H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

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frontkampfer
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H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby frontkampfer » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:09 pm

The H L HUNELY is the first successful submarine to sink a ship. On February 17, 1864 the HUNLEY attacked and sank the USS HOUSITONIC. The crew of the HUNLEY never returned from their mission and the location of it was unknown until 1995 when it was discovered. The location was kept a secret to prevent looting and it was raised in 2000 and moved to the Lash Conservation Center in Charleston, SC.

It is kept in a 75000 gallon tank filled with a solution of sodium-hydroxide (Draino) and has an electrical current running through it to remove 140 years of salt from the metal. Excavation of the hull located the remains of all eight crewmen and they were later given military funerals in Charleston.

Here are some photos taken of the HUNLEY at the Friends of the HUNLEY exhibit at the Lash Conservation Center.

A cutway model of the HUNLEY showing crew positions.
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A sectional outline of the hull with dimensions
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Port side forward as seen in the treatment tank
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Ports side midships
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Port side aft
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The HUNELY is 40 feet long. You can see the hand cranks where the hull plates were removed. The explosive charge was 140lbs of black powder at the end of of a spar with a contact fuse.

Hope you enjoy them.
"I will not have my ship shot out from under my ass!"

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paulcadogan
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby paulcadogan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:49 am

Hi,

Thanks for sharing!

Looks like a frightful craft to be aboard. Some very brave men there!

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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wadinga
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby wadinga » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:18 pm

All,

I believe the Hunley had killed previous crews before the last one.

However this discussion should be in Ironclads and not in Battleship Bismarck. :D

All the best

wadinga
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frontkampfer
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby frontkampfer » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:05 am

I unfortunately realized the post should have been listed on a different page after I posted it. I sent a message to Jose about it and asked him to move it to where he felt it would be more appropriate.

The HUNLEY had three crews. The first had six deaths due to being swamped on the surface. The second, had all hands lost due to the error in diving under the command of it's namesake. The third and final crew under the command of George Dixon. All three of the crews were volunteers. The HUNLEY was a privateer and all concerned with her would get a big payday for any Federal ship it sank. The Confederate government would pay half of what it cost to build the ship, in the case of the HOUSITONIC the cost was $500,000. Nevertheless, the men who crewed the HUNLEY were very brave no matter how much the reward.
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RF
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby RF » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:42 am

wadinga wrote:All,

I believe the Hunley had killed previous crews before the last one.

However this discussion should be in Ironclads and not in Battleship Bismarck. :D

All the best

wadinga


The first sentence as I initially read it was ambiguous but I now see what was mean't - Huinley had one successful sinking and not three.

The exploit of CSS Hunley is almost entirely unkown outside of specialist military history - for example G Whitehead as inventor of the self-propelled torpedo is taken often as the inventor of the idea of a torpedo explosive charge and hence inventor of the submarine.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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wadinga
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby wadinga » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:27 pm

All,

By my reckoning CSS Hunley killed 21 Confederate and 5 Union sailors. But it was the first successful attack submarine. Its explosive charge was detonated by the tether, when Hunley had backed off enough not to get blown up by the Spar torpedo jammed in the enemy's hull. The term "Torpedo" was then used for any kind of mine, including fixed ones, hence "Damn the Torpedoes" "Full speed ahead".

Interestingly the Union monitor Tecumseh, sunk by those very mines/torpedoes at Mobile Bay was a very early recipient of war grave status. When the private salvor who had bought the wreck wanted to blow it into chunks, relatives of those lost with her petitioned the US Govt who bought the wreck back for the original 50USD paid, plus 6% interest. In 1876! They stipulated any salvor must recover human remains for burial ashore. Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Tecumseh_(1863)

However this thread still needs moving!

All the best

wadinga
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby frontkampfer » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:17 pm

The spar torpedo (20 ft long) had a contact percussion fuse.
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby wadinga » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:44 pm

Hi Frontkamper,

If the charge actually went off on impact 20ft away, Hunley would have been the first Kaiten and America could claim to have invented the Kamikaze nearly a hundred years before the Japanese! :D

From The Friends of Hunley website http://hunley.org/main_index.asp?CONTENT=MISSION

The men inside the Hunley lunged forward from the impact, then quickly backed their sub out as the 150-foot attached detonation rope played out. Within seconds, the world rocked and every man, above and below, became enveloped in a concussion of destruction.


So they were 150 ft away after harpooning the USS Housatonic when the bang went off. They even managed a flare success signal to shore but apparently sank some time after. Maybe 150 ft wasn't enough and they were flooding already from the explosion.

I think Whitehead figured not being anywhere near the bang when it goes off was a really, really good idea. Hence his locomotive torpedo. He was British, you know. :dance:

This thread is now well-placed.

All the best

wadinga
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frontkampfer
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby frontkampfer » Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:03 pm

According to what the guide at the Lash Center-FOTH said and the exhibits show the HUNLEY had a contact fuse, no lanyard. The US Navy did a test with the type of charge used and it would not have affected the crew or sub. The explosion went up into the hull. You may disagree but that was what they believe actually happened.

Some more pictures

Explosive charge
Image

Location of the attack
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby wadinga » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:03 pm

Hi Frontkampfer,

After some fascinating research I concur. It would appear the harpooning and back off approach was abandoned and the impact detonation charge was simply stuck on the end of a iron pole. How the crew could imagine that they would not go up with the target or even get dragged down by it is unclear. Since the damage done to the Housatonic apparently shattered her propulsion system, blew a huge hole in her side and caused her to sink in just a few minutes, it is surprising how little disruption the computer simulation thinks Hunley would herself have suffered being less than 20ft from the explosion.

Despite a wrangle over who exactly discovered the Hunley's wreck this page http://www.numa.net/expeditions/hunley-c-s-s/
and this http://futureforce.navylive.dodlive.mil ... -crew-die/ and http://www.academia.edu/28322590/The_H. ... ine_Attack give all the detail

One item suggests that Housatonic's wreck was moved :shock: and so the Hunley's wreck position relative to her does not tell us much about how long she survived her victim.

What is clear the Confederate States of America invented the Kamikaze torpedo or Kaiten. Interestingly Japanese suicide divers were to carry hand held spar torpedoes against landing craft in Operation Olympic in 1945. They were called Fukuryu or Crouching Dragon.

All the best
wadinga
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Re: H L HUNLEY - First Successful Submarine

Postby frontkampfer » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:35 am

The HUNLEY was found about 1000 feet to seaward of HOUSITONIC. It was believed that Dixon put it on the bottom to wait for things to die down after the attack and for the tide to turn. They miscalculated the air they had and they died of anoxia. Over time it filled with water & sediment which helped preserve the remains. When exacvated the remains were found in their position and they did not show any signs of trama (broken bones). Finally, the forward hatch was found to be unlocked and the ballast pumps were not set to discharge so no indication of panic.
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