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BlauRobin
04-27-2005, 02:27 PM
Last Saturday I visited Gosport (UK) and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Gosport is over the harbour from Portsmouth and is traditionally seem as the home of Royal Navy submarines (biased - I used to live in Portsmouth!). The area is a big naval port and on the sub side are facilities for training including a large square water tank and a cylindrical tank simulating escape from a sub. Yes you musn't hold you breath!

Although not a huge affair the museum does have the Holland I, the Royal Navy's first electric/diesel sub and HMS Alliance, an A-type sub of which aiui some briefly saw WW2 action and Alliance was commissioned in 1945.

The 1901 Holland was mesmering by its crudeness and also height. The only place I could stand up in is what passes for the conning tower. Working the engines or loading the tubes would have required someone very short or the need to scrabble around on one's knees. Not comfortable. Still it's an excellent restoration considering Holland was on the seabed for many years and upon being raised they had associated problems of chloride leaching.

Spool forward some 45 years to Alliance. A tour guide, usually one of the old boys who served on the A-class, takes you from the fo'ward torpedo tube rooms aft through the quarters, control room to the after ends (stern torpedo room). For you gamers, the A simplistically speaking would probably not be unlike a IX or XXI.

As you walk through the sub, you will see what's it was like to serve on board and the guide will give you an idea too. Of particular interest is the size of the crew bunks and how much more room the petty officers and officers had.

Our guide John gave us a demonstration of how to handle this boat. For example if you want to dive, two blasts on the klaxon and that was it. Now shouting. Diving was done by pulling a few simple looking levers. A quick explanation of the air sstem was made and an anecdote about a fellow crewman who bodged the master air system and let it run out of air. Around the control room are familar feature. Two periscopes, attack and obsevation the latter is raised being visible before entry and is as thick as a tree trunk. Map table with drawers under for charts. The large TDC off to one side. Plane controls and air system.

But then John flips the light to red and switches on the music. An approaching destroyer screws getting closer with the dreaded PING ever present and more onimous. With the pings almost solid they stop and alost silence but for a few seonds and then some splashing and violent explosions. I imagined myself being an officer during this attack and it gave me the shivers.

Then to engine room. A massive Vickers 12 cylinder affair. One cyclinder was raised to show you that they could be reaired at sea and also showing how big they are. This is probably the biggest room of the lot. Machinery, switches and gauges galore. Again a rudimentary explanation on diesel and electric control.

Lastly in the after ends an explanation about escape. Lining each side are O2 valves and the scape hatch with a mid 50s escape suit complete with built-in dinghy. This brought home the dangers for the submariner.

Hopefully Alliance will soon get its Heritage lottery funding that will help preserve this unique part of our past but whose exterior is now sadly showing signs of corrosion.

Well worth the 4.50 entrance fee. Get yourself in a proper sub today!

http://www.rnsubmus.co.uk/tour/alliance.htm



Neil

BlauRobin
04-27-2005, 02:27 PM
Last Saturday I visited Gosport (UK) and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Gosport is over the harbour from Portsmouth and is traditionally seem as the home of Royal Navy submarines (biased - I used to live in Portsmouth!). The area is a big naval port and on the sub side are facilities for training including a large square water tank and a cylindrical tank simulating escape from a sub. Yes you musn't hold you breath!

Although not a huge affair the museum does have the Holland I, the Royal Navy's first electric/diesel sub and HMS Alliance, an A-type sub of which aiui some briefly saw WW2 action and Alliance was commissioned in 1945.

The 1901 Holland was mesmering by its crudeness and also height. The only place I could stand up in is what passes for the conning tower. Working the engines or loading the tubes would have required someone very short or the need to scrabble around on one's knees. Not comfortable. Still it's an excellent restoration considering Holland was on the seabed for many years and upon being raised they had associated problems of chloride leaching.

Spool forward some 45 years to Alliance. A tour guide, usually one of the old boys who served on the A-class, takes you from the fo'ward torpedo tube rooms aft through the quarters, control room to the after ends (stern torpedo room). For you gamers, the A simplistically speaking would probably not be unlike a IX or XXI.

As you walk through the sub, you will see what's it was like to serve on board and the guide will give you an idea too. Of particular interest is the size of the crew bunks and how much more room the petty officers and officers had.

Our guide John gave us a demonstration of how to handle this boat. For example if you want to dive, two blasts on the klaxon and that was it. Now shouting. Diving was done by pulling a few simple looking levers. A quick explanation of the air sstem was made and an anecdote about a fellow crewman who bodged the master air system and let it run out of air. Around the control room are familar feature. Two periscopes, attack and obsevation the latter is raised being visible before entry and is as thick as a tree trunk. Map table with drawers under for charts. The large TDC off to one side. Plane controls and air system.

But then John flips the light to red and switches on the music. An approaching destroyer screws getting closer with the dreaded PING ever present and more onimous. With the pings almost solid they stop and alost silence but for a few seonds and then some splashing and violent explosions. I imagined myself being an officer during this attack and it gave me the shivers.

Then to engine room. A massive Vickers 12 cylinder affair. One cyclinder was raised to show you that they could be reaired at sea and also showing how big they are. This is probably the biggest room of the lot. Machinery, switches and gauges galore. Again a rudimentary explanation on diesel and electric control.

Lastly in the after ends an explanation about escape. Lining each side are O2 valves and the scape hatch with a mid 50s escape suit complete with built-in dinghy. This brought home the dangers for the submariner.

Hopefully Alliance will soon get its Heritage lottery funding that will help preserve this unique part of our past but whose exterior is now sadly showing signs of corrosion.

Well worth the 4.50 entrance fee. Get yourself in a proper sub today!

http://www.rnsubmus.co.uk/tour/alliance.htm



Neil