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Submarine squadron

A submarine squadron (SUBRON) is a naval formation or unit in such states such as the United Kingdom, United States, and Russia/Soviet Union. In France the equivalent unit is the escadrille des sous-marins nucléaires d'attaque (ESNA), part of the French submarine forces (and before the Second World War, escadrilles de sous-marins).


Royal NavyEdit

Submarine flotillas became submarine divisions in 1952.[1]HMS Finwhale was a Porpoise-class submarine belonging first to Faslane's 3rd Submarine Squadron and then to Singapore's 7th Submarine Squadron (United Kingdom).[2]

From the early 1960s the structure was:[1]

  • 1st Submarine Squadron - HMS Dolphin
  • 2nd Submarine Squadron - Plymouth
  • 3rd Submarine Squadron - Faslane
  • 4th Submarine Division - Sydney (disbanded late 1960s)
  • 5th Submarine Division - Malta. It was announced on 31 July 1964, that British submarines were to leave Malta.[3] Captain C.H. Hammer was last Captain S.M. 5. HMS Ausonia, the division depot ship, set sail for the UK on 7 August 1964, and then paid off. Submarine depot ships at Malta were Forth' (1948-1960), HMS Narvik (1960-1962), and then Ausonia from 1962 to 1964.
  • 6th Submarine Division - Halifax, Nova Scotia Three A-class submarines arrived 1954, HMS Auriga served with the division, disbanded c. 1967)[4]
  • 7th Submarine Division - Singapore (disbanded by 1971)
  • 10th Submarine Squadron - Formed Faslane late 1960s for the SSBNs

In 1971 HMNB Clyde at Faslane in Scotland was home to the Third Submarine Squadron of Nuclear Fleet and Diesel Patrol Submarines, 'the fighters', and the 10th Submarine Squadron consisting of the four Polaris submarines, 'the bombers'.[5] The Base also conducted the training of all submarines before they joined their Squadrons and this was known as 'work up'. On the decommissioning of the Polaris submarines the 10th Submarine Squadron re-equipped with Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines.

1st Submarine Squadron was located at HMS Dolphin during the early 1990s. In 2001, the five Swiftsure-class submarines were part of the 1st Submarine Squadron based at Faslane and the seven Trafalgar-class boats were with the Second Submarine Squadron at Devonport.[6]

See List of squadrons and flotillas of the Royal Navy.

United States NavyEdit

Up until World War II and for a little after, submarine squadrons could have several Submarine Divisions (SubDivs), often pairs of submarines. Reserve submarine divisions also existed after World War II.

A SUBRON usually consists of three or more submarines. It is the submarine force equivalent to a destroyer squadron in the surface Navy. The officer in charge of SUBRON ONE is designated Commander Submarine Squadron One or COMSUBRON ONE. However, unlike a destroyer squadron—which actually moves its staff aboard its ships and deploys with them as an operational Task Element commander—a SUBRON commander and his staff always remain in homeport, and are responsible only for the training, equipping and administering of the ships under its umbrella. A submarine squadron is usually commanded by a Captain (O-6) who has already had at least one tour as commander of a submarine.

Several submarine squadrons may be organized into a Submarine Group (SUBGRU), headed under a flag officer. For instance, SUBRON 17, SUBRON 19 and DEVRON 5 are part of SUBGRU 9 in Bangor, Washington. The overall responsibility for submarines on the west coast of the United States is taken by the Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC); on the east coast, the same responsibility rests with the Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT). The latter is the senior of the two, and thus also plays a secondary role as Commander, Submarine Force (COMSUBFOR).

When a submarine deploys, for instance as part of a carrier strike group, operational command is transferred to the numbered fleet commander for the theater to which the submarine is deploying, e.g., Commander Fifth Fleet.

List of submarine squadronsEdit

Odd numbered squadrons are West Coast (Pacific Fleet), even numbered East Coast (Atlantic Fleet).

Pacific Fleet squadronsEdit

Squadron name Base Status Notes
Submarine Squadron 1
Naval Station Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Active (1941-present)
Submarine Squadron 3
Naval Station Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Decommissioned 2012
(Active 1930-2012)
Consolidated under SUBRON 1 in 2012[7]
Submarine Development Squadron 5
Naval Base Kitsap
Bangor, Washington
Submarine Squadron 7
Naval Station Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Submarine Squadron 11
Naval Base Point Loma
San Diego, California
Submarine Squadron 15
Naval Base Guam
Apra Harbor, Guam
Submarine Squadron 17
Naval Base Kitsap
Bangor, Washington
Submarine Squadron 19
Naval Base Kitsap
Bangor, Washington
Submarine Squadron 21
Manama, Bahrain Commissioned in 2014

Atlantic Fleet squadronsEdit

Squadron name Base Status Notes
Submarine Squadron 2
Naval Submarine Base New London
Groton, Connecticut
Decommissioned 2012
(Active 1945-2012)
Consolidated under SUBRON 4 in 2012[8]
Submarine Squadron 4
Naval Submarine Base New London
Groton, Connecticut
Active (1930-1995, 1997-present)
Submarine Squadron 6
Naval Station Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Submarine Squadron 8
Naval Station Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
(Active 1946-1969, 1979-2011)
Consolidated under SUBRON 6 in 2011[9]
Submarine Squadron 10
Naval Submarine Base New London
Groton, Connecticut
Decommissioned 1991
Submarine Squadron 12
Naval Submarine Base New London
Groton, Connecticut
Changed to Submarine Squadron 12 in 2016
Submarine Squadron 14
Holy Loch, Scotland 1961–1992
Submarine Squadron 16
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
King's Bay, Georgia
Submarine Squadron 20
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
King's Bay, Georgia
With Asiatic Fleet on December 7, 1941.[10]
Submarine Squadron 22
La Maddalena, Italy 1972–2008 Known as Submarine Refit and Training Group La Maddalena until the mid-1980s

List of submarine groupsEdit

Group name Base Squadrons Status Notes
Submarine Group 2 Naval Submarine Base New London
Groton, Connecticut
DEVRON 12, SUBRONs 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 Decommissioned August 22, 2014[11]
Submarine Group 7 Yokosuka, Japan SUBRON 15 Also functions as CTF-74 under Seventh Fleet, and as CTF-54 under Fifth Fleet
Submarine Group 8 Naples, Italy Also functions as CTF-64 and CTF-69 under Sixth Fleet
Submarine Group 9 Bangor, WA DEVRON 5, SUBRONs 17 and 19
Submarine Group 10 Kings Bay, GA SUBRONs 16 and 20


  1. ^ a b Groves, Eric. Vanguard to Trident.
  2. ^ Ring, Jim (2011). We Come Unseen: The Untold Story of Britain's Cold War Submariners. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571278060.
  3. ^ "Naval Affairs: Mediterranean" (pdf). The Naval Review. 52 (4): 450. October 1964.
  4. ^ Hickey, Laurence. "A Brief History of Canadian Submarines". Submarines-Canada. Retrieved October 1, 2014. See also Ambrosia: A Scrapbook of the Sixth Submarine Squadron Division at work and play 1955-1966.
  5. ^ "HMS Courageous: A Cold War Veteran" (pdf). Society Members' Bulletin. Royal Naval Engineers Benevolent Society: 5. September 2013.
  6. ^ ""Most Dangerous Service" A Century of Royal Navy Submarines: Operations since 1945". Imperial War Muaseum. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  7. ^ Gutridge, Ronald (3 February 2012). "Submarine Squadron 3 Disestablishes as Submarine Squadron 1 Changes Command" (Press release). Navy News Service. U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs. NNN. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  8. ^ Cragg, Jennifer (14 January 2012). "Submarine Squadron 2 Disestablishes, Consolidates Four Attack Submarines" (Press release). Navy News Service. Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs. NNS120114-06. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  9. ^ Copeland, Kevin (6 May 2011). "Norfolk Submarine Squadrons Consolidate" (Press release). Navy News Service. Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs. NNS110506-13. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Administrative Order of Battle: Asiatic Fleet Submarines 8 December 1941". Orders of Battle.
  11. ^ "Submarine Group 2 Disestablishes". Navy News Service.

External linksEdit