Submarine Brandtaucher (Iron Seal)

The Brandtaucher was the first modern submarine developed by the well-known engineer Wilhelm Bauer in Germany. This started the development of submarines designed for purely military operations.



Launching and design:

Wilhelm Bauer was a trained wood turner, who was interested in the military early on and derived his research in this direction. So he developed, among other things, the hoist for cannons. As early as 1848, the first construction drawings for a submarine for coastal protection were made under it.

By attracting private investors, he was able to commission these plans in 1850 at Maschinenfabrik and Eisengießerei Schweffel & Howaldt in Kiel. The term "Brandtaucher" was derived from the purpose that the ship should approach underwater to ships, port facilities and bridges and then set them on fire. Due to its unusual design, it also received the nickname Iron Seal.





The hull consisted of a 6mm thick outer shell, the intended trim by ballast and trim tanks was made by a sliding weight of 500 kg of cast iron and the ballast water was directed into the hull.

The armament consisted only of a gripping arm that could be moved out of the inner. On this was an explosive body, which should be attached to objects and made to explode.

The launch took place in the same year.



Skizze des Brandtauchers

Sketch of the Brandtauchers




The end of the Brandtaucher:

The first test drives of the Brandtauchers ran successfully. During the test drive on February 1, 1851, however, the submarine sank in the Kiel Fjord, as probably too much ballast water was added. However, after waiting 6.5 hours for pressure equalization, the crew were able to free themselves and swim to the surface.

Only with the construction of the torpedo port was the sunken submarine 1887 rediscovered.




Ship data:

Ship type Submarine
Country Germany
Launching 1850
Whereabouts Sunk on February 1, 1851
Drive Propeller over impeller
Control About side and depth rudder, ball tanks
Length 8,07 meters
Width 2,02 meters
Displacement 30,5 metric tons
Depth 9,5 meters
Speed 3 knots
Arming A gripper arm with explosive body






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