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GW Hovgaards Submarine


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Jul 18, 2010
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I found this rather interesting PDF on what could have been Denmark's first submarine.

It's in Danish, so here's the Google translate translation.

"Description of Captain V. Hovgaard Project for a submarine. 1900 "
Or what could have been Navy's first submarine ...
By Søren Nørby, cand. mag.
E: Soeren@noerby.net
W: www.noerby.net
Orlogsmuseets store contains a wealth of interesting objects, images and projects
from the Navy's long history. On one of the shelves is such a beautiful hard-bound folder
with the telling title: "Description of Captain V. Hovgaard Project for a submarine.
1900 ".
For readers interested in the Navy and submarines history in particular,
the name George W. Hovgaard not be unknown, but since no sources previously described
project from 1900, I will here give a description of the vessel in Hovgaard
usual style in many respects was quite revolutionary.
George William Hovgaard
George William Hovgaard was søkadet in 1875 and, four years later was appointed søløjtnantseksamen
with the highest score to date was achieved by the final exam.
He was awarded the prestigious "Gerner Medal" named after the factory master
Henrik Gerner, who served as chief designer at Ship building at the Naval Base from 1772
until his death in 1787.
Hovgaard was a great technical talent, and in 1882-1883 sent the fleet led him
Zealand frigate to the Caribbean where he, along with observer CF Pechüle made
observations of Venus from an observatory on St. Croix.
After returning the Navy sent him in 1883 for the Royal Navy College in Greenwich,
where he was trained as a naval architect. When he was three years later returned to Denmark
he was such contribute, together with the Head of the Naval Dockyard Engineering Office
F.L.M. Ortmannn, drawing cruiser Valkyrie, which took place at the Naval Dockyard in 1888.
Although the cruiser was a well-designed warship that got 35 years
service in the Danish fleet, it was now not Valkyrie that Hovgaard
should be remembered for.
George William Hovgaard (1857-1950).
In the late nineteenth century, several of the world
naval powers to experiment with ships that could sail completely
or partially below sea level. Hovgaard threw his early
love these new underwater sailing vessels and was
Once the standard bearer for the introduction of such vessels in the Danish
Even years after his stay in Britain, he published in London
a small English-language book, "Submarine Boats" in which he presented
Some arguments for the new vessels excellence and a finished project to
a torpedo boat that could dive beneath the surface if it were threatened.
Hovgaard drawing of the submarine from 1887. The project's main innovation was the bridge that
insured vessel head better visibility. At the same time suggested Hovgaard the vessel to be equipped with accumulators
who could drive it forward when it was submerged. One innovation that the century and almost 100 years
to become the preferred propulsion of submarines, when they operated under the sea.
What Hovgaard argued was not a submarine, as we know them today, but more
a dykkebåd who normally operate on the surface and only dive when it would attack
superior surface ships. Vessel's role was defensive and it was mainly
participate in the defense of the capital of Denmark. Lieutenant main point was that just
the fear that there would be one or more underwater or diving, both in a given marine waters,
would get hostile naval units to completely stay away from the area. The forward-looking
lieutenant came here with an argument to this day still has great validity.
Despite the project's vision was not realized, but the book did the submarine interested
in the whole world saw the Danish naval officer.
At this time Hovgaard already become one of the main proponents of the Danish,
what became known as "la jeune école" (The young school). Its basic idea was that the main goal in
a naval war was not enemy warships but his merchant fleet. A war against these was the
most effective way to compel the counterparty to the negotiating table, because it directly attacks
enemy's economy and thereby undermined his ability to wage war.
At the same time believed the proponents of la jeune école that large armored ship time was nearing
over. Torpedo appeared in these years proved to be a very promising weapons, and proponents
believed the future would offer fleets of small torpedo boats that could
hiding near the coasts, and from there carry deadly torpedo attacks against attacking
armored ships. The large armored ships problem was that, despite their big guns and thick
armor, there should usually only a single torpedo take to lower the ship.
Fleets should therefore consist of torpedoes and submarines that could defend the home shores
while a fleet of cruisers with a large radius of action was to attack enemy merchant ships.
As the name suggests more than originated the ideas behind la jeune école from France, and here
you were in 1886 went so far that the newly appointed Naval Minister had suspended the building
of great battleships in favor of a massive investment in torpedo boats, submarines and cruisers.
Back in Denmark Hovgaard continued its work and the new underwater sailing
vessels, and in 1888 he had a long article in Journal of Søvæsen titled
"Surface boats." The article described vessel was popularly said neither fish nor fowl,
either submarine or torpedo. The problem was that while the torpedo had been developed
into a usable weapon had been developed a number modvåben. Express Excess
guns, searchlights and torpedo destroyers had led to the torpedo boats to date
tactics of mass attacks would lead to significant losses among torpedo boats. Losses
according Hovgaard best be avoided if the torpedo boat could dive completely or partially down
below sea level. He therefore suggested a "Overfaldebaad" 1 - a ship where the bulk
the hull should be located below sea level.
"Overflaadebaaden" could go 13-14 knots when it was at its greatest depth, and a few knots
higher when the ballast tanks were empty. Hovgaard thought only, it would be necessary to armor the parts of
hull that protruded above the surface. The thick black line with marked locations on the vessel's two chimneys and
1 Hovgaard himself was not satisfied with the word "Overfladebaad", and pointed out that "it would be desirable if
Someone wanted to suggest a better term ". (TFS 1888, p. 390).
command tower were all put on 3 "armor that could stop a 57mm grenade at 1100 meters.
Forrest elevation is the command tower, which gave the vessel's chief visibility when sailing with full ballast tanks.
By facilitating the displacement would be the manager's eye height 1.37 m, while he knows nedskænket voyage would have a
eye altitude of just 76 cm above the water surface.
As with the project from 1887 was "Overfladebaaden" does not materialize, but it was not
Hovgaard to lose courage or confidence to the new underwater sailing vessels. Meanwhile, continued
development outside Denmark, and in the early 1890s was the accumulator
invented. It meant that the vessels were now able to store power for use when operating submerged.
This was the submarine agree another big problem overcome. The last problem
how in the submerged submarine kept track of their own position and target ditto, was
overcome in the late 1890s when the French Navy invented the periscope.
When released into the twentieth century were the three main problems thus overcome
and in 1899 was published Hovgaard again an article in Journal of Søvæsen. Here log
He again called for the Navy should buy or build a submarine.
The argument for submarines has remained the major threat to torpedo boats, which
development of rapid-fire cannon, was. At this point, the torpedoes fired
below 1000 meters in order to be able to count on to hit its intended
objectives, the distance was torpedo boats very vulnerable to the rapid-fire guns.
In his article in 1899 struck Hovgaard that "Machine Artillery and Torpedobaadsjagerne
[Has] now as good as impossible Torpedobaadsangreb in clear weather during the day. " At the same time
was the invention of the electric light, which include was used to powerful floodlights, "high
Grad hampered attack in clear weather at night. "
The submarine was mentioned as playing a role in Naval defense of the capital of Denmark,
and Hovgaard stated that "The presence of these boats will do as good as impossible
The stay in the sound of a hostile fleet, and thus better than mines and forts
could avert the blockade and bombardment. "2
The basic idea was that even if the enemy forces would prove able to circumvent søforterne
and they planted mines, it could by no means secure against a submerged and therefore
invisible submarine. By giving the submarines a larger radius of action would
it even, according Hovgaard be possible to use them in defense of the invasion Zealand
The submarine, which Hovgaard put up to the article in Journal of Søvæsen in 1899
was approx. 250 ton, 40 meters long and able to operate at a depth of approx. 30 meters.
The relatively low depth pondered the fact that the submarine as mentioned were designed to operate
in the Sound, that few places were over 30 meters deep.
Although Hovgaard the article appeared with many arguments for his submarine project was
he realizes that the whole idea of ​​underwater sailing vessels were many in the Navy opposed.
At the end of the article, he suggested, therefore, to build a small experimental submarine, which was
show about the thoughts and ideas, which include Hovgaard championed at all feasible.
Hovgaard again referred to lessons from abroad, when he wrote, "We have seen how
Mon both in France and in America have found it desirable to build a smaller
2 TfS 1899, p. 549th
Both experimental. As the expense of such a boat will be relatively moderate, it seems
it to be beneficial also for us to walk the path to first build a Forsøgsbaad. "
The idea of ​​a forsøgsbåd was also the basis for the final project for a submarine,
Hovgaard which in 1900 handed over to the Naval Dockyard.
While Hovgaard delivered his
project, the U.S. Navy to
acquire its first submarine. Holland, who
submarine was named after its inventor John
Holland, was 16 feet long and had a
displacement of 63 tons uddykket. It was
armed with one 45 inch torpedo and one small
machine gun.
The construction of the U.S. submarine
was followed closely by the Danish fleet, and in Orlogsmuseets
archives are detailed reports
the U.S. submarine capability
and its successor of Lake type. (U.S.
Navy - www.navsource.org).
Project for a submarine. The 1900th
On the first page Project Description eager captain Hovgaard the five key principles
underlying the projected underwater boat's appearance.
1st The boat is to be used in the sound or similar places shall move
by steam power and could navigate like a normal Torpedo Boat with a suitable
Freeboard and reasonable Outreach.
2nd It must be able to move so deeply submerged that only very low freeboard is maintained
in "Skvalpestilling". Since under these conditions will usually be necessary to
close all openings waterproof, it must be in possession of a motive power, there
is independent of the air.
3rd It must be able to lower himself down under the water surface and must be designed
to withstand water pressure at a depth of 20 fathoms [37 feet].
4th He must possess the necessary installations for experiments with both the free movement
floating under the water as sliding along the seabed.
5th It must keep throwing guns to 18 in Whiteheadske Torpedoes.
Underwater boat's intended dimensions:
The entire length of 20.88 m.
Greatest width of 3.33 m.
Depth of the hull amidships 2.36 m.
Depth of hull with over-and under construction 3.16 m.
Total depth of the command tower and "slidtømmere" 3.86 m
The boat's hull was vertically divided into three sections. Middle of a "central body of the Form as
a flattened Whiteheadsk Torpedo "and a superstructure and a substructure. The hull
were divided into seven sections and waterproof top
was located a waterproof superstructure - a 66 cm
high command tower - through the submarine's only
entrance and exit was located. The hull shape was
elliptical, flattened in the middle and more and more round the
closer you came and stern.
As with modern submarines would Hovgaard submarine
built with two hulls. Deep pressure hull,
who could keep the water out when the vessel
operated below the surface, and without this
a streamlined hull, which was "running full of water,
when the boat settles down, and freeing himself [...]
even when the boat rises up above the surface. "
Hovgaard drawing of the vessel's average mortgage.
Using the ballast tanks could be the boat's displacement changed and Hovgaard identified three
deplacementstal. 92 ½ tons when the vessel was the lightest, 99 tonnes in the "Skvalpestil7
tion "3 and 107 tons of completely submerged. Hovgaard did however also note that the ballast tanks
could be filled so the boat could play any position, lying between
lightest displacement and completely submerged.
The project description consists of 26 pages
Hovgaard with neat handwritten description
of the submarine. In addition
comes a wealth of drawings.
The vessel was equipped with a
200-horsepower steam engine that
would give a top speed of ten knots and
an operational radius of 100 square miles
at ten knots and 250 square miles
at eight knots.
When submerged, the submarine was sailing
driven by a
small 32-horsepower electric motor.4
According Hovgaard calculations would
give the submarine a top speed of 5 ½
knots and a radius of approx.
30 km or three hours at full
force and six hours by half. Steam engine should be able to recharge the batteries
in just three hours of operation, if it is not to operate the vessel forward. However, it was possible
to use the steam engine to recharge and propulsion simultaneously, but would then recharging
obviously take longer.
It was envisaged that the steam engine would only be used when the submarine lay on the lightest waterline
where the 2.1-meter-high chimney could be raised up. A steam engine requires air and for this purpose
planned Hovgaard the vessel to be equipped with a kind snorkel. A 3.66 m long tube was
could slide up and down and would thereby ensure that the steam engine to breathe even though
waves washed over the vessel's deck. The tube could only be used when the submarine operated
uddykket and may therefore not fully comparable with modern snorkels.
When submerged voyage would be the chimney down and "stowed in the superstructure."
Both "Skvalpestilling" and completely submerged submarine was propelled by the electric motor.
Hovgaard write the project description that he had thought to equip the vessel with
gasoline, but that the effect of such an engine was not sufficient to submarine planned
engine power. Hovgaard also mentions the possibility of using a gasoline engine with liquid
oxygen, but stresses that this technology was still too untested.
3 In his article in Journal of Søvæsen in 1899 used Hovgaard the British word "Awash" for this condition, which he
justified in the absence of a suitable Danish words. The year after he had apparently invented the word "Skvalpestilling" to
cover the same state.
4 Hovgaard even suggested that the electric motor would be supplied by Aktieselskabet Akkumulatorfabrikken in Hagen and
be of type VIG.O.225.
Hovgaard points out that his choice of propulsion was identical to the French
Navy's choice for their newest submarine "Le Narval" .5 The project description includes a number
references to other countries fortunate and unfortunate experience with submarine projects and shows
clearly Hovgaard was extremely knowledgeable regarding other countries' submarine construction.
The fuel - water ballast, fuel oil and fresh water to the boiler - would all be stored
in the hull under construction, where also large vessel ballast tank was located. The idea
could contain six tonnes of water, and filled with the submarine would be in the so-called
"Skvaplestilling" where only the tower was above water. Should the submarine dive down under
surface it was necessary to fill the three tons of big tank.
The project description refers Hovgaard several times
the experience with Navy torpedo and patrol boats,
when he had to argue for or against
eg. choice of propulsion, which was equal
it Patruillebaad No. 4, seen here. (Orlogsmuseet).
It was Hovgaard idea that the submarine when submerged
navigation in the main proceedings should be located
at least 15 meters. This would
it be safe to collide with
vessels on the surface. Operations in this
depth contained however a risk that the vessel
would collide with the seabed. To prevent that the vessel was caused by a collision with
the bottom was the lower part of the hull covered with so-called "hard planks" - three 10 cm
thick planks - that would "protect During construction sheeting against the local influence of
Stone, when the boat settles on the seabed, or when it moves smoothly across
along this ". As a further security of the vessel was the fuel for the steam engine placed
in a separate substructure, which would take the shock if the vessel had run into hard
objects on the bottom, and both the rudder and propeller were protected by a vertical and a horizontal
bracket. At the same time stem the party made very pointed. The purpose of this was as Hovgaard
wrote "that shrinks the effect of grounding or collision."
The safeguarding of damage by collision with the seabed was of great importance for the vessel as it simultaneously
was Hovgaard idea that the submarine was able to lie on the bottom, and here
calmly await the enemy came within gunshot range.
5 The French submarine was on 106 / 200 tons, 34 meters long and equipped with both steam and electric engines that could
operate the submarine forward, respectively. 12 and eight knots. The submarine was armed with four torpedo-throwing guns to 45 cm
Whiteheadske torpedoes.
The vessel was equipped with a total of 14.6 tons of tanks, of which 12 tons were water ballast. It was Hovgaard heed to
vessel was equipped with a pump that could be a ton of bilge water per minute. The electric pump could
However, due to pressure only when the vessel was near the surface, so the submarine should also be equipped with a
electric piston pump could empty the tanks at greater depths. This could only pump 200 liters
water per minute. Last but not least, be able to feed pump in the engine used by hand to
empty tanks.
Should the submarine spring a leak, it was possible to pump the six-ton ​​ballast tank in the building
sideways "even when the boat is in great depths." At the same time the vessel is equipped
with two vertical "fins" on the bow, which should keep the submarine more stable when it sailed
submerged. The vessel was also equipped with four "thoughts" that had the same function
as modern submarines trim tanks - to get the submarine to remain horizontal even after it was
Although management of the submarine was going through a horizontal and a vertical rudder, which were both located
in the vessel's stern. When the submarine was in the lightest displacement would head to stay
on deck and from there navigate the boat. In "Skvalpestillingen" he would stay in
command tower, which was fitted with thick glass windows all round, through which
manager would still be able to determine the vessel's position and set the course toward the target.
For use when navigating the submarine operating submerged was the unguided with a so-called
"Optical Tube" which was the contemporary name for what we today call the periscope. The 2.1 m long tubes,
have to be made of bronze or steel, was equipped with optics and helped Hovgaard words "in
Draw a large telescope, "but it was not meaningful to the head should look into the periscope, which we
know it today. Rather, the light coming through the pipe is rolled up on a small white
plate where the boss could see an image of the surface reflective. The pipe should be run
up and down telescopic and should also be rigged completely away when the vessel was
take one of his torpedoes on board.
It was not meant that the pipe should be used for attacks. Here was a submarine in
rather dive in and from the surface, like a normal torpedo, pointing towards the stern tube
enemy and firing the torpedo.
As regards the other navigation tools to craft enough equipped with a compass
but "because the boat might be used by the Copenhagen Rhede or in waters where there is
War marks the compass by the way in clear weather be superfluous. " The many metals in
submarine's hull would also make a compass difficult usable and Hovgaard put in place
up to the vessel to be equipped with "a gyroscopic apparatus" as he described the incoming
in the text and a separate drawing attached to the project description.
The management of the vessel depth imagined Hovgaard that it had to be fitted with the same
mechanical, as they Whiteheadske torpedoes were fitted with. The most genius of Robert
Whitehead's torpedo was the automatic depth control that kept the torpedo at the time
depth. Depth bull was called the "secret room" and the insight into this part of the torpedo,
it was costing the buyers most money. The mechanism should however not be completely
automatically Hovgaard submarine. Rather, Whitehead's work as a mechanism
depth gauge that told the helmsman if he should ask the horizontal rudder, so the submarine
dived or went closer to the surface. The vessel should also be equipped with both
a manometer and a krængningsmåler that showed the depth and the submarine was heading for
bottom or surface.
Naval Dockyard torpedo magazine photographed in
1904/1905. (Naval Library).
Submarine's armament was a 18-inch (45
cm) torpedo tubes placed in the bow of the vessel.
The tube was of the same type that was installed
in coastal defense ship HERLUF TROLLE
which were under construction in Holmen since Hovgaard
handed in her project. The vessel was
reinforced with a single 3.66-meter-long torpedo,
reinforced with 60 kg shoot cotton.
It was a major process to get the torpedo
maneuvered on board. "Torpedo taken down through
The hatch in Kommandotaarnet after charging compartment is diminished. By Tallier, Screws and
Skinner moved into the torpedo torpedo room. "
Finally, the project description has Hovgaard a section on "used both in military purposes."
Here he does not hide the fact that this is an experiment and that it is only after
a series of experiments would be impossible with certainty to comment on how vessel best
should be used for war purposes. The vessel, however, had the clear advantage, according Hovgaard that
could quickly switch roles from ordinary to submarine torpedo boat, and therefore could easily
adapt to a changing threat environment. As already mentioned, it should be used for defense
of Denmark's capital, and Hovgaard wrote himself directly, "thought the boat attached to a
Station as Middelgrundsfortet where customer is Double Ring Crew, Reservetorpedoer
and the necessary supplies. "
To the 6:00 to 9:00-man crew could breathe, when the submarine operated
submerged, it should be equipped with a series of "Luftopsamlere" that could store air
below approx. 100 atmospheres for use in the submerged cruising. Collector should
placed around the boat where there was room, and Hovgaard pointed out the importance
that replacement of the air occurred in a way so that the pressure in the submarine did not significantly
above or below one atmosphere of pressure. For this purpose, the submarine was equipped with a
electric pressure gauge, which automatically pumped air out of the vessel if the pressure was too high.
It was built to work right down to the submarine's maximum depth where the pressure would be
four atmospheres. By means of this pump could air in the vessel changed completely once
hours. As with other electric pumps in submarine could also this pump in an emergency
operated by hand.
Opstaltstegning of Hovgaard submarine project.
A) Ventilation tube. B) chimney
through which the air came in and out of the boat.
Already by this time you were
aware that the submarine's batteries deployed
acid vapors, there was
healthy for either men or
machinery. So it was planned that
by surface shipping to the air
torpedo room, which lay at the front of the vessel,
transported through akkumulatorrummet
through a long
ventilation. From there the
fresh air to drift through the vessel until the command room, where it could escape
the open turret hatch. When submerged voyage was akkumulatorrummet the place where the submarine
"Bad" air would be pumped out. For this purpose, there was placed a valve on the hull, through which
air could be pumped directly into the water.
The last but not least feature of the submarine was the buoy, which include contained
a telephone cord that allowed the submarine's boss to communicate with, for example. a
friendly surface craft.
The only detail that Hovgaard not cover in the otherwise very thorough project description,
is the construction cost of the submarine, but the article from 1899 he estimated that a 70
t forsøgsbåd would cost approx. DKK 200,000, while the "real" 250-ton submarine would
cost maximum 600,000 kr.6
Hovgaard project was first realized in 2004 and then in some
smaller proportions than the lieutenant had planned.
Member of Orlogsmuseets Model Builds Guild, J.
Ostergaard, built a small model in 1:50 of the submarine. The
35 cm long model in the period 13 to 28 August 2005
See you at the competition "Model 2005" on Orlogsmuseet in Copenhagen.
(Jorgen Ostergaard).
Unfortunately for GW Hovgaard recommended a commission under the Royal Dockyard in June 1902,
the Navy currently. should not introduce submarines and Hovgaard project was shelved.
The Commission was of the Marine Department have been asked to answer the following questions:
"Whether a submarine is suitable for use in our maritime protection and as to which
extent? "and" Which design must be considered the appropriateness of our affairs? ".
The Commission issued its report on 30 June 1902, and concluded that
Navy should not buy submarines. Firstly, the Commission considered that the Danish
6 For comparison cost "Overflaadebaaden" from 1888, according Hovgaard, 150,000 DKK complete equipped.
waters, with their shallow, could not ensure an optimal use of submarines. It
Another argument was that the contemporary submarines took a lot of resources for maintenance and
repairs, and they had to operate away from the capital, it would be necessary to bring
a completely new and fortified base for them. The cost of this was after the commission
meaning not in relation to the new weapon capabilities. Conversely, the submarines also not very
usable by the defense of Copenhagen when the shallow waters and the designated mine closures
here would reduce the vessel's area of ​​operations significantly.
It drew attention, however, that submarines were still in the experimental stage,
and the Navy therefore had to reconsider the purchase of new vessels when the then problems
was solved.
The Naval Dockyard commission opposed the introduction of submarines in the Navy's numbers were
a huge disappointment for Hovgaard. Disillusioned he resigned in 1901 without the number in
Navy for an appointment as professor at the prestigious U.S. university
"Massachusetts Institute of Technology" with mathematics and warship construction as
theses. He finally left the Navy in 1905.
During both the First and Second World War he served with the rank of Captain in the U.S.
Navy, as a consultant for the U.S. government on matters relating to
ship design, and he was one of the world's leading experts on this topic.
With Hovgaard goodbye navy lost one of its greatest talents, and supporters of the introduction
of submarines in the Navy lost their absolute champion. Hovgaard baton was
however, quickly passed to a number of his younger colleagues naval officer, and it was in 1909
manage to persuade fleet managers to invest in Denmark's first submarine,
George William Hovgaard died in Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, 5 January 1950 at the age
of 92 years.
Bibliographic Lexicon. Lookup for G. W. Hovgaard. Written by Hans Christian Bjerg.
"Capt. Hovgaard Submarine boat. 1900 "
Available in National Defence Historical Museum's archives.
Reg No. 919 - 933:1983.
Earle, E. M. "Makers of Modern Strategy".
Princeton 1948
Hovgaard, G. W. "Submarine Boats".
London the 1887th
Hovgaard, G. W. "Surface boats."
Journal for Søvæsen, the 1888th
Hovgaard, G. W. "submarines".
Journal for Søvæsen, the 1899th
Philipsen, Paul "Obituary for George William Hovgaard."
Journal for Søvæsen the 1950th
High, Jeppe "The wise moderation of his studies were - W. Hovgaard effort for the Copenhagen school boys"
In "wanderlust Fleet - Festschrift for Ole Lisbjerg Jensen", Copenhagen 1999.
Nørby, Soren "Danish Warships 1909 - 2004"
Defence Historical Writings No. 1, 2005.

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