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C3 at Southsea, UK, circa. 1917
United Kingdom
Name: HMS C3
Builder: Vickers, Barrow
Laid down: 13 November 1905
Launched: 3 October 1906
Commissioned: 23 February 1906
Fate: Packed with explosives and rammed into the viaduct at Zeebrugge, Belgium, destroying the boat, 23 April 1918. Later scrapped.
General characteristics
Class and type: C-class submarine
  • 287 long tons (292 t) surfaced
  • 316 long tons (321 t) submerged
Length: 142 ft 3 in (43.4 m)
Beam: 13 ft 7 in (4.1 m)
Draught: 11 ft 6 in (3.5 m)
Installed power:
  • 600 bhp (450 kW) petrol
  • 300 hp (220 kW) electric
  • 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
  • 7 kn (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) submerged
Range: 910 nmi (1,690 km; 1,050 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface
Test depth: 100 feet (30.5 m)
Complement: 2 officers and 14 ratings
Armament: 2 × 18 in (450 mm) bow torpedo tubes

HMS C3 was one of 38 C-class submarines built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The boat was used to demolish a viaduct during the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918.

Design and description[edit]

The C class was essentially a repeat of the preceding B class, albeit with better performance underwater. The submarine had a length of 142 feet 3 inches (43.4 m) overall, a beam of 13 feet 7 inches (4.1 m) and a mean draft of 11 feet 6 inches (3.5 m). They displaced 287 long tons (292 t) on the surface and 316 long tons (321 t) submerged. The C-class submarines had a crew of two officers and fourteen ratings.[1]

For surface running, the boats were powered by a single 16-cylinder 600-brake-horsepower (447 kW) Vickers petrol engine that drove one propeller shaft. When submerged the propeller was driven by a 300-horsepower (224 kW) electric motor.[1] They could reach 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface and 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) underwater. On the surface, the C class had a range of 910 nautical miles (1,690 km; 1,050 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph).[2]

The boats were armed with two 18-inch (45 cm) torpedo tubes in the bow. They could carry a pair of reload torpedoes, but generally did not as they would have to remove an equal weight of fuel in compensation.[3]

Construction and career[edit]

C3 was built by Vickers at their Barrow-in-Furness shipyard, laid down on 25 November 1905 and was commissioned on 23 February 1906. The obsolete C3 was packed full of explosives for her last mission to destroy a viaduct connecting the mole to the shore during the Zeebrugge Raid on 23 April 1918. Her commander, Richard Douglas Sandford, received the Victoria Cross for the successful action.


  1. ^ a b Gardiner & Gray, p. 87
  2. ^ Harrison, Chapter 3
  3. ^ Harrison, Chapter 27


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