Japanese Type L submarine

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Class overview
Name: Type L submarines
Type L1 (Ro-51-class)
Type L2 (Ro-53-class)
Type L3 (Ro-57-class)
Type L4 (Ro-60 -class)
Builders: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-Kōbe Shipyard
Operators: Naval Ensign of Japan.svg Imperial Japanese Navy
Built: 1918-1927
In commission: 1920-1945

The Type L submarine (L型潜水艦 L-gata Sensuikan?) submarines were medium sized submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), serving during the 1920s and World War II. The Type L submarines were built with Vickers naval technical guidance. All boats were built in the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-Kobe Shipyard by the contract with Vickers.

Class variants[edit]

The Type Ls were divided into four types; L1 - L4

Type L1 (Ro-51-class)[edit]

Ro-51 (as Submarine No. 25) in 1920s

In 1916, the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Corporation got the Vickers L class submarine informations. Mitsubishi which lost competition to the Kawasaki's Type F submarines (Fiat-Laurenti design, Ro-1 class and Ro-3 class), bought the license for the L class submarine from Vickers. The IJN hoped an improvement of submarine technologies will be achieved and ordered this submarine from Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi bought 6 submarine kits, and built 2 boats by semi-knock down. The submarine crews were satisfied with the Vickers diesels because they proved to be reliable. The IJN studied the diesel engines and made many variants of similar design, for example: Kampon Mk.24 diesel for the Ro-100 class.

  • Boats in class
Boat Laid down Launched Completed Note, fate
Ro-51 (呂号第51潜水艦
Ro-Gō Dai-51 Sensuikan
?)

the same shall apply hereinafter
ex-Submarine No. 25
10-08-1918 10-10-1919 30-06-1920 Renamed Ro-51 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 01-04-1940.
Ro-52
ex-Submarine No. 26
10-08-1918 09-03-1920 30-11-1920 Renamed Ro-52 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 01-04-1932.

Type L2 (Ro-53-class)[edit]

Ro-54 in 1920s

The Type L2 had minor changes from the Type L1. The changes were:

  • The ship's side torpedo tubes were removed.
  • Changed the batteries. (The L1 was equipped 3 groups, 336 small-sized batteries. The L2 was equipped 2 groups, 224 medium-sized batteries.)
  • Boats in class
Boat Laid down Launched Completed Note, fate
Ro-53
ex-Submarine No. 27
01-04-1919 06-07-1919 10-03-1921 Renamed Ro-53 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 01-04-1940.
Ro-54
ex-Submarine No. 28
01-11-1919 13-11-1920 10-09-1921 Renamed Ro-54 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 01-04-1940.
Ro-55
ex-Submarine No. 29
30-03-1920 10-02-1921 15-11-1921 Renamed Ro-55 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 01-04-1940.
Ro-56
ex-Submarine No. 30
10-07-1920 11-05-1921 16-01-1922 Renamed Ro-56 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 01-04-1940.

Type L3 (Ro-57-class)[edit]

Ro-58 in 1925

The Type L3 is a license production model of the British L class submarine Group 2.

  • Boats in class
Boat Laid down Launched Completed Results Note, fate
Ro-57
ex-Submarine No. 46
20-11-1920 03-12-1921 30-07-1922 Renamed Ro-57 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 20-11-1945. Later scuttled off Kure.
Ro-58
ex-Submarine No. 47
15-02-1921 02-03-1922 25-11-1922 Renamed Ro-58 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 15-09-1945. Later scuttled off Shimizu.
Ro-59
ex-Submarine No. 57
18-05-1921 28-06-1922 20-03-1923 Renamed Ro-59 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 20-11-1945. Scuttled at Iyo-nada, May 1946.

Type L4 (Ro-60-class)[edit]

Ro-64

The Type L4 is a license production model of the British L class submarine Group 3. Their performance was good. The IJN was satisfied with them and stopped the development of Kaichū type submarines for a long time. Later the IJN was not able to regain the technical delay in development of the medium-sized submarines until the end of the Pacific War.

  • Boats in class
Boat Laid down Launched Completed Results Note, fate
Ro-60
ex-Submarine No. 59
05-12-1921 20-12-1922 17-09-1923 Renamed Ro-60 01-11-1924. Lost in an accident at Kwajalein 29-12-1941.
Ro-61
ex-Submarine No. 72
05-06-1922 19-05-1923 09-02-1924 Sank USS Casco 30-08-1942 Renamed Ro-61 01-11-1924. Sunk by USS Reid 31-08-1942.
Ro-62
ex-Submarine No. 73
08-09-1922 29-09-1923 24-07-1924 Renamed Ro-62 01-11-1924. Decommissioned 20-11-1945. Scuttled at Iyo-nada, May 1946.
Ro-63 02-04-1923 24-01-1924 20-12-1924 Decommissioned 20-11-1945. Scuttled at Iyo-nada, May 1946.
Ro-64 15-10-1923 19-08-1924 30-04-1925 Sunk by naval mine at Hiroshima Bay 12-04-1945.
Ro-65 15-11-1924 19-09-1925 30-06-1926 Lost in an accident at Kiska 04-11-1942.
Ro-66 01-12-1925 25-10-1926 28-07-1927 Clashed with Ro-62 and sunk at southwest of Wake Island 17-12-1941.
Ro-67 05-03-1925 18-03-1926 15-12-1926 Decommissioned 20-07-1945. Scuttled off Sasebo, July 1948.
Ro-68 06-02-1924 23-02-1925 29-10-1925 Decommissioned 30-11-1945. Scuttled off Maizuru, 30-04-1946.

Characteristics[edit]

Type L1 (Ro-51) L2 (Ro-53) L3 (Ro-57) L4 (Ro-60)
Displacement Surfaced 893 long tons (907 t) 893 long tons (907 t) 889 long tons (903 t) 988 long tons (1,004 t)
Submerged 1,075.2 long tons (1,092 t) 1,075.3 long tons (1,093 t) 1,102.7 long tons (1,120 t) 1,301 long tons (1,322 t)
Length (overall) 70.59 m (231 ft 7 in) 70.59 m (231 ft 7 in) 72.89 m (239 ft 2 in) 78.39 m (257 ft 2 in)
Beam 7.16 m (23 ft 6 in) 7.16 m (23 ft 6 in) 7.16 m (23 ft 6 in) 7.41 m (24 ft 4 in)
Draft 3.90 m (12 ft 10 in) 3.94 m (12 ft 11 in) 3.96 m (13 ft 0 in) 3.96 m (13 ft 0 in)
Power plant and shaft 2 × Vickers diesels, 2 shafts 2 × Vickers diesels, 2 shafts 2 × Vickers diesels, 2 shafts 2 × Vickers diesels, 2 shafts
Power Surfaced 2,400 bhp 2,400 bhp 2,400 bhp 2,400 bhp
Submerged 1,600 shp 1,600 shp 1,600 shp 1,600 shp
Speed Surfaced 17 knots (31 km/h) 17.3 knots (32.0 km/h) 17.1 knots (31.7 km/h) 15.7 knots (29.1 km/h)
Submerged 10.2 knots (18.9 km/h) 10.4 knots (19.3 km/h) 9.1 knots (16.9 km/h) 8.6 knots (15.9 km/h)
Range Surfaced 5,500 nmi (10,200 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) 5,500 nmi (10,200 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) 5,500 nmi (10,200 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) 5,500 nmi (10,200 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Submerged 80 nmi (150 km) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h) 80 nmi (150 km) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h) 80 nmi (150 km) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h) 80 nmi (150 km) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h)
Test depth 60 m (200 ft) 60 m (200 ft) 60 m (200 ft) 60 m (200 ft)
Fuel 75 tons 75 tons 75 tons 75 tons
Complement 45 45 46 48
Armament (initial) • 6 × 450 mm (18 in) TTs
(4 × bow, 2 × broadside)
• 10 × Type 44 torpedoes
• 1 × 76.2 mm (3.00 in) L/23.5 AA gun
• 4 × 450 mm TTs (4 × bow)
• 8 × Type 44 torpedoes
• 1 × 76.2 mm L/23.5 AA gun
• 4 × 533 mm (21 in) TTs (4 × bow)
• 8 × 6th Year Type torpedoes
• 1 × 76.2 mm L/23.5 AA gun
• 1 × 6.5 mm machine gun
• 6 × 533 mm TTs (6 × bow)
• 12 × 6th Year Type torpedoes
• 1 × 76.2 mm L/40 naval gun
• 1 × 6.5 mm machine gun

Bibliography[edit]

  • "Rekishi Gunzō". , History of Pacific War Extra, "Perfect guide, The submarines of the Imperial Japanese Forces", Gakken (Japan), March 2005, ISBN 4-05-603890-2
  • The Maru Special, Japanese Naval Vessels No.43 Japanese Submarines III, Ushio Shobō (Japan), September 1980, Book code 68343-44
  • The Maru Special, Japanese Naval Vessels No.132 Japanese Submarines I "Revised edition", Ushio Shobō (Japan), February 1988, Book code 68344-36
  • The Maru Special, Japanese Naval Vessels No.133 Japanese Submarines II "Revised edition", Ushio Shobō (Japan), March 1988, Book code 68344-37