Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact

Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact

Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact

Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact

Synopsis

From the steam-powered models introduced in World War I to today's nuclear-powered, multiweaponed technological wonders, submarines have revolutionized warfare on the world's seas. This volume follows the extraordinary development of this key component of the world's navies. Seemingly invisible submarines have exerted enormous influence on naval warfare since the early 1900s. Today, they are a mainstay of world navies large and small, an economically efficient weapon system whose threat no fleet commander can ignore -- and whose presence has sparked a continuing evolution in naval defenses and tactics.

Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact reveals how underwater warships evolved to become major threats to battle fleets and merchant shipping, as well as primary platforms for deterrent forces and crucial symbols of military power.

In a series of chronological chapters, Submarines describes key developments in diving ability, underwater endurance, and weapons capabilities in specific periods, while highlighting strategic and operational innovations; the role of technological research; famous submarine events, battles, and commanders; and the impact of submarine services on naval society. The book also includes an illustrated reference section covering every submarine class worldwide since 1900. This coverage plus additional reference features make Submarines an essential introduction to a weapons system that has long held the public's imagination.

Excerpt

Weapons both fascinate and repel. They are used to kill and maim individuals and to destroy states and societies, and occasionally whole civilizations, and with these the greatest of man’s cultural and artistic accomplishments. Throughout history tools of war have been the instruments of conquest, invasion, and enslavement, but they have also been used to check evil and to maintain peace.

Weapons have evolved over time to become both more lethal and more complex. For the greater part of human existence, combat was fought at the length of an arm or at such short range as to represent no real difference; battle was fought within line of sight and seldom lasted more than the hours of daylight of a single day. Thus individual weapons that began with the rock and the club proceeded through the sling and boomerang, bow and arrow, sword and axe, to gunpowder weapons of the rifle and machine gun of the late nineteenth century. Study of the evolution of these weapons tells us much about human ingenuity, the technology of the time, and the societies that produced them. The greater part of technological development of weaponry has taken part in the last two centuries, especially the twentieth century. In this process, plowshares have been beaten into swords; the tank, for example, evolved from the agricultural caterpillar tractor. Occasionally, the process is reversed and military technology has impacted society in a positive way. Thus modern civilian medicine has greatly benefited from advances to save soldiers’ lives, and weapons technology has impacted such areas as civilian transportation or atomic power.

Weapons can have a profound impact on society. Gunpowder weapons, for example, were an important factor in ending the era of the armed knight and the Feudal Age. They installed a kind of rough . . .

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