Turtle – World’s first Submarine

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turtle-world's-first-submarine
image courtesy: wikimedia

A submarine is a boat which operates underwater. The submarines are used to attacking enemy’s ships, for Surveillance and during the war it also used as Warcraft to fire missiles to take down the enemy’s ships that are above the water surface. Today technology has become so advanced that these submarines are equipped with advanced surveillance equipments, and can carry and launch nuclear missiles when needed. Normally Submarines are used to provide protection to aircraft carriers and for providing surveillance and protection from would be attacks.

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The construction of the submersible vehicle started in early 16th century but that was just a boat that sailed under water. The first submersible vehicle whose proof exists was designed and built by Cornelis Drebbel in 1620. It was propelled by oars. By the mid 18th century, more than a dozen patents had been granted for the designs of the submarine boats. And in 1775, the world’s first submarine was built named “Turtle”. It was a hand powered acorn shape boat designed by David Bushnell for a single person. It was the first verified submarine capable of independent underwater operation and movement, and the first to use screws for propulsion.

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Construction of the Turtle Submarine

The submarine was named as Turtle because its shape was looked like a turtle. It was about 10 ft long, 6 ft tall and about 3 ft wide, and consisted of two wooden shells covered with tar and reinforced with steel bands. It dived by allowing water into its lower compartment at the bottom and ascended by pumping water out through a hand pump. It was operated by one person and contained enough oxygen for one person for about 30 minutes and had a speed of about 3 mph in still water. It was moved vertically and horizontally by hand-cranked propellers. Six small pieces of thick glass were fixed on the top to provide natural light.

turtle-world's-first-submarine
image courtesy
turtle-world's-first-submarine
image courtesy

The Turtle subTmarine was designed to attach the explosive charges to British Navy ships in a harbor, but David Bushnell was physically disable to pilot the Turtle, so Ezra Lee was appointed to destroy the enemy’s ships. He sailed to the enemy’s ship in mid-night without getting caught and was about to plant the bomb on the ship but he failed to penetrate the iron sheeting and the bomb exploded nearby, without causing any harm to anyone. During the next week, Turtle made a number of attempts to sink British ships on the Hudson River, but each time it failed due to operator’s lack of skill.

image courtesy: Ezra Lee

During the battle of Fort Lee, the world’s first submarine was lost when the American Sloop transporting it was sunk by British. Despite the failure of the Turtle, David Bushnell commissioned as an Army Engineer and after the War, he became commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stationed at West point.

Via: wiki, History

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