Brandtaucher was a submersible
A submersible is a small vehicle designed to operate underwater. The term submersible is often used to differentiate from other underwater vehicles known as submarines, in that a submarine is a fully autonomous craft, capable of renewing its own power and breathing air, whereas a submersible is...

 designed by the German inventor and engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 Wilhelm Bauer
Wilhelm Bauer
Wilhelm Bauer was the German inventor and engineer, who built several hand-powered submarines.-Biography:...

 and built by Schweffel & Howaldt
August Howaldt
August Ferdinand Howaldt was a German engineer and ship builder.-Biography:Born in Braunschweig, the son of the silversmith David Ferdinand Howaldt, with whom he got his first practice working in metal, Howaldt made an apprenticeship in Hamburg and became a practical mechanicus.In 1838 he moved to...

 in Kiel for Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

's Flotilla
A flotilla , or naval flotilla, is a formation of small warships that may be part of a larger fleet. A flotilla is usually composed of a homogeneous group of the same class of warship, such as frigates, destroyers, torpedo boats, submarines, gunboats, or minesweepers...

 (part of the Reichsflotte
The Reichsflotte was the first all-German Navy. It was founded on 14 June 1848 during the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states by the Frankfurt Parliament to provide a naval force in the First Schleswig War against Denmark.-History:...

) in 1850.

In January 1850 Bauer, a cavalryman during the German-Danish War, designed Brandtaucher as a way to end the Danish naval blockade of Germany. Bauer's early sketch attracted the attention of the Minister of Marine, who allowed him to construct a 70 x 18 x 29 cm model. The model was demonstrated in Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

 harbour in front of naval dignitaries. Its satisfactory performance led to the construction of a full-scale model, which was funded by contributions from army personnel and local civilians. Due to the inadequate funding, the scale of the boat had to be downgraded, resulting in a reduced diving depth from 30 m to 9.5 m. Brandtaucher was 8.07 m long, 2.02 m at maximum beam and had a draught of 2.63 m. It was propelled by a crew of three turning large tread wheels connected to a propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...

. The boat could reach a speed of 3 knots, but this could not be maintained for long periods of time.

On 1 February 1851 Brandtaucher sank after a diving accident during acceptance trials in Kiel Harbour. The submarine experienced equipment failure, and sank to the bottom of a 60-foot hole at the bottom of Kiel Harbour. Bauer escaped by letting in water, thus increasing the air pressure, which allowed Bauer and his two companions to open the hatch. They floated to the surface in large bubbles of air escaping the submarine. This was the first submarine escape to be witnessed and reported.

In 1887 the wreck was discovered, and it was raised on 5 July 1887. Brandtaucher was first placed on display at the Naval Academy in Kiel and then in 1906 it was moved to the Museum für Meereskunde in Berlin. From 1963 to 1965 it was restored in the DDR at Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

, and placed on display at the Nationale Volksarmee Museum in Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

. The boat can now be viewed at the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr
Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr Military History Museum is the military museum of the German Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, and one of the major military history museums in Germany. The museum is under the technical and administrative chain of command of the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office. It...

(German Army museum of military history), in Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....


Further reading

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