fighting ships of the world



V4 (ARGONAUT) submarine (1928)

Argonaut 1942

No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
SF7, 2/1931- SM1, 7/1931- SS166, 9/1942- APS1 V4, 2/1931- Argonaut   Portsmouth N Yd 5/1925 10/11/1927 4/1928 cargo submarine 9/1942, sunk 10/1/1943


Displacement standard, t


Displacement normal, t

2878 / 4045

Length, m

109.7 wl 116.1 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 MAN diesels + 2 MAN diesel-generators / 2 electric motors

Power, h. p.

3175 / 2200

Max speed, kts

13.65 / 7.4

Fuel, t

diesel oil 696

Endurance, nm (kts) 18000 (10) / 50 (5)


2 x 1 - 152/53 Mk 12/14, 2 x 1 - 7.6/90, 4 - 533 TT (8, bow), 60 mines

Sensors SC sonar



Diving depth operational, m



Ship project history: Unique USN purpose-built minelaying submarine. Naval management offered to raise displacement for providing necessary in conditions of Pacific theatre endurance, and in some cases it wore enough absurd character: so, "monster" figured in one of sketch design with 20500t displacement. Finally Bureau of construction has prepared in 1922 basic design with surface displacement hardly more than 2500t, armed by two 152/53mm guns of cruiser calibre, four bow TTs and two mine tubes in a stern for 60 mines, should make self-sufficiency of 90 days, and an endurance at a full fuel stowage 18000nm. The hull of future Argonaut has been calculated for a diving depth of 95m instead of 60m at previous classes. At designing, besides usage of some technical decisions applied on S and Barracuda classes submarines, Americans have probably full considered the German experience of building of submarine cruisers in days of the First World War. In particular, on early design stages a fore end was planed to fulfil with characteristic bulb-shape stem as on Barracuda, but in final variant the characteristic sharp "German" bow figured.

Double-hulled, machinery was of combined type (main diesels directly connected with shafts and auxiliary diesel-generators for recharging batteries). To advantages of this submarine it is possible to refer, perhaps, only endurance and good conditions of habitability (that, however, for three-monthly voyage is important). In remaining submarine was mediocre enough: she had bad manoeuvrabiliy and slow speed.

Modernizations: 1930s: + JK sonar

1940: diesels were replaced by more powerful Fairbank-Morse (6000 h. p., 15 kts surfaced); - SC sonar: + QCD sonar

9/1942, Argonaut was converted to cargo submarine, mine deck and spare torpedoes compartment were rebuilt as cargo holds; + SD, SJ radars

Naval service: 10/1/1943 Argonaut was sunk by Japanese destroyers Isokaze and Maikaze between Bougainville and New Britannia.


Argonaut 1942

Ivan Gogin, 2014