Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Questions of the Week 6-30-2010

UPDATED with ANSWERS (Well done, Cookie!):
1) The answer to the leak date question is still pending (pro tempore). NATO recently extended Operation Ocean Shield for a further three years [from 2012 to 2015].
2) Yes, the stated submarine mission is also intended as a deterrent to pirate operations beyond 500 n-miles. We know this because pirate leaders monitor public announcements such as this Dutch sub mission.
3) Other mission possibilities include identification of units from foreign nations that may be assisting pirates, including satellite phone intercepts.
4) [Cookie, nailed this one]: Cold war ops, Balkan area intell (Yugoslavia), Iraq, Carribean ops and possibly Faulklen Isl.

For readers with a more intense interest, Galrahn explains more, including

"...the advantage the Walrus has over every other conventional submarine in Europe (including all the AIP submarines) is that it has more power - thus is able to exploit more sophisticated electronic devices for eavesdropping purposes. By calling in the Walrus for anti-piracy, NATO is taking piracy surveillance to a whole new level."

----------- ORIGINAL MYSTERY QUESTION POST -------------


Readers may recall Submarine(s) Finally Deploy Publicly in Piracy Crisis from June 22nd.

The boat, a yet to be identified Walrus-class, will arrive (publicly) in the August-September timeframe, when it is to begin assisting international forces in pirate countermeasures. Walrus-class boats are considered among the more quiet, conventional submarines.

The sub is officially slated to conduct reconnaissance in the Gulf of Aden and parts of the Indian Ocean where pirates have been active. The International Maritime Bureau notes that pirate attacks off Somalia have dropped sharply this year, but pirates now operate up to 1,000 nautical miles out to sea to avoid detection by patrols. The submarine will be used to patrol and survey a wide area while avoiding detection by pirate vessels.

The deployment is believed to mark the first time a sub has been deployed in anti-piracy operations. FALSE, even as early as 1961.

EU NAVFOR’s chief, Swedish Rear Admiral (LH) Jan Thörnqvist, said last week: “We are disrupting more suspected pirates near the coast, before they put on the high seas and conduct hijackings. The challenge is that once they get through, they venture further and further out on the Indian Ocean,” he added.

QUESTIONS of the WEEK:
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1) On what date (if ever) will the name of the Dutch sub actually patrolling finally be leaked to the public for the first time?
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2) Is the submarine mission intended as a deterrent to pirate operations beyond 500 n-miles?
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3) What other mission might this submarine (or its successor) actually have?
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4) In what other clandestine, international operation are Dutch subs credited with success?
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ANSWERS: 1) pro tempore; 2), 3), and 4) - Saturday
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Queens of the Dive a Skimmer Promotion

6/16/2010 - Third Consecutive Miss Virginia Visits Namesake Sub (for more info see Bubblehead's posting).
Would the more appropriate dateline for the article linked above have been Naval Station Norfolk, where these visits had obviously been orchestrated?
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What was the purpose of such visits? Great for crew morale, PR, and barrier bursting, too!

But submarines? They are just not very attractive places. And being locked up in one for six months at a time, it does something to people's minds. They're known as fishheads. ... But I'm just not sure who would be interested in submarines. There's not the same variety of work, there's the fact you don't see daylight for six months, that whole aspect of being cooped up, with no chance of getting off. It wouldn't be for me. - Nicola, ex- Royal Navy, who preferred not using her full name.

A Domino Effect (US-UK-US)
The Royal Navy will soon allow women sailors to serve on submarines – including its 11-strong fleet of nuclear submarines (which includes SSNs).


We were a bit optimistic about the numbers in the frigates, said Julian Ferguson, a retired submarine commander. A lot were converted to accommodate women, and a fair few then quietly converted back.

Will the Dutch submarine on 90-day deployment (September through November 2010) for Somalian piracy eavesdropping have any female crew?
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ANSWER: No, the Royal Netherlands Navy prohibits women from serving on submarines, and according to the British MoD differences in sheer physical strength between men and women mean that only 0.1% of female applicants, and 1% of trained women soldiers, could meet the lifting, carrying, load marching and combat requirements that are the bread and butter of British infantry life.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.








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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Submarine(s) Finally Deploy Publicly in Piracy Crisis

UPDATE (Jun 23, 2010): Dutch Submarine to Eavesdrop on Somali Pirates
Previously - Its sensitive monitoring equipment will gather sonar signatures of key pirate vessels.

Now - Submarine will use sophisticated eavesdropping equipment to gather information about pirate activities to supplement intelligence gathered by helicopters and planes patrolling the area.
...the pirates remain in contact by satellite telephone.


Submarine deployment connected with Somalian Piracy (in the severely limited instances reported so far)

22 June 2010 - Netherlands submarine to join Somalia anti-pirate force

The Netherlands has agreed to a Nato request to deploy a submarine for reconnaissance off the coast of Somalia from late September to mid December 2010. Deployments of command frigates HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and HNMLS De Ruyter, as well as the Dutch contribution to the EU’s Operation Atalanta, will continue as planned. The Dutch submarine will contribute to the Ocean Shield anti-piracy mission until mid-December. Its sensitive monitoring equipment will gather sonar signatures of key pirate vessels. The 2.3 million euro estimated cost of using the submarine will be borne from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ fund for crisis management operations.

02 May 2008 - Others Welcome, but Molten Eagle Writes for Patient Readers

(CNN) -U.S. kills Somali with links to al Qaeda, officials say- A U.S. missile strike Thursday killed a Somali Islamic militant leader with ties to al Qaeda and several other senior leaders of his group, Al-Shaabab, local officials said. U.S. officials said the missile was launched from a Navy submarine or a ship in the region. The Somali Islamic militant leader was Hashi Farah Ayro, who was said to have gone to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda before 2001, according to Matthew Bryden of International Crisis Group. For link to LA Times read Galrahn's Precision Kills From the Sea - Updated - Another Sub Strike update.

12 July 2005 - Sub Patrols: Unfinished "Business" With Terrorist Haven, Somalia No wonder a U.S. submarine has been patrolling nearby waters.

Related... Better Maritime Threat (Pirate) Symmetry and MIT's Study: Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

British Unit Dyslexia, Reporter without a Clue, Fisherman without a Clue

Case One (Life imitating art) -
The above Juan Caruso cartoon (from 2008) portrayed one result of unthinkable confusion between the U.K. monetary unit, British pounds (sterling) and the weight of submarine ballast.
Currently, an Ebay dealer in London undrescores the reality of such confusion in an equally dramatic error for a used, submarine-related item: The true book about submarines, by Gilbert Hackforth-Jones, Weight : 1.7401 pounds
Price:
US $3,629,230.25
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Case Two (Reporter without a submarine clue) -
Announcing Military reunion to be held for submarine crew.
"Crewmembers of the submarine tender USS LY Spear (AS-36) will meet Oct. 14-17 in Norfolk, Va."
Case Three (Fisherman without a Clue) -
June 18, 2010 - Fishermen spot periscope off So. Florida -
Danoff reported the sighting to the Coast Guard and has heard nothing back. Petty Officer Barry Bena said the matter is still under investigation. Advice for Mr. Danoff: Don't hold your breath on submarine movements.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Submarine Quotes and probably the most informative summary of their modern context most of us will ever read

Former Senator John Warner once said that when he was Secretary of the Navy, his biggest fear was a phone call announcing that one of our nuclear armed submarines — a "boomer" — had not come home. - Peter Huessy, June 16, 2010, Nuclear Deterrence: Painting a Bull's Eye On the US. [Please read Mr. Huessy's entire article; for most readers it should be very worthwhile. Selected excerpts follow.]

"For fifty years we have had a bi-partisan national security policy in areas where the survival of the United States was at issue. Ten administrations agreed that we would deter the nuclear threat with…a policy of deterrence with a surely survivable triad of nuclear forces, that no potential enemy could have any hope of survival if they unleashed an attack on us. I am afraid," he continued,"we may be seeing that unanimity of policy…begin to slip away. I hope I am wrong because the world is more dangerous, not less; there are more nuclear foes, not less." - Sen. Strom Thurmond, 1994. [ibid]

Implicit in the new report, therefore, is that without a future plan for the modernization of our Triad that is agreed upon, the US might cut our nuclear deterrent force eventually to just two submarine bases: Kings Bay, Georgia; and Bangor, Washington -- with four submarines at sea at any one time. Six targets. That's it. Over time our submarines at sea could be attrited by an adversary. At some point, the vulnerability of our remaining two submarine bases could be an open invitation to a pre-emptive attack in a crisis --especially if such an attack could be sufficiently hidden to prevent accurate attribution. Putting all our nuclear deterrent eggs in one basket is thus fraught with peril. - [ibid]

In this day and age of terror masters and terrorists, of potential misunderstandings and uncertainty, a secure, protected and stable deterrent that includes 450 Minuteman and 12-14 strategic submarines and the requisite number of bombers remain America's best shield against many nuclear dangers. This was so in 1994; and in 2002. It is also the right thing in 2010. Deterrence remains a top security requirement -- especially tomorrow, as we glimpse only the outlines of an uncertain future. - [ibid]

Every 30 days, we are increasing our debt the equivalent of what it would cost to modernize our entire strategic nuclear deterrent for the next three or four decades. [ibid]

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

ANSWER - Yesterday's Mystery Question of the Week

Background can be found here.

QUESTION of the WEEK: Why is open solicitation of technological industry news? Ask yourself how opening up old cans of worms (requesting concepts that never passed muster with DARPA) could be of possible value now?

Yesterday's two HINTS practically gave this answer away:

HINT ONE: Since the media will continue to hype the advent of women in sub crews at least until the first 16 report aboard, the Navy is on notice for something else the media will hype relentlessly, if it ever occurs.

HINT TWO: WASHINGTON, 9 June 2010 - Military & Aerospace Electronics - Navy asks for industry ideas on submarine technology, including submarine communication, sonar, and combat systems

ANSWER: The value consists entirely of a public relations tactic designed purely to demonstrate everything that could have been done was, in fact, done.

So, what possible calamity might justify such an extraordinary PR tactic? Remember, the current administration, comprised of more lawyers than at any other time in our nation's history, is forcing some highly controversial promises. The promise of concern to the administration in view of the media's relentless push to keep it in the news until at least 2012, is integrating females into our submarine crews by 2012.

The calamity feared is that in the chaos of some future sea battle, a submarine (with a female crewmam aboard) will be accidentally sunk by a unit of our own surface navy, or its aviation wing.

Why is such an hypothetical event feared? Because it has happened (without females aboard), and it is likely to happen again during the chaos of another battle. What? You thought digitized subs were just ultrasafe underwater buses? Think again.

U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for new ideas in submarine technology - particularly involving submarine communication, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), submarine combat systems, and towed array sonar applications.

In other words, during naval warfare, our own surface navy is still never certain whether a submerged submarine is one of ours or one of theirs. The advantage of stealth is also a liability.

A mistake these days would exact a PR toll unlike the tragic sinking of one of our own subs in a submerged safe passage lane during WW2. Add to the news value the ingredient of extinguishing the life of an innocent, pioneering woman, and the public's first question to the Navy will be, "You told us it was going to be safe. Why wasn't it?"

Not only will some admiral have to fall on his sword, but the SECNAV and perhaps the fired Secretary of Defense's (Les Aspin) modern, cabinet-level counterpart could also be held responsible by a relentless media. Hmmm, today's media is both uncensored and around-the-clock compared to in WW2. Times have changed; cowardly politicians have not.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sudden Gravity Unravelled - First, the Submarine Mystery Question of the Week

Hardly a day goes by lately without a reporter generating a slightly different take on old news --- how some female submariner is making history. Does starting with 19 female selectees making history guarantee all 19 will eventually complete one tour of duty on a submarine? Of course not, and M.E. is not here to quibble about gender trivia, or give odds (16 or 17 will probably complete one full tour).

As usual, M.E. is here to unravel a deeper mystery, whether or not some wish it to be unravelled. Today's mystery is in anticipation of an entirely new risk for the Navy. The risk is also related to female service aboard submarines.

HINT ONE: Since the media will continue to hype the advent of women in sub crews at least until the first 16 report aboard, the Navy is on notice for something else the media will hype relentlessly, if it ever occurs.

HINT TWO: WASHINGTON, 9 June 2010 - Military & Aerospace Electronics - Navy asks for industry ideas on submarine technology, including submarine communication, sonar, and combat systems
U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for new ideas in submarine technology - particularly involving submarine communication, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), submarine combat systems, and towed array sonar applications.

QUESTION of the WEEK: Why is open solicitation of technological industry news? DARPA formulates new ideas, tests the feasibility of sound concepts and sometimes directs development of successful prototypes. Ask yourself how opening up old cans of worms (requesting concepts that never passed muster with DARPA) could be of possible value now?

M.E.'s Answer: Tomorrow

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Virtual Submariner Escape Training (19 seconds)




Regarding the Submarine Escape Training Tower, M.E. has detected the following half-error:


The tower once located on Sub-Base New London, CT. was in use between 1930 and 1994 and has since been razed. source

Here's why: The 37-foot-deep, 84,000-gallon tank — the first of its kind in the US — offers exact replicas of the escape chambers in Virginia— and Los Angeles-class submarines. Perfect for teaching sailors how to rise to the top. (March 22, 2010 WIRED MAGAZINE) Navy’s New Escape Trainer Helps Submariners Avoid a Watery Grave.


More: The pressurized training unit is intended to train for escape from a disabled submarine with current escape immersion equipment that is in the fleet. The facility is designed to be compatible with the Navy's Seawolf, Los Angeles, Trident and Virginia class submarines. The training facility will familiarize submariners with realistic escape procedures, marking a significant improvement over the unpressurized simulator currently in use. (November 2, 2007) Construction Complete on Unique Submarine Escape Trainer at SUBASE New London.


Will females (submarine crew candidates) go through only dry (virtual) escape training suggested by the video above? In that case, why was the new $18 million facility ever built?


On Feb. 14, 2005, a Design Build Contract was awarded to M. A. Mortenson Company of Minneapolis, Minn. and Kling Architecture & Engineering of Philadelphia, Pa., as the Architecture and Engineer. Three months later, the Pentagon recommended base closure. However, the Base Realignment and Closure commission voted August 24, 2005 to strike New London from the list of closures.


Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Definitely Sub Prime: Two Lawyers and Credit Suisse Struck

Guilt in $10.6 Million (subprime) Mortgage Fraud

New England Merchants, a broker and lender, was shut down in October 2009, by the Massachusetts Division of Banks on charges that the firm processed fraudulent subprime loan applications.

Five defendants, including two lawyers, were found guilty of wire fraud charges this week in a $10.6 million mortgage fraud. The two lawyers were also convicted of money laundering.

After a fire at the Coleman Street property a year later, Levine and Lamerique collected $266,827 in insurance proceeds and divided the money among the four involved in the scheme, the government said. Most of the cases were simpler: The defendants borrowed more money than the agreed upon sale price, paid the seller, and pocketed the extra money, the government said. ... In March 2006, a property in the oceanfront community of Cohasset was purchased for $385,000, but the mortgage from New Century Mortgage in California was for $635,000 - $250,000 more than the sale price.

Boston lawyer Elliot Weinstein, who was in court to represent Ernst Appolon, questioned why the Justice Department agreed to release the lawyers, while detaining the other defendants. Officials said some of the defendants were Caribbean immigrants.
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All face possible fines and potential prison terms up to a maximum of 20 years. Three other codefendants pleaded guilty.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

The Roman god of fire - Vulcan, and the Mysteries

A recent news item, Star Trek fans set to beam up to Canada, jogged M.E.'s memory regarding a mystery we posed to readers here in 2008.
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The mystery had nothing to do with Canada, however. M.E. discussed three, eerie Star Trek connections to New Zealand. The first can be seen at left.
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The second is the Saint Bathans mammal. Previously it had been thought that bats were the only terrestrial mammals native to New Zealand. Since the subclass Theria includes humans, whatever the St Bathans mammal was, it was not human. Yet, both Star Trek's fictional Vulcans and real bats are noted foe enlarged and sometimes pointy ears.
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Are these simply coincidences, or did an unexplored connections exist between Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry and New Zealand's Vulcan Hotel, therian bats, or the Wellington Sea Museum?

Roddenberry spent time in the Pacific Theatre during WW II earning a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in the U.S. Army Air Corps. with the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bombardment Wing of the Thirteenth Air Force. After military service, Roddenberry worked as a commercial pilot for Pan American World Airways (Pan Am).
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M.E. suspects that Roddenberry may have once spent considerable time in New Zealand, vacationing, or otherwise. Reviews of Roddenberry's authorized biography (1994) and absence of reader insights leave significant doubts whether any of the mysteries posed will ever be solved.
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Last Bastion of Male Dominance Unbroken - Space: the Final Frontier

NO WOMEN ALLOWED
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Record 520-day Mars mission simulation in Russia begins
The endurance trial will simulate the 250-day flight to Mars, a landing and surface stay of up to 30 days, and then the 240-day trip back to Earth.
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Why no women? If you live in the USA chances are you have missed some important space experimentation conducted earlier by Russia. We live in a fantasy land where males and females are declared equals in all things for pure political gain, the solitary reason for integrating females to a few Navy submarine crews. We shall see how that goes down in a few years despite the best efforts of the DoD to cover up any major problems.
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Not convinced that our government will attempt to cover up inconsistent news? Perhaps you have not been paying enough attention to related news, then.
The medical stresses will grow more severe as NASA moves through a string of complex missions on the international space station, through the twilight years of the space shuttle era, and onward to a new era that will take humans beyond low Earth orbit. Human weaknesses that may have been tolerable before now may, at some point, reach a breaking point. To forestall such disasters, a fuller appreciation of the history of medical screening is needed. source [color added]

Submarines are always silent and strange.




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Friday, June 04, 2010

Deltiology Connection the Mainstream Missed

No, deltiology has little to do with riverine warfare. It is the study and collecting of postcards.
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Only the United states Post Office was allowed to print postcards until May 19, 1898, when Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act allowing private printing. In the U.K. private printing had been authorized 4 years earlier.
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History (at least some of it) is recorded in postcards. Yes, even submarine history from the author's amateur postcard collection has appeared occasionally at Molten Eagle.
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A CONTROVERSIAL CONNECTION
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Picture postcards enabled people to send images across national borders, and the legal availability of a postcard image in one country did not guarantee that the card would not be inflammatory in the destination country, or those intermediate countries a card might pass through enroute.

In response to this new phenomenon, the Ottoman Empire banned the sale or importation of some materials relating to the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 1900. Affected postcards that were successfully sent through the OE before this date (and are postmarked accordingly) have a high rarity value and are considered valuable by collectors.
An example of a 1900 Muhammad postcard with high rarity value may be available on the internet, so if you find a link please let the rest of us know. Meanwhile, here's a 1920-30s Algerian example of Mohammed's Flight from Mecca in 622 AD. Mohammed is the figure in red about to enter a cave. The original postcard is in a private collection, not M.E.'s unfortunately.


Caves were apparently as important to Islam in 622 A.D. as they are now.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Answers to Latest Submarine Mystery Questions

(notice postage stamped on picture side of postcards in those days)
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Background to Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week - can be found here 05/30/2010.
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Questions & Difficulty Levels (I-V):
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1) Was the sub's submerged displacement higher or lower than its surfaced? I
ANS: Higher (73.6 tons).
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2) Was the sub's submerged range higher, lower, or the same as its surface range? II
ANS: Much Lower (30 miles).
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3) Was the sub's surface speed higher or lower than its submerged speed? II
ANS: 17 percent higher.
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4) What was the diameter of the torpedo tubes (in rounded inches)? III
ANS: 18 inches (17.7).
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5) What was the sub's nationality and class name? III
ANS: French; the Naiade class.
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6) What was the sub's name? IV
ANS: Phoque (seal).
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7) What year were subs of this class stricken and are any examples extant? V
ANS: Stricken in May 1914; yes, the submarine Alose (1904) is exhibited at the Comex, Marseille. V
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Submarines are always silent and strange.

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