Guess what I did this morning, something I rarely do, I slept in till nearly 9am what the hell is with that. I don’t sleep that late I must have needed the sleep anyway it is now 9.50am and I am at last getting around to writing something after spending the last hour wasting time on good ole Facebook.
I am going to write a little this morning about another first of the First World War this time I think I will write about the submarine do you know anything about submarines, I don’t and I didn’t know they were first used during WW1 but now I do.
Ok that is not completely true there are mentions of submarines dating as far back as 1620 when a Dutchman by the name of Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel invented the first submarine, but back then submarines where used to explore under the water.
Let’s move on to say 1776 when the first military submarine was built it was called the “turtle” and was a hand-powered egg shaped device designed by the American David Bushnell, it held only 1 man. A few years later in around 1800 the French Navy built a human-powered submarine it was called the “Nautilus”it also had a sail for use on the surface and so was the first known dual propulsion submarine. It was capable of using mines to destroy warships and did so during demonstrations. However, the French and the British gave up with the experiment of submarines in 1804.
Before we leave the history of the submarines and move onto their use during the First World War I will tell you a little about their use during the American Civil War because I have so many American followers. The Union was first to use a submarine, they used the French-designed Alligator it was the first U S Navy sub and was also the first to have compressed air and an air filtration system. It was the first to carry a diver lock allowing the diver to plant mines on enemy ships.
Of course the Confederate States of America also had submarines one of the first was the CSS H.L.Hunley named for it’s designer and chief financier Horace Lawson Hunley. However, the first was a 30 foot long Pioneer which sank a target schooner using a towed mine during tests on Lake Pontchartrain but it was not used in combat. It was scuttled after New Orleans was captured and in 1868 was sold for scrap; however, the similar Bayou St John Confederate Submarine is preserved in the Louisiana State Museum.
I could go on but this is not a post about the American Civil War so I won’t.
So let’s move onto the First World War the first submarines the first submarines were the U-Boats the U stood for ” Unterzeeboot” which means undersea boat the first U-boat was the U1 is was built in 1906 and the second was the U2 built in 1908 by this time the French had a submarine force of 60 boats and the British almost as many so Germany finally took notice.
At the start of the war Germany had 48 submarines either in service or under construction but only 29 were operational. In the first 10 weeks of the conflict they sank five British cruisers and between October 1916 and January1917 1.4 million tons of allied shipping was lost to the U-Boats. However, the loses diminished when the allies started escorting their convoys with merchant ships surrounded by military vessels. During the war Germany built 360 U-Boats of which 178 were lost.
All countries wanted submarines but Germany was a head of the game and their U-Boats carried 6 torpedos and a powerful deck gun as well.
The British need a countermeasure against the U-Boat, sound detection and gear and depth charges were still in their infancy and this mean the only way to sink a submarine was by either gunfire or ramming it. This meant that he U-Boat had to be on the surface, the solution to this problem was the Q-Ship, it was one of the closest guarded secrets of the war. The Q-Ship was also known as a “U-Boot-Falle” (U-Boat trap) it was an old looking tramp steamer with hidden guns and torpedoes.
It was close to unsinkable due to the load of wooden caskets and wood or cork, it’s job was too lure the U-Boat into attack when the U-Boat surfaced the Q-Ships hidden weapons were deployed and the White Ensign would be hoisted.
I could go on but this post has taken a bloody long time to write due to me having to stop and go over to Natasha’s to take over some Ritalin for Leo then I had to go to the shops and get some Voltaren tablets for Kathy and take them to her at work, then I stopped to have something to eat and now I am going to post,