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The vital cell data for the article calculations was dependent on a number of USN cell purchase specification sheets that provided the critical dimension, capacity, ampere and voltage data for this article.

Friedman's "SUBMARINE DESIGN and DEVELOPMENT" unfortunately does not identify the type of GUPPY conversion correctly in the official manner of Alden and. (NAVPERS 10490), referring to the GII as the full 'Guppy' conversion with 502 cells and the GIA/GIIA as (Guppy II') with SARGO II cells.

Friedman's comments reported in the PERFORMANCE AT HIGH SUBMERGED SPEEDS section, appear to add further evidence that the GUPPY 1 specifications were for the cell used in the GII conversion.


The SARGO cells data sheets can be easily related to particular submarines.

The SARGO I data cross checks with the data for the Fleet Submarine available from the USS PAMPANITO web site and other museum sources. Alden confirms the use of SARGO I cells in various Fleet submarines not converted for high speed

The similar SARGO II data sheet is available.

Alden confirms the use of SARGO II cells in the GIA/GIIA, as does a statement in NAVPERS 10490 ("Basic Enlisted Submarine Text", Electrical Installation, conversion).


However while the SARGO cells present no identification problems, there were two quite different USN GUPPY cell specifications available suitable for diesel-electric submarines. Unfortunately the specification sheets do not identify the particular class of submarine the cells are intended to be used in.

Comparative description

The GUPPY 1, a conventional looking four terminal per pole (eight in total), oblong top, used as the technical basis of the calculations in APPENDIX B

The GUPPY 1 Mod A, a taller, square top cell. GUPPY 1 Mod D seems to be an apparently identical but later version of GUPPY 1 Mod A. but did weigh more - 500 kg vs 460 kg.

Comparative performance

Compared at the 5 hour rate - identical at this point but GUPPY 1 Mod A voltages and amps falling away

GUPPY 1 = 6100 AH.
GUPPY 1 Mod A = 6100 AH,

At the 1 hour rate

GUPPY 1 = 4340 AH. 4340 amps, 252 cells, 425 volts.
GUPPY 1 Mod A = 4000 AH. 4000 amps, 252 cells, 414 volts.

At the 1/2 hour rate

GUPPY 1 = 3387 AH. 6775 amps, 252 cells = 390 volts. (In APPENDIX E - SubVet Ron Romer recalls a similar ampere figure, 6675)
GUPPY 1 Mod A = 3050 AH.6100 amps, 252 cells = 378 volts.

Note. The 6100 amp discharge at the 1/2 hour rate and the 6100 AH at the 5 hour rate are not typos, but as stated on the specification sheet.

Both cells electrically identical except at the two high discharge rates where the combined higher current and voltage ratings give the GUPPY 1 cell 14.6% more power.

Comparative Dimensions

The GUPPY 1 had the dimensions 360 x 450 mm x 1178 mm (top of filling cap), weighing 460 kg. Fitted with four terminals per pole (eight in total). Air agitation and water cooled cell connections fitted.

The GUPPY 1 Mod 1A had the dimensions 360 x 360 mm x 1397 mm (top of filling cap), weighing 460 kg. Fitted with only two terminals per pole (four in total). Air agitation and water cooled cell connections fitted.

BARBEL class submarine

The specifications of the GUPPY 1 Mod A and D match the data and description obtained for the TLX - 53 cells fitted in two 252 cell batteries aboard the USS BLUEBACK.

This information was provided by R.G. Walker, about the preserved BARBEL class submarine USS BLUEBACK (SS 581),submerged displacement 2644 tons.

The batteries with these cells,are quite capable of supplying the rated capacity of the BLUEBACK motor (4800 shp) for 30 minutes. This is a modern style submarine with a 'tear-drop' hull of relatively low drag.

However the TLX - 53 cell is apparently some 13% heavier than the GUPPY 1 Mod D. Note the nuclear GUPPY 1 E is even heavier in the same case!

It is reasonable to assume there was also a GUPPY 1 Mod B in the series - a specification for such a cell was not obtained.

Photographs and Catalogue Data

There is evidence detailed below to support the general premise that the GUPPY 1 was the cell used in the GUPPY II submarine.

A battery photographs of the preserved GIII USS CLAMAGOR (SS 343) (Fig 5) shows oblong four x four terminal cells.

Both types of GUPPY and TANG class submarines were, later in life, transferred to the Turkish Navy

There is further evidence from Turkish sources with a photograph (Fig 6), that the GUPPY 1 type cell was also used in the TANG class of the same era.

Here is an extract from the Turkish Naval Web Catalogue -


Power supply in the main propulsion systems of the submarines

Technical Characteristics

- Ampere-hour efficiency Approximately 97%

- 36PS11B (In Guppy 1 a/Tang type submarines) : Each set contains 504 batteries
- 39PS13B (In Guppy type submarines): Each set contains 252 batteries
- 45PS130 (In Ay type submarines) Each set contains 480 batteries

It is reasonable to assume the 36PS11B cells are for the former USN GII and TANG submarines and the 39PS11B are for the former USN GIA submarines.

The 45S130 can safely be assumed to be for the modern German submarines in the Turkish Navy

Submarine Battery Tank Dimensions

Richard Pekelney advise that Naval Ship's Technical Manuals. Chapter 96.23 March 1969 Edition contains the following information that tends to confirm the choice of the GUPPY 1 cell specification:

Inches and mm - 17.7 (442 mm) x 14.16 (360 mm) x 46.44 (1178 mm) These dimensions are within the stated spec' tolerances of the GUPPY 1.

1,008 lbs (457 kgs),

6,850 AH at 10 hour rate, - not helpful, as the GUPPY 1 and GUPPY 1 Mod A are identical at this rate.

3 tanks (184, 68, 252 cells). Significant as this matches the GUPPY conversion.

Turning to evidence provided by drawings - the total area required by the GUPPY 1 cells is 1.5 times the space required by SARGO cells in the Fleet Submarine. A rough measurement of sketches provided by Alden show an increase of about 1.5 in longitudinal battery space in the GII conversion.

Battery total calculated area -

SARGO I = 0.546 x 0.387 x 126 X 2 = 53.25 M2.

GUPPY 1 Mod A = 0.36 x 0.36 x 126 x 4 = 65.3 M3

GUPPY 1 = 0.45 x.36 x 126 x 4 = 81.6 M2.

81.6/53.25 = 1.53 increase in battery tank area.


65.3/53.23 M2 = 1.23 increase in tank area.

This increases could only be achieved significantly by increasing the battery tank length, not beam. The battery length increase of about 1.5 that Alden shows in his drawings seems to confirm the cell used in the GII conversion was the GUPPY 1.

Cells Used in USN Nuclear Submarines

The GUPPY 1 cell data can be confusing as there two versions - one as described above for the GII submarine and another with identical electrical/physical characteristics but is not a Lead Antimony cell. There is no WATER COOLING CONNECTION. The specification series number is identical to other later nuclear submarine cells and it is assumed this version of the GUPPY 1 cells was used in the first USN nuclear submarines.

The guaranteed life is 48 months as opposed to the Lead Antimony cell for the GII submarine where the life is 30 months. The data is for a 126 cell battery as used in a nuclear submarine and as with other nuclear submarine cells, a trickle charge rate is assigned on the data sheet.

GUPPY 1 Mod C and Mod E cells, with dimensions identical to the G1A, were (are) also used as the 126 cell Stand by battery in nuclear attack submarines and unlike the cells used in USN diesel-electric submarines that had antimony as an additive, they are described as having calcium as an additive. This and other web site describes the purpose of these additives in lead acid cells.

Mod E, in the same case as all the others in this Mod series, weighs 600 kg with a 6 hour rate of 5400 AH compared to the Mod C weighing 469 Kg at the 6 hour rate 6150 AH (for comparison - at the 6 hour rate the Mod A had 6270 AH).

The very large cell, Type TRIDENT, presumably for SSBN, has 12, 150 AH at the 6 hour rate

Radar Picket submarine Cells

Alden states that GUPPY batteries (small cell) were used in the two Fleet Submarines converted into the Radar Pickets, 1948, known as the "MIGRAINE I" conversion, to save space and the dimensions from the submarine's drawing suggests that the GUPPY 1 Mod A were used. Probably 126 cells per two batteries.

As a matter of interest, the three MIGRAINE programs I, II and III involving the conversion of 10 Fleet Submarines, grew out of the experiences with Kamikaze aircraft in WWII and the losses of surface radar pickets. The program was abandoned after 1959 and the submarines were again converted for a number of tasks. See Alden.

There is a reference to the single nuclear version of a radar picket, USS TRITON, in the anecdotes. APPENDIX E.


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