A while ago, a submarine named Titan was in the news worldwide when it disappeared in the ocean and lost contact with the crew on land. The submarine carried a total of five individuals, who were among the richest people in the world Despite extensive search efforts, the submarine and its crew remained untraceable, and all five individuals were declared dead.
- what exactly is a submarine?
- When, why, and by whom was it invented?
- How were military submarines created?
- What role did submarines play in World Wars and the Cold War?
- And what is their role today?
Lets get into it! The Invention of Submarine A submarine is a type of vessel that can submerge and operate underwater, in addition to floating on the surface of the sea t allows us to venture into the depths of the ocean while remaining inside the vessel. Some historians suggest that Alexander the Great used a box-like machine to explore underwater.
This is believed to have happened around 332 B.C Amir Khusro, a renowned poet and scholar, also mentioned this in his writings and created a sketch depicting Alexander the Great inside a box-like object submerged underwater.
However, the confirmation of whether Alexander the Great actually went inside the sea is impossible. Nevertheless, the idea of exploring the underwater world and knowing about it has always intrigued humans, making them curious.
The first design, a prototype, of a submarine was created in 1578 by a British mathematician named William Bourne.
However, he was unable to build a working submarine based because it was quite complex for the technology available during that time. According to this design, a wooden box was to be constructed and covered with waterproof leather The honor of building the first functional submarine finally went to Cornelis Drebbel of England in 1620.
He conducted several trips on the River Thames, traveling at a depth of around 12-15 feet inside his submarine. This submarine was also made of wood and had a leather coating to protect it from water. It was maneuvered using oars attached to long oars on both sides of the wooden structure.
In the coming years, Drebble tested two more designs. These designs included an instrument to measure the depth of the water and arrangements were made for a fresh air supply and oxygen. Even King James I of England took a trip inside this submarine to explore the sea.
Successful and Unsuccessful Trials In the 18th century, experiments with submarines continued with various ongoing trials.
Several new and unique submarine designs were created, some of which succeeded, while others failed In the 1740s, in some experiments, the submarines were fitted with leather bags on the outside, which were filled with water to make the submarine submerge As the water was pumped out, the submarine\’s weight decreased, causing it to rise back to the surface on its own.
However, this method was not very practical and efficient In 1775, in the United States, the first submarine was built for a purpose other than just underwater exploration. Its objective was to attack British warships and sink them in the sea. This American submarine was named \”The Turtle.\” It had a shape resembling an apple and could only accommodate one person inside.
According to the plan, The Turtle submarine was supposed to approach a British warship anchored in New York Harbor and attach an explosive device to it The attempt was not successful, and the plan couldn\’t be executed as intended. Nevertheless, this effort marked the first recorded use of a submarine in military history.
In the year 1800, in France, an American inventor named Robert Fulton created a new type of submarine. The funding for this project was provided by the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. The purpose of this submarine was similar to the American submarine \”The Turtle,\” which was to attack enemy ships by attaching explosives to them However, Fulton and his submarine did not gain much favor in France
As a result, Fulton left France and offered his submarine to the British authorities instead. However, England was not significantly impressed with this invention either, and Fulton returned to America. The American authorities gave Fulton permission to build a new and improved submarine. However, before completing this new submarine, Fulton passed away in 1815.
Use of Military Submarines In 1867, a Spanish engineer created the first functional submarine powered by an engine, which further increased the use of submarines. During the American Civil War, three military submarines were also used. In the beginning of the First World War in 1914, the situation was such that Britain had around 74 submarines, while Germany had only about twenty submarines. However, Germany was developing many more submarines during this time Germans were constructing a special type of submarine powered by diesel engines. This type of submarine is called a U-shaped submarine.
It had a length of approximately 315 feet and was designed to carry cargo of around 700 tons. These submarines were equipped with a system to release water to submerge enemy ships in the sea. Additionally, they had the capability to attack the enemy using underwater missiles. Their objective was to sink and destroy enemy ships.
During World War I, Germany sank more than five thousand enemy ships, including those of Britain, Russia, Italy, and others During World War I, Germany sank more than five thousand enemy ships, including those of Britain, Russia, Italy, and others Among them, the United States had a magnificent type of submarine. It was around 381 feet long Interestingly, during World War II, American submarines constituted only two percent of their naval fleet.
However, despite this small percentage, American submarines were responsible for sinking about thirty percent of enemy ships Not only that, but the American Navy also managed to sink sixty percent of Japan\’s warships during the war. Submarines were indeed very useful. Cold War and Invention of Nuclear Submarines In the Second World War, submarines played a significant role, but their use was limited. Until then, submarines were built to operate only with diesel or steam engines, which required frequent refueling.
However, in 1954, the United States built the first nuclear-powered submarine, using nuclear power as fuel. This innovation eliminated the need for constant refueling and provided a significant advantage. By the end of the 1950s, both the United States and the Soviet Union had made significant progress in developing nuclear-powered submarines which were equipped with the capability of launching nuclear missiles. During the same cold war days, in 1962, a notable incident occurred near Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which could have led to the world\’s third atomic war. The situation was such that a Soviet nuclear submarine was on duty in the Caribbean Sea The American Navy attacked the submarine, with the intention of warning the Soviet Navy not to approach and stay on the surface of the water.
However, the officers inside the Soviet submarine misunderstood the situation, believing that both countries might have gone to war Situation between these two countries was bad and a nuclear war could occur. Officers advised launching a nuclear missile towards the United States, but the third officer, Vasili Arkhipov, prevented them from doing so He advised his comrades to have some patience and not to rush into launching the missile.
As a result, the missile was never launched, and the submarine eventually returned safely. Not only the Soviet Union but also the United States admired Arkhipov\’s decision not to launch the missile during that delicate time when both superpowers were on the brink of war His bravery and composure were acknowledged with numerous awards and honors. Because if at that moment when both major powers were on the brink of war, the Soviet Union had launched an atomic missile then the United States would have retaliated with its own nuclear missile attacks. Stopping this would have been extremely difficult.
During any war, enemies closely monitor each other\’s activities. In this context, an incident occurred during the Cold War when, in the 1967 , the Soviet Union lost one of its submarines in the North Pacific Ocean After searching for two months, the Soviets eventually gave up on finding it. On the other hand, the United States had already used its technology to locate the submarine.
This submarine was around 618 feet long and had sunk to a depth of about 16,500 feet near the Hawaiian Islands CIA, the secretive agency of the United States, initiated a top-secret mission with the aim of retrieving the submarine from the sea, or stealing it. America wanted to understand the Soviet submarine technology through this captured submarine. However, retrieving such a heavy and large submarine from such a depth was nearly impossible, so the CIA could only bring some parts of it to the surface.
The CIA buried the bodies of the deceased Soviet crew with full military honors and recorded the entire operation. This recorded film was provided to Russia twenty-two years later. However, neither America officially acknowledged this secret mission nor did Russia show any specific reaction It is possible that both countries handled this matter internally; otherwise, they would have faced criticism from each other if it had become public. Another interesting incident occurred in 1991 in the Pacific Ocean. Russian and American submarines collided near the Russian waters, but both submarines and their crew members remained safe.
Worst Incidents Some of the worst submarine accidents have occurred with submarines over the years You might have heard about the incident in June 2023 involving the US submarine, which collapsed under the pressure of the ocean and imploded. Similarly, in the year 2000, there was an incident with a Russian nuclear submarine. Suddenly, one of its missiles exploded in the ocean. Following that, another missile also exploded. Fortunately, all the crew members of the submarine remained safe. In 2003, a mysterious incident occurred.
In China\’s Yellow Sea, a submarine was spotted near the surface of the ocean Attempts were made to communicate with the people inside the submarine, but they were not successful. Eventually, Chinese naval vessels reached the location and discovered that all the 70 crew members of the military submarine were dead The Chinese Navy was unaware of the submarine\’s disappearance. During submarine training, an environment quite similar to actual war is simulated Submariners have to stay in the depths of the sea for many days and do not surface on the ocean\’s surface for extended periods The submarine ran out of oxygen resulting in the death of all the crew members aboard
Similarly, in 2008, a Russian nuclear submarine experienced a gas leak that caused the death of twenty crew members. Interesting Facts Generally, submarines have very limited usable space, as they are mostly filled with equipment. Moving or walking inside a submarine can be challenging due to the confined space. For oxygen supply, tanks, oxygen generators, or oxygen canisters are used, which produce oxygen through various chemical reactions Each submarine is constructed differently, and their underwater endurance also varies.
On average, a nuclear submarine can stay submerged beneath the water\’s surface for three to four months. However, a British submarine holds the record for the longest underwater endurance, lasting for one hundred and eleven days. During the 2022 Ukraine-Russia tensions, submarines played a significant role. Russia launched attacks on Ukraine not only from land and air but also from the sea. Russia possesses some of the world\’s best and most dangerous nuclear submarines, capable of launching missile strikes up to thousands kilometers away These submarines remain virtually undetectable, making them silent and stealthy with no audible noise or sound Modern submarines are equipped with advanced sensors that can immediately detect any underwater threat or intrusion.
With the help of these submarines, nations can not only cause considerable damage to their enemies from thousands of miles away but also keep a close watch on their maritime borders
Friends, if we talk about Pakistan in this context, Pakistan currently has eight military submarines, but these submarines use older technology.
Pakistan is still in the process of gaining experience with nuclear submarines. In developed countries, a new trend has emerged regarding submarines, where many companies are venturing into submarine tourism.
You can now take a tour underwater in a submarine and explore the depths of the sea. However, this journey comes with risks because rescuing a submarine can be extremely challenging Would you like to go on such an underwater journey?
Let us know in the comments. Thank you.