Learning about submarines
Groton is home to the US naval submarine base, the first and the largest in the country. It’s off-limits but we can visit the Submarine Force museum. From the first commissioned US sub (SS1) in 1900 to the cold war nuclear vessels, the development and improvement of submarines was slow and full of failures. The division’s mission was unclear and seemed unnecessary until WWII when submariners, 2% of the US Navy force, accounted for 55% of the sunken Japanese fleet. First subs were running on gas, then diesel, now nuclear. The first nuclear powered submarine was the Nautilus, made here in Groton, we can visit it at the museum. Commissioned in 1954 and retired in 1980, it was also the first to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole in 1958, showing USSR the marine technology Americans had in hand. The first subs were launching simple torpedos, now they launch missiles to attack boats, other subs, targets on land, but also to get rid of mines on the ocean floor or destroy an incoming missile before it reaches the sub. This is a benefit of war, it pushes people to get the best engineering technologies, technologies that eventually help in other industries. Submarines help explore and understand the oceans and marine life.