Military Review

Submarine for hand-to-hand combat


165 years ago, 1 February 1851, the first German submarine Brandtaucher ("fire diver"), designed by the inventor Wilhelm Bauer, sank in the port of Kiel during the fourth test dive. The boat, according to its creator, was intended to destroy enemy ships with subversive charges that were attached to their bottoms by hand, with the help of diving gloves sticking out on the sides of the forward turret.

After the Brandtaucher came close to the target, his captain had to push his hands into rubberized sleeves with gloves, unhook a charge of 50 kg weighing outside the boat and somehow (perhaps with the help of a gimlet) attach it to the enemy vessel. After that, the boat sailed back to a safe distance, and the bomb was undermined by a wire electric igniter. But the matter did not come to the test of this original system, since, as already mentioned, the submarine could not ascend shortly after the test began.

The cause of the accident is not entirely clear. Whether a leak was formed in the hull, or a pump that was pumping out ballast water was out of order, or the boat, which had sunk to the bottom, sucked to the ground. Fortunately, it happened at a shallow depth, and the three testers, among whom was Bauer himself, managed to open the access hatch and emerge to the surface. They did not lift the submarine, as Bauer immediately began to develop a new, more sophisticated submarine vessel.

In 1856, this new submarine, called the "Zeetoyfel" ("monkfish"), was built and successfully tested, but not in Germany, but in Russia. However, this is different история. But the Brandtaucher was nevertheless removed from under the water, but this only happened in 1887, when carrying out work to deepen the Kiel harbor. Firstborn German underwater fleet restored and exhibited at the Berlin Navy Museum, and then - moved to the Dresden Military History Museum, where it still stands.
On the screensaver is a sketch drawing of Wilhelm Bauer, from which the Brandtaucher project developed.

Drawings "Brandtauhera", which is clearly visible his entire structure. The boat with a crew of three was set in motion with the help of two hand-winches that transmitted rotation to the propeller through a gear reducer. This system made it possible to reach speeds of up to three knots, but not for long, since the "motors" were quickly tired at the maximum operating mode.

The wooden frame of the vessel is highlighted in brown on the diagram (the casing was made of riveted iron sheets 6 mm thick), yellow is the 500-kilogram balancing weight transfer system with which the trim was varied, blue is the steering control system, and pumping and pumping water ballast. It is interesting that there were no ballast tanks on the boat, and the water was poured directly into the hull, under the wooden deck. Behind the tank is visible tank for compressed air.

"Brandtauher" in the Dresden Military Museum. Diving gloves and glass side windows are missing.
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  1. qwert
    qwert 5 February 2016 07: 20 New
    An interesting device. Without rudders of depth, I wonder how Bauer thought to keep the boat at the right depth. By the way, the designer was prolific
    1. Lt. Air Force stock
      Lt. Air Force stock 5 February 2016 20: 47 New
      Quote: qwert
      Without rudders of depth, I wonder how Bauer thought to keep the boat at the right depth. By the way, the designer was prolific

      The elevators apparently served as a metal plate, which shifted along the rails to the bow or stern could create a trim.
  2. Scraptor
    Scraptor 5 February 2016 07: 25 New
    "Stealthy Fire Diver" not "Fire Diver"
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 5 February 2016 07: 27 New
    In honor of the Bauer, the first submarine in the Bundesmarine was named after the Second World War.
  4. kugelblitz
    kugelblitz 5 February 2016 09: 52 New
    After a little over 10 years, a real-life submarine appeared. The minus is in the short range.

    1. Alex
      Alex 5 February 2016 22: 51 New
      Quote: kugelblitz
      After a little over 10 years, a real-life submarine appeared. The minus is in the short range.

      Almost all of the first submarines suffered from this shortcoming. What can you do, technology has not yet matured ...
      1. kugelblitz
        kugelblitz 6 February 2016 13: 17 New
        There was a pneumatic engine, but it was the presence of cylinders that allowed the use of a displacement system to drain the ballast.
  5. qwert
    qwert 5 February 2016 10: 49 New
    Quote: kugelblitz
    After a little over 10 years, a real-life submarine appeared.

    The Aleksandrov submarine is the first in the world to have an engine and a regeneration system. During the tests, she spent several hours under water. Submariner officers even drank coffee "with cookies" at this time. In short, the domestic priority is obvious.
  6. jurikberlin
    jurikberlin 5 February 2016 15: 11 New
    During our military service in Dresden, we were taken to the NNA Museum after an oath.
    that's where I saw "Brandtaucher". In the viewing windows you can see everything well.
    in order to risk diving on such an apparatus, one must be either very courageous or crazy.
    although thanks to people like Bauer, Germany has become an innovator and leader
    to create the latest types of boats until the end of World War II.
  7. Alex
    Alex 5 February 2016 22: 56 New
    As a child, I read an interesting book by P. Pringle "Adventures under Water". There is also a story about Bauer's boat, more detailed and in particular, an episode with a disaster is described. The boat really didn’t have rudders, it sank and surfaced due to changes in buoyancy and changes in trim (noses up or down on the move). The method is quite original, but also risky: it was possible to swim only in well-explored areas. Which led to the disaster: the bottom was much closer than Bauer had expected. Death for the boat, but salvation for the crew: they managed to surface.
  8. dvg1959
    dvg1959 10 February 2016 17: 24 New
    Interesting and intriguing topic. The era of technical discoveries, achievements and disappointments.