The Concept of a ship capable of diving for a while under the water, leaves in depth of centuries. In our days it is impossible to separate historical fact from myth and figure out who was the original author of this idea. Submarines are primarily used for military purposes and are the basis of the fleets of many countries. This is due to the main characteristics of submarines - stealth, and as a result, stealth for the opponent. The possibility of a surprise blows at the enemy ships made the submarines an indispensable component of the armed forces of all Maritime powers.
The First relatively reliable mention of ships that can dive under the water, belong to the 16th century. British mathematician William Bourne, outlined in his book entitled "Inventions and devices" the plan of creating such a vessel. Scottish scientist John Napier wrote about the idea of using submarines for sinking enemy ships. However, history has preserved no information about the practical implementation of these earlier theoretical developments.
The First sample of the submarine, successfully passed the tests, was constructed in the early 17th century by Cornelius van Drebbel, a Dutchman in the service of king James the First. His vessel driven with oars. In trials on the river Thames by a Dutch inventor had demonstrated to the British monarch and thousands of people in London the ability of the boat to dive under water, to remain there for several hours and then safely ascend to the surface. Creation of Drebbel made on his contemporaries a deep impression, but caused no interest from the English Admiralty. The first submarine was never used for military purposes.
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The Development of science and industry in the 18th century had no significant influence on the success of the construction and use of submarines. Russian Emperor Peter I actively contributed to the work of a self-taught inventor Efim Nikonov in the creation of the first submarine. According to modern researchers, was built in 1721 a ship from the point of view of technical solutions, indeed, was a prototype submarine. However, the most conducted on the Neva test failed. After the death of Peter the Great model of the first submarine was forgotten. In other countries throughout the 18th century there were no much progress in the design and construction designed to immerse you in the depths of the sea ships.
The First successful sinking of an enemy vessel by a submarine were recorded during the civil war in the United States of America. Rowing the submarine "the Hunley", named after its designer, was in service with the Confederate army. It was not different high reliability. This was evidenced by the results of several unsuccessful tests, accompanied by human victims. Among the dead was himself the designer of the submarine Horace Lawson Hunley. In 1864, the Confederate submarine attacked the enemy's sloop "Housatonic", a displacement of which exceeds a thousand tons. The enemy ship went down in the mine explosion, attached to a special pole in the bow of the "Hunley". This fight was for the boat first and the last. Due to a technical fault it sank in a few minutes after the attack.
Mass production and the use of submarines in the world began only at the dawn of the 20th century. The submarine has had a major influence on the course of the First world war. The German boats have shown their effectiveness in the fight against enemy ships, and was also used for attacks on merchant convoys with the aim of establishing an economic blockade. The use of submarines against civilian vessels caused a wave of indignation and contempt from Britain and its allies. Nevertheless, the German submarine blockade tactics were very effective and caused significant damage to the enemy's economy. The most egregious example of this method of warfare was the destruction of the transatlantic passenger liner Lusitania by a torpedo fired from a German submarine.
The Role of submarines more and more increased in the course of global conflicts of the 20th century. During the Second world war strategy of Germany has not changed significantly: its submarines primarily used for the cutting of Maritime supply routes of the enemy. German underwater fleet posed one of the most serious problems for the countries of anti-Hitler coalition. Prior to the entry into war of the United States Britain because of the embargo, was in a critical situation. Numerous American warships, to some extent, reduced the effectiveness of German submarines.
The Second half of the 20th century was marked by a numberrevolutionary technological breakthroughs. The discovery of atomic energy and the creation of the jet engine were greatly expanded the horizons of use of submarine vessels. The submarine turned into carriers of Intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first test launch was made in 1953. Nuclear reactors have partially replaced the traditional diesel-electric generators. It was invented equipment that can extract oxygen from sea water. These innovations increased the autonomy of submarines to incredible limits. Modern boats can stay submerged for weeks and months. But new technologies create additional risk, primarily associated with the radiation leaks at nuclear reactors.
In the era of the so-called cold war, the Soviet Union and the United States competed to create large submarines. Submarines the two superpowers were involved in some sort of game of cat-and-mouse on the oceans of the World.
The Identification of the absolute leader among the submarines difficult. They concluded that the global list of submarines is characterized by extreme diversity. A wide range of qualities and characteristics of the vessels does not allow to establish a single criterion. For example, it is very difficult to compare nuclear and diesel-electric submarines. With a certain degree of conditionality can be distinguished Soviet heavy missile submarine "Akula" (NATO - "Typhoon"). It is the largest submarine in the history of navigation. According to some experts, the creation of such a powerful ship played a significant role in ending the cold war.
The American TV channel "discovery" I tried to make stars out of submarines with special characteristics:
The rankings are created in different eras of submarines, which, strictly speaking, should not be compared directly. However, the list gives an idea of the most outstanding submarines.
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