National Geographic : 1952 Nov
sister sub, the Harder,was still on the ways, receiving finishing touches to super structure and hull. Here the machine-gun chatter of chipping hammers rose and fell in an overpower ing din. Elsewhere among the sprawling sheds and shops, in a closely guarded area which employees call "Si beria," engineers were building the atomic sub Nautilus (page 635). "That boat promises to usher in a new era in naval warfare," said Comdr. Edward L. Beach, smart young skipper of the Trigger. "A number of submariners-and that in cludes me-foresee the day when all warships must be able to submerge, or court disaster." Beach had prefaced his surprising statement by conceding that many would dismiss it as ab surd, fantastic. But, said this former naval aide to General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, just such skepticism greeted those who prophesied the deadly role of aircraft and the great striking power of fleet carriers.* "An atomic sub," he added, "will ultimately attain speeds which, until now, have been considered impossible for any kind of vessel except a speed boat. "Eventually, I believe, the surface of the oceans will become a sort of no man's land, to ships in wartime will resort only in an gency, and where their danger will be In short, the submarine will inherit the Such a forecast sounds incredible Yet I talked to a surprising number of officers who agree emphatically with mander Beach. 633 National Geographic Photographer David S. Boyer Miniature Ships Sail a Make-believe Sea Using New London's ingenious Attack Teacher, submariners stage realistic battle exercises which would be extremely costly if duplicated at sea. Here two ship models, mounted on electrically driven carts called crabs, creep across a tile floor. Vacuum tubes simulate propeller sounds. One story below this level, men track the models by sonar gear or watch them through the periscope (center right). The panel operator controls ship movements. which emer great. seas." today. young Com- Subs Fight Daily Battles Marine engineers know that under certain circumstances a submerged submarine en counters less resistance in moving through the water than does a surface craft, which is buffeted and retarded by both wind and wave. It is possible, some officers now believe, for nuclear-powered submarines ultimately to out speed surface vessels. That day, if it comes, will be years hence, Beach and others stress. It is far from just around the corner. Many complicated prob lems would have to be solved first. These uneasy years of peace find our Silent Service and antisubmarine warfare units wedded in a firm partnership. ASW development is one of the types of warfare with the highest priority, receiving one-sixth of all Navy research and development funds. Blimps and airplanes can scan a vast * See "New Queen of the Seas" (Aircraft Carrier), by Melville Bell Grosvenor, in the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1942.