posted on Nov, 1 2004 @ 06:07 PM
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.