH, SS 417: 4 x 1,350 BHP, FAIRBANKS MORSE, DIESEL
US Submarines that had Busch Sulzer Diesels when they were commissioned.
From the Submarine Data Book
HULL # NAME HP COMMISSIONING DATE
SS-31 G-3 1200 03/22/15
SS-44 L-5 1200 02/17/18
SS-45 L-6 1200 02/07/17
SS-46 L-7 1200 02/07/17
SS-48 L-8 1200 08/30/17
SS-56 N-4 600 06/15/18
SS-57 N-5 600 06/13/18
SS-58 N-6 600 07/09/18
SS-59 N-7 600 06/15/18
SS-74 O-13 1000 11/27/18
SS-75 O-14 1000 10/01/18
SS-76 O-76 1000 08/27/18
SS-77 O-16 1000 08/01/18
SS-98 R-21 1000 06/17/19
SS-99 R-22 1000 08/01/19
SS-100 R-23 1000 10/23/19
SS-101 R-24 1000 06/27/19
SS-102 R-25 1000 10/23/19
SS-104 R-27 1000 09/03/19
SS-106 S-2 1800 05/25/20
SS-159 S-48 1800 10/14/22
SS-160 S-50 1800 05/20/22
SS-162 S-57 1800 06/24/22
SS-163 BARRACUDA 4100 10/01/24
SS-164 BASS 4100 09/26/25
SS-165 BONITA 4100 05/22/26
SOME TYPICAL EXAMPLES OF BOATS AND THEIR ENGINES
ONE 45 HP GASOLINE ENGINE
A 45 horsepower gasoline engine powered Holland (SS1) on the surface and was used to charge her batteries. Any flaw in the exhaust system threatened the crew with asphyxiation, while minor fuel leaks could produce explosive concentrations of gasoline vapor. Such casualties were fairly common until diesel oil replaced gasoline. This boat used an Otto engine and carried 1,050 gallons of fuel.
ONE 160 HP GASOLINE ENGINE
During World War I, USS A-7 (ex Shark) and her sisterships, based at Cavite, carried out patrols at the entrance to Manila Bay. In the early spring of 1917, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Arnold Marcus assumed command of USS A-7. On 24 July 1917, shortly after the submarine torpedo boat's engine had been overhauled, gasoline fumes ignited and caused an explosion and fire while in the course of a patrol in Manila Bay. This boat used 160 HP gasoline, Otto engine. The gasoline capacity was 767 gallons.
ONE 250 HP GASOLINE ENGINE
USS B-1 (SS-10) launched on 30 March 1907 by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company... subcontractor for the Electric Boat Company (Successor to the John P. Holland Torpedo Boat Company of New York)...at Quincy, Massachusetts, as USS Viper (SS-10). The 10th submarine ordered built for the Navy. When commissioned, USS Viper; carried 1,880 gallons of gasoline which fueled a Craig gasoline internal combustion engine of 250 brake horsepower...which could drive the submarine at 9 knots when on the surface;
TWO 240 HP GASOLINE ENGINES
USS C-1 (Submarine Number 9) launched on 4 October 1906 as USS Octopus by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company at Quincy, Massachusetts,...which had taken over the patents of the John P. Holland Torpedo Boat Company of New York in 1904. When commissioned, the lead ship of the C Class had an overall length of 105'4"; had an extreme beam of 13'11"; had a normal displacement of 238 tons on the surface and 275 tons submerged; drew an average of 10' of water when in diving trim on the surface; was designed to dive to 200'; could make 10 1/2 knots on the surface and 9 knots submerged; carried 3,900 gallons of gasoline that fueled 2 gasoline internal combustion engine that was designed to develop 240 brake horsepower (each) for surface propulsion.
C class submarines were the first submersibles in the United States Navy to be fitted with two proprller shafts and two propellers
TWO 240 HP GASOLINE ENGINES
The C-3 submarine carried 3,900 gallons of gasoline to power two 240 brake horsepower gasoline internal combustion engines manufactured by the James Craig Machine and Engine Works at Jersey City, New Jersey.
TWO NELSECO DIESEL ENGINES:
When commissioned, the R-1 Class coastal and harbor defense submarine was 186'2" in length overall; had an extreme beam of 18'; had a normal surface displacement of 569 tons, and, when in that condition, had a mean draft of 14'6". Submerged displacement was 680 tons. The submarine was of riveted construction. The full load of diesel oil carried was 18,880 gallons, which fueled two 440 designed brake horsepower diesel engines manufactured by the New London Ship and Engine Company (NELSECO) at Groton, Connecticut...which could drive the boat via a direct drive system at 13.5 knots on the surface.
The engines known as NELSECO's were not reversible. Maneuvering was done on battery power with engines shut down. There were air compressors as part of each engine for producing compressed air to actuate the injectors. Engines were normally started electrically. These engines could be started with compressed air in emergencies.
TWO BUSCH SULZER DIESEL ENGINES
The keel of USS R-27 (Submarine Number 104) was laid down on 16 May 1917 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Launched on 23 September 1918.
When commissioned, the R-21 Class coastal and harbor defense submarine was 175' in length overall; had an extreme beam of 16'8"; had a normal surface displacement of 510 tons, and, when in that condition, had a mean draft of 13'11". Submerged displacement was 583 tons. The full load of diesel oil carried was 17,922 gallons, which fueled two 1,000 designed brake horsepower diesel engines manufactured by the Busch-Sulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Company at Saint Louis, Missouri...which could drive the boat, via a diesel direct drive propulsion system, at 14 knots on the surface in relatively calm seas.
TWO NELSECO DIESEL ENGINES
The keel of USS S-39 (SS-144) was laid down on 14 January 1919, by the Union Iron Works Division of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation...a subcontractor of the Electric Boat Company of New York City, New York. Launched on 2 July 1919...at San Francisco, California. The S-boat was commissioned on 14 September 1923 with Lieutenant J. A. Scott in command. When commissioned, the S-1 Class coastal and harbor defense submarine was 219'3" in length overall; had an extreme beam of 20'8"; had a normal surface displacement of 854 tons, and, when in that condition, had a mean draft of 15'11". Submerged displacement was 1,062 tons. The full load of diesel oil carried was 41,921 gallons, which fueled two 600 designed brake horsepower Model 8-EB-15NR diesel engines manufactured by the New London Ship and Engine Company (NELSECO) at Groton, Connecticut...which could drive the boat...via a diesel direct drive propulsion system...at 14.5 knots on the surface.
SIMON LAKE'S LAST S-BOATS(Per Sminkey)
Simon Lake's last S-boats…the so called 4th group USS S-48 (SS-159), USS S-49 (SS-160), USS S-50 (SS-161), and USS S-51 (SS-162) were powered with two side-by-side Busch Sulzer 2 cycle Model 6M150 diesel engines of 900 BHP, each. USS S-48, after rebuild, had 2 Busch Sulzer 2 cycle diesel engines of 1,000 BHP, each. These were direct drives; mechanical power from the engine through a clutch to the dynamo (motor/generator) through another clutch then to the propeller.
TWO BUSCH SULZER DIESEL ENGINES
USS S-48 (SS-159) was laid down on 22 October 1920 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Launched on 26 February 1921. Ten months later; and, on 14 October 1922, USS S-48 was accepted by the United States Navy, and commissioned...with Lieutenant S. E. Bray in command. When commissioned, the S-48 Class submarine was 240' in length overall; had an extreme beam of 21'10"; had a normal surface displacement of 903 tons, and, when on the surface in that condition, had a mean draft of 13'6". The submarine displaced 1,230 tons when submerged. The designed compliment was 4 officers and 34 enlisted men. Stowage was provided for 44,350 gallons of diesel oil...which fueled 6-M-85 six-cylinder 500 brake horsepower (at 410
rotations per minute) diesel engines, that had a total output of 1,800 horsepower, that were made by the Busch-Sulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Company at Saint Louis, Missouri, that could drive the boat at 14.4 knots when operating on the surface.
TWO BUSCH SULZER DIESEL ENGINES
USS S-51 (SS-162) was laid down on 22 December 1919 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Launched on 20 August 1921. The submarine was commissioned on 24 June 1922 with Lieutenant W. S. Haas in command. When commissioned, the S-48 Class submarine was 240' in length overall; had an extreme beam of 21'10"; had a normal surface displacement of 903 tons, and, when on the surface in that condition, had a mean draft of 13'6". The submarine displaced 1,230 tons when submerged. The S-boat was equipped with two periscopes. She had a double hull in the center portion of the boat; a single hull at each end of the ship. This S-boat could completely submerge in one minute to periscope depth. Maximum operating (test) depth was 200'. Stowage was provided for 44,350 gallons of diesel oil...by utilizing some of the ballast tanks as fuel oil tanks. This gave the boat a maximum operating radius of 8,000 miles at ten knots when transiting on the surface. The normal fuel oil load was 23,411 gallons. Two 6-M-85 six-cylinder 900 brake
horsepower (at 410 rotations per minute) diesel engines, that had a total output of 1,800 horsepower, that were made by the Busch-Sulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Company at Saint Louis, Missouri, could drive the boat at 14.4 knots when operating on the surface.
FOUR DIESEL / ELECTRIC GENERATOR ENGINE SETS
The first USS Permit, was laid down on 6 June 1935 by the Electric Boat Company at Groton, Connecticut, as USS Pinna (SS-178). Her name was changed to USS Permit (SS-178) on 13 August 1935. This was a Plunger Class submarine...and she was launched on 5 October 1936. Commissioning took place on 17 March 1937 with Lieutenant Charles O. Humphreys in command. When commissioned, the Fleet Type submarine, designed by the Bureau of Construction and Repair...and...the Electric Boat Company, was 300'7" in length overall; had a beam of 25'1"; had a surface displacement of 1,330 tons, 1,335 tons standard, 1,515 tons normal, and 1,997 tons submerged (listed as 2,020 tons submerged in 1945); could dive safely to 250 feet; had a partial double all-welded hull; had seven watertight compartments plus the conning tower; had 25# mild steel pressure hull plating approximately 5/8ths of an inch thick; The submarine could make 20.1 knots on the surface and 8 knots submerged. At ten knots her cruising range on the surface was 11,000 nautical miles. Her submerged endurance was ten hours at 5 knots and 36 hours at minimum speed (about 1 3/4ths knots). USS Permit could carry 92,801 gallons of diesel fuel. This amount gave her a patrol endurance of 75 days.
Propulsion was diesel-electric reduction gear drive with 4 main generator engines and 2 auxiliary generator engines...all contained in one engine room...for a total of 4,300 shaft horsepower. Eight main motors provided a maximum of 2,366 shaft horsepower. Two 120-cell storage batteries provided the electricity for submerged propulsion.
TWO BUSCH SULZER DIESELS PLUS
TWO M.A.N. DIESEL / GENERATOR AUX. SETS
The first USS Barracuda (SS-163), was laid down on 20 October 1921 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard at Kittery, Maine, as USS V-1 (SF-4)...and launched on 17 July 1924. The submarine was commissioned into the United States Navy on 1 October 1924 with Lieutenant Commander Sherwood Picking in command.
When commissioned, this V-1 class submarine displaced 2,000 tons (standard) on the surface (and had a mean draft of 14'7") and 2,620 tons submerged; was 341'6" in length overall; had an extreme beam of 27'6"; could safely dive to 200'(the test depth); had a partial double and riveted hull; had 10 watertight compartments; had a 9/16 inch mild steel pressure hull; could make 18.71 knots on the surface and 9 knots submerged; had a maximum cruising range on the surface at 11 knots of 10,000 miles and could run submerged at 5 knots for 10 hours; carried 90,935 gallons of diesel fuel; and was designed to patrol for 45 days...unsupported.
The submarine had two engine rooms: In the after portion of the hull were two 2,250 brake horsepower diesel engines built by the Busch Sulzer Diesel Engine Company at Saint Louis, Missouri. These main propulsion engines moved the submarine on the surface through a diesel direct drive system. In the forward part of the hull two 1,000 brake horsepower Maschinenfabrik-Augsburg-Nurnberg (M.A.N.) type diesel engines were installed for auxiliary power. These engines turned generators that, through a diesel-electric drive system, could propel the vessel via two 1,200 horsepower main propulsion motors manufactured by the Elliot Motor Company at Jeannette, Pennsylvania. These motors could also be driven for submerged propulsion by power from a 120-cell main storage battery...which was divided into two 60- cell batteries... made by the Electric Storage Battery Company (Exide) at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Total shaft horsepower developed on the surface during trials was 6,200; total shaft horsepower available for submerged propulsion was 2,400.
FOUR FAIRBANKS-MORSE OPPOSED PISTON DIESEL ENGINE / GENERATOR SETS AND ONE F. M. AUX. SET.
USS Threadfin (SS-410), originally named USS Sole (SS-410), was laid down on 18 March 1944 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. Launched on 26 June 1944. Commissioning took place on 30 August 1944 with Commander John J. Foote in command. USS Threadfin (SS-410) is a unit of the Balao Class. Designed, developed and built by the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Thus, USS Threadfin is a "Portsmouth Boat." When commissioned, USS Threadfin was 311 feet 8 inches in length overall and had a maximum beam of 27 feet 3 inches. Her standard displacement on the surface was 1,526 tons, her normal displacement on the surface was between 2,010 and 2,075 tons, and her submerged displacement was 2,401 tons. Fuel capacity was 118,300 gallons (rated) of diesel oil, which fueled 4 main Fairbanks-Morse opposed piston 1,600 horsepower diesel engines, and one auxiliary Fairbanks-Morse opposed piston diesel engine...which turned generators...which made electricity...which turned two Elliot main propulsion motors of 2,740 shaft horsepower...which could drive the boat at 20.25 knots on the surface...and gave her a cruising range on the surface of 11,000 miles at ten knots (rated). - - - See commentary by Peter Hulme
FOUR GENERAL MOTORS DIESEL / GENERATOR SETS
PLUS ONE AUX. G.M. DIESEL / GENERATOR SET
USS Hardhead (SS-365) was a unit of the Electric Boat Company's version of the Balao Class submarine. Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company built submarines from Electric Boat Company plans. When commissioned, USS Hardhead was 311 feet 9 inches in length overall and had a maximum beam of 27 feet 3 inches. Her standard displacement on the surface was 1,526 tons, her normal displacement on the surface was between 2,010 and 2,075 tons, and her submerged displacement was 2,424 tons. Fuel capacity was 118,000 gallons (rated) of diesel oil, which fueled 4 main General Motors Model V16-278A, 1,600 horsepower diesel engines, and one auxiliary General Motors diesel engine...which turned generators...which made electricity...which turned four General Electric main propulsion motors of 2,740 shaft horsepower... which could drive the boat at 20.25 knots on the surface...and gave her a cruising range on the surface of 11,000 miles at ten knots (rated). - - - See commentary by Peter Hulme
THE POPULAR WWII ENGINES
Fairbanks Morse: 8 cylinder, opposed piston diesel (based on the German Junkers Jumo), similar in configuration to Sun's. It had a one piece welded steel frame. A silent chain transmitted power from the upper to the lower crankshaft (later engines used vertical drive gearing). The upper crankshaft drove the scavenging blower. The early 8 cylinder 38A8 was superseded by a 1,365 BHP 8 cylinder 38D-8-1/8 and then by a 9 cylinder, 1,535 BHP 38D-8-1/8; wartime submarines (from SS 381 on) used a 10 cylinder, 1,600 BHP 38D-8-1/8.
Winton Engine Corp. (later the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of General Motors): a 12 cylinder, 950 BHP 2 cycle vee, Model 201, with exhaust valves in the cylinder head for uniflow scavenging (i.e., for the scavenging air to flow one way, up the cylinder, rather than across and down, as in a Sulzer). Its unit fuel injectors combined the functions of fuel injection valve and fuel injection pump into one unit in each cylinder, operated by a single cam; and it was the first to use a welded steel housing. The 1,535 BHP 16-248 used larger cylinders at a sharper V-angle, with a stronger crankcase and more reliable pistons and rings. It was superseded by the 1,600 BHP (aluminum pistons) and then 16-278A (steel pistons). After WWII, Cleveland Diesel became The Electro-Motive Division of General Motors.
THE UNPOPULAR WWII ENGINE
Hooven, Owens, Rentschler (HOR), was a 1,300 BHP, 2 cycle, double acting engine, identical to that in the German cruiser Leipzig except that it had 8 cylinders. HOR was the only firm to offer a double acting engine. It used a one-piece welded steel frame. This engine excited interest because it offered more power than either General Motors or Fairbanks Morse (in a tight double-action package), but it soon gained a reputation for gross unreliability. The HOR was noisy, and it needed 40 percent more air than the other two engines.
There were 16 new submarines commissioned in 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1940. These submarines were of three classes: Salmon (SS-182) class, Sargo (SS-188) class, and Seadragon (SS-194) class. It was decided to give them names starting with S. Apparently everyone forgot about the old S-type submarines still serving with the fleet, because the class numbers S-1 through S-16 assigned to the new fleet-type submarines duplicated names already held by some of the older S-boats. This source of confusion was ultimately eliminated when the class numbering system was abolished in 1939 and the SS hull numbers were painted on the conning tower fairwater for peacetime identification.
USS Salmon (S-1) (SS-182) 1938 HOR ENGINES
USS Seal (S-2) (SS-183) 1938 HOR ENGINES
USS Skipjack (S-3) (SS-184) 1938 HOR ENGINES
USS Snapper (S-4) (SS-185) 1937 G M ENGINES
USS Stingray (S-5) (SS-186) 1938 G M ENGINES
USS Sturgeon (S-6) (SS-187) 1938 G M ENGINES
USS Sargo (S-7) (SS-188) 1939 HOR ENGINES
USS Saury (S-8) (SS-189) 1939 HOR ENGINES
USS Spearfish (S-9) (SS-190) 1939 HOR ENGINES
USS Sculpin (S-10) (SS-191) 1939 G M ENGINES
USS Sailfish (S-11) (SS-192) 1940 G M ENGINES
USS Swordfish (S-12) (SS-193) 1939 G M ENGINES
USS Seadragon (S-13) (SS-194) 1939 HOR ENGINES
USS Sealion (S-14) (SS-195) 1939 G M ENGINES
USS Searaven (S-15) (SS-196) 1939 G M ENGINES
USS Seawolf (S-16) (SS-197) 1939 G M ENGINES
Main engines and/or entire drive systems that were found to be troublesome were removed and replaced during a major overhaul. This represents a major undertaking because the hull had to be opened in order to remove these large pieces of equipment and re-build the drive installation.
THE AUXILIARY ENGINES
The R and S boats did not have auxiliary engines. All fleet type submarines, except the first three built (USS T-1, USS T-2, and USS T-3), had one, or two, or three, auxiliary engines installed. Most fleet type submarines that made war patrols during the Second World War had one auxiliary engine/ generator set. It was installed on the centerline in the lower flats of the after engine room.
EXPERIMENTAL and PROTOTYPE ENGINES
The search to develop lightweight powerful diesel engines for submarines resulted in a number of prototype configurations, bore and stroke experiments as well as numbers of cylinders and engine speeds.
Some examples are presented:
On the Fairbanks Morse opposed piston engines:
The 38A8, Plunger - Pollack, had 8 cylinders, rated at 1,300 BHP, 720 RPM, 8.0" bore x 10.0" stroke.
The 38D8-1/8, 179 - 180 re-engined, SS 201 and later boats had 9 cylinders, rated at 1,600 BHP, 720 RPM, (8.5")??? (Probably a typo - should be 8-1/8") bore x 10.0" stroke.
The 38A6-3/4, postwar lightweight version, had 8 cylinders, rated at 1,000 BHP, 1,335 RPM, 6.75" bore x 8.0 stroke.
On the Winton and later GM engines:
GM 12-258S Argonaut re-engined V-12 rated at 1,500 BHP, 900 RPM, 9.5" bore x 12.0" stroke.
Winton prototype V-12 rated at 950 BHP, 720 RPM, 8.0" bore x 10.0" stroke.
Winton Porpoise 201A V-16 rated at 1,300 BHP, 750 RPM, 8.0" bore x 10.0" stroke.
GM 16-258 Nautilus re-engined V-16 rated at 2,000 BHP, 900 RPM, 9.5" bore x 12.0" stroke. (Note: same engine as Cachalot but different rating)
GM 16-258 Cachalot re-engined V-16 rated at 1,535 BHP, 900 RPM, 9.5" bore x 12.0" stroke. (Note: same engine as Nautilus but different rating)
GM 16-248 and GM 16-278A used in many fleet boats V-16 rated at 1,600 BHP, 750 RPM, 8.5" x 10.5" stroke.
GM 16-338, 16 cylinder pancake used in postwar submarines, rated at 1,000 BHP, 1,600 RPM, 6.0" bore x 6.5" stroke.
In 1933 at Electric Boat, it was the S-20 that had the first 16 cylinder VM1 engine installed. Rated at 635 BHP, 1,175 RPM, 6.25" bore x 8.25" stroke.
Examples of some prototype engines:
Stearns Diamond-4 rated at 321 BHP, 1,300 RPM, 5.25" bore x 8.5" stroke.
Sun Ship, 6 cylinder, rated at 685 BHP, 620 RPM, 6.25" bore x 9.75" stroke.
Continental Radial-10 rated at 1,400 BHP, 6.5" bore x 7.5" stroke.
Further reading and references:
US Submarine Main Propulsion Diesels
The Balao site: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/9928/history2.htm
shows that the conversion from Fleet to Guppy 1a made a change to a 5-bladed prop from a 4-bladed prop.
It went from surfaced SHP 5400 (Fleet) to SHP 4610 after conversion and changed from a 4 to 5-bladed prop.
two reduction gears were removed and motor-generators changed from 2 to 4 (or something like that). (Per Mike Bickel).
A Review with remarks/corrections by Peter Hulme
A great thank you for the review and commentary by Peter Hulme (email@example.com). This is appreciated.
- Peter points out the following:
- The Balao class is reported in this site with both 1350 bhp and 1600 bhp engines. The USN Fleet Manual shows 1600 bhp.
- The USS Chopper was not extended. This error has been carried forward from other websites. The only USN Fleet Boats extended were some of the early GUPPY GII boats that had 15 feet added to make more operational space and as a consequence slowed them down, they became GIII.
- The four to five blade conversion was to reduce noise. Furthermore the reported figure of 4160 bh[ applied to the Guppy class remains a mystery.
- Peter also commented on the change from the original four geared motors to two double armature direct drive motors to reduce noise; was considered one of the major WW2 improvements to the Fleet Submarine.
- Peter recently (June 2004) researched further details on the derating of the Guppy class engines. Here is what he found:
On the subject of derating the output to the screws from 5400 shp 4610 shp.
I had been assured the change from a four blade to a 5 bladed prop had nothing to do with this, so for several years I have intermittently tried to find out why the machinery was rated at 4610 shp in Commander Alden's excellent book "The Fleet Submarine in the USN".
Especially as the Commander comments that the machinery in all operational four engine post WW2 boats (GUPPY , Fleet Snorkel and other conversions) remained the same -- basically as per the TENCH class .The stated ratings reducing proportionally as engines were removed in some of the conversions .
It finally dawned on me that all these various converted boats had one thing in common --they were all fitted with Snorkel- but why would this reduce the surface power ??
Well I finally asked the question on Rontini's BBS and here is the likely answer that I thought might be of interest >>>>>
Posted by Bob T on Mon - Jun 7 - 12:55pm: 2004
In Reply to: Fleet Boat engines posted by peter on Sun - Jun 6 - 10:20pm: 2004
As best as I recall there was an engine derating when snorkelling due to higher exhaust backpressure.
Also, when snorkel was installed the compression ratio was reduced by replacing the pistons. The "old" pistons had a profile called "pear shape" and the new pistons had a profile called "Mexican hat shape." The reduction in CR was to allow for higher exhaust back pressure.
Not really sure, it was a long time ago.
Despite Bob T's comment about it being a long time ago , the detail he mentions satisfies me that this was the cause of the derating from 5400 shp to 4610 shp, as this modification though for Snorkelling would also effect the surface power.