September 8th, 1888 – U-boat Invented in Spain


Peral was the first electric battery-powered submarine, built by the Spanish engineer and sailor Isaac Peral for the Spanish Navy. The first fully capable military submarine, she was launched September 8th, 1888.


She had one torpedo tube (and two torpedoes) and an air regeneration system. Her hull shape, propeller, and cruciform external controls anticipated later designs. Her underwater speed was 3 kn (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph). With fully charged batteries, she was the fastest submarine yet built, with performance levels (except for range) that matched or exceeded those of First World War U-boats. 

In June 1890, Peral’s submarine launched a torpedo under the sea. It was also the first submarine to incorporate a fully reliable underwater navigation system. However, conservatives in the Spanish naval hierarchy terminated the project despite two years of successful tests. Her operational abilities have led some to call her the first U-boat.


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