Seventy-five years ago the British Royal Navy rather reluctantly launched its first submarine. The move?
Seventy-five years ago the British Royal Navy rather reluctantly launched its first submarine. The move was reluctant because submarines were regarded by the Admiralty as being somewhat underhand and decidedly un-English.
SYNOPSIS: Today, the Royal Navy has changed its mind and has now sponsored a special exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It marks the launching of the first submarine in 1902.
This E-29 was the type being used during World War One. In those days the British were still using their boats more as anti-submarine devices than as actual weapons. The first British submarine could dive to 100 feet (30.5 metres) and travel at a maximum of five knots for only 15 minutes. Evolution in design was surprisingly slow until 1944 when the Germans perfected their U-Boat which could "breathe" without surfacing.
The exhibition is also a tribute to the naval victories of British submarines and the resulting heroes who were decorated with the Victoria Cross. These men all fought on submarines during World War Two. The Royal Navy's Submarine Command has now concluded that the Germans could have won this war had they introduced their U-boats earlier.
These badges represent all the nuclear subs in commission today. The Royal Navy has also allowed eight of its 32-strong submarine flotilla to visit British ports this week to mark the anniversary.
This model is of the HMS Dreadnought, the navy's first nuclear-powered fleet submarine. The Dreadnought was completed 13 years ago and has a speed of 28 knots underwater and six torpedo tubes.
For most landlubbers visiting the exhibition this early submarine lavatory holds most interest. It is from a T-boat, in commission in 1940. The instructions on the brass plat detail the 11 separate operations that had to be performed to flush the lavatory. Any mistake with the operation led to nasty consequences.
The illegal Jolly Roger flag, photos of white mice used to detect a foul atmosphere, and a bottle of whiskey unclaimed by a missing submarine crew some 10 years ago are other interesting exhibits.
Britain currently has four nuclear-powered balli???-missile boats, nine fleet submarines and 19 diesel electric patrol boats. So the navy believes it has come a long way from when the submarine depot ship HMS Forth, still in use, was first commissioned in 1938. But Britain still has a log way to go before it rules beneath the waves -- the Soviet Union boats 390 boats, including 80 fleet submarines, and launches a new one every five weeks.