This year marks the 100-year
anniversary of the United States Navy Submarine Force.
first successful submarine demonstration took place off the coast of
Mount Vernon, VA, in 1895 when John P. Holland showed how his internal
combustion, gasoline powered submarine, Holland VI, could make submarines
an effective and sustainable combat force. The navy purchased Holland
VI for $160,000 on April 11, 1900 and commissioned it into the Navy,
marking the birth of the United States Navy Submarine Force.
then, the submarine fleet of the United States Navy has grown steadily
in size and efficiency, proving itself indispensable in battle. In WWII,
it accounted for only 2% of the Navy, yet it was responsible for sinking
over 50% of the Japanese navy ships. The submarine force now encompasses
several classes of nuclear-powered Fast Attack and Ballistic Missile
DID YOU KNOW...?
- Submarines do not have
windows. The only view to the outside is through a periscope, and
submarines need to be relatively close to the surface for these to
- Submarines are painted
black for camouflage. The color works best in the dark, deep of the
- To escape from a sinking
submarine, the men get into a specially designed "trunk", wearing
a life preserver that has a hood on it to provide a bubble of air
to breathe. The trunk is filled with water, the outside door opens,
and the men float to the surface.
- In order to submerge,
submarines let air out of the top of very large ballast tanks, and
let water in the bottom. To surface, air is blown into the tanks,
replacing the seawater. The submarine's "wings" are also used to help
ascend to the surface.
- There are two principal
varieties of submarines: "Fast Attack" submarines which are smaller
and faster and seek out and attack enemy vessels, and fleet ballistic
missile submarines, which are designed to carry large, powerful Trident
See inside a "Fast Attack," LA class