Maritime Monday for May 14, 2012: In the Town Where I Was Born

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 65
May 13, 2012


Tintin 363 (original)

Take ‘Er Down (1954)

“I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.”
— HG Wells.

One of the most revolutionary naval advances was the submarine. By 1900, the gyroscope, the gyrocompass, and the use of steel hulls, a safe method of propulsion in the internal combustion engine and the accumulator battery, combined to make the submarine possible. The development of the reliable torpedo provided the submarine with an excellent weapon of attack. In 1900, the six major navies of the world had only 10 submarines among them.

Since then the submarine has become the shark of almost every navy. Silent, hunting, killing, dark and sleek under the oceans, Always a foreboding subject in books and films. Some have argued that it and the aircraft have made surface ships obsolete in naval warfare. today the launchpad of not only torpedoes but missiles and the mainstay of nuclear arsenals. Like sharks, submarines are unseen until they strike, and also like sharks – we know they are out there.

The Snark


Painting by Mort Künstler
via Flickr / x-ray_delta_one


Movie Card: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (1961)
Irwin Allen Productions
posted by modern_fred

IMDb: Admiral Nelson takes a brand new atomic submarine through its paces. When the Van Allen radiation belt catches fire, the admiral must find a way to beat the heat or watch the world go up in smoke.

Goofs: Admiral Nelson orders the submarine to submerge near the end of the movie by stating “take the ship down”, even though submariners call their vessels “boats”.

more goofs on IMDb


Polaris Nuclear Sub Ad 1966
see also: Fighting Ships Ad 1966



Mystery of the Siamese Submarine of 1938

In 1936, about 128 Siamese (Thai) naval officers were sent to japan for training by the Japanese Navy, and to bring back 4 new submarines with them to Siam. — However, there were 32 officers, sent earlier that year for a secret training, in a separate mission – they were a crew of a nonexistent Submarine Number 5.

No record / document about 32 officers and their submarine can be found in Thailand today. No one can really be sure what their secret mission was – only rumor that Submarine No.5 vanished without a trace by the end of 1945 – if it ever really existed, that is…


Russian submarine K-129 (see 3000 × 1694)

Raised from 17,000 ft. below sea level during the 1970′s by the Hughes Glomar Explorer

The 1968 sinking of the K-129 occurred approximately 1,560 nautical miles (2,890 km) northwest of Hawaii. Project Azorian was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.8 billion in 2012 dollars). The exact reasons why this project was undertaken are unknown, but likely reasons included the recovery of an intact nuclear missile (R-21 (missile) also known as NATO SS-N-5-SERB), as well as cryptological documents and equipment.


The US searched diligently using acoustic data from four AFTAC sites and the Adak SOSUS array to pinpoint the location within 2 nautical miles. The USS Halibut (above) submarine used the Fish: a towed, 12 foot, 2 ton collection of cameras, strobe lights, and sonar to detect seafloor objects and built to withstand extreme depths. The recovery operation commenced covertly (in international waters) about 6 years later with a supposed commercial purpose: mining the sea floor for manganese nodules under the cover of Howard Hughes and the Hughes Glomar Explorer.

more on wikipedia


Commander Battle & The Atomic Sub Comics no 6 May 1955

see all


War Comics # 1 from Dell in 1940


USS Growler by bowsprite

USS Growler (SSG-577), an early cruise missile submarine of the Grayback class, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for a large-mouth black bass.

Growler was laid down on 15 February 1955 by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard of Kittery, Maine, and was launched on 5 April 1958. decommissioned 25 May 1964, struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 August 1980, and was scheduled to be used as a torpedo target. However, on 8 August 1988, Congress awarded the hulk to Zachary Fisher, Chairman of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.

Growler is the sole survivor of the Navy’s fleet of pioneering strategic missile diesel powered submarines.

more on wiki


SM U-20; Postcard depicting the sinking of the RMS Lusitaniaimage

launched on 18 December 1912 – During World War I, she took part in operations around the British Isles. The U-20 became infamous following her sinking of the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915, an act that dramatically reshaped the course of World War I.

At about 1:40 pm Schwieger saw a vessel approaching through his periscope. From a distance of about 700 m Schwieger noted she had four funnels and two masts making her a liner of some sort. He recognised her as the Lusitania, a vessel in the British Fleet Reserve, and fired a single torpedo. It hit on the starboard side, almost directly below the bridge.

Following the torpedo’s explosion, the liner was shattered by a second explosion, possibly caused by either coal dust, munitions in the hold, or a boiler explosion, so large Schwieger himself was surprised. Lusitania sank rapidly in 18 minutes with the loss of nearly 2,000 lives.

Schwieger noted in his war diary:

“It looks as if the ship will stay afloat only for a very short time. [I gave order to] dive to 25 metres and leave the area seawards. I couldn’t have fired another torpedo into this mass of humans desperately trying to save themselves.”

see U 20 grounded Denmark 1916

German drawing of Lusitania being torpedoed. Incorrectly shows torpedo hit on port side of ship.


Illustration of Lusitania‘s life boats in the slip in Queenstown – 1,008 × 774 pixels


LEFT: Undersea Guardians, unknown artist. Amazing Stories, December 1944 (see original)
RT: The Mermaid of Maracot Deep


captured German mine-laying submarine SM UC-5; World War I

launched on 13 June 1915: UC-5 had an impressive career, with 29 ships sunk for a total of 36,288 tons on 29 patrols. On August 21, 1915 UC-5 became the first submarine minelayer to penetrate into the English Channel, laying 12 mines off Boulogne, one of which sank the steamship William Dawson the same day. UC-5 went on to lay 6 more mines off Boulogne and Folkestone on 7 September, one of which sank the cable layer Monarch.

UC-5 ran aground while on patrol 27 April 1916 at Coordinates: 51°59′N 1°38′E 51°59′N 1°38′E and was scuttled. Her crew were captured by HMS Firedrake and the submarine was displayed at Temple Pier on the Thames river and, later, in New York for propaganda purposes.

Original (900 x 911)


HMS Bulldog in June 1937

9th May 1941: A boarding party from the British destroyer HMS Bulldog captured the German secret Enigma signal cyphering equipment from German submarine U-110 (1940) in the North Atlantic, the greatest intelligence coup in Naval History.

U-110 at

Operation Primrose: allowed to sink on 10 May 1941.


Nick Nr. 030

Nick comics drawn by Hansrudi Wäscher — grew up in the Italian part of Switzerland. He was impressed by comic books like ‘Tarzan’, ‘Mandrake’ and ‘Flash Gordon’. After high school he studied graphic design. Wäscher entered the comic book field in 1953, with ‘Sigurd’. After that, he drew, translated and wrote over 1,500 mini-sized comic books, published all over Europe.

from German comics:

Comic books (were) never to be published in Nazi Germany because such literature was banned under the Nazi party “Smut and Trash” decree of 4 February 1933.

In post-war (the 1950s and 1960s) West Germany, comic books and strips were largely inspired by American models. Comic books for children and young people were developed, such as Sigurd by Hansrudi Wäscher (the complete works of Hansrudi Wäscher and new stories of Sigurd are published by Norbert Hethke). Despite dubious art quality and increasing resistance from educators, these comics were read in great quantities.

see also: Nick Nr. 031 und Wigor 06 Meteor Nr. 009 “Titania”



German sub making an emergency surfacing manouvre; this picture taken through her periscope


Russian Project 613 Whiskey class medium range patrol submarines being scrapped in England; 1980’s

In 2009 a previously unknown and unidentified sunken Whiskey class submarine was discovered within Sweden’s EEZ close to the island of Gotland. It was a decommissioned submarine which sank while under tow to be scrapped in Denmark. News of the discovery was not made public until March 2011.

Whiskey class submarines on wikipedia

Arthur Conan Doyle: Danger! Being the Log of Captain John Sirius”

image“Several of the enemy’s submarines are at sea, and have inflicted some appreciable damage upon our merchant ships. The danger-spots upon Monday and the greater part of Tuesday appear to have been the mouth of the Thames and the western entrance to the Solent. On Monday, between the Nore and Margate, there were sunk five large steamers, the Adela, Moldavia, Cusco, Cormorant, and Maid of Athens, particulars of which will be found below.

“Near Ventnor, on the same day, was sunk the Verulam, from Bombay. On Tuesday the Virginia, Caesar, King of the East, and Pathfinder were destroyed between the Foreland and Boulogne. The latter three were actually lying in French waters, and the most energetic representations have been made by the Government of the Republic.

“On the same day The Queen of Sheba, Orontes, Diana, and Atalanta were destroyed near the Needles. Wireless messages have stopped all ingoing cargo-ships from coming up Channel, but unfortunately there is evidence that at least two of the enemy’s submarines are in the West. Four cattle-ships from Dublin to Liverpool were sunk yesterday evening, while three Bristol- bound steamers, The Hilda, Mercury, and Maria Toser, were blown up in the neighbourhood of Lundy Island.

“Commerce has, so far as possible, been diverted into safer channels, but in the meantime, however vexatious these incidents may be, and however grievous the loss both to the owners and to Lloyd’s, we may console ourselves by the reflection that since a submarine cannot keep the sea for more than ten days without refitting, and since the base has been captured, there must come a speedy term to these depredations.”

This story appeared in the July, 1914 edition of the Strand Magazine. The story dealt with a conflict between Britain and a fictional country called Norland.  In the story, Norland is able to bring Britain to its knees by the use of a small submarine fleet. German officials were later quoted as saying that the idea of the submarine blockade came to them after hearing Conan Doyle’s warnings against such an event.  How much of that statement was truth and how much was propaganda designed to cause conflict within Britain is not known.

Read it here;


Paris | Metro “Arts et Métiers”

Design: François Schuiten (Belgian comic book artist)
more: picpicpic

Arts et Métiers is a station of the Paris Métro. To mark the bicentenary of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in 1994, the station was redesigned by Belgian comics artist François Schuiten in a steam punk style reminiscent of the science fiction works of Jules Verne.

Arts et Métiers (Paris Métro) on wikipedia


Deep Flight Super Falcon

The 10 Coolest Submarines

The craft “flies” just like a jet plane, with electric motors controlling for roll, pitch and yaw. It can fly downward at a maximum of 200 feet per minute, upward at twice that speed and keep flying for a maximum of five hours at 4 knots – about 4.6 mph…

keep reading



Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
(French: Vingt mille lieues sous les mers)

is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870.

Captain Nemo’s name is a subtle allusion to Homer’s Odyssey, a Greek epic poem. In The Odyssey, Odysseus meets the monstrous cyclops Polyphemus during the course of his wanderings. Polyphemus asks Odysseus his name, and Odysseus replies that his name is “Utis” (ουτις), which translates as “No-man” or “No-body”

Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, “Captain Maury” in Verne’s book, a real-life oceanographer who explored the winds, seas, currents, and collected samples of the bottom of the seas and charted all of these things, is mentioned a few times in this work by Jules Verne.

References are made to other Frenchmen. Those include Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, a famous explorer who was lost while circumnavigating the globe; Dumont D’Urville,(an explorer)  and Ferdinand Lesseps, builder of the French sea level crossing between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean that is known as the Suez Canal and the nephew of the man who was the sole survivor of Lapérouse’s expedition.

The most famous part of the novel, the battle against a school of giant cuttlefish, begins when a crewman opens the hatch of the boat and gets caught by one of the monsters. As he is being pulled away by the tentacle that has grabbed him, he yells “Help!” in French. At the beginning of the next chapter, concerning the battle, Aronnax states that: “To convey such sights, one would take the pen of our most famous poet, Victor Hugo, author of The Toilers of the Sea”.

The Toilers of the Sea also contains an episode where a worker fights a giant octopus, wherein the octopus symbolizes the Industrial Revolution. It is probable that Verne borrowed the symbol, but used it to allude to the Revolutions of 1848 as well, in that the first man to stand against the “monster” and the first to be defeated by it is a Frenchman.

Read: 20,000 Leagues under the Sea at Project Gutenberg, trans. by Lewis Mercier, 1872


Under the Pole in a Submarine (Aug, 1929)
on Modern Mechanix

AIRSHIPS and airplanes have conquered the arctic air, but steamships have not conquered the arctic ice. Within a hundred years two hundred or more ships have been lost in battle with the grinding pack ice. They have been caught in the arms of the merciless floes, and, splintered and crushed, have dropped into the maw of the arctic basin. Many brave crews have followed their mangled ships to the bottom of the Arctic ocean. A few, more fortunate, more experienced or cautious, have escaped to tell tales of misfortune, hardship and privation…

keep reading

The United States Navy submarine USS Nautilus (SSN-571) crossed the North Pole on August 3, 1958. On March 17, 1959, the USS Skate (SSN-578) surfaced at the Pole, becoming the first naval vessel to do so.


The sea depth at the North Pole has been measured at 4,261 m (13,980 ft) by the Russian Mir submersible )above) in 2007, and at 4,087 m (13,410 ft) by USS Nautilus (below) in 1958.


In July 1951 the United States Congress authorized the construction of a nuclear-powered submarine for the U.S. Navy, which was planned and personally supervised by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.”

Nautilus’s keel was laid at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division in Groton, Connecticut by Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, on 14 June 1952.

Argonne National Laboratory, together with Westinghouse, developed the basic reactor plant design used in the USS Nautilus after being given the assignment on Dec. 31, 1947. This design is the basis for nearly all of the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine and surface combat ships, and was adapted by other countries for naval nuclear propulsion.

Operation Sunshine – under the North Pole

On 25 April 1958, Nautilus was underway for the West Coast, after stopping at San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle, she began her history-making polar transit. She submerged in the Barrow Sea Valley on 1 August and on 3 August, at 2315 (EDST) she became the first watercraft to reach the geographic North Pole.

From the North Pole, she continued on and after 96 hours and 1,590 nmi (2,940 km) under the ice, she surfaced northeast of Greenland, having completed the first successful submerged voyage around the North Pole.



USS Skate at the North Pole, 1959; Submarines Under Ice

American fast attack submarine USS Skate (SSN-578) 1955-1986 on WarShipResearch


Icebreaker Arktika, the first surface ship
to reach the North Pole on August 17, 1977

On July 3, 1971, construction began on a conceptual design of a larger nuclear icebreaker, dubbed Arktika, in the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. Four years later, on December 17, 1975, Moscow and Leningrad received radio messages informing them that sea trials had been completed successfully.

The newest and largest nuclear icebreaker at the time was ready for the Arctic. In 1982, it was officially christened Leonid Brezhnev in honor of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982.[3] In 1968, the crew of the Leonid Brezhnev, went on a communication strike. Disliking the name of the ship, they refused to respond to any radio message unless the ship was referred to as Arktika. Within a week of the strike, the name was changed back to Arktika.

On April 9, 2007 a fire broke out on the Arktika. The fire caused minor damage to three cabins and knocked out an electricity-distribution panel. The nuclear reactor was not damaged. There were no injuries. The icebreaker was in the Kara Sea when the blaze erupted, and was sent to Murmansk. The ship was officially taken out of service in October 2008.

Arktika class icebreakers on wikipedia


USS Charlotte SSN-766

The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 6 February 1987 and her keel was laid down on 17 August 1990, and she was launched on 3 October 1992.

Charlotte is a MOSUB (Mother Submarine) for the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) and is also capable of launching and recovering the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS).

On 29 November 2005, Charlotte arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, having taken the northern route from Pearl Harbor, under the Arctic ice cap. Along the way, she surfaced at the North Pole through 61 inches of ice, a record for a Los Angeles-class submarine.

more on wikipedia


Crew of the USS Charlotte stopping for souvenir snaps at the pole. (29 photos)


USS HALFBEAK (SS 352) (1958)Submarines Under Ice

Named for the halfbeak, a garlike fish with a beak formed by an extension of the lower jaw, found in warmer seas.

Halfbeak was launched 19 February 1946 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. Her regular patrol duties took a turn on 28 July 1958 when she departed for the Arctic, where with the nuclear submarine Skate (SSN-578) she operated under and around the polar ice pack to gather information in connection with the International Geophysical Year.

Halfbeak was decommissioned and simultaneously struck from the Naval Register, 1 July 1971. She was sold for scrapping, 13 July 1972.

more on wikipedia


HMS Tireless on exercise at the North Pole

NOAA North Pole Web Cam


Voyage To The Deep
 Issue 4 November 1964Issue 3 August 1963
see also: Issue 1 Sep 1962 —  Issue 2 May 1963



Following surrender U-118 was to be transferred to France where it would be broken up for scrap. However, in the early hours of 15 April 1919, while it was being towed through the English Channel towards Scapa Flow, its dragging hawser broke off in a storm. The ship ran aground on the beach at Hastings in Sussex at approximately 12:45am, directly in front of the Queens Hotel.

Initially there were attempts to displace the stricken vessel; three tractors tried to refloat the submarine and a French destroyer attempted to break the ship apart using its cannons.These attempts however were unsuccessful and the proximity of the submarine to the public beach and Queens Hotel dissuaded further use of explosive forces.

The wreck of the submarine immediately became a popular tourist attraction with thousands of visitors to Hastings that Easter flocking to see the beached vessel. The vessel was put in charge of the local coastguard station and the Admiralty allowed the Town Clerk of Hastings to charge a small fee for people to climb on the deck of the submarine. This continued for two weeks, during which time the town collected almost £300 which helped fund an event to welcome the town’s troops returning from the war.

Eventually, between October and December 1919, U-118 was broken up and the pieces removed and sold for scrap.The gun was left in place but later dug up in 1921. It is believed that some of the keel from the submarine may still lie underneath the sand of the beach.

– via thingsihappentolike


Wonder Woman 139; 1963


Ronald Reagan’s only acting gig alongside future wife Nancy Davis
Nathan Juran’s Hellcats of the Navy (1957)

Reagan plays Commander Casey Abbott, commander of the fictional submarine USS Starfish, who is ordered to undertake a dangerous mission which sees him attempting to cut off the flow of supplies between China and Japan in the heavily-mined waters off the Asiatic mainland. When a diver, who is Abbott’s competitor for the affections of Nurse Lieutenant Helen Blair (Davis) back at home, gets into a dangerous situation, Abbott must struggle to keep his personal and professional lives separate in dealing with the crisis.  —wiki

“Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, CINCPAC Pacific Theatre in World War II chose to make a personal appearance in this film about submarines. That’s like having Eisenhower or MacArthur make a personal appearance in an army war film. Unheard of.”  —IMDb

Yellow Submarine Movie Trailer (The Beatles)


Project 641 diesel electric attack submarine

Monkey Fist

Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang.

Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at [email protected]. She can also out-belch any man.

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