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Career (UK)
Name: HMS C33
Builder: HM Dockyard Chatham
Laid down: 29 March 1909
Launched: 10 May 1910
Commissioned: 13 August 1910
Fate: Sunk by mine, 4 August 1915
General characteristics
Class and type: C-class submarine
Displacement: 290 long tons (290 t) surfaced
320 long tons (330 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
Propulsion: 1 × 16-cylinder Vickers petrol engine
1 × electric motor
Speed: 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph) surfaced
8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 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 C21 was one of 38 C-class submarines built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The boat survived the First World War and was sold for scrap in 1920.

Design and description[edit]

The C-class boats of the 1907–08 and subsequent Naval Programmes were modified to improve their speed, both above and below the surface. 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 290 long tons (290 t) on the surface and 320 long tons (330 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 12-cylinder[2] 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 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) on the surface and 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 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).[3]

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.[4]

Construction and career[edit]

HMS C33 was built by HM Dockyard, Chatham. She was laid down on 29 March 1909 and was commissioned on 13 August 1910. C33 was involved in the U-Boat trap tactic. The tactic was to use a decoy trawler to tow a submarine. When a U-boat was sighted, the tow line and communication line was slipped and the submarine would attack the U-boat. The tactic was partly successful, but it was abandoned after the loss of two C class submarines. In both cases, all the crew were lost.

C33 was one of the two C class submarines sunk because of the tactic. She was mined off Great Yarmouth while operating with the armed trawler Malta on 4 August 1915.


  1. ^ a b Gardiner & Gray, p. 87
  2. ^ Harrison, Chapter 25
  3. ^ Harrison, Chapters 3
  4. ^ Harrison, Chapter 27


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