All About History of Submarines…(I)
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has only limited underwater capability. The term submarine most commonly refers to large crewed autonomous vessels; however, historically or more casually, submarine can also refer to medium sized or smaller vessels (midget submarines, wet subs),remotely operated vehicles or robots.
The word submarine was originally an adjective meaning „under the sea”, and so consequently other uses such as „submarine engineering” or „submarine cable” may not actually refer to submarines at all. Submarine was shortened from the term „submarine boat”, and is often further shortened to „sub”.
Submarines are referred to as „boats” rather than as „ships”, regardless of their size. The English term U-boat for a Germansubmarine comes from the German word for submarine, U-Boot, itself an abbreviation for Unterseeboot („undersea boat”).
Although experimental submarines had been built before, submarine design took off during the 19th century. Submarines were first widely used in World War I, and feature in many large navies. Military usage ranges from attacking enemy ships or submarines, aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force,reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection/maintenance. Submarines can also be specialized to a function such as search and rescue, or undersea cable repair. Submarines are also used in tourism and for academic research.
Submarines have one of the largest ranges of capabilities in any vessel, ranging from small autonomous examples to one or two-person vessels operating for a few hours, to vessels which can remain submerged for 6 months such as the Russian Typhoon class. Submarines can work at greater depths than are survivable or practical for human divers. Modern deep diving submarines are derived from the bathyscaphe, which in turn was an evolution of the diving bell.
Most large submarines comprise a cylindrical body with hemispherical (and/or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes. In modern submarines this structure is the „sail” in American usage, and „fin” in European usage. A „conning tower” was a feature of earlier designs: a separate pressure hull above the main body of the boat that allowed the use of shorter periscopes. There is a propeller (or pump jet) at the rear and various hydrodynamic control fins as well as ballast tanks. Smaller, deep diving and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional layout.
History of submarines…
Early history of submarines and the first submersibles….
The first submersible with reliable information on its construction was built in 1620 by Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel, a Dutchman in the service of James I of England. It was created to the standards of the design outlined by English mathematician William Bourne. It was propelled by means of oars. The precise nature of the submarine type is a matter of some controversy; some claim that it was merely a bell towed by a boat. Two improved types were tested in the Thames between 1620 and 1624. In 2002 a two-person version of Bourne’s design was built for the BBC TV programme Building the Impossible by Mark Edwards, and successfully rowed under water at Dorney Lake, Eton.
Though the first submersible vehicles were tools for exploring under water, it did not take long for inventors to recognize their military potential. The strategic advantages of submarines were set out by Bishop John Wilkins of Chester, England, in Mathematicall Magick in 1648:
- Tis private: a man may thus go to any coast in the world invisibly, without discovery or prevented in his journey.
- Tis safe, from the uncertainty of Tides, and the violence of Tempests, which do never move the sea above five or six paces deep. From Pirates and Robbers which do so infest other voyages; from ice and great frost, which do so much endanger the passages towards the Poles.
- It may be of great advantages against a Navy of enemies, who by this may be undermined in the water and blown up.
- It may be of special use for the relief of any place besieged by water, to convey unto them invisible supplies; and so likewise for the surprisal of any place that is accessible by water.
- It may be of unspeakable benefit for submarine experiments.
First military submarines…
The first military submarine was Turtle (1775), a hand-powered egg-shaped device designed by the American David Bushnell to accommodate a single person. It was the first verified submarine capable of independent underwater operation and movement, and the first to use screws for propulsion. During the American Revolutionary War, Turtle (operated by Sgt. Ezra Lee, Continental Army) tried and failed to sink the British warship HMS Eagle, flagship of the blockaders in New York harbor on September 7, 1776.
In 1800, France built a human-powered submarine designed by American Robert Fulton, the Nautilus. The French eventually gave up on the experiment in 1804, as did the British when they later considered Fulton’s submarine design.
During the War of 1812, in 1814, Silas Halsey lost his life while using a submarine in an unsuccessful attack on a British warship stationed in New London harbor.
The Hipopotamo was the first submarine in South America. It was first tested in Ecuador on September 18, 1837. It was built by Jose Rodriguez Lavandera, who successfully crossed the Guayas River in Guayaquilaccompanied by Jose Quevedo. Rodriguez Lavandera enrolled in the Navy in 1823, becoming a Lieutenant by 1830. The Hipopotamo crossed the Guayas on two more occasions, but it was then abandoned because of lack of funding and interest from the government.
In 1851, a Bavarian artillery corporal, Wilhelm Bauer, took a submarine designed by him called the Brandtaucher (incendiary-diver), which sank on its first test dive in Kiel Harbour—but its three crewmen managed to escape, after flooding the vessel, which allowed the inside pressure to equalize. This submarine was built by August Howaldt and powered by a treadwheel. The submarine was re-discovered during a dredging operation 1887, and was raised sixteen years later. The vessel is on display in a museum in Dresden.
The submarine Flach was commissioned in 1865 by the Chilean government during the war of Chile and Peru against Spain (1864–1866). It was built by the German engineer Karl Flach. The submarine sank during tests in Valparaiso bay on May 3, 1866, with the entire eleven-man crew.
Submarines in the American Civil War…
During the American Civil War, the Union was the first to field a submarine. The French-designed Alligator was the first U.S. Navy sub and the first to feature compressed air (for air supply) and an air filtration system. Initially hand-powered by oars, it was converted after 6 months to a screw propeller powered by a hand crank. With a crew of 20, it was larger than Confederate submarines. Alligator was 47 feet (14.3 m) long and about 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter. It was lost in a storm off Cape Hatteras on April 1, 1863 with no crew and under tow to its first combat deployment at Charleston.
The Confederate States of America fielded several human-powered submarines. The first Confederate submarine was the 30-foot (9 m) longPioneer which sank a target schooner using a towed mine during tests on Lake Pontchartrain, but was not used in combat. It was scuttled after New Orleans was captured and in 1868 was sold for scrap. The Bayou St. John Confederate Submarine was also scuttled without seeing combat, and is now on display at the Louisiana State Museum.
The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley (named for one of its financiers, Horace Lawson Hunley) was intended for attacking the North’s ships, which were blockading the South’s seaports. The submarine had a long pole with an explosive charge in the bow, called a spar torpedo. The sub had to approach an enemy vessel, attach an explosive, move away, and then detonate it. The sub was extremely hazardous to operate, and had no air supply other than what was contained inside the main compartment. On two occasions, the sub sank; on the first occasion half the crew died and on the second, the entire eight-man crew (including Hunley himself) drowned. On February 17, 1864 Hunley, sank the USS Housatonic off Charleston Harbor. Soon after signaling its success the Hunley sank due to unknown cause. Submarines did not have a major impact on the outcome of the war, but did portend their coming importance to naval warfare and increased interest in their use in naval warfare. The location of Hunley was unknown until it was officially found in 1995, and was then recovered in 2000. The sinking of the USS Housatonic was the first successful submarine attack on a warship.