This submarine HMS Amphion in a scale of 1:100 is yet another masterpiece built by our friend Maurice Verhaaren and displayed in our subaquatic warfare section on deck 5 of the museum.
When World War II was expanded to the Pacific after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December the 7th 1941, the British Royal Navy faced a new challenge for which their larger submarines of the S-class and T-class were not really prepared. Those submarines had been developed during the 1930s as part of a program to modernize the British fleet. But the Pacific Theatre demanded crafts with more speed, a wider range, and the capacity to dive deeper.
The answer was the Amphion-class submarine, also known as the A-class, ordered in 1943. Together with the smaller V-class, it was the Royal Navy’s only new development of a larger type of submarine during World War II. They were slightly as the T-class, with a displacement of 1,620 tons submerged and 1,385 surfaced, a length of 85,5 m and a beam of 6,8 m, and they had a Diesel-electric propulsion. They were nevertheless a big improvement in all aspects needed: their top speed was 18,5 knots surfaced and 8 knots submerged and had a range of 10,500 nautical miles surfaced and up to 16 nautical miles submerged at top speed. Another aspect that was greatly improved was the method of their construction. They were completely welded and built-in sections. This process, that had become common in Germany at that time, allowed to speed the production from the 15 months needed for a T-class to only 8 months. Despite this fact, none of the 16 units produced out of the 46 originally planned saw any action in World War II. Only HMS Amphion and HMS Astute were completed before the end of the conflict.
After the war, the A-class was named Overseas Patrol Submarines and their aim changed: from attacking surface ships, they were now reconceived to hunt Soviet submarines. For this, an extensive modernization process took place between 1955 and 1962. But by the end of the 1950s, the Porpoise and Oberon classes started to take on their duties. HMS Andrew, the last A-class on duty, was decommissioned in 1974.