The Russian Navy has long pioneered the development of submarine technology and has constructed relatively large numbers of undersea craft. Tsarist-era Russian submarine designs were especially innovative.
Academician I. D. Spassky, head of the Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering “Rubin” in St. Petersburg, and V. P. Semyonov, formerly a senior designer and now historian for the bureau, have assembled a remarkable collection of photos of the tsarist-era submarines.
“Rubin”—the roots of which are in the tsarist submarine design—was founded formally in 1962 by Ivan Grigor’evich Bubnov, the premier Russian submarine designer of the first quarter of this century. Until 1946, most Soviet submarine designs were undertaken by the Central Design Bureau No. 18.
These photos from Submarines of the Tsarist Navy, a book to be published soon by the Naval Institute Press, reveal innovative features and designs. The book lists all Russian submarines constructed in that era, from the design by Bubonov and M. K. Beklemishev submitted to the Navy Ministry in 1901 for the “Torpedo boat No. 113” to the U.S.-built Holland submarines that were assembled in tsarist Russia. Also described are the nine British submarines of the C and E classes that actively participated in combat operations of the Russian Baltic Fleet during World War I. The book provides characteristics of these submarines as well as details of their design, construction, operations, and losses.