Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Most Successful Submarine Class

The week after next, USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) will be decommissioned in San Diego after just 21 years of commissioned service. This will drop the number of Los Angeles Class submarines remaining in the fleet to under 50.

This got me to thinking... is the Los Angeles Class the most successful submarine class of all time? Their combined years of service is greater than that of any class of nuclear boats, and they had the enviable distinction of never having had a boat lost... despite some close calls.

On the other hand, the Sturgeon class boats were probably more responsible for the actual "fighting" in the most intense periods of the Cold War, and none of them were lost either. While the LA's were clearly a "more capable" boat, I know a lot of guys who would rather sneak around in someone else's backyard in a 637 than anything else.

For myself, though, I'm going to cheat and combine two similar classes of boats into one to make it the "most successful sub class ever". The Gato/Balao class boats of WWII bore the brunt of the fighting in the Pacific war, sinking about 50% of the total Japanese shipping lost during the war and establishing a tradition for success that kept the U.S. in the forefront of undersea warfare to this day. Twenty-eight boats of these classes were lost in the fight. If success is measured in putting ordnance on target, these submarines, and the submariners who drove them, will likely never be surpassed.

Going deep...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the 637L (long version)

10/15/2005 11:51 AM

Anonymous EW3 said...

My vote has to go to the early SSBMs, like the GW, Ethen Allen and Andrew Jackson. Without them to provide a sure fire response to any nuclear agressor, who knows how history would have worked out.
It was Soviet doctrine to believe they could "win" a nuclear exchange. The early Polaris boats ensured that they weren't going to "win" anything.

10/15/2005 4:57 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I included the 637 stretch hulls with the other Sturgeons, but I've heard they were very good. As far as the boomers go, they've been undeniably successful at what they're designed to do... it's just that they're boomers!

10/16/2005 1:42 AM

Blogger half said...

I figure the German type VII.

10/16/2005 5:02 AM

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11/02/2005 6:37 PM


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