Saturday, April 17, 2010

ANSWERS - Submarine Questions of the Week - 4/14/2010

Additional background on the UK's design edict: Submarines must now be built with watertight hatches both above and below the conning tower available here [note iv].

QUESTIONS of the WEEK answered:
1 - What year did the underlying submarine collision occur?
Ans: March 1904. (the vintage, photo postcard shown above was actually used and postmarked in the same year).
2 - Which two vessels collided?
Ans: The HMS A1 (Royal Navy's first British-designed sub [notes i, ii,iii], and the first to suffer fatalities) with mail steamer SS Berwick Castle.
3 - Where did the tragic collision occur?
Ans: In the Solent (the strait separating England's mainland from the Isle of Wight).
..i- The design was the first to incorporate a conning tower in a British sub. [1]
.ii- She was accidentally sunk in 39 ft of water when her starboard conning tower was struck by a mail steamer passing overhead and ruptured to sea. The entire sub then flooded and her 11-man crew was drowned.[4]
iii- In the postcard of the raised submarine (top) we see that the 6-ft high conning tower (not illustrated in the newspaper drawing above) is entirely gone.
.iv- She re-entered service following repairs, but suffered a gasoline explosion in August 1910. Collision and gasoline explosion/fire were tragic submarine safety issues, even in the U.S. as late as 1917.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



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