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How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

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How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby modelnut » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:07 pm

Image

How did the NAUTILUS ram an enemy ship? Did she pierce one side and come out the other? Or did she do as all other ramming vessels in history and back away after causing catastrophic damage?

A friend and I have traded emails on this point. In history, there is only one way to ram an enemy vessel. You barrel into it and back away leaving your enemy either sinking or out of action. See this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_%28ship%29 Goff and Disney came up with the NAUTILUS plowing through the target vessel. The text (I think) supports either view.

All Jules Vernes says about the action is that it was " a mighty shock" and "like a needle through sailcloth". Aronnax and his two companions were locked in their cabins or the Salon during the action so they could not be eye witnesses. "A mighty shock" could describe their experience whether the sub went through or stopped and backed away. "Like a needle through sailcloth" could just describe the ease with which the ram penetrated the wooden hull of the enemy ship.

In the Wiki article it says that ramming was considered a viable tactic only because they thought that cannons could not pierce the new iron cladding of the worlds new navies. Once more powerful guns and shells came along ramming quickly lost favor. But during Verne's time it was something everyone planned for.

Also remember that the NAUTILUS had no long range weaponry. No torpedoes. No guns. All Nemo had was speed and the boats iron hull and ram.

But how would he have used it? It would make a noticeable difference in how the NAUTILUS was built.

What do you think?

- Leelan
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby modelnut » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:26 pm

Michael has already addressed this. But I read it so many years ago that I forgot.

The particular quote is from the chapter near the end, "A Hecatomb". You can find more of the related text on my page here, http://www.vernianera.com/Nautilus/Needle.html , but the context is explicit:

The speed of the Nautilus was accelerated. It was preparing to rush. The whole ship trembled. Suddenly I screamed. I felt the shock, but comparatively light. I felt the penetrating power of the steel spur. I heard rattlings and scrapings. But the Nautilus, carried along by its propelling power, passed through the mass of the vessel like a needle through sailcloth!

I've had discussions about elements of the novel with many people over the years. A recurring lesson is to remember is that this is fiction. Jules Verne based a lot of his writing on fact, but in the end the stories are from his imagination and he surely got some things wrong.

Michael
http://www.VernianEra.com


It is still fun to rehash now and again though. :D

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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby modelnut » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:30 pm

But what about the NAUTILUS's diving planes, rudder and propeller? None of that equipment is mentioned as being stowed in the text.

Maybe the sub was only aimed for the keel? Any ship would be doomed if she had that large a hole in her bottom and a broken back. :?

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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby Carcharadon » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:13 pm

A direct ram with the spar requires a pull out, and this means putting the sub in reverse, which makes the sub vulnerable to possible attack or even entanglement. So my guess would be for either a perpendicular approach on a gradual descending angle striking below the waterline or a side strafe.

From my experience with both a 7ft and 4ft model (Goff) I found that the side rakers would tend to bounce off when hitting a piling. I’ve also had the opportunity to dive on a sunken Iron Clad, the CSS Georgia, and have had my hands on solid oak support beams 12-16 inches square (maybe larger).

The steal rakers should have little problem with the wooden ship’s side planking and if it where to strike a substantial keel similar to the support beams used on the iron clads I would suspect that the blow would tend to bounce the sub down and the next highest raker would then make contact. This sequence would continue in a saw like fashion until the beam itself would be cut or the sub would bounce down under the hull. In either case there would be significant damage to sink the wooden ship. An alternative to the perpendicular strike would be a side strafe. This would probably be a safer method.


This would be Ramming speed –

http://www.youtube.com/user/tyourk#p/u/9/rcjVsPiwyh8
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby modelnut » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:07 pm

Thanks, C,

That was the Disney/Goff NAUTILUS


Image.


I was thinking more about the Jules Verne NAUTILUS which would be more like one of these:


Image


Image


Image


Image


Or maybe this if you want some rakers:


Image


Don't get me wrong. I like the Disney NAUTILUS but I have always wanted to build Jules Verne's ver4sion.

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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby modelnut » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:14 pm

But there is a passage in the text (referred to here http://www.vernianera.com/Nautilus/Catalog/index.html) that goes against the center-line ram:

The hole punched in the Scotia's hull is described as two and a half meters below her waterline, but Nemo says he was traveling two meters below the surface when the collision occurred. This would place the Nautilus's center-line more than six meters deep. Ian Williams' design, illustrated here, addresses this problem by raising the ram to match the hole. The ram in this position also addresses a similar issue. During the trip to the South Pole, Aronnax describes the Nautilus using its ram as an icebreaker as it crosses the Antarctic ice shelf on the surface. Perhaps this could be done with a center-line ram but it seems to me the force would tend to drive the submarine beneath the ice.


That would make the NAUTILUS look something like this:

Image

That is where my ram will be when I finish. :mrgreen:

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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby SteveUK » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:17 pm

I'm pretty sure in Jules Verne's Novel the Nautilus is at first mistaken to be a sea monster attacking vessels, they speculate it must be something like a giant Narwhale - this is based on the description of the ram and puncture hole left in the side of the ship from surviving sailors. (That is why Professor Arronax goes along on the voyage, for his expert knowledge about marine life). So if you are talking about Jules Vernes Nautilus I would say depending on the size and strength of the ship sometimes Nautilus would plunge right through on ramming speed (small vessel) and sometimes it would smash to a halt impaling itself onto the hull of a larger vessel, and then reverse off the doomed ship. So the ram must be like a horn shape, being wide at the base and narrowing to a point. This way it could easily free itself by reversing. If this didn't work Nautilus could also of course blow tanks as the ship plunged toward the bottom - this would lift Nautilus vertically off the doomed ship like a daggar being withdrawn. Wow, what an image! Might make a bit of a mess in the galley, mind. :)
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby Carcharadon » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:34 pm

Crabs, lobster and crawdads (and probably many other arthropods) have the ability to drop a claw as a means to escape an overwhelming predator. At some point a conscious decision is made that the loss of a claw is a better strategy than to try and win the fight. I always wondered how that happened? (The logic sequence implies a level of intelligence or at least the ability to make a judgment call)

The claw will regenerate in time so the survival logic might be that it's better to sacrifice a claw than to risk certain death. And apparently this strategy has had survival significance since it seems to be a common adaptation. The same strategy occurs in lizards as they drop their tail. Better to be free and lose a tail then to end up as a dinner item. The tail regenerates over time.

If the Nautilus were to become stuck in a ship that could be disastrous. If it (the Nautilus) could not free itself, it runs the risk of sinking to the bottom entangled in the debris of the target ship. So I'm assuming that Nemo would have devised a quick disconnect of some kind so that if the ram were irretrievably stuck in the target ship he would have a failsafe mechanism to disconnect before being taken to the bottom.
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby Bob the Builder » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:31 pm

I personally have a very fond place in my heart for the Goff design, which was obviously designed for raking across or under a hull rather than piercing. The metal cladding in ships of the era did not typically extend below the waterline (at least to my knowledge) making it a very viable method of downing a ship.

Speaking of the Verne design, however, you are correct in saying that the Nautilus would need to ram and withdraw. I personally think it a poor strategy. The dangers of such a brute force collision, a complete stall, and the need to reverse seems very backward thinking in my mind. The strafing run that rakers offer means that the sub would never need to slow down, presenting a virtually impossible target to track and damage and also mitigating much of the risk in the maneuver. Think of the shock that a boat of that size would undergo when suddenly crashing from ramming speed to a full halt! I shudder to think at the structural accommodations that would need to be in place.

Anyhow, yes, I feel the Verne design would require piercing and then withdrawing, but prefer to imagine a revised fiction more closely tied to reality.

My two cents!
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RCSub homepage: http://www.rc-sub.com
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby Scott T » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:08 pm

Maybe as the Nautilus raked under the ship (Disney) it was the sudden lifting up of the keel that caused it to break.
Like the torpedo that explodes under the ship cause the keel to be broken either by the lifting or dropping of the
ships keel.

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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby kurt250 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:58 am

i can speck from a exsperance that i had 18 years ago. wile working on a cargo ship , we ran into a japanese ship. we were going about 12 knots at the time. both our and the japanese ship were about 500 feet long and of close weight. we hit her midships coming out of hong kong. she was badly damaged by our impact. she had to ground herself to keep from sinking. we opened her up just forward of her engineroom. we flooded her largest hold. our damage was slight. the thing i remember was how little the shock of impact was. it was more a vibration. we backed away from the ship, which caused her to flood quickly. i'm telling you this because if the nautilus hit a ship at the correct angle the shock wouldn't have been to bad.kurt
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby Waffel42 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:45 pm

I'm going to build a series of Nautili, already working on the first.
My strategy is going to be a slanted brass "blade" mounted on top near the bow and runs over (and is renforced by) the conning tower.

The idea is that you run perpendicular, just under the surface:
Bow, with the bow planes, passes safely under the target
Blade strikes side and rakes through hull
The blade is slanted up thus lifting the target keel at the same time it is raking it
Target keel breaks
Blade passes out of target
The body and aft of the Nautilus pass safely under the target before it sinks on top of it
(a renforced, non-moving, upper rudder plane protects the prop and aft controls from debris)
Nautilus continues on original course

Now, I have not had the chance to try this in practive yet so we'll see how it works this spring
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby hakkikt » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:22 am

I think what Verne imagined was what he wrote: that the boat went THROUGH the enemy ship "like a needle through sailcloth". He conventiently "forgot" about damaging all the stuff sticking out from the sub's hull - just as he "forgot" about the g-forces experienced by people in a capsule shot to the moon by a giant cannon. Dramatic licence.
No reason not to enjoy the book anyway - but I think it is a mistake to imagine one's way around the errors (or deliberate omissions) of authors.
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby salmon » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:08 pm

hakkikt,
I bet you tell Trekkies that the Enterprise is not real too! :-)
You are right, the beauty of the story is the story, not the reality. For me it is enjoyable seeing the variety of ships created from the story, I love the creativity.
Peace,
Tom
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Re: How did Nemo's NAUTILUS ram a ship?

Postby chips » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:07 am

Bob the Builder wrote:The metal cladding in ships of the era did not typically extend below the waterline (at least to my knowledge) making it a very viable method of downing a ship.

The Royal Navy began installing copper plates to the bottom of the hulls during the 18th century (1700's). The copper or Muntz metal plates were gradually replaced by antifouling paint in the early 20th century (circa 1913-1920).
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