National Geographic : 1952 Nov
615 National Geographic Photographer David S. Boyer Crewmen Let Down Bunks and Watch a Movie in A mberjack's Forward Torpedo Room Normally the submariner works four hours and takes eight off. Each sub carries a 16-millimeter motion picture projector and late-issue Hollywood films. When circumstances permit, sailors gather on deck or in quarters and enjoy a show. Card playing is equally popular, and letter writing whiles away lots of time. hundred submarines. We do not know what the characteristics of these submarines may be, but we do know that after the war Russia obtained some of the most modern of German submarines together with the east German shipyards in which they were constructed and the technicians who constructed them. We must assume, therefore, that the Russian sub marine fleet consists of ships which are not only more numerous than the original German fleet, but are, in part at least, equal to or better than the submarines of latest and most improved German design. "We have made good progress in devising means of meeting the submarine threat," Ad miral Fechteler assured his audience, "and the results of our tests and exercises lead me to conclude that we are prepared to meet the challenge if it comes, but not without sustain ing losses, particularly in the early days of a conflict." * Strange though it may seem in view of the demonstrated effectiveness of undersea war fare, no navy has ever had a "true submarine," one capable of operating independently of the atmosphere for long periods. All present types are better described as submersible tor pedo boats, for they can remain below snorkel depth only a limited time. First "True Sub" Now Possible Although the snorkel boat (in crew par lance the submarine is always a "boat," never a "ship") is not a true submarine, that term may apply to the world's first atomic-powered sub, U.S.S. Nautilus, now being built at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut (page 635). Uranium, the fuel which would be "burned" in an atom sub, does not require air for its reaction. Submarines thus could cruise in definitely at great depth. The time would be limited only by the crew's endurance and their supply of oxygen for breathing. * See also "Your Navy as Peace Insurance," by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, NATIONAL GEO GRAPIIC MAGAZINE, June, 1946.