Read more details and see splendid photos of the V-boats in the Fall 2003 edition of UNDERSEA WARFARE:
This fine piece makes it clear, implicitly, that NONE of the V-boats would have been satisfactory in making the run into the Philippines in 1942, much less all the way into Manila Bay and Corregidor.
And a lot more excellent photos appear in
Several of the photos allow one to see the comparative sizes of the various V-boats. By the by, even though the first piece refers to "V-class" boats, that is not really correct. The V-boats actually consisted of five classes (later reduced to four), in chronological order:
B-Class (BARRACUDA, BASS, BONITA)
V-4 or Argonaut Class (ARGONAUT later included with the Narwhal Class)
Narwhal Class (initially NARWHAL and NAUTILUS)
Dolphin Class (just DOLPHIN)
Cachalot Class (CACHALOT and CUTTLEFISH)
These subs were either too big or too small (with the exception of DOLPHIN), mostly too slow in speed and too slow to dive, most not terribly maneuverable, and so on. Not for nothing were all but the biggest three taken out of active service by the end of 1942 after lackluster patrols, recurrent mechanical problems, and age. A pity that ARGONAUT was not also, but too much was expected of her when sunk in early 1943; her near sisters thereupon became cargo schleppers and evacuation buses, with the occasional opportunity to bang away with the 6-inchers.