A History of Submarines

page: 1
0
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join

posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 12:24 AM
link   
Starting today as promised (or is that threatened) I will do brief snippets of history on the submarine.

Feel free to challenge any entries or to add your own and discuss amongst you. I shall concentrate on the history. Don't ask me about some of the references...I am quoting. When I get the chance I will go back and look for them myself. I hope it encourages similar research and discussion.



Since ancient times man has sought to build undersea devices to explore and mine the sea floor, and to gain the advantage over surface vessels in war. Herodutus, Aristotle and Pliny the Elder all mentioned attempts to do so. A 13th Century French manuscript, La Vraie Histoire d' Alexandre described a ficticious adventure of Alexander the Great, in which he travelled under the sea in a glass barrel.

Amongst his papers, Leonardo da Vinci counted a design for underwater exploration. There is a series playing here where mdern day engineers technicians and experts try and get his designs to work. A challenge considering the Catholic Church destroyed most of his papers on the death of his loyal apprentice decades after his own. They have proved his glider, and artificial heart pump model worked, and the Royal Engineers are building his armoured land turret for an upcoming episode. It would be interesting to see someone tackle his underwater craft design.

The first serious discussion of submarines, or underwatercraft began in the 16th Century.

In 1578, English Mathmatician and naval writer, William Bourne, described an underwater boat ( the "18th Devise") but did not actually build it. It was enclosed could be submerged and rowed under water. Consisting of a wooden frame enclosed in waterproofed leather,it submerged by reducing its internal volume by using hand turned vises.

Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutch born inventor demonstrated what may have been the first workable navigable submersible. Between 1620-1624 he conducted repeated trials during which he successfully manouvered his craft at depths between 12 to 15 feet ( 4 - 5m) beneath the Thames River, England. King James I was said to have been taken on a run.

Drebbels craft resembled Bournes proposal. Its outer hull was greased leather stretched over a wooden frame. Oars extended through the side, with tight fitting leather flaps, for surface and underwater propulsion. He went on to build two larger craft based on the same design.

In the 18th Century numerous submarine craft designs had been created. By 1727 no fewer than 27 had been patented in England alone. One designers proposal was described in the Gentlemans Magazine of 1747. Its ballasting technique was innovative. It had goat skin bags attached along the the outside hull with each skin attached to a hole in the bottom of his craft. He would fill these with water to sink the boat, and use a twisting rod to force the water out of the bags to surface. The basics of the modern submarine ballast system.

More in a few days. I hope.




posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 06:47 AM
link   
Hi mate,
informative post-ill be intrested in anything you add here-submarines have always facinated me,i had no idea they were concieved so long ago!
Dont quite much like the idea of going in one though.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 05:40 PM
link   
I've been the guest of the RAN twice.....once on a visit to an operational Oberon diesel boat and once to another when it was a museum piece....It sparked latent claustrophobia on both occassions!



posted on Oct, 27 2004 @ 07:34 PM
link   
I should state that I use as reference a 1970s edition of Encyclopedia Brittanica given to me by my father as a kid, and older reference works like the 1970s Purnells Weapons and Warfare Encyclopedia for histroical references and what I feel is less biased accuracy, although not totally so.

Basically, they presented information in a cut and dry format without trying to make it "sexy" to the consumer.

I feel that in the 1980s forces such as nationalism, commericialism and sensationalism began to creep into reference based publications in an effort to boost sales to a particular group or nation or mindset. This Bias has reached its greatest height here on the internet where anything can be said or opinion forced as fact (like my own about the above).

As I get into the 1980s to current references it is very much subject to interpretation. For instance, I recall the West dismissing and trivialising the Soviets and thier SSG/SSGN cruise missile sub platofrms.....Yet today, Ohio Class SSBNs are being converted to the same type of platforms carrying 150 odd cruise missiles in place of ICBMs, and the English may follow suit. The irony.

Here's to simpler days. On with the history.

The subamrine was first used as an offensive weapon in the American War of Independence (1775-83). The "Turtle" was a one man craft invented by David Bushnell, a Yale student. An 1885 drawing shows an onion shaped hullform (indeed as a child I read in a childrens book that it was also called "The Onion"). It was made of wood and described as a "floating walnut"

Submerged it was propelled by a hand cranked puller screw (looking very much like a drill shaft). It was ballasted and achieved negative boyancy by slightly increasing the flooded weight. A view port in the top hatch allowed the vessel to be navigated. Air tubes just broached the surface. A stern rudder with a hand steered tiller provided control. The crewman (poor bugger) would crank his way to the target and then turn a vertically positioned auger drill bit until it lodged in the hull of the target. It was tethered to a waterproofed powdered charge fixed to the outside of the hull. A fuse could be lit from inside the "Turtle" and ties released to set the charge loose. The crewman was then expected to madly crank the shaft to clear the danger area.

Its one attack was a night attack on the HMS Eagle in NY Harbour. Army Sargeant Ezra Lee of Lyme, Conneticutt (sic) crewed the vessel. After repeated unsuccessful attempts to drill through the copper sheathing on the Eagles hull, Lee gave up, released the charge and withdrew safely.

The powder charge blew up without damaging Eagle, which withdrew to a safer berth further out in the harbour.

[edit on 27-10-2004 by craigandrew]



posted on Oct, 27 2004 @ 07:58 PM
link   
Robert Fulton, a famous US artist and inventor of his day, experimented with submarines several years before his steamboat "Clermont" travelled the Hudson River. In 1800 Fulton travelled to France, where he built a submarine under a grant from Napoleon Boneparte.

Completed in May, 1801 the "Nautilus" was made from copper sheets laid over iron ribs. A collapsing mast and sail provided surface propulsion, and a hand turned screw provided submerged propulsion. A sail like fitting fitted with a glass porthole provided an external point of reference.

"Nautilus" submerged by taking water into its ballast tanks and a horizontal rudder kept the craft at the chosen depth. The sub contained enough air to keep four men alive and two candles burning for three hours while submerged. Later a tank of compressed air was added (dont ask me how yet)

"Nautilus" was meant to sink ships in the same manner as Bushnells "Turtle". Fulton experimentally sank a hulked schooner moored in the harbour at Brest, but when he set out to sink blockading English ships could not successfully overtake them to attack. France lost interest.

Fulton then travelled across the channel and offerred his designs to the English to fight the French!(obviously a man of equal opportunities!).

In 1805 "Nautilus" sank the brig "Dorothy" in a test, but the RN was not interested. Fulton returned to the USA and obtained Congressional backing to build a much more ambitious vessel, a steam powered submarine crewed by 100 men. However Fulton died before the completion of the vessel, named "Mute" which was left to rot and eventually sink, at it's moorings.

Until next time



posted on Oct, 28 2004 @ 07:19 AM
link   


Submerged it was propelled by a hand cranked puller screw (looking very much like a drill shaft). It was ballasted and achieved negative boyancy by slightly increasing the flooded weight. A view port in the top hatch allowed the vessel to be navigated. Air tubes just broached the surface. A stern rudder with a hand steered tiller provided control. The crewman (poor bugger) would crank his way to the target and then turn a vertically positioned auger drill bit until it lodged in the hull of the target. It was tethered to a waterproofed powdered charge fixed to the outside of the hull. A fuse could be lit from inside the "Turtle" and ties released to set the charge loose. The crewman was then expected to madly crank the shaft to clear the danger area.


CRIKEY!! he had his work cut out all right! i wonder how many of these little missions were succesful? I bet there werent too many troopers applying to use this piece of machinery!

Regards.



posted on Oct, 28 2004 @ 08:05 AM
link   
From what I read there was only one attempt in the AWI to use it. The Brits only needed one counter...to put thier ships far enough out of range of a fit mans ability to get it there.



posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 12:28 AM
link   
During the War of 1812 between the USA and England another of David Bushnell's submarine designs attacked HMS Ramillies anchored off New London, Conneticutt. The attack failed when the drill bit broke off as the charge was set loose, but the submarine successfully escaped.

The next attempts at submarine warfare were in the American Civil War of 1861-65, when the Confederate States tried to use submarine warfare to offset thier conventional disadvantage against the Union Navy, which blockaded the southern ports.

In 1862 Horace L.Hunley of New Orleans funded a vessel called the "Pioneer" a craft 10m (34 feet) long and driven by a propeller hand cranked by three men. It was thought scuttled to prevent capture by Union forces when New Orleans fell, although some reports say it was lost with all hands enroute to attack Union warships.

The second vessel built by Hunley was considered a very advanced design. 7.5m (25 feet long), the iron boat had been intended to be powered by a battery and electric motor, but no suitable examples could be found. It reverted to the four man hand crank system. It was lost with no loss of life in heavy seas off Mobile Bay while seeking out Union shipping to attack.

The final vessel of the Confederate Navy was the "H.L. Hunley", a modified iron boiler of between 11-12m (36-40 feet) in length. Ballast tanks and a system of weights submerged the craft, which could travel at 4mph powered by eight men cranking the propeller shaft. Its armament consisted of a "torpedo" filled with 90 pounds (40 kilos) of gunpowder and towed behind the sub at the end of a 200 foot line.

"Hunley" was to dive under the enemy vessel and drag the torpedo up against the hull. After a successful test against a barge the sub was moved by rail to Charleston, South Carolina. There the vessel sufferred a number of tragedies, sinking three times and killing a number of crew, including Hunley himself.

Manned a fourth time, this time with a torpedo on the end of a spar (long pole basically) and made several successful test dives.

On the night of February 17, 1864 the submarine successfully attacked the Union warship "Housatonic" in Charleston harbour. The Torpedo's detonation set off the "Housatonic"s own magazines and she sank in shallow water with the loss of five men, but the Hunley was lost with all hands.

In recent years the "Hunley" and her crews remains were found and recovered off Charleston several years ago. The vessel was being preserved for public display. The above information has therefore probably been considerably expanded upon at the time.

One of the more intrepid sub inventors of this period was Wilhelm Bauer, and NCO in the Artillery of the German state of Bavaria. He built two boats, "Le Plongeur-Marin" (1851) and "Le Diable-Marin" (1855).

The first vessel sank in Kiel Harbour on February 1, 1851 but Bauer and his two assistants successfully made thier escapes from a depth of 60 feet (18m) after being on the bottom five hours. His second vessel built for the Czarist Russian government was successful and reportedly made 134 dives before being lost at sea. In September 1856 Bauer, on the occassion of Czar Alexander IIs coronation, submerged his sub in Kronstadt harbour with several musicians aboard. An underwater rendition of the national anthem was clearly heard by people inside ships at anchor around them.

Until next time. See you next week.



posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 01:10 AM
link   
Interesting. Submarines are so advanced its incredible. Especially the new Virginia class from General Dynamics.

Still as advanced as the are, who wants to be on a boat that sinks on purpose.



posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 01:34 AM
link   
I just cant beleive so many inventors named thier early submariners PLUNGER...........................Its like painting a Bullseye on your forehead for fate!



posted on Oct, 30 2004 @ 05:30 AM
link   


Still as advanced as the are, who wants to be on a boat that sinks on purpose.


i think you have to be a certain type of person to enlist for submarine duty,i just think there very eerie and evil looking!

Your info is really good reading craigandrew- i dont want to steal your glory but am i right in thinking that the most powerful people in the world and the most highly vetted for their jobs are nuclear sub commanders?
watching your posts with great intrest,Regards mate.



posted on Oct, 30 2004 @ 09:49 AM
link   
From the mental and moral viewpoint IMHPO is the SSBN "Boomer" Skippers in the Cold War...the thought if it went pear shaped and you got the order.

But they have to be the most expensive and complex pieces of equipment (along with the SSNs) to be responible for.

The one I'd least like to be on? The PLA-N SSBN. I read an article in "The Navy" magazine (Australian Navy League journal...out of service lobby for the betterment of the RAN's lot....nearest thing you'll get to a Naval Union!)
stated that after each voyage most of the crew have to undergo treatment for mild radiation sickness....apparently the shielding on thier reactors not the best



posted on Oct, 31 2004 @ 11:53 AM
link   


after each voyage most of the crew have to undergo treatment for mild radiation sickness....apparently the shielding on thier reactors not the best


its official,that is a crap job!! dont like the sound of that 1 little bit.



posted on Oct, 31 2004 @ 04:42 PM
link   
A major limitation of the early subs was a lack of a suitable propulsion system. In 1880 an English Clergyman, the Reverend George W. Garrett, successfully operated a submarine with steam from a coal- fired boiler with a retractable smoke stack. The fire had to be put out before the vessel dived, as it used up the available air in the sub quickly once it dived. However sufficient pressure remained in the boiler to carry the sub several kilometres underwater.

Swedish gun designer Torsten Nordenfelt constructed a steam- powered submarine driven by twin shafts. His craft could submerge using vertical propellers to drive it to a depth of 50 feet (15m) and was fitted with one of the first practical torpedo tubes. Several countries built submarines to his designs.

In an effort to overcome the shortcomings of the available propulsion systems, to French naval officers built the 146 foot (45m) sub “Le Plongeur” in 1864, powered by an 80hp compressed air engine, however this was quickly exhausted whenever the vessel got underway. Development of the electric motor finally made electric propulsion practical.

The submarine “Nautilus” built in 1886 by two Englishmen, was an all electric craft. She was propelled on the surface at a speed of 6 knots by two 50hp electric motors operated from a 100 cell storage battery. But the battery had to be recharged and overhauled at short intervals, and the craft was never able to travel more than 80 miles (130 km) without a battery recharge. In France, Gustave Zede launched the “Gymnote” in 1888. It was also powered by an electric motor and was noted for its manouverability, but tended to go out of control when dived.

The end of the 19th century was a period of intensive development, and Zede collaborated in several designs sponsored by the French Navy. A very successful French vessel of the period was the “Narval”, designed by Maxime Laubeuf, a marine engineer in the navy. Launched in 1899, the “Narval” was a double- hulled craft, 111 ½ feet (34m) long, propelled on the surface by a steam engine, and by electric motors when submerged. The ballast tanks were located between the double hull, a concept still used today.

The “Narval” made a large number of successful dives. To prove the vessels capabilities, she once cruised for 48 hours in the English Channel, during a simulated combat mission. She then penetrated the narrow and closely watched entrance of the roadstead (anchorage?) of Brest, firing her four externally mounted torpedos and sinking target craft. French progress in submarine development was marked by the entry into service of the four steam driven “Sirene” class submarines in 1900-1901, the “Aigrette”, completed in 1905 and the first diesel submarine of any Navy.

More later.



posted on Nov, 1 2004 @ 05:29 AM
link   
Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutch born inventor demonstrated what may have been the first workable navigable submersible. Between 1620-1624 he conducted repeated trials during which he successfully manouvered his craft at depths between 12 to 15 feet ( 4 - 5m) beneath the Thames River, England. King James I was said to have been taken on a run.
Cool thread.
How come Cornelis Drebbel wasnt overcome by CO2 when he was testing his craft?
The first vessel sank in Kiel Harbour on February 1, 1851 but Bauer and his two assistants successfully made thier escapes from a depth of 60 feet (18m) after being on the bottom five hours.
It is worth noteing that they were the first people to successful escape from a submarine.



posted on Nov, 1 2004 @ 05:43 AM
link   
Thanks xpert11.

The Britannica entry didnt indicate the duration of Drebbel's dives, and he would have had some leeway before the air went bad. the fellows trapped on the bottom of Kiel Harbour had five hours before they made thier escape.

If Britannica hasnt been selective or there was not another earlier unrecorded escape then yeah, Bauer's Kiel boys would be the first sub escape.

When I finish the initial account of the history, I am going to go back through my references and do some research to post more info. Feel free to surf and beat me to some.


Hope you keep enjoying the thread.

Cheers!



posted on Nov, 1 2004 @ 06:07 PM
link   
While the developments in Europe in progress, there were successes in the USA also. Rival inventors John P. Holland (an Irish immigrant) and Simon Lake were both leading lights in the field in the USA.

Holland launched his first undersea craft in 1875. This vessel and one of its successors were significant in combining water ballast with horizontal rudders for diving. In 1895, in competition with Nordenfelt, Holland received an order from the US Navy for a submarine. This was to be the "Plunger", powered by steam on the surface and electricity underwater. The craft underwent many design changes and was finally abandoned before completion ( I have another reference elesewhere to a disaster with "Plunger" -I always assumed it meant an accident but perhaps it meant a commercial one). Holland returned the US Navy it's funds, and proceeded to to build another (his sixth) at his own expense.
This was the "Holland" a 53 3/4 foot (16m) craft launched in 1897 and accepted by the USN in 1900. "Holland" was propelled by a electric motor underwater, and a gasoline one on the surface. It had one bow torpedo tube with three torpedos, and two dynamite guns, protruding from within the hull at an angle, one astern one ahead (another reference I have says only one forward D gun), aimed by pointing the submarine at the target.

With a nine (7?) man crew the boat was successful and modified many times in her career to trial a variet or arrangements for propellers, dive planes, rudders and other equipment.

Simon Lake, Holland's competitor, built his submarine the "Argonaut I" in 1894, powered by a gasoline motor engine and electric motor. This and Lake's earlier vessels were fitted with wheels to allow the subs to roll over the seabed floor. He envisioned subs sending out divers to cut cables, destroy enemy mines and telephone enemy shipping movements back to the submarine. In peacetime he saw his submarine-diver combinations being used for mineral exploration and mining of the sea floor.

In 1898 "Argonaut I" sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to New York under its own power, pre-dating the cruises of the French "Narval" and marking the first time an undersea craft operated extensively on the open sea. Lake's second submarine was the "Protector" launched in 1901. After this craft was rejected by the US Navy, Lake offerred the "Protector" to the Czarist Russian Navy AND Japan. Russia brought it and five more like it. In response Japan purchased several Holland boats, but neither used them in the Russo- Japanese war of 1904-05.

Of the major naval powers at the begining of the 20th Century, only Britain remained (apparently- my note other references state the Admiralty secretly planned its own construction at the time) indifferent to the submarine. Finally, in 1901 the Royal Navy ordered five Holland designed boats from English Yards.

Germany completed it's first submarine, Unterseeboot No.1 in 1905. This was 139 feet (42m) long, and was powered by a heavy oil engine on the surface, and an electric motor beneath it. It was armed with only one torpedo tube. The basic layout of the modern submarine (surface diesel engines, electric motors for underwater drive, submerging using diving planes and ballast tanks and torpedos for shipping attacks) had arrived. The quarters in these early boats were generally cramped, wet and stank of diesel oil.

Next WW1



posted on Nov, 2 2004 @ 09:16 PM
link   
And now we bring you a break from the "oh wake me up when its over election"


On the eve of WW1 all of the major navies included subs in thier fleets, but they were relatively small, of questionable military value, and generally intended for coastal and port defence. The most significant exception to this was the German "Deutschland" class of merchant U-boats, each 315 feet (95m) long with two large cargo compartments. These two subs could carry 700 tons of cargo at 12 to 13 knots speed on the surface and seven knots submerged. Manned by 8 officers and 21 crewmen under the command of Captain Paul Koenig, a veteran skipper of the merchant service, "Deutschland" herself made two successful cargo voyages to the USA in 1916 despite a British naval blockade.

The "Deutschland" became "U-155" fitted with torpedo tubes and deck guns, and served with seven similar vessels in a combat role in the later stages of the war. In comparison, the "average" sub of WW1 measured slightly over 200 feet (60m) and displaced less than 1000 tons surfaced.

The pre war subs had generally been armed with self propelled torpedos for attacking enemy ships. During the war subs also were fitted with deck guns. This permited them, under the rules of war in force at the start of WW1 to approach merchant ships on the surface and signal them to stop and be searched (and if necessary sunk). Later it allowed smaller vessels to be sunk without the cost of using a logistically and $$ valuable torpedo.
Most wartime built subs had one or two deck guns for surface action with 3 and 4 inch calibre weapons. However several larger german subs (like U-155) mounted 5.9 inch guns.

Late in the war the British completed the first of three M class submarines to be armed with a 12 inch gun, plus four torpedo tubes and an anti aircraft gun. These monsters were meant to steam of an enemy coast like a monitor, and with only the muzzle of the gun and a siting periscope above water, bombard the enemy shore, far inland. These subs were 296 feet (90m) long and weighed 1650 tons on the surface. they were propelled along by a diesel electric plant that could do 14 knots on the surface and 8 knots submerged.

Another variation was the submarine modified to lay sea mines in covert operations along an enemy coast. The Germans constructed several specialised minelayers with vertical mine tubes in thier hulls. Some could carry up to 48 mines for the mission.

More tomorrow.

Cheers



posted on Nov, 2 2004 @ 09:29 PM
link   
Cool,nice report


But,one question:If the brits had subs,how come they didn't use them in WWII?Or at least i haven't heard of them using them unlike the german U-boats which were infamous



posted on Nov, 3 2004 @ 02:04 AM
link   
Oh the Brits used them. Its just the "America won the War Single Handed" syndrome kinda buries the parts other allies had in the Victory.

The Brits ran a large number of subs in the war ranging from small coastal subs to large ocean going types. They were perhaps not as big and longed legged as some other nations submarines but they played thier part.

You have to remember, most of the German Merchant fleet was bottled up in the Baltic Sea by the RN in the North Sea, with other ships interned in neutral ports.

In the ealy days of the war RN subs sank a number of German vessels and warships in the North Sea. With Italy's entry into the war on the Axis side in 1940 RN subs operating in the Mediterrean Sea from bases in Malta and Alexandria in Egypt wreaked havoc on the Italian Merchant Fleet and Navy.
The WW2 Upholder submarines were famous for thier Operations from Malta. If it was not for the disruption of the Axis supply lines Irwin Rommels Afrika Korps may have been far more effective against the British and Commonwealth Forces in North Africa, and the later Allied Landings in Sicily and Italy would not have been possible (note: it was a group effort by surface units, subs and aircraft of the Commonwealth air forces).

RN submarines also operated in large numbers in the later part of the war in the South China Sea and Bay of Bengal for starters. Port of Fremantle in Western Australia hosted significant RN subs from about late 1943 or 1944, scoring notable successes against the Japanese.

I will cover this in more detail as I go.

Cheers!





new topics
top topics
 
0
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join