HMS Triad (N53)
|Builder:||Vickers Armstrong, Barrow|
|Laid down:||24 March 1938|
|Launched:||5 May 1939|
|Commissioned:||16 September 1939|
|Fate:||sunk 15 October 1940|
|Class and type:||British T class submarine|
|Displacement:||1,090 tons surfaced
1,575 tons submerged
|Length:||275 ft (84 m)|
|Beam:||26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)|
|Draught:||16.3 ft (5.0 m)|
Twin diesel engines 2,500 hp (1.86 MW) each
|Speed:||15.25 knots (28.7 km/h) surfaced
9 knots (20 km/h) submerged
|Range:||4,500 nautical miles at 11 knots (8,330 km at 20 km/h) surfaced|
|Test depth:||300 ft (91 m) max|
|Armament:||6 internal forward-facing torpedo tubes
4 external forward-facing torpedo tubes
HMS Triad (N53) was a T-class submarine of the Royal Navy. She was laid down by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow and launched in May 1939. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name Triad.
Triad had a relatively short career, serving in the North Sea and the Mediterranean. In April 1940 she sank the German troop transport Ionia and attacked, but failed to sink the German depot ship Tsingtau.
Mediterranean and loss
Shortly after, she was assigned to the Mediterranean. On 9 October 1940 she sailed from Malta to operate in the Gulf of Taranto, with orders to reach Alexandria on completion of her patrol. She failed to make port and by 20 October the submarine was declared overdue. She was believed to have been lost in a minefield or sunk by Italian anti-submarine aircraft. New evidence suggests that Triad was engaged and sunk on the night of 14/15 October by the Italian submarine Enrico Toti.
It was assumed that the Enrico Toti had engaged and sunk HMS Rainbow, which was thought to be operating in the same area.
At 01:00 on 15 October, the Enrico Toti sighted a large submarine 1,000 metres to port: both boats manoeuvred into attack position but the British opened fire first, supposedly scoring two hits, one on the conning tower, the other on the bow (Italian accounts claim all of Triad's shells missed). She also fired a torpedo which Enrico Toti avoided by turning sharply, then closed on the enemy submarine at top speed, firing as she approached. Soon, machine gun fire compelled the British gunners to abandon the exposed deck. As the British submarine started to dive, Toti fired a torpedo and hit the British submarine with two shells. The boat rose vertically then disappeared without survivors. The entire action had lasted less than 30 minutes.
Famous Italian writer Dino Buzzati, then a very young navy war correspondent gave a lively account of the Triad vs Enrico Toti engagement. Though he was not directly on board the Italian submarine (he would later embark on an Italian cruiser and give a first hand account of the Battle of Matapan) Buzzati interviewed officers and sailors of the Enrico Toti on its return to base and published the story in October 1940. According to sailors testimonies the Enrico Toti commanding officer cleverly held gun fire until he was in a favourable position to launch a torpedo, but both ships were so close that an angered Italian gunner threw his shoes at the head of his British counterpart as he could not yet fire the gun.
Until 1988 it was believed the ship sunk was the Rainbow, however Rainbow is now believed to have sunk in a collision on 4 October.
Rainbow had been ordered to leave the area on 13 October, she would have been gone 26-30 hours before the action described above began. Even at the modest speed of 6 knots (11 km/h), Rainbow would have been 200 nautical miles (370 km) away from the spot at the time of the action. The only boat in Toti's vicinity was Triad.
- HMS Triad, Uboot.net
- "Submarine losses 1904 to present day". RN Submarine Museum, Gosport.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Hutchinson, Robert (2001). Jane's Submarines: War Beneath the Waves from 1776 to the Present Day. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-710558-8. OCLC 53783010.