Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Naval Warfare

HMS Thames (N71)

Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine [ 1932 ]

HMS Thames led a short operational career prior to and during World War 2, lost to a mine in the summer of 1940.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/30/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

HMS Thames led the new Thames-class (also "River-class") of attack submarines appearing during the early part of the 1930s for the British Royal Navy. Originally envisioned as a class of 20-strong, the requirement devolved to just three boats - HMS Thames, HMS Severn and HMS Clyde. The type was originally intended for long-range, ocean-bound patrolling as well as surface fleet work and thusly speed became an important design quality. Thames was laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness and launched on February 26th, 1932. The class was completed with its third boat arriving in 1934.

Thames was given a conventional diesel-electric propulsion system utilizing a pair of Admiralty-designed diesel engines developing up to 10,000 horsepower. This was coupled to 2 x electric motors for 2,500 horsepower output. Diesels propelled the boat during surface work while the electric system governed undersea actions. As with other boats of the period, Thames was required to surface to recharge her batteries, take on new oxygen stores and expel dangerous CO2 gasses. Indeed, much of their running lives was actually spent on the surface where speed and endurance were both dramatically increased when compared to undersea work (quite the opposite of submarine capabilities today).©MilitaryFactory.com
To manage the speed requirement, HMS Thames was given lighter weight diesels, a smaller-caliber deck gun and special lighter diesel fuel. This helped to promote improved operating speeds - a key component in keeping up with the British surface fleet - though the surface fleet requirement was eventually lessened to the point that Thames became primarily a long-range patrol vessel charged with hunting enemy ships. The speed of the British surface fleet had advanced to capabilities beyond what any submarine of the period could manage.

As built, Thames was given a length of 345 feet, a beam of 28.2 feet and a draught of 15.10 feet. She proved wider than the preceding K-class and some six feet shorter. Displacement was 2,165 tons when surfaced and 2,680 tons when submerged. Her profile was conventional with a sail arranged at amidships, a well-contoured bow and a stern containing the twin screws and rudder control. Performance specifications included a surfaced speed of 22 knots with a submerged speed of 10 knots. Her entire complement numbered 61 and her armament consisted of 6 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes in bow-facing positions (with 12 x reloads) and a single 4" Mk XII deck gun. There were no stern-facing torpedo tubes in the design - a feature seen in many wartime submarines.

During 1939, HMS Thames operated in British home waters. World War broke out in Europe with the German invasion of Poland in September and Thames operated as part of the 2nd Submarine Flotilla. Her primary sorties saw her undertaking various patrols in search of German targets - primarily raiders and enemy submarines - and this led her to waters off of Norway as Germany looked to conquer the Scandinavian nation during the April-June Norwegian Campaign of 1940. She managed to sink the Luchs, a German torpedo boat during July though her operational career was rather short-lived. While operating with the 9th Submarine Flotilla later that year, Thames is believed to have struck a mine and as lost with all hands sometime in July or August of 1940. Thus ended the career of HMS Thames.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom


Thames-class / River-class

HMS Thames (N71); HMS Severn (N57); HMS Clyde (N12)

National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Submerged Attack
Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

345.0 ft
105.16 m
28.2 ft
8.60 m
15.1 ft
4.60 m

Installed Power: 2 x Admiralty diesel engines developing 10,000 horsepower; 2 x Electric motors developing 2,500 horsepower; 2 x shafts.
Surface Speed
22.0 kts
(25.3 mph)
Submerged Speed
10.0 kts
(11.5 mph)
6,952 nm
(8,000 mi | 12,875 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
6 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes (bow-facing) (12 x torpedo reloads).
1 x 4" Mk XII deck gun

Supported Types

Graphical image of a modern warship turreted deck gun armament
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the HMS Thames (N71)
Image courtesy of the Public Domain.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)