World War 1
World War 2
War and Military History
Nuclear Weapons
Germany in WW2
US Navy
Boats and Watercraft
US Civil War
WW1 Naval Warfare
Large Ships
The Beatles
US in WW2


Submarines are naval craft that can operate for an extended period of time underwater. They are used primarily as warships, as well as for business, scientific and other purposes. Submarines are different from submersibles, which only have limited underwater capability.

Asked in Submarines

How do submarines float and dive?

Sinking a Submarine (or any other vessel) is pretty easy - with enough water it'll sink straight to the bottom of the ocean real fast. The key is getting the number of surfaces to equal the number of dives. Submarines use several systems along with fixed ballast to decrease buoyancy to submerge, or increase it to surface: 1. Main Ballast Tanks (MBT's) 2. Trim Ballast Tanks (Trim Tanks) 3. Trim/Dive Planes 4. Main Propulsion Systems Like all vessels, submarines have fixed and variable ballast weight. Her...
Asked in Inventions, Submarines

Who invented the submarine?

Submarines were envisioned long ago as an undersea weapon to be used against surface ships, but technology could not deliver one for practical naval warfare for hundreds of years following their ideation. Though modern historians credit the submarine's invention to one individual, it's not quite that cut and dry. As it is probable that the earliest sailors wondered what it might be like to sail beneath the sea, it might be best to say that the submarine appeared as the result of a...
Asked in Submarines

How do you get submarine disqualified?

There are quite a few different ways, but the screening process is pretty rigorous, so it doesn't happen that often. However, the most common is a medical DQ. Submarines aren't exactly the most healthiest of places to work (I was medically DQ'd for asthma after 5 years aboard my boat), and medical DQ's happen more than is commonly known. If problems don't get you while you're on active duty, something usually crops up after you leave the Navy. Other ways are losing...
Asked in Submarines

What is keel of submarine?

The keel of a submarine (or any ship for that matter) is the backbone of the ship, and its primary structural element. Keels are always laid first during shipbuilding, and structural supports are added over time to it. Laying a keel is typically done with a ceremony. A keel is similar to a human spine, though it's on the bottom of the ship. Like a spine, it is the key support structure of the vessel; if a keel is broken, the ship...
Asked in Technology, Submarines

What are negative impacts of submarines have on life?

Contrary to activist groups claims, Navy ships and submarines rarely use active sonar. Active sonar produces sound, and lots of it, that gives away a vessel's position to other enemy ships and submarines. The biggest impact that subs have on marine life, is that they pump waste overboard. Sewage is very popular with schools of fish, because the think it tastes great. Oil being pumped overboard is bad. The crews make every effort not to pump oily waste overboard. There are collection tanks...
Asked in WW2 Naval Warfare, WW1 Naval Warfare, Submarines

What does Unrestricted Submarine Warfare refer to?

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare (URSW) is a Naval doctrine in which a submarine will attack any vessel carrying a flag of its enemies, its enemies' allies, or others suspected of giving aid to an enemy, without warning or provocation. The doctrine applies to any vessel, whether it is civilian or military in nature, large or small. HISTORY Prior to WWI, belligerents observed "Prize" or "Cruiser" rules, which stated that the ship couldn't sink a passenger ship, only a merchant vessel of an enemy nation, and...
Asked in Submarines, Nuclear Weapons

How fast can a nuclear submarine submerge?

It depends on the size of the boat and the type of water it's in (saltwater is more buoyant than fresh), but in most cases the average time is less than a minute from popping the corks on the Main Ballast Tanks to the time the Sail clears the waterline. The pictures you see of today's modern submarines only show about the top 1/5 of the boat; the rest is underwater. Once the Main Ballast Tanks start flooding and all that...
Asked in Submarines, US Navy

What does BB mean for a navy ship?

Prior to 1920, the USN used the designations B for battleship and then a hull number, such as B-1, B-2, etc. Same for destroyers, etc. D-1, D-2, etc. After WW1 (1918) a wider variety of naval vessels began to enter the USN inventory...blimps (airships/balloons), submarine tenders, salvage vessels, aircraft carriers (heavier than air vs airships), etc. Those vessels REQUIRED more than one letter, such as the aircraft carrier; the carrier (CV) was "C" for carrier and "V" for heavier than air (airplanes, not...
Asked in Submarines

What steel is used in US submarines?

American submarines are constructed with a flexible steel known as HY-100. Although the chemical composition and rolling methods are classified, HY-100 enables America's Fast Attack and Ballistic submarines to operate at depths exceeding 1,000'. ...
Asked in Military Equipment, Submarines

How are torpedoes fired from submarines?

Torpedoes are shot from submarines, not "fired". "Fire" is a Hollywood term when referring to a torpedo launch; in real life, the word "fire" means only one thing on a submarine, so that there is a clear distinction between the two terms. Torpedoes are shot from submarines using one of two methods: water impulse ejection, or swim out. Both methods have been used for decades, since the beginning of modern submarine designs. Swim outs are rarely, if ever, used in modern submarines, unless there's...
Asked in Submarines, Missiles

Why are ballistic missile submarines called boomers?

The term comes from the "B" and "M" letters in the acronym, "FBM", which stands for Fleet Ballistic Missile (Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine). The combined "BM" was translated into a Navy nickname, Boomer. It's similar to a BMW automobile being called a Beemer. The fact that ballistic missiles go "boom" when they explode also played a role in the slang term. Otherwise, they could have been called "beemers" also. ...
Asked in Germany in WW2, Submarines

How did German submarine warfare pushed the US toward war?

By using submarines, the German war machine was able to come close to America's shoreline and this surely pushed the u.s. To act It did - one U-boat even sunk a ship in the St-Laurence Seaway, and many U-boat crews were startled by the ease with which they could torpedo ships close to the US shore until the ships' crews realised the value of black-out conditions. ...
Asked in Submarines

What is the hydrophone used for?

A hydrophone is an underwater microphone designed to listen to below-water sounds. It can record and listen to sounds in other mediums (air, underground), but it won't be as accurate and sensitive, since it has been based of a sound impedance match exclusively to water. Hydrophones are also capable as acting like a speaker and producing sounds. This is how submarines go "active" and ping the water. Some submarines sonar is so powerful that it can boil the water around the hydrophones after...
Asked in Inventions, World War 1, War and Military History, Submarines

Why were submarines not used before World War I?

The H L Hunley was used during the Civil War, and was credited with the first sinking by a submarine. Look it up on the web for more details. Here is one site: I believe that submarines became more practical when the internal combustion engine was refined. This corresponds with WW1 in many respects. There are probably metallurgy issues with hull design, but I don't know enough to comment on that issue. The biggest issue for submarines is the lack of...
Asked in Submarines

How many nuclear submarines have ever sank?

A total of 8 known nuclear submarines have sunk (all but one due to accidents) in the almost 55 years since they were created. U.S. NAVY USS Thresher (SSN-593) - Thresher-class (lead boat) Fast-Attack. April 10, 1963, during sea trials off Cape Cod. Major hull valve failure, leading to the SUBSAFE program. USS Scorpion (SSN-589) - Skipjack-class Fast-Attack. May 22, 1968, returning home from Med deployment. Suspected torpedo hot-run incident and subsequent detonation before disarming. SOVIET NAVY K-27 - Experimental Soviet Fast-Attack, (2 lead-bismuth reactors in...
Asked in World War 2, Australia in WW2, Submarines

What impact did the Japanese submarine attack on Sydney have on Australians?

Australia had been attacked by air in the north at Darwin. Its pans to defend a line around Brisbane were upset by the daring attack in Sydney Harbour. This attack increased public fears of an amphibious attack on the south, but of course this could not have happened as the Japanese had run out of resources to do any out any substantial invasion. The best they had left for the invasion of New Guinea was a marine regiment in the failed...
Asked in Submarines, US Navy

What is the qualification requirement for serving on board nuclear submarines as officer?

The basic requirements for serving aboard a Nuclear Submarine, be it as an enlisted sailor or commissioned officer, are pretty straightforward: Citizenship - Must be a U.S. Citizen (No Foreign Nationals). Volunteer for Hazardous Duty - Must be a Volunteer for Submarine Duty (serving aboard a submarine is considered Hazardous Duty for pay / promotion purposes). Security Clearance - Must pass a Background Investigation and be granted a minimum Secret security clearance (Top Secret for Officers and key Enlisted personnel). Advanced Health Screening - Must pass Health (including...
Asked in Submarines

Are submarines soundproof?

No, the opposite is true. Sound travels through water much better than air,and the steel hull is very good at transferring sound from water to air, or vice versa.The sound of submarines is detected by AWAKS aircraft many miles away, and even from satellites. Although that isn't completely incorrect, all submarines employ ways to reduce sound output (called transients). Some common ones are sound dampeners, floating sound mounts, and vibration reducers. All of these devices have the same objective: prevent vibrations and sounds from...
Asked in Inventions, Physics, Large Ships, Submarines

Explain why controlling the buoyancy is a critical feature of a submarine?

Controlling the buoyancy of the boat allows her crew to ascend, descend or maintain depth. How it works: Let's say we are at sea on a sub that has a volume of 100 cubic meters. Our water density gauge says the boat is in water that weighs 1025 kg per cubic meter. If we adjust the weight of our boat to 102,500 kg (the weight of an equal volume of water to the volume of our vessel), it will maintain the...
Asked in WW2 Naval Warfare, WW1 Naval Warfare, Submarines

What did the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare do?

In WW1, the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare irritated neutral nations such as the United States and eventually helped public opinion to support the US entry into the war. In WW2 the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic irritated nominally neutral nations such as the United States and provided a rationale for increasing US support of Britain and its allies. In WW2 the American policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific probably contributed to the degradation of Japanese economic...
Asked in Submarines

What is the reason for submarines?

Submarines were invented primarily to destroy enemy ships in war, but initially they were considered underhanded by most naval officers because they were meant to attack without warning. The evolution of the submarine in wartime due to less restricted naval thinking by others helped changed that viewpoint forever. While Submarine roles are continuously being redefined over the course of their nearly 400 year old use, as technology has evolved, their primary roles over the past 100 years have included: Anti-ship warfare Anti-Submarine Warfare Radar Picket Land...
Asked in Submarines

How do you properly board a US Submarine?

Just like you do any Navy vessel: 1. Walk down the brow (without tripping or falling overboard into the water). 2. Turn toward the U.S. Flag at the stern of the boat, render a hand salute. 3. Turn toward the Topside Watch (who is typically right at the end of the brow), render a salute, and request permission to come aboard. 3. You present your ID card, and the watch will check your clearance status in the topside watch records. If an escort is needed,...
Asked in US Civil War, War and Military History, Submarines

When did the HL Hunley sink?

The Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley actually sank 3 times: August 29, 1863 - Sank during test dive preparations when dive planes were prematurely engaged. October 15, 1863 - Failed to surface after a mock attack. February 17, 1864 - Sank while returning to her base at Sullivan's Island, S.C., after her historic and successful attack on the Union sloop-of-war USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor. She was salvaged after the first 2 sinkings and returned to service; however, until she was raised in 2000, her fate...
Asked in Submarines

What is the average age of submarine commander?

It depends on the country and type of submarine (Fast-Attack or Boomer) but for U.S. Nuclear Submarines the typical age is between 38 and 42, and they must be a Navy Commander. Boomer C.O.'s are typically either senior Commanders or Captains, depending on the class of boat, and they must have served previously as Engineer Officer aboard a previous nuclear submarine, and served as an Executive Officer on another boat as well. The typical average command time for U.S. boats is about...
Asked in Boats and Watercraft, Large Ships, Submarines

How deep will a modern submarine go?

The Los Angeles class submarine has an operating depth of "greater than 800 feet" according to official releases. It doubtless goes a bit deeper. Some Russian boats, with their super tough titanium hulls (as opposed to the steel hulls of the US Navy boats and other Russian boats) can go deeper. How much deeper? The Russians are a little tight-lipped about that. Most think that depths in excess of 3,000 feet were easily accomplished, and one report suggested that 4,000 feet was...