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Old 29 January 2013, 01:34 AM
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Icon07 Experts find new evidence of why Confederate submarine sank after sinking enemy ship

Researchers say they may have the final clues needed to solve the mystery of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which never resurfaced after it became the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship, taking its eight-man crew to a watery grave.


http://www.startribune.com/nation/188644891.html

Various accounts I've seen, including the movie, say that the idea was to force a spike built into the torpedo into the hull of the Union ship, and release the torpedo from the spar backing away while a timed fuse ignited the torpedo. I think the movie even depicts the men getting a look at the sinking ship from the sub's conning tower.

Now, it looks like the sub's crew learned what later anti-sub warfare experts learned; you don't need a direct hit with an explosive device to sink the sub. All you have to do is explode that device near the sub. The water will then transmit that explosive force to the hull of the craft with devastating results. They're called depth charges, and they work quite well. It would appear that the crew never even knew they successfully sank the USS Housatonic. They now think that the torpedo was no more than 20 ft from the sub when it exploded. I find it quite plausible this blow rendered the crew at least unconscious, while at the same time, popped some seams in the hull sinking the sub.
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Old 29 January 2013, 01:47 AM
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That's some cool stuff. It reminds me that I want to pay the Hunley a visit if I ever get close. I still find it pretty amazing that Clive Cussler and his team were actually able to find it after all those years in the muck.
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Old 29 January 2013, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
...which never resurfaced...
I seem to recall seeing photos of it being brought to the surface.
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Old 29 January 2013, 02:21 AM
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I seem to recall seeing photos of it being brought to the surface.

It was just lip-syncing.....
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Old 29 January 2013, 05:10 AM
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I remember seeing a reproduction of the sub outside a museum in Charleston years ago, before the actual sub was found. At the time they thought the spar was mounted to the top of the bow and it was displayed that way. I seem to recall one theory then that the ramming caused leaking where the spar was mounted to the sub and that was what caused the sinking, but not positive of that.
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Old 29 January 2013, 08:35 AM
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Yes, it was shown that way a lot. I wonder if it was moved down to make sure the torpedo would be more likely to hit below the water line.

I'm pretty sure the article meant a copper sleeve, misspelled twice.
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Old 29 January 2013, 11:16 AM
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Given the history of the Hunley which sank at least once, IIRC, with all lives lost that time, those on the sub that night were very courageous.This does explain its loss pretty neatly.
I know that I was surprised when they located and raised the sub. It was a real coup for Civil War fans. Not unlike finding those torpedo planes from the Bermuda Triangle in Close Encounters, but much more real, of course.

Ali
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Old 29 January 2013, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Yes, it was shown that way a lot. I wonder if it was moved down to make sure the torpedo would be more likely to hit below the water line.

I'm pretty sure the article meant a copper sleeve, misspelled twice.
I'm not expert, but a I think a cooper sleeve is what's used by barrel makers (aka "coopers") to hold a barrel together. It would make sense to me that a sleeve would be used to package a charge, barrel-like. Barrels are (supposed to be) water-tight.

OY
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Old 29 January 2013, 02:20 PM
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Default Casing of exploded torpedo found on Hunley spar

Yeah, that's what I thought, too. But then I thought it's a bit of coincidence that the torpedo is made of a copper sleeve. Here's a bit more info:
http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/23067
Quote:
Researchers at the Hunley Project have found an important piece of evidence that has changed what we know about the mysterious demise of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley: the exploded remains of the copper torpedo casing still bolted to the spar, the 16-foot-long iron pole that served as the subís weapon delivery system.
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