Exploring the depths: U.S. D-class Submarines’ general characteristics and ships

The U.S. D-class submarines were essential training ships for naval crews during World War I. These early 20th-century submarines, comprising the USS Narwhal (D-1), Grayling (D-2), and Salmon (D-3), were strategically balanced between their surface and undersea capabilities.

Three submarines, the U.S. D-class, were built for the U.S. Navy in the early 1900s. Designed in the first decade of that century, these submarines were crucial to the First World War. The submarines, which were based mostly on the U.S. East Coast, were essential in helping to train naval crews and officers.

They had to train staff members to handle the rigours of submarine operations during a war. These submarines played a significant role in the development of critical abilities and knowledge required for naval operations during World War I. The class was finally retired after their devoted service. Their operational service in the U.S. Navy came to an end in 1922 when the submarines were sold for scrap.


General Characteristics:

With a displacement of 288 long tonnes (293 t) when surfaced and 337 long tonnes (342 t) when submerged, the U.S. D-class submarine was one type of submarine. The submarine was 134 feet 10 inches (41.10 metres) long, 13 feet 11 inches (4.24 metres) wide, and had a draft of 12 feet 6 inches (3.81 metres). Electric motors with a capacity of 250 kW underwater and 600 kW surface-mounted petrol engines supplied the power.

The D-class submarine was propelled by two petrol engines and two electric motors. When submerged, its speed was 9.5 knots (17.6 km/h; 10.9 mph) compared to 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) when it surfaced. When the submarine was underwater, its range was 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) and 1,179 nautical miles (2,184 km; 1,357 mi) at 9.3 knots (17.2 km/h; 10.7 mph) on the surface. With a test depth of 200 feet (61.0 m), the submarine could hold a complement of 15 officers and enlistees.

The U.S. D-class submarine was built for strategic undersea operations, balancing surface and underwater capabilities to achieve its military goals. It was outfitted with four 18-inch (450 mm) bow torpedo tubes.


The keel of the USS D-1 (SS-17) was put down on April 16, 1908, and it was launched on April 8, 1909. It was commissioned as the USS Narwhal on November 23, 1909. On November 17, 1911, the submarine changed its name to D-1. It was sold after it was deactivated on February 8, 1922, after serving its purpose.

The USS D-2 (SS-18) was similarly built, starting on 16 April 1908, launched on 16 June 1909, and commissioned as Grayling on 23 November 1909. The submarine, which had been renamed D-2 on November 17, 1911, was sold when its active service ended on January 18, 1922.

The keel of the USS D-3 (SS-19) was put down on April 16, 1908, and the ship was launched on March 12, 1910. Under the name Salmon, it was put into service on September 8, 1910, and on November 17, 1911, it was renamed D-3. On March 20, 1922, the submarine was decommissioned and then sold.