Simonís Sub Counter


Lake Submarine: The Defender , built in 1907

Lake Submarine DEFENDER 1907

Overall Length=92'; Beam=13'; 200 Ton Displacement
With 10 man crew Accommodations

   The Defender was designed and built by Simon Lake in 1907 for military and commercial use. It could operate independently or in conjunction with a surface vessel (mother ship). One purpose, was to demonstrate to the U.S. Navy the value of a divers' compartment with an exit hatch as a means of escape if the submarine was sunk.; as well as for use in rescue missions on other sunken vessels. The submarine was equipped with 3 torpedo tubes, two fore ward and one aft. At a later time, Simon designed a rescue attachment which was a tube-like apparatus that connected from the divers hatch to the outer hull of a sunken vessel. The tube filled with compressed air, the work crew could cut through the hull and thus provide an escape route for the trapped sailors. With the escape hatch the Defender could also be used for mine laying, or cutting mine cables and came fully equipped with dive gear, tanks, tools, air hoses, welding lines, etc.
   The Defender could also be used for commercial purposes for wreck salvage and harvesting the natural products of the sea.

Diver exiting Defender's Escape Hatch
Defender's Escape Hatch

   But the Navy saw little value for the escape hatch and Simon Lake kept the submarine for demonstrational use, salvage, and collecting clams and oysters. In 1928, the Defender was overhauled with the intention of using the vessel in the planned North Pole Wilkins Expedition with Lincoln Ellsworth and Sloan Dannenhower. The submarine was equipped with twin White-Middleton 120 HP engines, but Simon felt it would be underpowered for such a lengthy journey to the polar region.

   The Defender overhaul was abandoned when the "polar" team learned that the 0-12 was being scraped by the Navy. Originally built by the Lake Torpedo Company in 1916, Simon Lake was very familiar with the submarine and its powerful twin 1000 HP diesel engines.

The disposition of the Defender is not clearly known, but may have scraped under the "Balfour Act".

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