Curse of Thetis: The submarine sunk twice and lost two crews

Beyond the hundreds of lost lives, Thetis history, the submerged submarine twice, has a positive part, which you will find at the end of the article.

Today, submarines are quite common and are considered safe. When the first functional submarines appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, they were dangerous and unsafe due to several design errors.

The technology of submarine construction was still in the beginning. The safety of contemporary submarines has been achieved through years of engineering research and experiments.

Those who designed submarines have learned much from the mistakes of the past.However, unfortunately these mistakes often resulted in accidents with devastating consequences.

the submerged submarine

USS Plunger, one of the first submarines commissioned by the US Navy, launched in 1902

A design error led to the first dive of HMS Thetis , a Royal Navy T submarine, which was one of the few military vessels that sank twice with two full crew aboard.

Thetis was designed by Cammel Laird and Vickers-Armstrong and was completed in June 1938. He made a diving test a year later in June 1939 and took on board 102 people.

When the submarine tried to sink for the first time, they realized that the ship was too light and that one of the torpedo tubes had remained closed after all the signals.

the submerged submarine

HMS Thorn, a class T submarine identical to HMS Thetis

A quick inspection found that a piece of dry e-mail paint prevented the opening of one of the tubes and allowed the water to enter the submarine’s internal water circuit.

The crew tried to fix the problem manually by opening the tube, but the overwhelming pressure made the water gush uncontrollably inside the submarine.

As there was no safety lid with which the tube was closed, the entire front of the vessel was filled with water and the submarine sank immediately at a depth of 48 meters.

The submarine sank twice

Four people managed to escape the sinking ship, including Captain Harry Oram and Lieutenant Frederick Woods. They escaped through the single escape chamber of the ship, one after the other.

The escape chamber allowed one person to access once, and had to be pressurized before each person who left the submarine. The four managed to get to the surface, but the fifth man who tried to use this room suffered a severe panic attack and accidentally opened the hatch before the room was pressurized.

the submerged submarine

HMS Thunderbolt is stationed in the port after a patrol mission. Crew members are on deck

He was killed by the stream of water that went into the submarine at that time, and the rest of the submarine people drowned or suffocated because of the level of carbon dioxide that grew rapidly.

HMS Thetis was recovered immediately after the disaster. In 1940, a year after the shipwreck, the submerged submarine went back into operation. It was renamed HMS Thunderbolt and was under the command of Lieutenant Cecil Crouch.

This time, he survived the diving test and had considerable success in the naval battles.

While patrolling in the Atlantic in December 1940, he sank the Italian submarine Capitano Raffaele Tarantini. Two years later, he was transferred to the Mediterranean with two sister vessels.

Their mission was to attack Italian military ports and destroy ships with military supplies of the Axis. It was one of the main vessels involved in the allied operation against the Palermo military port and has achieved great success.

Thetis becomes “the second submerged submarine”

the submerged submarine

The Thunderbolt crew and their “Jolly Roger” flag after a patrol mission to the Mediterranean

The torpedos launched by this submarine sank the cruiser Ulpio Traiano and a cargo ship called SS Viminale. But the submarine was submerged by an Italian corvette called Cicogna, which was equipped with an arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons.

Cicogna spotted the submarine on March 14, 1943 and attacked him with deep explosives.The defense of the submarine was useless in the face of Cicogne’s superior firepower, and the submerged submarine “fell” to the depth of 1,340 meters with its entire crew.

The submerged submarine had bad luck twice. Almost 200 people died when the ship was hit by bombs. One positive thing that the unfortunate fate of the vessel has generated was the implementation of the so-called “Thetis Hatch”.

This is a safety hatch that controls the opening of the torpedo tubes and does not allow the water in the tubes to flood the body of the submarine. The Thetis Trap is now an irreplaceable part of every British and Australian submarine.

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