A crew of less than ten men can sink a battleship and escape undetected and unharmed. The rise of submarines imperils warships and merchant marines alike. Navies around the world scramble to adapt to the new threat. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|February 17, 1864||A Confederate submarine sinks the USS Housatonic.|
|November 8, 1899||The Navy Department tests and purchases the Holland from inventor John Phillip Holland.|
|1901||The Navy Department establishes a Torpedo School at Fort Totten, which is soon renamed The School of Submarine Defense, to respond to the emerging threat of submarine warfare.|
|1901-1902||Following the successful completion of the Holland, the Navy signed contracts for several new submarines.|
|1914-1918||World War I provides the first major stage to showcase the offensive capabilities of submarines and provides the impetus for major advances in submarine defense technologies. Some even speculate that submarine warships will eventually replace conventional naval vessels.|
|1915||Listening stations use “Mechanical Ears” to amplify sound waves and identify submarine sound signatures. Once a submarine was detected two listening stations could triangulate its location.|
|May 7, 1915||German U-Boats sink the Lusitania, killing over 1,300 including many Americans.|
|October 9, 1916||German U-Boats sink six merchant ships off the coast of Nantucket, MA.|