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Civil War Submarine Battles Were Often Suicide Missions

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»War Beneath the Waves

Civil War Submarine Battles Were Often Suicide Missions

Short | 03:09

During the Civil War, the North imposed a suffocating blockade of a number of key Confederate ports. The South, hoping to break this blockade, turned to an imperfect new invention: the submarine.

More About This episode

It began with a barrel-shaped submersible that patrolled New York Harbor during the American Revolutionary War. Since then, the submarine has evolved into a vital weapon of war. Dive in as we track its history, from the 1775 Turtle to the 1879 Resurgam to the mighty German U-boats and nuclear subs of today. Rare archival footage, visits to surviving decommissioned subs, and interviews with crewmembers help explain how these machines became such a powerful symbol of naval supremacy.

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