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Scientists: Hunley's Hatch Was Unlocked


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How many times did the Hunley sink? Seems like it was at least twice, maybe even more. It was a deathtrap. The guys who got in that thing had more guts than I do.

Jim

for sure.....id never have gotten in that thing. Now the Virginia is a different story. it stayed on

top of the water...barely.

That torpedo ramming thingy was an odd idea.

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Hunley sank three times. The torpedo ramming thing came from a Confederate torpedo boat that used a bow mounted torpedo (at least 17ft in length) to punch the torpedo through the hull of the intended victim. In the Hunley's case, she would then reverse, leaving the torpedo embedded, trailing a cord from the sub to the torpedo. When the cord became taught, the torpedo would explode. The USS Housitonic was the Hunley's target on the night she disappeared. She was not the first Rebel sub either. There were two prototypes built earlier, but one was scuttled after the city she was being tested at fell to the enemy, and a second that swamped and sank in Mobile Bay, which they have yet to find.

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Classic case of trying to use a weapon before its time -- technology-wise.

Remember the Turtle? Submarines didn't become viable weapons until the advent of reliable diesel engines and efficient batteries.

Jim

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Yeah, in doing a little reading, before the "steel boom idea", the idea was that they would tow the "torpedo" along behind the boat, dive under the intended target and pull the torpedo into the target vessel. I haven't been able to confirm it, but I don't think this idea was ever employed. Seems that the CSS David, the first motor torpedo boat, became the tow boat for the Hunley. During one towing operation, the torpedo floated into the David. No damage as a sailor on David went in the water and guided the device away from the boat. Shortly after it seems that they went to the boom idea.

I always wondered about the explosive device. Seems it was a 90lb charge of black powder detonated by the lanyard method I described in my earlier post.

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