and its sister Narwhal (SS-167) were the US
versions of the "U-Cruisers" in vogue during the late 20s and early 30s.
Designed for long-range ocean cruising, these boats were as long as a Fletcher class destroyer, and displaced more. The
fuel load alone was 732 tons, and the main gun armament consisted of two
6"/53-caliber weapons in single mounts fore and aft of the conning tower. Nautilus
and Narwhal are easily identifiable by the raised midship gundeck surrounding the
conning tower. Four single torpedo tubes were fitted beneath this deck in 1942.
The design proved impractical. These boats were both slow and lacking in
maneuverability. During WWII they were mostly relegated to secondary tasks such as
re-supplying guerillas and landing commandoes, though Nautilus participated in
the raid on Makin Island.
USS Nautilus SS-168
Builder: Mare Island Navy Yard, 1930
Displacement: 2,915 tons surfaced, 4,050 tons submerged
Length: 371' long, beam: 33' 3"
Armament: two 6"/53 caliber
Range: 8,500nm @ 15kts
Maximum speed: 17kts on the surface, 8 kts submerged
Range: 18,000 miles @ 8kts, 10 miles @ 8kts submerged
Torpedoes: six 21" (4 forward, 2 aft) with 20 torpedoes
1942: four extenal 21" tubes fitted (2 forward, 2 aft) with 4 torpedoes
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