Skip to comments.PHOTOS - circa 1927: Submarine Aircraft Carrier
Posted on 03/02/2014 10:54:01 AM PST by DogByte6RER
1927: Submarine Aircraft Carrier
HMS M2 was a Royal Navy submarine monitor completed in 1919, converted in 1927 into the world's first submarine aircraft carrier. She was shipwrecked in Lyme Bay, Dorset, Britain, on 26 January 1932. She was one of three M-class boats completed.
Design and Career
Four M-class submarines replaced the order for the last four K-class submarines, K17-K21. Although they were similar in size, the M class was an entirely different design from the K class, although it is possible that some material ordered for the K-boats went into them. In any event, the end of the First World War meant that only three were completed.
M2 was laid down at Vickers shipyard at Barrow in Furness in 1916, and launched in 1919. Like the other members of her class, she was armed with a single 12-inch (305mm) gun as well as torpedo tubes. The Mark IX gun was taken from spares held for the Formidable-class battleships.
The M-class submarines were very large for the time at 296 feet (90 m) long. They were designed to operate as submarine monitors or cruisers. They displaced 1,600 long tons (1,600 t) on the surface and 1,950 long tons (1,980 t) when submerged. Two 12-cylinder diesel engines producing 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) drove them on the surface; underwater, they were driven by electric motors producing 1,500 hp (1,100 kW).
After the accidental sinking of M1 in 1925, M2 and her sister M3 were taken out of service and reassigned for experimental use. Her 12-inch gun was removed, replaced by a small aircraft hangar, the work being completed in 1927. This could carry a small Parnall Peto seaplane, specially designed for the M2, which, once its wings had been unfolded, could be lowered onto the sea alongside by a derrick for take off. On landing, the aircraft was hoisted back onto the deck and replaced into the hangar. In October 1928, a hydraulic aircraft catapult was fitted, to enable the seaplane to take off directly from the deck. The submarine was intended to operate ahead of the battle fleet in a reconnaissance role, flying off her unarmed seaplane as a scout.
The concept of a submarine cruiser was pursued with X1, but was not a success and was later abandoned.
M2 left her base at Portland on 26 January 1932, for an exercise in West Bay, Dorset, carrying Parnall Peto serial N255. Her last communication was a radio message at 10:11 to her submarine depot ship, Titania, to announce that she would dive at 10:30. The captain of a passing merchant ship, the Newcastle coaster Tynesider, mentioned that he had seen a large submarine dive stern first at around 11:15. Unaware of the significance of this, he only reported it in passing once he reached port.
Her entire crew of 60 was killed in the accident. The submarine was found on 3 February, eight days after her loss. Ernest Cox, the salvage expert who had raised the German battleships at Scapa Flow, was hired to salvage the M2. In an operation lasting nearly a year and 1,500 dives, on 8 December 1932, she was lifted to within 20 ft (6.1 m) of the surface before a gale sprang up, sending her down to her final resting place.
The hangar door was found open and the aircraft still in it. The accident was believed to be due to water entering the submarine through the hangar door, which had been opened to launch the aircraft shortly after surfacing.
Two explanations have been advanced. The first is that since the crew were always trying to beat their record time for launching the aircraft, they had opened the hangar door on surfacing while the deck was still awash. The other theory is that the flooding of the hangar was due to failure of the stern hydroplanes. High pressure air tanks were used to bring the boat to the surface in an awash condition, but to conserve compressed air compressors were then started to completely clear the ballast tanks of water by blowing air into them. This could take as long as 15 minutes to complete. The normal procedure for launching the aircraft was therefore to hold the boat on the surface using the hydroplanes whilst the hangar door was opened and the aircraft launched. Failure of the rear hydroplanes would have sent the stern down as observed by the merchant officers and water would have eventually entered the hangar.
The submarine currently lies upright on the sea bed at (50°34.6′N 2°33.93′W). Her keel is about 100 ft (30 m) below the surface at low tide, and her highest point at the top of the conning tower at around 66 ft (20 m). She is a popular dive for scuba divers. The wreck is designated as a "protected place" under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.
After the loss of M2, the Royal Navy abandoned submarine-launched aircraft, although other navies experimented with the concept in the inter-war years and with Japan producing some 42 submarine aircraft carriers both before and during the Second World War.
I suspect landings are real tricky.
The plane had pontoons, so I don’t think it was much of a problem. What I’m more concerned with is the amount of G’s a pilot was subject to, taking off on a platform not much longer than the plane itself.
Okay hold you breath in 3 2 1...........
Talk about true men. Big time tough guys.
The engine for the Peto (Latin for "fart," actually) lived on in the Hillman Minx Station Wagon of 1954.
Fly the best
Fly 'bout a mile,
Swim the rest.
I bet current submarines could launch drones if need be.
The sub probably was going full speed astern into the wind. The launch ramp extends about 30 feet or so beyond the airplanes propeller. Given a takeoff speed of about 50mph, the G-force of launching shouldn't be excessive.
The Japs had similar subs.
Possibly just hopped into the water and took off like a seaplane
My only question about sub launched drones...how quietly can this be done?
These kinds of ops would most likely take place close to land, and well within coastal defenses of foreign countries who could likely have some semblance of a submarine force. This would make the drone launching boat quite vulnerable to detection and attack, IMHO.
Yet another reason to convert from Lucas to Bosch.
Now days they can float one to the surface and let it set there while the sub left the area before the drones launch.
Not likely. First off, with an antiquated propeller driven pontoon plane such as this, you're going to need a heck of a lot more than 30 ft. to reach 50 MPH.......
To launch the plane, the sub released the holdings on the pontoons, went under water then let the plane do what pontoon aircraft usually do while on water.......take off.
The 30 ft. deck was designed to accomodate the sub's ability to surface under the pontoon plane once it had landed on water.........
Could be but does that mean the 3rd photo is of the plane doing a close flyby rather than taking off?