Apart from Jules Verne’s fantastic submarine the Nautilus, I have also been interested in its namesake the USS Nautilus SSN-571 since I read the account of its first voyage under the North Polo by its Captain of that real adventure under the ice, William R. Anderson and Clay Blair Jr, called Nautilus 90° North, but I never found ref’s I could use to do the design justice.
The other design I like to give a go is a British S Class Submarine, particularly on called HMS Seraph, also inspired by a book I enjoyed from 2010, again a true story from WW2 and an Operation Called “Operation Mincemeat” aka “The Man Who never Was” but read on if you want to learn more as I did.
The book is called “The Ship with Two Captains” a true account of the HMS Seraph, which was for a time the USS Seraph.
It’s an amazing career for a submarine, but I have to make some mention of its Captain Lieutenant Norman “Bill” Jewell .. I do believe that Bill Jewell is second from the right. the more I read of the Seraph the more I admire the man, he had courage and bags to boot. and the same must be said for any crew of a Submarine at any time regardless of nationality, I doubt I do it, the book covers a number of missions but to save you having to read over much these posted below are the most crucial and had long-lasting repercussions to the success of the Allies, the American commanders who worked with Jewell are very complementary of him and crew.
The info I have lifted from wiki.
HMS Seraph (pennant number P219) was an S-class submarine of the British Royal Navy. She carried out a number of intelligence and special operations activities during World War II, the most famous of which was Operation Mincemeat.
On her way to the Mediterranean she was attacked in error by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber of the Royal Air Force at Cape Finisterre, although she did not suffer any damage.
She was afterwards assigned to the 8th Submarine Flotilla in the Mediterranean on 25 August; she found herself selected to carry out special operations duties. Of the missions she carried out, three stand out among the rest.
Seraph first saw action in support of Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa; her first combat mission, under the command of Lieutenant Norman “Bill” Jewell, was carrying out a periscope reconnaissance of the Algerian coast during the last two weeks of September 1942.
Upon her return to Gibraltar, Seraph was assigned to Operation Flagpole, the carrying of General Dwight Eisenhower’s deputy, Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, to North Africa for secret negotiations with Vichy French officers. Loaded with collapsible canoes, submachine guns, walkie-talkies, and other supplies, the submarine carried Clark, two other United States Army generals, United States Navy Captain Jerauld Wright, several other officers, and three British Commandos.
Seraph then sailed to the Algerian coast on 19 October 1942. On the night of 20 October her passengers disembarked ashore. The operation was very important as it helped to reduce French opposition to the Torch landings (although the French were not informed that the troop ships were already on their way and the landings were due in just a few days).
General Clark and his party were then picked up on 25 October by the submarine after some inadvertent delays. After an uneventful return journey, Seraph landed her party in Gibraltar on 25 October.
Operation Kingpin: “the ship with two captains”
On 27 October, Jewell was ordered to set sail again to the coast of southern France for a secret rendezvous. Seraph was ordered to patrol up and down the coast until she received a signal giving her the name of the port from which she was to pick up her passengers. On the night of 5 November she finally arrived at a location some 20 miles (32 km) east of Toulon, as arranged to secretly take aboard French General Henri Giraud, his son, and three staff officers for a meeting with Eisenhower in Gibraltar, with the intention to enlist the support of the pro-Vichy forces at Oran and Casablanca to the Allied cause.
In picking up the general’s party, a bit of legerdemain was needed: because Giraud flatly refused to deal with the British, and there was no US boat within 3,000 miles (4,800 km), HMS Seraph briefly became the “USS Seraph”, flying the US Navy ensign. Nominally the sub came under the command of Captain Jerauld Wright, who was earlier involved in the Flagpole operation, although Jewell took care of actual operations. In the spirit of things the British crew affected American accents that they imitated from the movies. However, it fooled nobody — including Giraud, who had been told of the deception by Wright.
After the pick-up, on 7 November Seraph transferred her charges to a PBY Catalina flying boat that was sent from Gibraltar to search for her after they lost contact with the sub due to a problem with her main radio.
On 24 November, Seraph sailed on her first war patrol in the Mediterranean. She was soon called upon to join other submarines in carrying U.S. and British Commandos for reconnaissance operations in the area. On 2 December 1942 she torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant ship Puccini. Later that month, on 23 December she rammed and damaged a U-boat, sustaining sufficient damage herself to necessitate repairs and refit back to Britain.
Seraph returned to Blyth, northern England, for a much-needed overhaul and leave on 28 January 1943. A few weeks later, Jewell was briefed at the Admiralty on Operation Mincemeat, to be carried out during Seraph’s return to the Mediterranean. This mission was part of Operation Barclay, a plan to convince the Germans that the Allies intended to land in Greece and Sardinia, and not Sicily.
She set sail again on 19 April, carrying a special passenger. This was a corpse in a metal canister, packed in dry ice, and dressed in a Royal Marines uniform. Attached to the corpse was a briefcase containing faked “secret documents” designed to mislead the Axis.
In the early hours of 30 April Seraph surfaced off the coast of Spain, near the port of Huelva. Jewell and his officers launched the body and briefcase in the water, disposing of the canister in deeper waters. Jewell then radioed the signal “MINCEMEAT completed” while the submarine continued to Gibraltar. The body was picked up by the Spanish, who decided it was a courier killed in an aircraft accident. The false documents were passed to the Germans and led them to divert forces from the defence of Sicily.
In July, during the Allied invasion of Sicily, she acted as a guide ship for the invasion force. This is where she was waiting for the task force to come over, the Seraph in near the cost with German Eboat that could easily outrun and make mincemeat of her, and this is what almost happened, but again Bill Jewell cool head and the Seraph remained in place and because of the light was unseen, the taskforce arrived with cheers for the subcrew to their astonishment and the Seraph retired from the area.
I read a number of stories about people like this, amazing person, and in look alone, he could have played James Bond, he had the cool head and daring.
I cannot recommend these books highly enough, fiction has never been this interesting, some amazing characters and events.
I might post more of this kind of thing in the future, my interest are not confined to science fiction and fantasy ..