Thursday, May 21, 2009

ANSWERS: Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week - 18 May 2009

Background: Basic context for understanding the difficult questions and answers is here.
Mystery Questions and Answers for the Week:
1 - What year was the Captain's article published?
The article Rank of the United States Among the Naval Powers was published in December, 1911.
2 - What was the Captain's name?
The author was Capt. T.M. Potts, U.S.N.
3 - Would the French be the first naval power to develop a sub capable of accompanying their fleet?
No; while France was the leader (in 1911) in quantity of submarines, Brittain had 74 by 1914, and claimed the first diesel-powered, offensive patrol boats from 1909 (source). Thanks to future Admiral Nimitz's submarine experiences, the U.S. adopted France's innovative use of Germany's diesel engines (replacing gasoline) with Electric Boat's 'E' class (launched in 1911).

In 1906 the U-1, the first German "U-Boat" (for unterzeeboot), was launched. The U-1 had a surface speed of 11 knots, a submerged speed of 9 knots, and a range of two thousand miles. By 1912, Germany had diesel-powered ssubs (U-31 to U-41) with a maximum range of 7,800 miles.

Was Capt. Potts aware of German submarine capabilities, or was he being guarded in releasing information to the public? We do not know the true answer, but consider his official title:
4 - Bonus Question: What was the good Captain's title?
Capt. T.M. Potts, U.S.N., was Chief Intelligence Officer of the Navy Department. While Capt. Potts was not a submariner, he was popular with his blujackets on the Battleship USS Louisiana. His crew's intervention did not help, and Capt. Potts was retired in 1913, later serving as Governor of Guam.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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