Submarines of the Tsarist Navy: A Pictorial History


From the turn of the century through the 1917 revolution, Russian submarine design and construction underwent its own revolution. This book captures that critical stage of submarine development in a series of extremely rare and historic photos, many never before published in the West. Straight from the Russian State Naval Archives, the Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering Rubin, and private collections, these priceless images take the reader to the shipyards, ports, and icy Baltic and Black Sea waters of Tsarist Russia to reveal the world's largest submarine fleet prior to World War I. They show the submarines under construction, being launched, on trials, being armed and provisioned, and later, decommissioned and abandoned. Photos of the boats' structural interiors, their bearded Tsarist designers, and Russia's first submariners at work are also included.

I. D. Spassky, head and general designer of the Central Design Bureau Rubin, and V. P. Semyonov, veteran submarine designer and deputy chief designer of the Typhoon strategic missile submarine, provide a fascinating historical profile of this pivotal period that saw sixty-nine submarines join the fleet in fifteen years. The book also includes detailed tables of specifications, propulsion, armament, and refits as well as operational highlights for each class of submarine, from the twenty-man Delfin of 1903, which made five knots submerged and carried two torpedoes, to the twenty-boat Bars class of 1915-17, which made 8.5 knots submerged and carried twelve torpedoes and a complement of thirty-three.