Military Review

The first attacks of robots


Exactly 100 years ago, the first relatively successful use of an unmanned remote-controlled combat vehicle against another military vehicle took place. The German high-speed hydrofoil Fernlenkbot, controlled by wire from the shore, rammed the English monitor Erebus, which participated in the blockade of the Belgian coast.

Range of this weapons was 20 kilometers - that was the length of the wire. However, at such a distance it is impossible to control a small 12-meter boat, it is simply lost sight of. Therefore, the attack was accompanied by a seaplane, from which data on the direction of the Fernlenkobot were transmitted by radio to the control panel. In accordance with these data, the operator made the course adjustment.

The system turned out to be quite complex and inertial, but it worked, the glider crashed into the "Erebus" right in the middle of the hull. The contact fuse blew up a 700-kilogram charge, but the monitor did not sink. He was saved by an anti-torpedo caisson reinforced along the side, which took up the energy of an explosion. "Erebus" under its own power went to the port for repairs.

FernLenkbot was developed at 1915 by Siemens. By order of the German Navy, in the same year, an experimental batch of 12 of such boats was built, some of which were sent to the western front - to Flanders, and the rest - to the eastern - to Kurland. The first attempt to use them was marked 24 on April 1916 of the year, but then, because of the steering failure, the boat had to be given a command to self-destruct.

25 September 1916 of the year in the next attack from the hydroplane stalled the engine and had to be destroyed again in order to avoid capture by the enemy. 1 March 1917 of the year - the first success, "Fernlenkbot", managed from the warship, undermined the British coastal battery guarding the entrance to the port of Newport. On September 6, another boat attacked a British blockade monitor, but was spotted on time and sunk by its quick-firing anti-mine guns. The attempt to ram the Russian destroyer in the Gulf of Riga, which was taken by 3 in November, also ended.

In 1918, the remaining “Fernlencotts” were converted to “pure” radio guidance from hydroplanes. The 25 in May was launched by a single attack of the "radio-cruiser", but it was unsuccessful due to the breakdown of the radio station on the gunner plane. Uncontrolled glider slipped past the target, and then self-killer worked on it.

In general, "Fernlenkoboty" significantly ahead of its time. The idea was good, but the lack of reliability of the then technology and the lack of time to debug it, did not allow this idea to be fully realized.
On the screen saver - the image of "Fernlenkobot", then - a drawing of "Erebus" with anti-torpedo caissons and a post-war snapshot of the same monitor without them.

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  1. andrewkor
    andrewkor 5 November 2017 07: 08 New
    Oh, and some like any little bit of innovation to call it a "combat robot." During the defense of St. Petersburg in 1854 land-based anti-ship landmines were also used (like Ferlenkbots), so they should be given priority to the Russian scientist Jacobi! Well, further on the chronology: German and Soviet radio tanks, Mistels in England and TB-3 in Keningsberg. inverted commas, it’s Kamikaze’s fighting robot, because this is no longer a man, but a destruction machine with a primitive brain! Until they create and use Artificial Intelligence personally, I refuse to call these worthy devices Robots in themselves!
  2. poquello
    poquello 5 November 2017 17: 28 New
    author smoke the word "robot"
  3. Curious
    Curious 5 November 2017 23: 31 New

    The Fern-Lerikboot boats (to tighten the German author so as not to mislead the reader) had a displacement of 6 tons, dimensions 13 x 1,86 x 0,66 m; two Maybach engines of 210 hp (second series - 230 hp each); speed of 28 knots (second series - 30 knots); they carried a 230-kg explosive charge (TNT). The torpedo boat was controlled from the shore through a thin electric cable 20 km (10,8 miles) long and weighing 800 kg in total.
    Where the author fished for information about a 700 kg charge is a mystery.
  4. shinobi
    shinobi 6 November 2017 05: 40 New
    Later, the radio guidance system was brought to mind and applied to V-1. In general, the Germans simply revived the idea of ​​“firewalls” only at a new level. With the advent of the first homing torpedoes, the idea died again.
  5. Tyomanator
    Tyomanator 9 November 2017 01: 56 New
    Quote: Curious
    Boats Fern-lerikboot (tighten German to the author so as not to introduce the reader into mistaken)

    Is Lerikbot right here? Maybe it’s for you to tighten up German (along with Russian;)?
    Das Fernlenkboot, Kurz FL Genannt