Submarine museums

Submarine museums

There are 89 complete submarines on display around the world (plus a few dozen more sails, conning towers, periscopes and other parts).  Here are details of a dozen of them....


Portsmouth UK - HMS Alliance (1947) at the Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire.  Alliance is about 2400 tonnes, so roughly a thousand tonnes larger than HMS Triumph.  However, much of her internal equipment and layout is very similar, and a visit to her will give a very good impression of how Triumph felt to her people.  The submarine museum also has three smaller boats - a salvaged Holland 1, a german Bieber mini-sub, and a Royal Navy X-class midget submarine.


Chatham UK - HMS Ocelot (1962) at the Dockyard in Chatham.  The O-class were the RN's workhorse conventional submarines for 30 years.  Ocelot is quite similar to Alliance, and is also very reminiscent of how Triumph would have felt.


San Diego CA USA - Russian Foxtrot.  The Foxtrot was basically a copy of the last German Uboats.  The museum allows a full boat tour, and no internals have been removed.  The boat is striking for its lack of clutter, and also for the spartan communist accomodation.  The boat is in the San Diego maritime museum, and is well worth a visit.



Across the quay from the Foxtrot is USS Dolphin, a deep diving submarine used for ASW practice.  Dolphin is still in commission, but is open to the public.  She is interesting for her small size and her extremely thick casing - some inches.


Vladivostok, Russia - has an early WW2 boat, up on stocks by the main harbour.  Sadly they have removed most of the internal equipment to make space for a submarine exhibition, but a few parts remain.  One cannot go onto the casing or onto the fin.  This boat is among the oldest submarines on display around the world.


Vladivostok also has a miniature submarine on blocks near this boat, but not open to the public.


Moscow - Tango class SSK - Moscow's canal basin has a retired Tango open to visitors.  The forward half of the boat is untouched.  A part of the crew's mess has been stripped and turned into a museum, whose most interesting exhibit is a three metre long cutaway builder's model of a Tango.  This is a joy, and shows the framing and tankage in perfect detail.  Aft of the museum the machinery spaces are almost intact.  Again, there is no access to the casing.

Next to the Tango are an assault hovercraft and an Ekranoplan - a surface effect vehicle.  Neither are open but both are worth looking at.


Portland Oregon US SSK Blueback - The US navy's last diesel electric boat, built in a full teardrop configuration.  This boat is beautifully presented - all compartments are accessible, and the docents are very informative and helpful.




San Francisco - USS Pampanito - A large WW2 diesel electric boat which saw service in the Pacific war, but was mostly a training boat.  All compartments are open, and none have been stripped.  The Docents are ex submariners and are as interesting as the boat.  A striking feature is Pampanito's bows, built high and wide for surface running in big Pacific seas.  Accomodation is comfortable, for long patrols in hot weather. 


U505 - Chicago Science Museum - The US Navy captured U505 in June 1944 off Africa, and towed her to Bermuda.  She is now presented in her own indoor hall at CMSI.  She is very well presented - you can walk around and underneath her, and there is a guided tour that enters forward and exits aft.  Apart from the hull and fittings cut out to make room for the tour she is pretty much as she would have been at war.  The cut-out has removed the wardroom, and the tour doesnt include the upper conning tower.

The tour is quick (probably a bit too quick) but well presented, albeit rather focused on America winning the war single handed.  Also, rather naive as to the intelligence value of capturing a boat less than a year before the war ended.

Absolutely a top boat for submarine enthusiasts.  You have to buy a timed tour beforehand (I turned up at 0900 and there was only one slot left, so book ahead), and turn up at the exact minute as tours leave every eight minutes.  It is not cheap!

This is the aft torpedo compartment


Other boats I havent visited yet...


O boats:

Sydney - HMAS Onslow

Holbrook Aus - HMAS Otway

Fremantle Aus - HMAS Ovens

Rio - Riachuelo Oberon Class

Quebec - Onondaga O class

Port Burwell Ontario - HMCS Ojibwa O class

Sassnitz - HMS Otus


X Boats:

Helensburgh - X51 at the Submarine Centre

Gosport - X24 at the RN SM Museum

Aberlady Bay - the remains of two boats can be seen at low


Russian boats:

Zeebrugge - Foxtrot class

Tallin - Kalev class

Hamburg - Tango Class

Surabaya - Soviet Whiskey 1952

St Petersburg - Narodvolets 1994

St Petersburg - S189

Togliatti - Tango class

Kaliningrad - Foxtrot class

Vytegra - Foxtrot class

Long Beach - Foxtrot class

Providence Rhode Island - Soviet Juliett class

Krasnodar - Quebec class


European boats:

Helsinki - Vessiko

Marseille - Naiad class 1904

Paris - Argonaute 1959

Saint Nazaire - Espadon 1958

Lorient - Flore 1961

Milan - Enrico Toti 1967

Genoa - Sauro 1976

Karlskrona - Naeken 1980

Gotteberg - Draken 1962

Karachi - Daphne class 1970

Haifa - Gal 1975

Den Helder - Potvis 1965

Copenhagen - Seal - a modern boat, but only open on a few days a week.

Cherbourg - SSBN

Tallin - Lembit, built at Vickers Armstrong



Munich - U1

Laboe - U995

Bremerhaven - U 2540

Speyer  - U9 1960

Fehmarn - U11

Peenemunde - U461

Wilhelmshaven - U10 1960

Channakale - UB46

Birkenhead - U534 (in pieces)

Malmo - U3 1942



Japanese boats:

Visakhapatnam - Kursura 1969

Kure - Yushe 1985

Groton CT - Japanese Type A midget

Fredericksburg Tx - Japanese Type A midget

Etajima - Type A midget 1940

Guam - Japanese MIdget submarine

Gangneung - Sang -O class





Karlskrona - Holland 1904



US Boats:

Istanbul - ex USS Thornback

Charleston - CSS Hunley

Paterson NJ - two Holland boats

Groton CT - USS Nautilus SSN

Hackensack NJ - USS Ling

Galveston TX - USS Cavalla

Buffalo NY - USS Croaker

Portsmouth NH - USS Albacore

Muskogee OK - USS Batfish

Philadelphia PA - USS Becuna

Honolulu - USS Bowfin

 (more to come...)



Mike Ilett, an ex RN submariner, has created a unique submarine museum at his house on Orkney (Eday, to be precise).  He has mounted salvaged equipment from HMS Otter, HMS Artemis, and a few others, and is happy to receive boarders:

Below:  the valve gear came out of Artemis. 


The motor room:


The charging panel:


A passageway:




  Site design and content copyright © 2011-2017 HMS Triumph Association, all rights reserved.