French submarine Pluviôse

French submarine Pluviôse (Q51) was the name ship of her class of 18 submarines built for the French Navy (Marine Nationale) in the first decade of the 20th century.

French submarine Pluviôse in Boulogne harbour
Name Pluviôse
Namesake The month of Pluviôse
Builder Arsenal de Cherbourg
Launched 27 June 1907
Commissioned 5 October 1908
Stricken 1919
Fate Sunk in collision, 26 May 1910, raised and returned to service
General characteristics (as built)
Type Submarine
  • 404 t (398 long tons) (surfaced)
  • 553 t (544 long tons) (submerged)
Length 51.12 m (167 ft 9 in) (o/a)
Beam 4.96 m (16 ft 3 in)
Draft 3.15 m (10 ft 4 in)
Installed power
  • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) (surfaced)
  • 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (submerged)
  • 1,000 nmi (1,900 km; 1,200 mi) at 8.5 knots (15.7 km/h; 9.8 mph) (surfaced)
  • 27 nmi (50 km; 31 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) (submerged)
Complement 2 officers and 23 crewmen

. . . French submarine Pluviôse . . .

Right profile diagram of the Pluviôse class

The Pluviôse class were built as part of the French Navy’s 1905 building program to a double-hull design by Maxime Laubeuf.[1] The submarines displaced404 metric tons (398 long tons) surfaced and 553 metric tons (544 long tons) submerged. They had an overall length of 51.12 meters (167 ft 9 in), a beam of 4.96 meters (16 ft 3 in), and a draft of 3.15 meters (10 ft 4 in). Their crew numbered 2 officers and 23 enlisted men.[2]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 350-metric-horsepower (345 bhp; 257 kW)triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one propeller shaft using steam provided by two Du Temple boilers. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 230-metric-horsepower (227 bhp; 169 kW)electric motor.[3] On the surface they were designed to reach a maximum speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) and 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) underwater.[1] The submarines had a surface endurance of 865 nautical miles (1,602 km; 995 mi) at 11.6 knots (21.5 km/h; 13.3 mph) and a submerged endurance of 70 nmi (130 km; 81 mi) at 2.8 knots (5.2 km/h; 3.2 mph).[4]

The first six boats completed, including Pluviôse, were armed with a single 450-millimeter (17.7 in) internal bow torpedo tube, but after an accident that lead to the sinking of their sister Fresnel in 1909, the tubes were removed from Pluviôse and her sister Messidor. All of the boats were fitted with six 450 mm external torpedo launchers; the pair firing forward were fixed outwards at an angle of seven degrees and the rear pair had an angle of five degrees. Following a ministerial order on 22 February 1910, the aft tubes were reversed so they too fired forward, but at an angle of eight degrees. The other launchers were a rotating pair of Drzewiecki drop collars in a single mount positioned on top of the hull at the stern. They could traverse 150 degrees to each side of the boat. The Pluviôse-class submarines carried eight torpedoes.[5]

. . . French submarine Pluviôse . . .

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. . . French submarine Pluviôse . . .