Brandtaucher by Wilhelm Bauer

Brandtaucher was a submersible designed by the German inventor and engineer Wilhelm Bauer and built by Schweffel & Howaldt in Kiel for the Prussian Navy in 1850.

 In January 1850 Bauer, a cavalryman during the German-Danish War, designed Brandtaucher (fire-diver)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 harbor 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. The boat could reach a speed of 3 knots, but could not be maintained for long periods of time.
It was used in combat against the Danish fleet. Upon seeing the submarine the Danish Fleet decided to retreat, resulting in the first naval victory achieved by a submarine.

On February 1st, 1851 Brandtaucher sank after a diving accident during acceptance trials in Kiel harbor. The submarine experienced equipment failure, and sank to the bottom of a 60-foot hole at the bottom of Kiel harbor. 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.

In 1887, the wreck was discovered and was raised on July 5, 1887. Brandtaucher was first placed on display at the Naval Academy in Kiel. The boat can now been viewed at German Army museum of military history, in Dresden.

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Image Country Year Description
Comoros 2008 Brandtaucher 1850- Prussian navy submersible (Wilhelm Bauer, Prussia/ Germany)
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