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A submarine squadron (SUBRON) is a naval formation or unit in such states such as the United Kingdom, United States, and Russia/Soviet Union. In France the equivalent unit is the escadrille des sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque (ESNA), part of the French submarine forces (and before the Second World War, escadrilles de sous-marins).
Submarine flotillas became submarine divisions in 1952. HMS Finwhale was a Porpoise-class submarine belonging first to Faslane's 3rd Submarine Squadron and then to Singapore's 7th Submarine Squadron (United Kingdom).
From the early 1960s the structure was:
- 1st Submarine Squadron - HMS Dolphin
- 2nd Submarine Squadron - Plymouth
- 3rd Submarine Squadron - Faslane
- 4th Submarine Division - Sydney (disbanded late 1960s)
- 5th Submarine Division - Malta. It was announced on 31 July 1964, that British submarines were to leave Malta. Captain C.H. Hammer was last Captain S.M. 5. HMS Ausonia, the division depot ship, set sail for the UK on 7 August 1964, and then paid off. Submarine depot ships at Malta were Forth' (1948-1960), HMS Narvik (1960-1962), and then Ausonia from 1962 to 1964.
- 6th Submarine Division - Halifax, Nova Scotia Three A-class submarines arrived 1954, HMS Auriga served with the division, disbanded c. 1967)
- 7th Submarine Division - Singapore (disbanded by 1971)
- 10th Submarine Squadron - Formed Faslane late 1960s for the SSBNs
In 1971 HMNB Clyde at Faslane in Scotland was home to the Third Submarine Squadron of Nuclear Fleet and Diesel Patrol Submarines, 'the fighters', and the 10th Submarine Squadron consisting of the four Polaris submarines, 'the bombers'. The Base also conducted the training of all submarines before they joined their Squadrons and this was known as 'work up'. On the decommissioning of the Polaris submarines the 10th Submarine Squadron re-equipped with Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines.
1st Submarine Squadron was located at HMS Dolphin during the early 1990s. In 2001, the five Swiftsure-class submarines were part of the 1st Submarine Squadron based at Faslane and the seven Trafalgar-class boats were with the Second Submarine Squadron at Devonport.
A SUBRON usually consists of three or more submarines. It is the submarine force equivalent to a Destroyer Squadron in the surface Navy. The officer in charge of SUBRON ONE is designated Commander Submarine Squadron One or COMSUBRON ONE. However, unlike a destroyer squadron—which actually moves its staff aboard its ships and deploys with them as an operational Task Element commander—a SUBRON commander and his staff always remain in homeport, and are responsible only for the training, equipping and administering of the ships under its umbrella. A submarine squadron is usually commanded by a Captain (O-6) who has already had at least one tour as commander of a submarine. Up until World War II and possibly afterwards, submarine squadrons could have several Submarine Divisions (SubDivs), often pairs of submarines.
Several submarine squadrons may be organized into a Submarine Group (SUBGRU), headed under a flag officer. For instance, SUBRON 17, SUBRON 19 and DEVRON 5 are part of SUBGRU 9 in Bangor, Washington. The overall responsibility for submarines on the west coast of the United States is taken by the Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC); on the east coast, the same responsibility rests with the Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT). The latter is the senior of the two, and thus also plays a secondary role as Commander, Submarine Force (COMSUBFOR).
When a submarine deploys, for instance as part of a carrier strike group, operational command is transferred to the numbered fleet commander for the theater to which the submarine is deploying, e.g., Commander Fifth Fleet.
List of submarine squadrons
Odd numbered squadrons are West Coast (Pacific Fleet), even numbered East Coast (Atlantic Fleet).
- Submarine Squadron 1 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
- Submarine Squadron 3 Pearl Harbor: decommissioned 2012
- Submarine Development Squadron 5 Bangor, Washington (DEVRON 5)
- Submarine Squadron 7 Pearl Harbor
- Submarine Squadron 11 San Diego, California (Point Loma)
- Submarine Squadron 15 Apra Harbor, Guam
- Submarine Squadron 17 Bangor
- Submarine Squadron 19 Bangor
- Submarine Squadron 2 Groton, Connecticut: decommissioned 2012
- Submarine Squadron 4 Groton
- Submarine Squadron 6 Norfolk, Virginia
- Submarine Squadron 8 Norfolk: decommissioned 2011
- Submarine Squadron 10 Groton: decommissioned 1991. Recommissioned on 10 April 1951, USS Fulton (AS-11)'s primary assignment was as tender for the squadron at New London. Fulton continued to support SUBRON 10 submarines until her decommissioning in 1991. In 1988, SUBRON 10—of which Fulton was the flagship—included Jack, Tinosa, Dace, Whale, Greenling, Gato, Pargo, Trepang, Billfish and the Torpedo Retriever Labrador (TWR-681). On 30 September 1991, SUBRON 10 was disbanded and Fulton was decommissioned at her berth in New London, Connecticut.
- Submarine Development Squadron 12 Groton (DEVRON 12)
- Submarine Squadron 14 Holy Loch, Scotland 1961–1992
- Submarine Squadron 16 King's Bay, Georgia
- Submarine Squadron 20 King's Bay: With Asiatic Fleet on December 7, 1941.
- Submarine Squadron 22 La Maddalena, Italy 1972–2008 (known as Submarine Refit and Training Group La Maddalena until the mid-1980s)
List of submarine groups
- Submarine Group 2 Groton, CT (DEVRON 12, SUBRONs 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10): decommissioned August 22, 2014
- Submarine Group 7 Yokosuka, Japan (SUBRON 15. Also functions as CTF-74 under Seventh Fleet, and as CTF-54 under Fifth Fleet)
- Submarine Group 8 Naples, Italy (also functions as CTF-64 and CTF-69 under Sixth Fleet)
- Submarine Group 9 Bangor, WA (DEVRON 5, SUBRONs 17 and 19)
- Submarine Group 10 Kings Bay, GA (SUBRONs 16 and 20)
- Groves, Eric. Vanguard to Trident.
- Ring, Jim (2011). We Come Unseen: The Untold Story of Britain's Cold War Submariners. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571278060.
- "Naval Affairs: Mediterranean" (pdf). The Naval Review 52 (4): 450. October 1964.
- Hickey, Laurence. "A Brief History of Canadian Submarines". Submarines-Canada. Retrieved October 2014. See also Ambrosia: A Scrapbook of the Sixth Submarine Squadron Division at work and play 1955-1966.
- "HMS Courageous: A Cold War Veteran" (pdf). Society Members' Bulletin (Royal Naval Engineers Benevolent Society): 5. September 2013.
- ""Most Dangerous Service" A Century of Royal Navy Submarines: Operations since 1945". Imperial War Muaseum. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Administrative Order of Battle: Asiatic Fleet Submarines 8 December 1941". Orders of Battle.
- "Submarine Group 2 Disestablishes". Navy News Service.