Quick Reference

An American craft designed by the US engineer Robert Fulton (1765–1815), one of the pioneers of the development of the submarine, for operations against British warships during the Anglo-American War (1812–14). It was completely decked over and driven through the water by a screw propeller worked by hand through a series of cranks inside the hull. Its weapon consisted of a number of floating charges towed astern, with their firing mechanism operated by long trigger lanyards. The proposed method of attack was to swing the towed charges against the side of the British warship and explode them by pulling the lanyard. With a freeboard of a few centimetres, it was hoped the turtle-boat could be mistaken for a floating tree trunk or some other object and so be able to approach an enemy without causing suspicion. But it was driven ashore on Long Island during a gale, where it was destroyed by the British before it could do any damage or its capabilities could be tested.

Subjects: Maritime History.

Reference entries