British submarine canoe: secret weapon of World War II

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British submarine canoe: secret weapon of World War II

During the Second World War, humanity acquired a fairly large number of fundamentally new weapons. Some of them “took root” and, having undergone a number of improvements, are still used to this day. The other remained only on the pages of the archives, as it turned out to be ineffective or unclaimed.

The latter includes a motorized underwater canoe, developed by Major Hugh Quentin Reeves in the interests of the British Special Operations Executive.



The device, nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty” after its creator was found dozing off in his brainchild, was intended for secret operations, as well as attacks on enemy ships.

The peculiarity of the motorized canoe was that it could “dive” to a depth of 15 meters and move under water for a distance of up to 74 km.

The length of the device was 3,86 meters, width - 0,69 meters. The Sleeping Beauty was driven by an electric motor powered by four car batteries. The unit allowed the maximum speed under water to reach 4,4 knots.

The canoe was submerged by filling the central tanks inside the hull with water. The ascent was carried out by filling these containers with compressed air.

The Sleeping Beauty was controlled using a special joystick. The crew could consist of one or two people, equipped with Dunlop UWSBA underwater breathing apparatus or Siebe Gorman Mkll Amphibian rebreathers.

A "diving" canoe could be dropped from a bomber aircraft into the water fairly close to an enemy target. At the same time, the boat carried up to 1,6 kg of explosives, which allowed the crew to direct it to the target and then leave the “kamikaze device”. However, the “Sleeping Beauty” sometimes simply surfaced near the moored ships, and its crew installed magnetic mines on their hulls, of which there were 9 units in the canoe’s arsenal.

Despite the fact that this weapon did not become something super-effective during the Second World War, it gave impetus to the development of other underwater vehicles.

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  1. 0
    4 June 2024 17: 05
    I wonder how many ships were sunk or damaged using such a device?
    1. 0
      4 June 2024 17: 12
      The video says that there was only one attempt to use it - in 1944 in Singapore, but unsuccessful.
      There may have been others, but since it is not disclosed/highly classified, probably against “friendly” or cargo/civilians.
    2. IVZ
      0
      4 June 2024 18: 27
      I wonder how many ships were sunk or damaged using such a device?
      I read about it once, but as far as I remember, the device was positioned as a single-seat means of delivering intelligence officers and agents without any combat ambitions.
  2. 0
    4 June 2024 17: 52
    74 km on 4 car batteries, on the current base it would be possible to do 200 kilometers, probably with diving for navigation and autopilot.
  3. +3
    4 June 2024 17: 59
    At the same time, the boat carried up to 1,6 kg of explosives.

    What?:)))))