Submarine Facts

  • The first workable submarine was a rowing boat covered with waterproofed skins, built by Dutch scientist Cornelius Van Drebbel in 1620.
  • In 1776 David Bushnell’s one-man submarine, the Turtle, attacked British ships in America’s War of Independence.
  • Petrol engines and electric batteries were combined to make the first successful subs in the 1890s.
  • Powerful, less fumy diesel engines took over from 1908.
  • In 1954 the US launched the Nautilus, the first nuclear powered sub. Now all subs are nuclear-powered.
  • U-boats were German submarines that attack Allied convoys of ships in World Wars I and II.
  • The tower on top of a submarine is called the sail or conning tower.
  • In a modern sub a strong hull of steel or titanium stops it from being crushed by the pressure of water.
  • Most subs are designed for war and have long missiles called torpedoes to fire at enemy ships.
  • Attack subs have torpedoes and guided missiles for attacking ships. Ballistic subs have missiles with nuclear warheads for firing at land targets.