Apr 11

Happy Birthday, U.S. Submarine Force

Monday, April 11, 2011 1:13 AM


April, 11th 1900
The US Navy accepts the design of it’s first official submarine the USS Holland, named after the engineer and designer John Philip Holland. Below are a couple of short articles from Proceedings professional notes section at the time of the Navy’s acceptance of the Holland.

From Proceedings 1898 #86
The naval board appointed to inspect and report on the performance of the Holland submarine boat has reported that in the recent tests, held on November 6, in New York harbor, she fulfilled all the requirements laid down by the department.

These requirements were that she should have three torpedoes in place in the boat, she should have all arrangements for charging torpedoes without delay, and that she should be prepared to fire a torpedo at full speed both when submerged and at the surface. Lastly, the Holland was to make a run for two miles under water, starting from one buoy, running submerged for a mile to a second buoy, rising to discharge a torpedo at a mark near the second buoy, and then after diving again return submerged to the starting point.

In his report, Chief Engineer John Lowe, U. S. N. who was specially ordered to observe and report the preliminary trials, says: “I report my belief, after full examination, that the Holland is a successful and veritable submarine torpedo-boat, capable of making a veritable attack upon the enemy unseen and undetectable, and that, therefore, she is an engine of warfare of terrible potency which the government must necessarily adopt into its service.”

He further says that “this government should at once purchase the Holland and not let the secrets of the invention get out of the United States, and that the government ought to create a submarine torpedo boat station for the purpose of practice and drilling of crews, and that we need right off and right now fifty submarine torpedo vessels in Long Island Sound to protect New York, preserve the peace, and to give potency to our diplomacy.”

While we cannot agree with Mr. Lowe in his opinion that we need and presumably should build a whole fleet of torpedo-boats “right off and right now,” we do think that the Plunger, a larger boat of the Holland type now building for the government, should be immediately completed and further trials or the system carried out.-Scientific American.

Proceedings 1899 #92

It is reported that this boat recently made a run of one and a half miles under water, remaining under the surface for twelve minutes. This is the longest run under water which the boat has yet made, and it is stated that she behaved herself very satisfactorily in every respect. A few of the leading particulars of this vessel will be of interest. She is 5 feet long, 10 feet 3 inches in diameter, and of 75 tons displacement. The steel hull is cigar-shaped, and the boat is propelled by a single propeller. The motive power equipment consists of a 50 horse-power gasoline engine and dynamo, the latter being directly coupled through a clutch at each end of its shaft to the propeller shaft and to the gas engine respectively.

A storage battery of 60 special type chloride accumulators is installed, the total weight of the battery being 45,000 pounds. The cells are constructed of steel, lined both inside and out with lead, and arc stated to be capable of discharging at 300 amperes for six hours or at 1000 amperes for half an hour. The arrangement of gearing permits of the propeller being run by the engine or of the cells being charged, except, of course, when the boat is submerged, when the motive power is supplied from the cells to the dynamo as a motor. Enough fuel is carried in the cellular bottom to propel the boat on the surface for 1000 miles at eight knots. The dynamo is 2 50 nominal horse-power machine, weighing 3500 pounds; the armature speed is 800 revolutions per minute; there are two commutators and a double-wound armature; an overload to 150 horse-power is possible without detriment. The normal speed of the Holland is nine knots, at an expenditure of 50 horse-power. A 10 horse-power motor with a 7 horse-power Ingersoll air compressor is installed for supplying air at 2500 pounds pressure to the reservoirs. The compressed air is used to propel the torpedoes, emptying the water ballast tanks, steering and for supplying respiration.

A 1/2 horse-power motor is used to force the foul air into the water when the craft is submerged. and another of the same capacity to ventilate the battery when charging. The boat is caused to sink by an alteration of the pitch of horizontal diving rudders. When above the surface the craft is steered by observation through the port holes of the conning tower; when below the surface, or nearly so, by compass or by a camera-Lucida arrangement fitted in a tube. The Holland’s armament consists of an 18-inch torpedo tube opening at the bow of the boat, and three whitehead automobile torpedoes are carried aboard. There is also an 8-inch aerial torpedo gun at the bow, and pointing aft a submarine gun, both of the latter capable of discharging 50-pound dynamite shells at high velocities. All the guns operate by compressed air, and can be discharged when the boat is submerged. The crew consists of five men.-The Engineer.
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