- A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub. Submarines are referred to as "boats" rather than "ships" irrespective of their size. Although experimental submarines had been built earlier, submarine design took off during the 19th century, and they were adopted by several navies. They were first widely used during World War I (1914–1918), and are now used in many navies, large and small. Military uses include attacking enemy surface ships (merchant and military) or other submarines, and for aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, nuclear deterrence, reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example, using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses include marine science, salvage, exploration, and facility inspection and maintenance. Submarines can also be modified for specialized functions such as search-and-rescue missions and undersea cable repair. They are also used in tourism and undersea archaeology. Modern deep-diving submarines derive from the bathyscaphe, which evolved from the diving bell. Most large submarines consist of a cylindrical body with hemispherical (or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, that 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. Smaller, deep-diving, and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional design. Submarines dive and resurface by means of diving planes and changing the amount of water and air in ballast tanks to affect their buoyancy. Submarines have one of the widest ranges of types and capabilities of any vessel. They range from small autonomous examples and one- or two-person subs that operate for a few hours, to vessels that can remain submerged for six months—such as the Russian Typhoon class, the biggest submarines ever built. Submarines can work at greater depths than are survivable or practical for human divers.
Dutch engineer and inventor Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel (1572–1633) of the Holy Roman Empire is cosidered by many as the inventor of the first submarine. Around 1604 the Drebbel family moved to England, probably at the invitation of the new king, James I of England (VI of Scotland). Mennonite Drebbel, a gifted physicist, was in favor of Roman-German Emperor Rudolf II in Prague since October 1610, who was preoccupied with the arts, alchemy and occult sciences. When in 1611 Rudolf II was stripped of all effective power by his younger brother Archduke Matthias, Drebbel was imprisoned for about a year. After Rudolf's death in 1612, Drebbel was set free and went back to London in 1613. At the request of Roman-German Emperor Ferdinand II in 1619, he went to Prague again to tutor his sons and was taken prisoner after the Battle of White Mountain and the capture of Prague in 1620, where he also lost his fortune. His navigable submarine was tested many times in the Thames but it couldn't attract enough enthusiasm from the Royal Navy. More recently it has been suggested that the contemporary accounts of the craft contained significant elements of exaggeration and it was at most a semi-submersible which was able to travel down the Thames by the force of the current.
18th and 19th century
The first military submersible was "Turtle" (1775), a hand-powered acorn-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. "Turtle" was to be used as a means of attaching explosive charges to ships in a harbor, for use against Royal Navy vessels occupying American harbors during the American Revolutionary War, although all attempts failed. The "Nautilus" was built by French Perrier boatyard in Rouen and designed between 1793 and 1797 by the American inventor Robert Fulton, then living in the French First Republic. "Nautilus'" first test dives were in the Seine at Rouen, in the Saint-Gervais dock, beginning 29 July 1800. Through friends like Gaspard Monge and Pierre-Simon Laplace, Fulton obtained an interview with Napoleon, but was unable to garner support for his vessel; however, Fulton's friends pushed the Minister of Marine into appointing a scholarly panel, to consist of Volney, Monge, and Laplace, to assess the submarine. In September 1801, Napoleon expressed interest in seeing "Nautilus", only to find that, as it had leaked badly. Napoleon decided Fulton was a swindler and charlatan. The French navy had no enthusiasm for a weapon they considered suicidal. Fulton was hired by the British, offering him £800 to come to England and develop a second "Nautilus" for them. He was increasingly sidelined until he left, in frustration, for America in October 1806. He left his papers on submarines with the American consul in London. He never asked for them, never referred to his "Nautilus" work, and the papers went unpublished until 1920
In 1850, Wilhelm Bauer's U-boat "Brandtaucher" was built in the German Confederation. It remains the oldest known surviving Submarine in the world. In 1864, late in the American Civil War, the Confederate navy's "H. L. Hunley" became the first military submarine to sink an enemy vessel, the Union sloop-of-war USS "Housatonic", using a gun-powder-filled keg on a spar as a torpedo charge. The "Hunley" also sank, as the explosion's shock waves killed its crew instantly, preventing them from pumping the bilge or propelling the submarine. In 1866, "Sub Marine Explorer" was the first submarine to successfully dive, cruise underwater, and resurface under the crew's control. The design by German American Julius Hermann Kröhl (1820–1867) from Memel (East Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia) incorporated elements that are still used in modern submarines. In 1866, "Flach" was built at the Chilean government's request by Karl August Flach (1821–1866), a German engineer and immigrant (from Hamburg to Chile along with wife Johanna Luise Henriette, née Müller, and son Heinrich). It was the fifth submarine built in the world and, along with a second submarine, was intended to defend the port of Valparaiso against attack by the Spanish Navy during the Chincha Islands War. Countries conducted many experiments on effective tactics and weapons for submarines, which led to their large impact in World War I.
- About: Submarine - DBpedia
- Gray, Edwyn (2003). Disasters of the Deep – A Comprehensive Survey of Submarine Accidents & Disasters. Leo Cooper, p. 18. ISBN 0-85052-987-5.