Warship Wednesday, October 30 Mr. Holland’s toy

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, October 30 Mr. Holland’s toy

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Here we see what started off originally as the Holland VI, a small submersible invented by Mr. John Philip Holland in 1896. The ship was built at  Lewis Nixon’s Crescent Shipyard of Elizabeth, New Jersey for Mr. Holland as his sixth personal submarine (as the name implies).

Mr Holland showing off his boat for the media. Nothing says 1900 submarines like bowler hats...

Mr. Holland showing off his boat for the media. Nothing says 1900 submarines like bowler hats…

Just 53-feet long, she was the forerunner of every submarine today. Yes, there had been dozens of earlier experimental boats that had been produced in the US and Europe from the 1700s on,  but the Holland VI had several unique features that are now standard on underwater boats. These included both an internal combustion engine (in Hollands case a 45hp Otto gas engine) for running on the surface, and a 56kW electric motor for submerged operation. She had a re-loadable torpedo tube and a topside deck gun (a pneumatic dynamite gun!). There was a conning tower from which the boat and her weapons could be directed. Finally, she had all the necessary ballast and trim tanks to make precise changes in-depth and attitude underwater.

 

Holland1_1

What more could you ask for?

After running around the US coast and several interested (and very international ) parties popping in to take a look at it, the US Navy bought the little boat for $150-grand in 1900. This was about $3.5-million today. She was placed in commissioned six months later as USS Holland (SS-1) on 12 OCT 1900. The US promptly ordered six larger boats from Holland’s Electric Boat Company as did the Tsar.  It was Holland boats sold to the Russians that saw limited use in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, itself a dress-rehearsal for most of the technology used in the First World War.

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Holland (SS-01), at the US Naval Acadamy, Annapolis, MD., summer of 1905. The crew on deck are, L to R: Harry Wahab, chief gunner's mate; Kane; Richard O. Williams, chief electrician; Chief Gunner Owen Hill, commanding; Igoe; Michael Malone; Barnett Bowie, Simpson, chief machinist mate, and Rhinelander. The two vessels on the right are monitors. The inboard vessel has only one turret and is probably one of 3 monitors: Arkansas (M-7), Nevada(M-8) or Florida (M-9). The outboard 2 turreted monitor is also one of 3 probables: Amphitrite (BM-2), Terror (M-4) or Miantonomah (BM-5).

Holland (SS-01), at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD., summer of 1905. The crew on deck are, L to R: Harry Wahab, chief gunner’s mate; Kane; Richard O. Williams, chief electrician; Chief Gunner Owen Hill, commanding; Igoe; Michael Malone; Barnett Bowie, Simpson, chief machinist mate, and Rhinelander. The two vessels on the right are monitors. The inboard vessel has only one turret and is probably one of 3 monitors: Arkansas (M-7), Nevada(M-8) or Florida (M-9). The outboard 2 turreted monitor is also one of 3 probables: Amphitrite (BM-2), Terror (M-4) or Miantonomah (BM-5).

Made quickly obsolete by very rapid developments in submarine design not only in the US but in Russia, Germany, the UK, and France, she was decommissioned in 1905.

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The Navy kept her for eight years in mothballs then sold her as scrap to Henry A. Hitner & Sons, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 18 June 1913 for $100.  Within just a few months of her being sold as scrap, British shipping was being sunk at amazing rates by German U-boats in WWI.

The breaker, with that in mind, held onto the ex-Holland through WWI, then passed her onto a local museum who held onto her for 15 years, only cutting her up in 1932 when the Depression dictated it was worth more in scrap iron regardless of sentimental attachment.

A small chunk of her is still in the National Museum of the Navy in Washington.

Nameplate of submarine Holland Exhibited in the “Dive, Dive, Dive!” display area in Bldg. 76

Today the Electric Boat Company still makes boats as part of GenDyn but Holland is largely forgotten.

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Specs:

Displacement:     64 long tons (65 t) surfaced
74 long tons (75 t) submerged
Length:     53 ft 10 in (16.41 m) LOA
Beam:     10 ft 4 in (3.15 m) extreme
Draft:     8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Installed power:     45 bhp (34 kW) (gasoline engine), later upgraded to 160hp
75 bhp (56 kW) (electric motor)
66 Exide batteries
1 × screw
Speed:    First 3knots then later 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced
5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Complement:     6
Armament:     1 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tube forward

1 ‘Aerial torpedo tube’ (experimental)
1 × 8.4 in (210 mm) dynamite gun (removed in US Naval service)

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO)

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval lore http://www.warship.org/naval.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

I’m a member, so should you be!

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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