Royal Navy Submarine

1945 to 1973 (A-class – HMS Alliance) by Peter Goodwin

The A-Class or Amphion or Acheron class of British diesel-electric submarines were originally designed for service in the Pacific during the final stages of the Second World War. However, only two were completed before the end of the war and these never saw action and a planned production of 46 boats was reduced to 16. Built by Vickers-Armstrong, Cammell Laird, Scotts, HM Dockyard Chatham and Plymouth only one of these long–serving boats survives today in the shape of HMS Alliance (P417/S67) which is on display at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

The manual is broken down into 13 chapters, the main ones cover British submarine development (1901-45); the story of the Alliance and A-Class submarines; Anatomy; Propulsion; Weapons; Operational Equipment; Operating Alliance; Manning Alliance; Submarine escape; Restoring Alliance and six useful appendices.

With the exception of the period sections, the photography is all colour supported by colour diagrams and samples from official documents such as BR.4549 and BR.1963 (Handbook for Submarines of the ‘A’ Class). The latter are also in colour and while well-produced could have done with some Photoshop work to remove the folds and creases. The latter is my only niggle of a book which has been very well done and even the human (Submariner) element is well-covered; they are a special breed even to this day.

The author is well-qualified to produce this book because he volunteered for Submariner service, briefly serving on HMS Acheron (A-Class) before transferring to an R-Class SSBN nuclear submarine. His knowledge and experience certainly shines through as no stone is left unturned on this subject, although the existence of a fully restored example is obviously invaluable.

Thanks very much to Ellie James and Haynes for supplying this copy.


ISBN: 978-0-85733-389-6


Price: £22.99

Pages: 190

Format: hardback – A4

Publisher: J H Haynes & Co. Ltd