I thought , after reviewing this thread, I would add this post to give some perspective in time to the readers who do not have this kind of experience
in which to guage the state of the art in submarine development other than what they read on line and in books/photos.
Many years ago I took a woman and her children up to Baltimore, Md to visit the Aquarium down on the waterfront.
I was not particularly keen on going but endured as best I could.
What I found when I got there was that they had an olde diesel boat parked in the harbor as a museum piece for public viewing.
This awoke my enthusiasm quickly..I had to get aboard to see how much the state of the art had changed over the years. Could I recognize certain
systems..colour coding of the valve operating handles etc etc.
I went down the hatch and as expected It was close confines. Not all that much different than todays boats. They may be bigger across the hulls..but
they just pack more gear into them. They are still today..very cramped..it has not changed in this arena. I proceeded to the stern of the boat. This
olde class of boat was fitted with aft firing torpedo tubes. What was immediately obvious was that the torpedos were much smaller diameter in those
days and on those boats. They were the 19 inch diameter torpedos. I recognized back there the manual scale for indicating how many degrees the aft
planes were ..for it went from 0 degrees ..to one side rise..then from 0 degrees to dive the other. It is the same on the rudder...0 degrees...this
has not changed...only the materials out of which the scale is made was different. This one was solid brass.
Valve colour coding was the same..yellow for oil systems...green for sea water..blue for fresh water.
There were red tags hanging...just like in the active navy. Red Danger tags...you dont mess with these valves and operators..period.
There were also certain areas of the boat which you could not venture...closed off. I expect you could not go there without proper ventillation.
Probably a good thing too.
Crews accomodations were even more sparse than today. Galley was the biggest compartment...roomier.. outside of the main torpedo room. It still is.
This boat had the periscope one level above the control room. An unusual set up compared to todays boats...but this was olde school.
It was an interesting tour for sure...and I am glad I took it. I have always wanted to go on one of those old fleet boats.
On the other hand..I also had the opportunity to go to Charleston, South Carolina and see the CSS Hunley sitting in the tank undergoing treatment.
My first reaction to the CSS Hunley laying there in the tank was...
"HOLY COW....!!!! They went out in that!!!!!!"
"You've got to be kidding me Dude..!!!"
While regaining my composure ..it was only silence.
I quickly came to the conclusion ..that you have to have some big ones hanging to go out in that!! And I mean big ones!!
Pardon the crudity but I was astonished...agast...dumbfounded.
I reckon it just looked so pioneering and romantic in the books.
But this was bare bones..no..it was more primitive than bare bones ...if that is possible.
I saw the gold coin on display which was found in the hull..the lucky piece for one of the crew. It is on display under a bright light in plexiglass.
This brings home starkly to one that this hull was for so many years also a gravesite.
One thing became clear quickly...and obviously though we dont often think of it today ...it is mostly overlooked as a perspective on history.
And that was that the average stature of an American back then was not large. We take our height and weight so for granted today ..but it became clear
by the hull diameter that these people operating it were not all that big in stature.
When you see surviving uniforms and clothes of this period..most people were not that large. They would be the size of medium to small teenagers
today. Any coroner who has examined olde graves can confirm that.
Now there were some large people about back then..but this was the exception ...these large people back then would be average size if they lived
today...but back then they were large for the times.
But ..nonetheless this trip too was an eye opener to realize what is not in the history books per se. But when you see it with your own eyeballs ..it
My work on 637 class boats, 688s, the olde boomers and also today Virginia class boats..gave me perspective on what is the state of the art..and
here...this took me back in time to close to the beginning of submarines. It was worth it ..even the initial shock.
Hope this helps some of you in some manner,
edit on 12-10-2013 by orangetom1999 because: (no reason given)