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French Aréthuse & Danish Delfinen related? - A common NATO building program?

Place for general submarine conversation

Postby Dolphin » Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:00 am


Images - French Aréthuse on right, Royal Danish SPÆKHUGGEREN on left.

Can anyone enlighten me?

I have been doing some research on the French Aréthuse class French submarines (Sous-marins - Aréthuse, Argonaute, Ariane, Amazone) and notice the remarkable relationship in general design but not exact appearance to the Danish Delfinen submarine class (S 326 DELFINEN, S 327 SPÆKHUGGEREN, S 328 TUMLEREN, S 329 SPRINGEREN).

I know when both were in the design stage around the same time - 1951. France was then part of NATO. Also NATO exercised a considerable degree of integration at the time of their design (also 1951). Are these two classes related from a NATO building program stand point? They seem very similar not only in their design but would also seem very similar in purpose too. The small French Navy Aréthuse class 'hunter-killers' patrolling the Gibraltar 'choke point', and the small Royal Danish Navy DELFINEN class patrolling the Denmark strait 'choke point' as part of a greater NATO strategy?

Could it be likely the great German submarine designer Professor Ulrich Gabler have had a hand in their designs? They do show many features (bow planes for example) similar to his post-war German designs. Direct NATO design integration of these designs with German designs would have been too late (the Paris Treaty) which established the post-war German Navy occurred in 1954.

If they are related, how did this design come about? Piecing all this together. Perhaps can our European friends help me here?

Thanks in advance!

Steve Reichmuth

Postby Dolphin » Thu Sep 18, 2003 9:58 pm

I meant .....

Images - French Aréthuse on Left, and Royal Danish SPÆKHUGGEREN on Right.


Postby Robse » Sun Sep 21, 2003 5:58 pm


I live in Denmark, and I'm sure that we bought the (used) sub's from Norway. Maybe that's a lead you can use in your investigation? I'm sorry I cannot give you the exact answer. :)
Yours Sincerely, Robert Holsting, Denmark
1/81 SSBN Ohio Class scratch builder, more at

"Never be afraid to try something new; remember that it was amateurs who build Noah's Ark, and professionals who build the Titanic"
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