Building a Submarine II

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is presented by the people of General Dynamics and is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose sacrifice gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the arrival of electric and diesel propulsion, the necessary components for a successful submarine were in place. Two of the main inventive rivals in the early years were John Philip Holland and Simon Lake. Eventually, Holland won the competition as the U.S. Navy built its craft using his designs, but he had a worthy opponent in his rival on submarine construction, Simon Lake.

Building a Submarine I

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is presented by the people of General Dynamics and is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose sacrifice gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Though there had been attempts to create an underwater craft since as early as the 1500s, the modern submarine did not take shape until the late 19th century and then was designed primarily for military purposes. The design of a submarine is far more complex than a surface vessel. In balance, maneuver, life support and propulsion, a submarine operates in a different environment requiring different construction principles. Attempts to build underwater craft span the modern period. As early as 1578, William Borne, an English writer on naval matters, proposed an enclosed wooden vessel, rowed underwater. His idea was brought to reality by Dutch inventor, Cornelius van Drebel, in service to King James I of England. His craft operated 12 feet below the surface of the Thames River, was covered with greased leather and propelled by oars extending through tightly bound leather flaps.

Lost H-Bomb

Lead: In January 1966, at the height of the Cold War, an armed U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed during a routine refueling over the Mediterranean coast of Spain. In the process, it lost a hydrogen bomb.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The giant B-52 was part of the Strategic Air Command’s regular flights to the edge of Soviet air space. Fully loaded, it held four H-bombs, each 100 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. To make such a long trip from the continental United States required refueling, and as it approached the KC-135 jet tanker on January 17, 1966, the bomber accidentally rammed the refueling boom, destroying both planes. Aircraft parts and radioactive debris rained down on the Spanish countryside. Three bombs were recovered, but the United States had to endure the embarrassment that a fourth went missing. It had lost a nuclear bomb somewhere over Spain.