The 6 most mysterious and legendary submarines in history
US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — What were the predecessors of the Swedish super-submarine? The story is full of submarines with an exciting fate. Svenska Dagbladet talks about the five most unusual and legendary submarines ever sailing in the oceans.
Among them – a French submarine warship, a top-secret Japanese giant submarine and a terrifying participant in the American Civil War.
1. The French submarine “warship” disappeared without a trace
The French submarine Surcouf was launched in 1927, and then it was the largest and heaviest submarine in the world. Its length was 110 meters, the crew consisted of 118 people, and it could sink to a depth of about 80 meters.
The then experts called it “an underwater warship,” because the ship was equipped with two 23-centimeter cannons. In addition, Surcouf was equipped with many anti-aircraft machine guns and torpedoes.
The submarine even had a place for an airplane and a motor boat.
From the very beginning, the unusual ship suffered from a number of serious problems. The submarine took two whole minutes to dive 12 meters, which means that it was vulnerable to air attacks.
When World War II broke out and Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the Surcouf was put on alert. In the summer of 1940, Hitler reached France, and the French submarine sailed to British Plymouth. At that time, Surcouf was part of the Free French Forces led by General Charles de Gaulle.
What just did not happen to this submarine during the Second World War! Her main task was to transport dignitaries around the globe.
On the night of February 18, 1942, something strange happened. The crew of the American cargo ship Thompson Likes, which was just sailing through the Bermuda Triangle, reported that they had stumbled upon a large object that was visible not high above the surface. Many believed that this was “Surcouf”, which never appeared again.
Around the French submarine, many conspiracy theories arose. One of the most famous was that it was sunk by an American fighter, while she transferred basic necessities to a German submarine.
She was never found, and the fate of Surcouf is still a mystery.
“Surcouf” was huge, but history knows the submarines and more.
2. The Japanese giant hid three bombers
By January 1945, the winds of war were no longer fair for imperial Japan. In complete desperation, the Japanese armed forces devised several strategies to try to reverse a hopeless situation. In addition to the famous kamikaze pilots, Japan had a Sentoku I-401 submarine.
Even by today’s standards, this submarine was a real giant. The submarine with a length of 122 meters contained three bombers. Aircraft could fly into the air from the deck of this world’s only submarine aircraft carrier.
The crew consisted of 144 sailors, and the submarine was submerged 100 meters.
She was the third of her kind. Her sisters I-400 and I-402 were launched in 1944.
The main objective of the ship was to attack the mainland of the United States. After the Americans bombed Tokyo several times, many high-ranking Japanese officers began to cry out for revenge. According to the plan, I-401 was supposed to participate in a biological attack on San Diego. Back in the 1930s, Japanese scientists killed Chinese prisoners of war with the bubonic plague, and it was they who wanted to drop them on the west coast of the United States using aircraft from the bowels of I-401.
The intention to start a biological war against the United States was never realized, because the Japanese command was afraid of the revenge of the Americans.
Instead, I-401 was tasked with bombing the gateways of the Panama Canal, preventing Americans from moving freely between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. However, after the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese fleet decided that attacks on the Panama Canal would not affect the outcome of the war. But giant submarines were needed to protect Japan itself.
When Emperor Hirohito, after the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, recognized the surrender of Japan, I-401 surrendered to the American submarine Segundo.
In 1946, the US Navy flooded the Sentoku along with many other Japanese ships to prevent technology from falling into the hands of the USSR.
In 2005, a group of American scientists found its skeleton at a depth of 820 meters.
3. Confederate submarine equipped with a pole
The war between the northern and southern states was in full swing when the inventor Horace Lawson Hunley presented his revolutionary brainchild – the submarine “H.L. Hanley ”, which moved under water, hiding from the eyes of the enemy.
The ship was built for the Confederation (southern US states).
It became the first submarine in the world to sink an enemy ship – and, probably, generally one of the first full-fledged submarines. Diving bells have existed for several hundred years, but “H.L. Hanley “moved with a screw and had a cigar-shaped shape.
The interior of the submarine, where seven crew members were crowded together, manually twisting the screw, undoubtedly favored claustrophobia. There was also a seat on board for the officer who ran the ship.
The submarine was equipped with a pole of 6.7 meters in length, at the end of which explosives were fixed. She had to detonate in a collision with the hull of a conventional ship.
Serious problems began during the test. One day, the captain accidentally plunged with his hatches open, and five of the seven crew members drowned. In 1863, during another test, Hanley himself died along with seven sailors. The submarine was picked up by the Confederate fleet, and they continued to prepare it for service.
On the night of February 17, 1864, it was time for the first assignment. The fleet of the northern states has long tightly blocked the city of Charleston. Under cover of night “H.L. Hanley ”approached the Housatonic warship. The guards noticed the submarine, and began to shell it with rifles. Despite this, “H.L. Hanley “managed to get close to the” Housatonic”. An explosion followed and the ship sank quickly.
The rest is covered in darkness. One thing is clear: from the assignment “H.L. Hanley ”never returned. She sank with the crew – perhaps during the explosion. The Confederation, however, claimed that the submarine sent “signals” in the form of blue light, which could mean that “Kh.L. Hanley “sank not because of the explosion.
In 2000, 136 years later, the submarine was lifted from the bottom of the ocean. Today “H.L. Hanley ”is located in the Historic Center of Warren Lash in South Carolina.
But it’s time to talk about the submarine, which during its career has sunk much more ships.
4. The horror of the Atlantic Ocean – Hitler’s pride
Few submarines during World War II spoke as much as German U-47. And with her captain, Günther Prien, no less legends are associated.
It was a type VIIB submarine, which included the workhorses of the German submarine fleet. U-47 was adopted in 1938. Its crew consisted of 45 sailors and officers. During the tests, the submarine sank 230 meters, but, presumably, could go to a depth of up to 295 meters. U-47 was equipped with torpedo launchers on the bow and stern, as well as a gun for surface attacks.
U-47 left the port of Wilhelmshaven on August 18, 1939 – more than two weeks before Nazi Germany invaded Poland. She was sent to sea in case France and Great Britain decide to keep their promise to the Poles.
On September 3, Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany. Shortly afterwards, U-47 received orders to attack Allied ships in the Bay of Biscay. And now, one after another, the merchant ships Bosnia, Rio Carlo and Hertevon were flooded.
The second task of U-47 cemented her fame. The British naval base at Scapa Flow was very well guarded. The largest naval ship of the British fleet was anchored here. The entrance to the bay was mined and blocked by an anti-submarine network. Coastal artillery and anti-submarine ships were always ready. Despite this, U-47 at night on October 18, 1939 managed to get to the shore unnoticed. At some point, the silhouette of a boat was lit by the headlights of a taxi car, but the driver apparently did not notice anything.
U-47 aimed at the Royal Oak warship, a giant weighing 30,450 tons, built during the First World War. The submarine fired two torpedoes towards the 189-meter ship. But they just hit his keel, without doing any harm: the detonators did not work. Captain Prien reloaded the guns, and the next three torpedoes fulfilled their mission. Fifteen minutes later, the Royal Oak sank. More than 800 members of his crew were killed.
At first, the British did not even realize that the naval base was being attacked – they suggested that the ship exploded due to some kind of accident. And when they realized what was happening, U-47 quietly left the bay into the open sea.
The intimidation of intimidation was priceless, and dictator Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, immediately took advantage of this incident. For one night, Prien became a national hero, his report on the feat was shown in the cinemas of the Third Reich. The captain was awarded the highest military order of Nazi Germany – the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. The remaining crew members were awarded the Iron Cross of the first degree.
During the tenth raid, U-47 disappeared without a trace. One popular theory is that it was blown up by a mine or hit one of its own torpedoes. She was never found.
5. Drowned everyone – including myself
The Teng was one of the most famous submarines of the American Navy. Many said that during World War II it sank more ships than any other U.S. submarine. The Teng operated in the Pacific, and its main task was to destroy Japanese merchant ships.
The submarine belonged to the Balao type, the class of the largest submarines of the American fleet. Theoretically, she could plunge 187 meters, avoiding damage due to water pressure.
On the night of October 11, the Teng set its sights on two Japanese merchant ships and sunk them. Two weeks later, the submarine came across a large Japanese convoy guarded by many anti-submarine ships. Under cover of darkness, the Teng managed to get into the very middle of the convoy. Goals were chosen carefully and correctly – and now many Japanese ships were burning.
On October 25, the Teng launched its last torpedo, but instead of heading towards the enemy ship, it spun around and hit the submarine itself in the stern. “Teng” helplessly sank and hit him at a depth of 55 meters.
However, 30 crew members managed to survive by some miracle, locking themselves in the front compartment of the boat, in which leaks did not have time to form. The sailors destroyed the secret documents and prepared to surface. But suddenly they heard the sound of screws. This Japanese anti-submarine ship was looking for the Teng. For several minutes the submarine was attacked by depth charges, but not one of them hit the target, and the Japanese ship left.
The crew prepared to leave the boat through the hatch in the bow. To survive the 55-meter climb, the sailors used oxygen tanks, which, fortunately, were also located in front of the boat. One by one, they left the damaged submarine, but only five survived. They were picked up by a Japanese ship, and they remained captive until the very end of the war.
There is another submarine with an unusual hatch – the Swedish design.
6. Much debate over new Swedish super-submarine
Submarine “Saab” A26 is called unsinkable. It was designed to replace obsolete submarines of the Södermanland class. The A26 runs on a Stirling engine – according to Saab, one of the quietest available on the market right now. The submarine can dive to a depth of about 200 meters and is primarily adapted for Swedish waters.
Many details of the ship’s construction are kept secret, but a debate broke out around the lock in its front. According to one expert with whom Svenska Dagbladet was talking, it’s impossible to use this gateway effectively. When the submarine goes to the bottom, it raises a cloud of sand and clay. If you open the hatch, dirt can get into it, because of which it will be difficult to close it again.
Contact us: [email protected]