Underwater Boats: All About Submarines
What Is a Submarine?
A submarine is a vessel that can move on the water's surface and independently propel itself under the water as well. Submarines have a completely different design from other ships due to this ability. Although submarines were first used during the Civil War in the 1860s, it wasn't until World War I that they became an import tool in warfare, when Germany used submarines to attack merchant ships on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Submarines played an even larger role during World War II and were used by both the Axis and Allied powers in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During the 1960s, the nuclear-powered submarine played an important role in the Cold War. Unlike earlier submarines, nuclear-powered subs were able to stay underwater for much longer and could launch nuclear missiles from underneath the water's surface. Today, submarines still play an important role in strategic planning for militaries around the world.
- How Does a Submarine Work?
- Submarines and Deep Technology
- How Submarines Work
- United States Submarine Capabilities
- How Deep Can a Submarine Dive?
- Submarine Escape and Rescue: A Brief History
- Submarine 101
- Life Aboard a U.S. Submarine
- Sailing on a Submarine
Parts of a Submarine
Submarines are made up of a variety of parts that help the ship move on the surface and under the water. They also power life support functions and let the ship attack enemies. The propeller spins to push the ship through the water. The engine compartment is where the ship's power supply is. Modern subs have a nuclear reactor that turns the turbine that drives the propeller to spin. Batteries make up 25% of the overall weight of a submarine and provide power support and ballast. Torpedo launch tubes are used to launch weapons against enemies. Sonar detects mines, fishing lines, and other hazards to the ship. The diving plane controls the ship's buoyancy and helps the ship get underwater. The periscope and electronic monitors help the crew see what's around (and above) them in the water. And rudders are on the bottom of the submarine to help it turn.
- Introduction to Submarine Design
- Parts of Submarine and Their Functions
- Parts of a Submarine
- The Submarine Design Process
- Aspects of Submarine Design and Hydrodynamics
- Five Most Influential Submarine Designs Ever
- Submarine Hull Design
- Design and Construction of Submarines
- Submarine Design and Development
Submarines in Wars
There are four types of underwater warfare: mine warfare, mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and submarine warfare. The first submarine used in war was during the Civil War, when the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate ship, sank a Union boat. The Hunley was eventually sunk, and all eight members of its crew were lost. The Germans used submarines called U-boats to sink the ships of their enemies during World War I. They also sank the ships of countries not involved in the war. It was the sinking of the Lusitania, a civilian boat, that helped draw the United States into the conflict. Germany again used U-boats to attack boats in the Atlantic shipping lanes during World War II; however, the United States used this same technique against Germany's ally Japan in the Pacific. After World War II, nuclear-powered submarines became an important part of how nations showed their military power. Today, militaries still use submarines to patrol oceans around the world.
- Life on Board a British Nuclear Submarine
- Submarine Warfare
- Civil War Submarine
- Submarines in World War II
- Five Best Submarines of the Cold War
- Submarine Warfare Played Major Role in World War II Victory
- Submarine Warfare
- The Silent Service: Submarines in the Pacific
- Unrestricted U-Boat Warfare
- Submarines and Submarine Warfare
Online Tours of Submarines
- Tour of the USS Pampanito : Listen to the podcast that accompanies this virtual tour to learn more about a World War II-era submarine.
- Come Take a Tour of America's Newest Nuclear Submarine: Before the USS South Dakota went into service in February 2019, a video tour was filmed of the nuclear submarine.
- U8 Virtual Trail: The wreck of the U8, one of the first U-boats built by the German Navy, is a protected historic site. Typically, only very experienced divers can tour the remains of the vessel. This online tour opens up the experience to visitors from around the globe.
- 360-Degree Virtual Reality Tour of Submarine HMAS Onslow : John Dikkenberg, ex-commander of the Onslow, leads this tour of the submarine, which is currently on display at Australia's National Maritime Museum.
- Tour the USS Springfield : The tour of this Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarine was put together by PBS as part of their NOVA series.
- Welcome to HMAS Ovens in 3D : This British Cold War-era submarine was part of the Oberon class of vessels.
- USS Silversides : A variety of filmed tours and oral histories are available for viewing focusing on this Gato-class World War II submarine.
- 3D VR: H.L. Hunley Museum : The Civil War-era vessel that was the first sub to sink a ship has been re-created in this 3D experience.
- Drebbel's Submersible Ship: The first navigable submarine was designed by Cornelius Drebbel. At the time, he was a member of Britain's Royal Navy. His submarine successfully went under and surfaced multiple times in the early 19th century.
- USS Nautilus : The USS Nautilus was the world's first nuclear submarine. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1954 and was the first submarine to travel under the North Pole.
- USS Triton : The Triton enhanced the United States's image as a military power with its ability to travel at high speeds for long amounts of time. It was one of the first generation of nuclear-powered submarines.
- SSBN-598 George Washington-Class FBM Submarines: The USS George Washington was the first nuclear-powered submarine built by the United States.
- U-31: The U-31 was commissioned by Germany in 1936 and served into 1940. During that time, it sank 13 ships and damaged one more. It was sunk by the British military in March 1940.
- USS Balao: The first of the 1,526-ton submarines the Navy built for service during World War II, the Baleo was an important part of Naval strategy in the Pacific. After World War II, the sub was recommissioned in 1952 and stayed in service until 1963, playing a part in the United States's Cold War military show of strength.
- HMS Voracious : Britain's Royal Navy launched the Voracious in 1943, and the sub spent World War II patrolling and battling German submarines.
- HMS Dreadnought, the U.K.'s First Nuclear Submarine : The Dreadnaught was the Royal Navy's first nuclear-powered submarine. It was built under an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom during the Cold War.
- USS Gato (SS-212) : The Gato played an important role in hampering Japan's ability to move ships safely around the Pacific during World War II.
- H.L. Hunley : The first submarine to sink a ship was the Hunley, operated by the Confederate navy during the Civil War, in 1864. It sank the USS Housatonic.