Russian submarine Forel

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SM U Forelle.jpg
Russian Empire
Name: Forel
Builder: Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel, Germany
Launched: 8 June 1903
Acquired: 24 May 1904
Commissioned: 21 August 1904
Decommissioned: 31 May 1910
Fate: sunk 17 May 1910
General characteristics
  • 16 tons surfaced
  • 17 tons submerged
Length: 13.1 m (43 ft 0 in)
Beam: 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in)
Draft: 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: 1 electric motor, 1 shaft, 60 shp (45 kW)
Speed: 5.5 knots (10.2 km/h; 6.3 mph)
Range: 25 nm (9.8×10−7 in) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 30 m (98 ft)
Complement: 4
Armament: 2 x 18 in (457 mm) external torpedo tubes (bow)

Forel (Russian: Форель, German: Forelle - Trout) was a midget submarine designed by Raimondo Lorenzo D’Equevilley-Montjustin and built by Krupp in Kiel, Germany.[1] The design was an experimental design built as a private venture by Krupp in hopes of attracting a contract from the Imperial German Navy. Although the design proved moderately successful, the submarine did not attract German naval attention.[1] She was purchased by the Imperial Russian Navy (IRN) in 1904 and served with the IRN until she was lost in a diving accident in 1910. She had the distinction of being the first submarine to have been built in Germany, preceding SM U-1. Forel was succeeded in service by the Krab class (one ship).


Forelle was a single-hull boat designed with internal ballast and compensating tanks.[1] She had fixed angled aft planes, and movable forward units for dive control. This boat had to be carried into action on board a surface ship and launched close to its target, as she was not fitted with a separate surface propulsion system.[1] She was equipped with two Whitehead torpedoes.

Operational history[edit]

The Imperial Russian Navy purchased the submarine in May 1904 for service in the Russo-Japanese War.[1] It was shipped from Kiel to Liepāja by railway, together with a team of German engineers to train the Russian crew, and was commissioned at Kronstadt on 21 August 1904. It was then sent via the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok, arriving on 29 September, and joined the Siberian Flotilla on 2 October, becoming the first Russian submarine in the Pacific. Although the submarine did not see combat during the Russo-Japanese War, its presence had an important psychological effect.

Forel continued to operate out of Vladivostok after the war; however, by 1908 it was considered obsolete and was re-classed as a training vessel. The submarine sank in an accident on 17 May 1910.[1] The crew managed to escape, and the ship was salvaged from a depth of 26 metres (85 ft). Vice Admiral Ivan Grigorovich authorized it to be returned to Liepāja for repairs, but shipping was never implemented.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Fontenoy, Paul E (2007). Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact (Weapons and Warfare). ABC-CLIO. pp. 10, 90. ISBN 1-85109-563-2.

External links[edit]

Media related to Forel (submarine, 1903) at Wikimedia Commons