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The Submarine Portal

Japanese Submarine Oyashio SS590.JPEG

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has only limited underwater capability. The term submarine most commonly refers to large crewed autonomous vessels; however, historically or more casually, submarine can also refer to medium sized or smaller vessels (midget submarines, wet subs), remotely operated vehicles or robots. The word submarine was originally an adjective meaning "under the sea", and so consequently other uses such as "submarine engineering" or "submarine cable" may not actually refer to submarines at all. Submarine was shortened from the term "submarine boat", and is often further shortened to "sub".

Submarines are referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size. The English term U-boat for a German submarine comes from the German word for submarine, U-Boot, itself an abbreviation for Unterseeboot ("undersea boat").

Submarine history goes back far before the 19th century, in the form of some experimental boats, submarine design began to gear up during the 19th century. Submarines were first widely used in World War I, and feature in many large navies. Uses in submarine warfare range from attacking enemy ships or submarines, aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force, reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection/maintenance. Submarines can also be specialized to a function such as search and rescue, or undersea cable repair. Submarines are also used in tourism and for academic research.

Submarines have one of the largest ranges of capabilities in any vessel, ranging from small autonomous examples to one or two-person vessels operating for a few hours, to vessels which can remain submerged for 6 months such as the Russian Typhoon class. Submarines can work at greater depths than are survivable or practical for human divers. Modern deep diving submarines are derived from the bathyscaphe, which in turn was an evolution of the diving bell.

Most large submarines comprise a cylindrical body with hemispherical (and/or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes. In modern submarines this structure is the "sail" in American usage, and "fin" in European usage. A "conning tower" was a feature of earlier designs: a separate pressure hull above the main body of the boat that allowed the use of shorter periscopes. There is a propeller (or pump jet) at the rear and various hydrodynamic control fins as well as ballast tanks. Smaller, deep diving and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional layout.

Selected article

SM U-66 was the lead ship of the Type U 66 submarines or U-boats for the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during the First World War. The submarine had been laid down in November 1913 as U-7, the lead ship of the U-7 class for the Austro-Hungarian Navy (German: Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine or K.u.K. Kriegsmarine) but was sold to Germany, along with the others in her class, in November 1914.

The submarine was ordered as U-7 from Germaniawerft of Kiel as the first of five boats of the U-7 class for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Navy became convinced that none of the submarines of the class could be delivered to the Adriatic Sea via Gibraltar. As a consequence, the entire class, including U-7, was sold to the German Imperial Navy in November 1914. Under German control, the class became known as the U 66 type and the boats were renumbered; U-7 became U-66, and all were redesigned and reconstructed to German specifications. U-66 was launched in April 1915 and commissioned in July. As completed, she displaced 791 metric tons (872 short tons), surfaced, and 933 metric tons (1,028 short tons), submerged. The boat was 228 feet (69 m) long and was armed with five torpedo tubes and a deck gun.

As a part of the Baltic and 4th Flotillas, U-66 sank 24 ships with a combined gross register tonnage of 69,967 in six war patrols. The U-boat also torpedoed and damaged the British cruiser Falmouth in August 1916. U-66 left Emden on her seventh patrol on 2 September 1917 for operations in the North Channel. The following day the U-boat reported her position in the North Sea but neither she nor any of her 40-man crew were ever heard from again. A postwar German study offered no explanation for U-66's loss, although British records suggest that she may have struck a mine in the Dogger Bank area.

Selected biography

Bill new.jpg
William Donald Aelian "Bill" King
B.  (1910-06-23) June 23, 1910 (age 108)

Commander William Donald Aelian "Bill" King, DSO & Bar, DSC (born 23 June 1910), is a retired British naval officer, yachtsman and author. He was the oldest participant in the first solo non-stop around the world yacht race, the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, and is the oldest surviving World War II submarine commander.

Brought up by his mother and grandmother, King went to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. He was first assigned to HMS Resolution, and later became Commanding Officer of HMS Snapper. He served on three separate vessels in World War II, and was promoted to Commander and awarded seven medals during the war. King not only survived World War II, but succeeded in a singlehanded circumnavigation in 1973 on his third attempt. During the latter journey, he managed to reach port despite a collision with a large sea creature 400 miles (640 km) southwest of Australia.

Selected picture

An artist's impression of a Permit-class submarine firing a Regulus II cruise missile.

The Thresher/Permit class of United States Navy nuclear attack submarines were the replacement for the Skipjack class. They were used primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, until replaced by the Sturgeon and Los Angeles classes.

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Cleanup needed 
Midget submarineCruise missile submarineOhio-class submarineBGM-109 Tomahawk
Requested articles 
Submarine mineTraining submarineCruiser submarineMinelayer submarineCoastal submarine
Citations needed 
List of NATO reporting names for submarinesBenjamin Franklin class submarine
Expansion needed 
Soviet submarine L-3USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657)James Madison class submarineGerman Type U 151 submarine
Re-structuring needed 
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Torpedo tube
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Related portals


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Featured articles

Ehime Maru and USS Greeneville collisionNyon ConferenceSM U-66

Featured lists

List of Ohio class submarines

A-Class articles

SM U-14 (Austria-Hungary)SM UB-10SM UB-14SM UB-16SM UB-43SM UB-45USS Triton (SSRN-586)

Good topics

German Type IXA submarinesGerman Type U 66 submarinesGerman Type UB I submarinesU-20 class submarinesU-27 class submarines (Austria-Hungary)U-3 class submarinesU-43 class submarines (Austria-Hungary)U-5 class submarines

Good articles

British B class submarineGerman submarine U-104 (1940)German submarine U-105 (1940)German submarine U-111 (1940)German submarine U-162 (1941)German submarine U-2336German submarine U-255German submarine U-27 (1936)German submarine U-28 (1936)German submarine U-30 (1936)German submarine U-36 (1936)German submarine U-37 (1938)German submarine U-38 (1938)German submarine U-39 (1938)German submarine U-40 (1938)German submarine U-41 (1939)German submarine U-42 (1939)German submarine U-43 (1939)German submarine U-47 (1938)German submarine U-64 (1939)German submarine U-853German Type IXA submarineGerman Type UB I submarineGerman U-boat bases in occupied NorwayHMS Phoenix (N96)HMS Trump (P333)HMS X1Russian submarine B-585 Saint PetersburgRussian submarine K-114 TulaSM U-27 (Austria-Hungary)SM U-28 (Austria-Hungary)SM U-30 (Austria-Hungary)SM U-31 (Austria-Hungary)SM U-32 (Austria-Hungary)SM U-40 (Austria-Hungary)SM U-41 (Austria-Hungary)SM UB-11SM UB-12SM UB-13SM UB-17SM UB-2SM UB-3SM UB-4SM UB-42SM UB-44SM UB-47SM UB-50SM UB-6SM UB-7SM UB-8SM UB-9Turtle (submersible)

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