Try, try, and try again…
John Philip Holland, the man who developed the first true submarine accepted by U.S. Navy (spending 57 of his 74 years working with submersibles), was born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland, on 29 February 1840. As a youth, he considered the use of the submarine to further the cause of Irish Independence. Holland came to the United States in 1873. In 1875 his first submarine designs were submitted for consideration by the U.S. Navy, but turned down as unworkable.
Holland continued to improve his designs and worked on several experimental boats prior to his successful efforts with the privately built Holland launched in 1898. This was the first submarine having power to run submerged for any considerable distance. She was purchased by the Navy after rigorous tests, and six more of her type were ordered.
This picture is Holland emerging from Holland IV prior to Navy acceptance.
On 12 August 1914, John Philip Holland died in Newark, N.J.
And on 12 Oct 1900, the USS Holland (SS-1) was commissioned. She was the first US submarine actually ‘commissioned’ into Naval Service, Lt. Harry H. Caldwell in command.
USS Holland was armed with one 18″ bow tube for torpedoes (she carried three), and front and rear Dynamite Guns.
This picture, from Scientific American in 1898, shows the forward Dynamite Gun port open on Holland IV. Another point of interest, John Holland’s Holland Torpedo Boat Company, became the Electric Boat company in 1899, which still exists today and is still building submarines…
She served as a training submarine until 17 July 1905 when she was decommissioned.
Next I want to jump forward to July of 1951, Congress authorized construction of the world’s first nuclear powered submarine. Launched 21 January 1954 and commissioned 30 September 1954, USS NAUTILUS (SSN-571), Commander Eugene P. Wilkinson commanding, became the first nuclear powered ship in the United States Navy, hence the addition of the N (Nuclear) after the SS designation.
And these two speak for themselves… Operation ‘Sunshine’!
She was decommissioned in 1980, and is now on display at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT.
This is a quickie graphic from the late 1950s, of the US submarine development…
You can go HERE and find a list of all the submarine classes, the class members, and any losses in that class.
USS Virginia SSN-774 the first of the class, commissioned in 2015. Torpedoes, Tomahawks, and other toys…
This is the Commissioning Print, by Tom Liesegang.
They’ve come a LONG way in 117 years…