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Union Also had Plans for A sub

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by tmh10, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    It’s the USS Alligator, built in 1861 during the Civil War. The inventor of this strange looking machine, was a Frenchman named Brutus De Villeroi, who came to the United States during these times and wanted to help his new country in that war. He presented a submarine to the authorities and the US Navy got interested and ordered him to build one.

    Now what you see here is the result. The green colored submarine about 47 ft long, was called the Alligator by some news people and the name stuck. It was powered by no less than 20 brave souls with the help of oars! (that’s what those small things hanging down on both sides are) In this configuration it achieved a breathtaking terminal speed of no less than 1 – 2 knots. This was perhaps the reason it was later rebuild with a handcrank driven propeller. By that the speed was doubled to 2 -3 knots. It also was the first submarine which had a lockout chamber through which the diver could enter and leave the submarine to attach mines and similar devices to the attacked target. It was planned to use the Alligator but while being towed on way to its target due to a storm it sank and was never seen again.





    http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=96181

    [​IMG]
     

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  3. jmb57

    jmb57 Corporal Trivia Game Winner

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  4. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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  5. jmb57

    jmb57 Corporal Trivia Game Winner

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    It is interesting, this is the first that I have heard about the Alligator.
    I am amazed at the courage shown by the crewmen of both the Hunley, and the Alligator. I know that I could not have done what they did.
     
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  6. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    It is amazing what the people did then to further their cause. You have to admire them.
     
  7. Dugger

    Dugger Banned

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    O wow, beyond cool! I had never heard of it either. Now, ya had to have a diver to leave the vessel to attach mines to target? Gee, for how remarkable this thing is it seems odd to me that the inventor could not have come up with a better, higher tech way to blow-up one's fellow man. The Hunley had the spar torpedo thing. Does this mean the Confederates were smarter that the Yanks?:confused:
     
  8. Blessmag

    Blessmag 1st Lieutenant

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    Jimmy Johns delivery it was not!

    But cool photo
     
  9. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    Found some more on the sub that some may find of interest.

    Introduction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR):

    The creation of French inventor, Brutus De Villeroi. Whether a deliberate publicity stunt or not, DeVilleroi succeeded in convincing the Union Navy that he could produce a submersible warship from which a diver could place an explosive charge under an enemy ship. Six months later, in November 1861, he was under contract to build the Union's first submarine, Alligator.
    Built in Philadelphia, the 47-foot long Alligator was primarily intended to counter the threat of the Confederate ironclad, the Virginia. Although the Navy specified that the submarine's construction take no more than 40 days at a cost of $14,000, the project suffered long delays. As project supervisor, DeVilleroi objected to changes in certain aspects of his plans for the vessel's construction. In response, he effectively exited himself from the process and was later officially dismissed as supervisor.
    About a month after its launch on May 1,1862, the oar-propelled submarine was towed to Hampton Roads, Virginia. Her first missions: to destroy a strategically important bridge across the Appomattox River and to clear away obstructions in the James River.
    When the Alligator arrived at the James River, with civilian Samuel Eakins in charge, a fierce battle was being waged in the area. Because neither the James nor the Appomattox was deep enough to permit the vessel to submerge, it was feared that even a partially visible submarine would be vulnerable to seizure by the Confederates. The Alligator was sent to the Washington Navy Yard, for further experimentation and testing.
    In August 1862, Lt. Thomas O. Selfridge accepted command of the submarine, after being promised promotion to captain if he and the Alligator's new crew destroyed the new Confederate ironclad, the Virginia II. During test runs in the Potomac, the Alligator proved to be underpowered and unwieldy. During one particular trial, the sub's air quickly grew foul, the crew panicked, and all tried to get out of the same hatch at the same time--prompting Selfridge to call the whole enterprise "a failure." He and his crew were reassigned and the vessel was sent to dry dock for extensive conversion. The dream of using this "secret weapon" against the Virginia II was scrapped.
    Over the next six months, the Alligator's system of oars was replaced by a screw propeller. In early spring 1863, President Lincoln observed a demonstration of the "improved" vessel. Shortly thereafter, RADM Samuel Dupont ordered the Alligator, once again commanded by Eakins, to participate in the capture of Charleston.
    Towed by the USS Sumpter, the unmanned Alligator left Washington for Port Royal on March 31, 1863. On April 2nd, a fierce storm forced the crew of the endangered Sumpter to cut the submarine adrift, somewhere off the Cape Hatteras coast. According to reports sent to Secretary of the Navy Welles, the Alligator was "lost" at sea.

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08444.htm
     
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  10. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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    Amen, if they had told me to get in that thing I would have said, "You want me to do what??? I signed up to fight not commit suicide!"

    Here is the only "Sub" they could have gotten me interested in.

    [​IMG]

    :rofl:
     
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  11. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    I share your feelings. Don't fare well in closed in places.
     
  12. Dugger

    Dugger Banned

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    Was there not also a sub (kinda) called the Turtle in the American Revolution? Yes! It did not submerge completely but just a tad bit of it's pilot housing was above water. Shaped kinda like an egg. Someone look this up and post it...I not good at that. Pic would be cool. Drawing better....cause they had no photos in Rev War. Nah. Nope.:smug:
     
  13. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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  14. oldpete63

    oldpete63 Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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  15. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Here's a link with several diagrams and some technical info on the Turtle:

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08441.htm
     
  16. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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  17. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Ha! Hey are we all on the stick or what! :smile:
     
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  18. oldpete63

    oldpete63 Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Was fine until I sneezed - ended upside down:wink:
     
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  19. Dugger

    Dugger Banned

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    Dang old pete ya got it going on! Fabulous. I knew I had read about it as a kid and, well, here it is tks to you. Soooooo, does this mean the Hunley was not the first sub? The Turtle did not go completly under (like totally under the water ya know) but the concept was there. Could be a good debate. Who was first? Dam Rebs? Dam Yanks?.. or our Revoluntionary Fathers? I have been turned on by subs ever since I saw Disney's 20,000 leagues under da sea when I was about 6 or 7. Great film, great cast, and great book by Jules Vern. Keep the sub stuff coming if ya got anymore. Tks!

    O....Dan F...tks also. Good stuff.
     
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  20. oldpete63

    oldpete63 Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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  21. oldpete63

    oldpete63 Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    And another site:

    http://submarinehistory.homestead.com/Bushnell.html
     

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