Built by H.M. Dockyard Devonport as HMS TOTEM (P 352) for the Royal Navy, laid down:22 October 1942, launched:28 September 1943.
Displacement:1,290 tons surfaced, 1,560 tons submerged, length:276’ 6” (84.28 m.) beam:25’ 6” (7.77 m.) draught: 12’ 9” (3.89 m.) forward, 14’ 7” (4.45 m.) aft.
Twin diesel engines:2,500 hp. (1.86 MW) each, Twin electric motors:1,450 hp. (1.08 MW) each, 2 shafts, 15.5 kn. surfaced, 9 kn. submerged, range:4,500 nm. at 11 kn. surfaced
Test depth:300’ (91 m.) max. Complement:61.
Armament:6 internal forward-facing torpedo tubes, 2 external forward-facing torpedo tubes, 2 external amidships rear-facing torpedo tubes, 1 external rear-facing torpedo tubes
6 reload torpedoes, 1-QF 4” (100 mm.) deck gun, 3 anti-aircraft machine guns.
HMS TOTEM was built to the group 3 variant of the T class design at HM Dockyard Devonport and launched on 28 September 1943. The submarine was completed and commissioned in early 1945. After the end of World War II, TOTEM and the other surviving group 3 boats were equipped with submarine snorkels to allow longer periods of operation underwater. Between 1951 and 1953, TOTEM was one of eight boats converted to the "Super T" design, which allowed the vessel higher speed and quieter underwater operation.
In 1965, TOTEM was purchased by Israel, along with two of her T-class sister boats, TRUNCHEON and TURPIN. The former TOTEM was commissioned into the Israeli Navy on 10 November 1967 as INS DAKAR (דקר), (English: Swordfish), under the command of Major Ya'acov Ra'anan.
DAKAR left the shipyard for Scotland to conduct her sea and dive trials. Late in 1967, after two successful months of trials, DAKAR returned to Portsmouth, England and left for Israel on 9 January 1968.
After leaving England, DAKAR put into Gibraltar on the morning of 15 January, departing at midnight and proceeded across the Mediterranean Sea on snorkel. She reported her position by radio to submarine headquarters in Haifa and was expected to enter her home base on Friday, 2 February, but as she was making excellent time, averaging over eight knots, Ra'anan requested permission to enter port earlier. He was ordered to enter on 29 January. Later, Ra'anan requested to enter a day earlier, on 28 January. This request was denied, the scheduled welcoming ceremony could not be moved.
At 06:10 on 24 January DAKAR transmitted her position, 34.16°N 26.26°E, just east of Crete. Over the next 18 hours she sent three control transmissions, which did not include her position, the last at 00:02 25 January 1968. No further transmissions were received.
On 26 January the British Admiralty reported the submarine was missing and gave the last known position as 100 miles (160 km) west of Cyprus. An international search and rescue operation began, including units from Israel, the United States, Greece, Turkey, Britain and Lebanon. Although Haifa Navy radio began broadcasting calls to commercial vessels to be on the look out for the DAKAR, Israeli officials would not admit the submarine was missing. On 27 January, a radio station in Nicosia, Cyprus, received a distress call on the frequency of DAKAR's emergency buoy, apparently from south-east of Cyprus, but no further traces of the submarine were found. On 31 January, all non-Israeli forces abandoned their search at sunset. Israeli forces continued the search for another four days, giving up at sundown on 4 February 1968.
Israel denied that the DAKAR sank as the result of hostile action and stated that the DAKAR was involved in crash diving exercises on its return voyage and was lost, probably as a result of a mechanical failure. On 25 April 1968, Vice Admiral Abraham Botzer, commander of the Israeli Navy, stated that the DAKAR sank on 24 January 1968, two days before being reported missing, due to "technical or human malfunctioning" ruled out "foul play".
On 9 February 1969, over a year after DAKAR went missing, a fisherman found her stern emergency buoy marker washed up on the coast of Khan Yunis, a town southwest of Gaza. British T-class submarines had two such buoy markers, bow and stern, secured behind wooden doors in cages under the deck and attached to the submarine with metal cables 200 meters (650 ft) long. Experts examining the 65 cm (two feet) of cable still attached to the buoy determined that the buoy had remained attached to the submarine for most of the preceding year until the cable broke completely, that DAKAR rested in depth between 150 and 326 meters, and that she was 50–70 nmi (93–130 km) off her planned route. All of these determinations were wrong, and misled searchers for decades. It was not until April 1999 and some 25 failed expeditions later that a search effort was concentrated along the path of the original route.
On 1 January 1970, the Egyptian newspaper Al Akhbar reported that the DAKAR had been sunk by an Egyptian warship with depth charges. The Egyptian story was told in a 2 July 2005 interview by Asharq Al-Awsat with General Mohamed Azab (major at that time):
On 23 January 1968, the Egyptian frigate, ASSYOUT, left Alexandria base in a training mission for the naval academy. After completing the training assignment and during the return journey to the base; students noticed the periscope of an alien submarine roaming in Egyptian waters, about two miles (3 km) off Alexandria. The Egyptian commander was informed and the decision was taken to attack the unknown submarine. However, the submarine made a very quick and hasty dive and the Egyptian ship lost its trace. General Azab reported the story to his commanders and mentioned that there is a probability that the submarine had crashed into the seabed. However, the story was not believed by the higher Egyptian commanders and there was no sufficient evidence to start a search process. General Azab mentioned that the submarine may have crashed into the seabed due to the shallow depth of water in that region, about 36 meters, while it needed at least 40 meters to dive, however, it appears that the submarine commander decided to take the risk.
The Israeli government stated there was no evidence to substantiate the Egyptian unofficial charges.
During the 1980's the Israelis, using a salvage vessel with Egyptian liaison officers, conducted three searches to look for the DAKAR in waters north of Sinai and another search off the Greek island of Rhodes. In August 1986, the U.S. Navy committed a P-3 Orion marine reconnaissance and a S-3 anti-submarine warfare aircraft for a search of Egyptian waters near al-Arish. In October 1998, Israel began running advertisements in newspapers in Turkey, Egypt, France, Greece and Russia offering rewards of up to $300,000 for any information on the fate of the DAKAR.
On 24 May 1999 a joint U.S.–Israeli search team using information received from U.S. intelligence sources and led by subcontractor Thomas Kent Dettweiler of the American Nauticos Corporation, detected a large body on the seabed between Crete and Cyprus, at a depth of some 3,000 meters (9,800 ft). On 28 May the first video pictures were taken by the remote operated vehicle REMORA II, making it clear that DAKAR had been found. She rests on her keel, bow to the northwest. Her conning tower was snapped off and fallen over the side. The stern of the submarine, with the propellers and dive planes, broke off aft of the engine room and rests beside the main hull.
During October 2000 a survey of the DAKAR wreckage and the wreckage site was undertaken by Nauticos corporation and the Israeli navy; some artifacts were recovered, including the submarine's bridge, the boat's gyrocompass and many small items.
The exact cause of the loss is unknown, but it appears that no emergency measures had been taken before DAKAR dove rapidly through her maximum depth, suffered a catastrophic hull rupture, and continued her plunge to the bottom. The emergency buoy was released by the violence of the hull collapse, and drifted for a year before washing ashore.
Sisterships: INS DOLPHIN (ex HMS TRUNCHEON P 353)
Built by Devonport Dockyard, laid down:5 November 1942, launched:22 February 1944, commissioned:25 May 1945,same specifications, sold to Israeli Navy in 1968, scrapped in 1977.
INS LEVIATHAN (ex HMS TURPIN P 354)
Built by Chatham Dockyard, laid down:24 May 1943, launched:5 August 1943, commissioned:18 December 1944, same specifications, sold to Israeli Navy in 1965, scrapped in 1978.
(Israel 2017, 2.50 sh. StG.?)
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