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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Introduction from

The Protector, was the pioneer Submarine Torpedo Boat of the Lake level-keel type, and was built by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport in 1901-1902, - launched at Bridgeport Conn. on November 1, 1902. The Protector was designed for coastal defense and there was considerable controversy between the Lake & Holland submarines. Many officials in favor of the Lake-type, even-keel submarine verses the Holland diving type.

However, the military were already familiar with the Holland subs and stayed with that type. Both Japan and Russia were keenly interested in the Protector, and it was sold to Russia and shipped to St. Petersburg, during the Russian-Japanese war. From St. Petersburg she was shipped to Vladivostok, 6,000 miles across Siberia, special cars being built for her transport. Bridges had to be strengthened and in some cases special provision made to pass her through tunnels. She was very successful, and Russia ordered five additional boats of this type which were manufactured by the Newport News Shipbuilding and transported abroad.

The success of the Protector, renamed Osetr in Russia, led to additional contracts for the Lake Company to build additional cruiser-type submarines, all forming Russia's first submarine force fleet of practical military submarines.

The significant achievement of the Protector submarine is that it established a new worldwide precedent for submarine design of the even-keel type. Unfortunately, the United States did not properly acknowledge this fact until foreign governments achieved an obvious measure of success with the Lake submarine.

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Protector299k Protector was Simon Lake's first naval submarine. These sketches are adapted from drawings in Sudostroyenie, a Russian magazine. They do not show Lake's characteristic midship planes (but the plane axes are indicated here by arrows; note that the two planes are linked to work together). Note also the couches for the crew, indicated by x's in the plan (they were buttoned leather). Also not shown here is the engine exhaust that extended well above the deck and allowed the engine to operate while the submarine was awash.Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Protector67k Lake's Protector was his rival to the Electric Boat's Fulton (A prototype of the Adder class (SS-2-8) submarines). She is clearly designed as as submersible surface ship, with high freeboard, a wide flat deck, and a large conning tower. The pipe aft is a exhaust engine. Lake sold this type of submarine to Russia. Photo courtesy of
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Protector101kReady for launch at Bridgeport CT., Lake's Protector shows his characteristic twin-screw stern and a single torpedo tube. The two port-side hydroplanes are visible at the deck edge near the conning tower; the pipe farther aft is the engine exhaust. This photo ws taken no more than a month before the submarine was launched on 1 November 1902.Photo courtesy of Submarine Force Museum and Library. Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
The Simon Lake Submarine Web Site
Simon Lake Submarines, by Ric Hedman
Submarine History / An Illustrated Survey of Key Events in Submarine History

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