Early submarine designs (rare, unusual, prototypes and evolutionary dead ends)

covert_shores

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I think this topic deserves a thread. There's a fair amount of info out there (especially if you read Russian or Spanish) but always interesting. I'm thinking of all the early submarines, up to WW1 but excluding the major classes.

Here's one I made earlier..

Naletova submarine

During the Siege of Port Arthur by the Imperial Japanese, the Russian defenders sought innovative ways to turn the tables on the enemy. The Siege of Port Arthur (August 1, 1904 – January 2, 1905), the deep-water port and Russian naval base at the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula in Manchuria, was the longest and most violent land battle of the Russo-Japanese War.

http://www.hisutton.com/Desperate%20measures%20-Russian%20midget%20submarine%20of%201904.html

And a hand built submarine seemed like the answer! With the Russian battleships almost all sunk (The battleship Sevastopol was the notable exception, surviving five 11 inch shells and 124 torpedoes!) the navy was willing to consider newfangled Submarines which were growing in popularity at the time. A strong parallel to the Confederate defenders of Charleston can be made. Submarines, at the time uncertain weapons of war, represented a relatively cheap way to locally produce craft which could take on the enemy blockade. Submarines were however the preserve of creative and often eccentric engineers and although the Russian Navy tolerated the construction of the 25 ton Naletova submarine, they were reluctant to fund it. So it was built as a private enterprise by its designer, intent on proving his ideas

Not everything went to plan. During construction it soon became apparent that the hull was too small to contain a practical underwater propulsion system, so the plan switched to use the boats as a semi-submersible, running with just the top of the hull above the water. In this respect it was similar to the CSS David Class ‘torpedoes’ (nowadays torpedo-ram) used by the Confederate Navy in the Civil War.

And a hand built submarine seemed like the answer! With the Russian battleships almost all sunk (The battleship Sevastopol was the notable exception, surviving five 11 inch shells and 124 torpedoes!) the navy was willing to consider newfangled Submarines which were growing in popularity at the time. A strong parallel to the Confederate defenders of Charleston can be made. Submarines, at the time uncertain weapons of war, represented a relatively cheap way to locally produce craft which could take on the enemy blockade. Submarines were however the preserve of creative and often eccentric engineers and although the Russian Navy tolerated the construction of the 25 ton Naletova submarine, they were reluctant to fund it. So it was built as a private enterprise by its designer, intent on proving his ideas.

Not everything went to plan. During construction it soon became apparent that the hull was too small to contain a practical underwater propulsion system, so the plan switched to use the boats as a semi-submersible, running with just the top of the hull above the water. In this respect it was similar to the CSS David Class ‘torpedoes’ (nowadays torpedo-ram) used by the Confederate Navy in the Civil War.

As a major step up on the Confederate types, armament was to be two German made Schwartzkopff 14” (350mm) torpedoes, or four mines. The Schwartzkopff torpedo was a copy of the British Whitehead type but featured bronze construction to improve corrosive resistance, which partially remedied the challenges of externally mounted torpedoes.



As a major step up on the Confederate types, armament was to be two German made Schwartzkopff 14” (350mm) torpedoes, or four mines. The Schwartzkopff torpedo was a copy of the British Whitehead type but featured bronze construction to improve corrosive resistance, which partially remedied the challenges of externally mounted torpedoes.
Naletova submarine

When Russian forces surrendered the sub was scuttled to prevent it falling into Japanese hands, but was later recovered by the victors.


Sent from iPhone: please excuse typos
 

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covert_shores

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Another Imperial Russian sub, "Sturgeon" (Осётр). It was actually built in America in 1902 and named the Protector. The builder was Simon Lake Submarines" of Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was intended for the US Navy but was not adopted so it was sold Russia in 1904. It was sent to Kronstadt by ship where it joined the Imperial Russian Navy as Sturgeon. In 1905 it delivered to Vladivostok in the pacific.

It seems to have had wheels!

Type of construction - single-hull.
Displacement underwater / above water 136/174 tons.
Dimensions: length 19.8 m, a diameter of 3.35 m.
Material: steel.
Maximum depth - 30 m.
Engine: 2 gasoline engines with 240 hp, plus 2 120 hp electric motors
Speed: 8.5 knots on surface and 5.6 knots submerged
Armament: 3 x 450-mm torpedo tubes (two in the nose, one in the stern, 6 torpedo).
Crew: 12

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Brickmuppet

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Yes the Protector class had wheels and a lock-out chamber for divers as Lake envisioned using it for destroying underwater fortifications and cables. IIRC that although it lost out to Hollands Octopus Lake very nearly made a sale to the US Army, which was going to use it in part as an underwater work boat maintaining underwater defenses while submerged.

Do you have any info on his later boat Defender?
 

Silencer1

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I suggest to rename the first sub in thread from "Naletova" to "Submarine, designed by M.P. Nalyotov", or "Nalyotov's submarine", as "Naletova" isn't submarine own designation, but surname of it's designer and builder"

Mikhail Petrovitch Nalyotov (1869-1938) was among the first of Russian submarine designers.
After Port-Arthur failure, he designed "Crab" mine-laying sub.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_submarine_Krab_(1912)

Thanks for sharing of info and beautiful illustration!

P.S. In some Russian sources, there were mentions, that submarine has been named "Port-Arturets" (inhabitant of Port-Arthur)
 

covert_shores

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An excellent illustration of the Protector. From Submarines: The history and evolution of underwater fighting vessels Hardcover – 1975, by Antony Preston. http://www.amazon.com/Submarines-history-evolution-underwater-fighting/dp/0706404297 - (see next post)

Notice that the rudder is drawn differently on various illustrations and was actually different on the real boat, per the photo above. Although it's possible that it was modified after arrival in Russia.
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Arjen

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The same image appears in 'Submarines - The History and Evolution of Underwater Fighting Vessels' by Antony Preston, Octopus Books Limited, 1975. All illustrations are by John Batchelor.
 

covert_shores

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Thanks! Amazon link added to previous post. Hopefully benefits the author. I have added that book to my (admittedly long) future reading list.
 

Arjen

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At the time, Octopus Books (or other imprints from the same owners) reused parts of its own publications to make new ones. Sometimes this amounted to collecting previous titles in one collecting volume, or it led to parts of older books being reused in/as chapters in new books. The red line in the upper part of reply #4's image is probably part of the image's frame - in the 70s, Octopus Books had a habit of publishing cheapish paperbacks with images in brightly coloured frames. Preston's book was a more substantial, A4-sized hardback which didn't have framed images. I'm fairly sure the internet image was scanned from one of the paperbacks.
 

papacavy

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The crew in the Protector illustration look too neat and relaxed. They should be sweaty and greasy and haggard. Those early boats were far from comfortable.

BTW, a couple of years ago I started researching a book, with a local co-author, about the "lost history of submarines from antiquity to World War One". The project stalled when we couldn't find a publisher - now I'm considering restarting the project (after I finish a couple novels first). Like my previous work, "Phantoms of the Skies", "Phantoms of the Seas" (don't worry, I will have a much better and descriptive title), there will be a section of American patent plates detailing some of the far-out concepts from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

There is also a story (still unsubstantiated and which I consider more of a certain individuals bragging) about an 1815(?) effort to rescue Napolean from his last island exile with a submarine based on Robert Fulton's 1805 design.

May be a fun project to interest some of the members of this forum?
 

covert_shores

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papacavy said:
The crew in the Protector illustration look too neat and relaxed. They should be sweaty and greasy and haggard. Those early boats were far from comfortable.

BTW, a couple of years ago I started researching a book, with a local co-author, about the "lost history of submarines from antiquity to World War One". The project stalled when we couldn't find a publisher - now I'm considering restarting the project (after I finish a couple novels first). Like my previous work, "Phantoms of the Skies", "Phantoms of the Seas" (don't worry, I will have a much better and descriptive title), there will be a section of American patent plates detailing some of the far-out concepts from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

There is also a story (still unsubstantiated and which I consider more of a certain individuals bragging) about an 1815(?) effort to rescue Napolean from his last island exile with a submarine based on Robert Fulton's 1805 design.

May be a fun project to interest some of the members of this forum?
Sounds great, very interesting. You already have illustrative skills but if you needed custom illustrations I know where you could get a heap ;)
 

Avimimus

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I thought I'd pass along this link:
http://www.tvre.org/en/submarine-external-torpedo-tubes

It explains some of the early techniques used for laying torpedoes (including ones mounted externally to the hull). It is pretty neat how some of these early submarines could have seven torpedoes at the ready despite their diminutive size. Of course, accuracy and effective engagement range suffered (not to mention exposing the torpedoes to the elements).
 

hesham

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Hi,

a rare pictures and drawings to Simon Lake concepts,please note the competition in 1893 on # 4.
 

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H2He4

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There is a book published in 1908 which might prove of interest to this Topic:-
The Story of the Submarine
author: Lieut-col and brevet-col Cyril Field
with upwards of 100 illustrations by the author

available for download from
www.archive.org/details/storyofsubmarine00fielrich
 

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