April 11, 2006

One for former bubblehead, Mr. Skillzy

April 11, 1900--

the U.S. Navy acquired its first submarine, a 53-foot craft designed by Irish immigrant John P. Holland. Propelled by gasoline while on the surface and by electricity when submerged, the Holland served as a blueprint for modern submarine design. By the eve of World War I, Holland and Holland-inspired vessels were a part of large naval fleets throughout the world. [...]

Here's a good website from the Naval Historical Center with photos and history of the boat, along with another from the Silent but Deadly crowd with information about its inventor and promoter.

As an aside, those of you who are all enamored with the current (no pun intended) fad of hybrid cars and think the technology is so new might want to consider that Holland's boat had something kinda sorta similar. It powered itself along underwater using electric motors connected to a big honking stack of batteries, which could then be recharged on the surface while using its gasoline engine. The next version (the "A" boats) were even better in that they could recharge their batteries while underway, rather than while idling.

And while we're at it, how about a shout-out to the crew of SSBN 731!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 11, 2006 10:38 AM

Of course, the Confederate Navy had their first submarine 37 years earlier. Unfortunately, the Hunley's number of dives exceeded her number of surfacings for over 100 years, which was pretty hard on the crew.

In 1988, I toured the Alabama while I was stationed up in Washington, and it pissed me off. That thing was a big ole hotel compared to the little jalopy I rode around in.

Posted by: skillzy at April 11, 2006 04:08 PM

You could always reenlist, Skillzy!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 12, 2006 08:25 AM