Submarine Gymnote (Q 1)

The submarine Gymnote was already the second submarine of the French Navy and next to the Spanish submarine Isaac Peral the first electric drive.



Launching and design:

After a short period of enthusiasm for the development of submarines from the middle of the 19th century, the interest of the naval leadership of the great powers faded after a few failures back to the new weapon. It was only at the end of the 19th century that research and developments were again promoted in countries such as Spain, the USA and France.

A large part of the renewed interest was the development of the electric motor by the Frenchman Goubet in 1881. Thus, the ships could be operated without muscle power, which meant a significant step forward.

Thus, the French naval command of the request came from the French ship's designer Henri Dupuy de Lôme and Gustave Zédé, who had submitted the draft of the Gymnote. In 1886 the construction contract was awarded to the shipyard in Toulon, which launched the ship on September 24, 1888.

The building structure of the Gymnote was a single-hull boat, whereby the pressure hull of the submarine is identical to the hull. The total length was 17.8 meters with a displacement of 31 tons as it surfaced.

In total, 564 lead-acid batteries installed in the ship, which powered the main engine with a power of 55 hp. Thus, the Gymnote reached a speed of up to 7.3 knots and a range of 120 kilometers.

As the ship did not have an internal combustion engine like later models in order to independently recharge the installed batteries, the applications were always geared towards the charging station in the countryside.

In order to solve the problems during the dives, which had caused the first submarine Plongeur often rammed the bow into the seabed, were installed at the Gymnote two pairs of depth rudder.

The arming of the boat, if only for testing purposes, consisted of two 14-inch torpedoes, which were attached to a drainpipes attached to the fuselage.

1898 was a modernization of the electric drive, bringing the horsepower to 90. In addition, a tower was placed on the hull.







History of Gymnote:

The submarines served the French Navy for testing purposes only. For this purpose, the boat completed a total of around 2,000 diving trips. The knowledge gained about this new weapons technology caused the French Navy in 1893 to launch an even larger submarine from the stack. Thus, France became the leading nation in submarine construction until the First World War.




The end of the Gymnote:

On June 19, 1907, the Gymnote sank as the submarine lay in a dock at the Toulon shipyard. Although the ship was lifted again, due to the already new, improved submarines that had the French Navy, the ship was deleted in 1908 from the list of warships.




Ship data:

Ship type Submarine
Country France
Launching September 24, 1888
Whereabouts Sunk on 19 June 1907, 1908 after salvage deleted from ship list
Drive Electric motor, variable pitch propeller
Power 55 hp, after modernization 90 hp
Length 17,8 meters
Displacement 31 Tons emerged
Speed Up to 7.3 knots surfaced

Dipped to 4.3 knots

Arming 2 x 14 inch torpedoes
Crew 5 man






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