THE SUBMARINE SPRINGEREN
The museum's greatest attraction is probably the submarine, SPRINGEREN, which as hull number no. S.329 was commissioned into the Danish Navy in 1964. She was in active service until 30th June 1989 and was finally decommissioned on 31st March 1990. The SPRINGEREN and her sisters of the DELFINEN (DOLPHIN) class were the last submarines to be designed and built by the Royal Dockyard in Copenhagen (now closed). Originally three units of the DELFINEN class were built from 1956 to 1961. In 1959 the Danish and US Governments agreed on a cost sharing program, which would build 23 ships in five years as replacement for ships about to be decommissioned. This program made it possible to build another submarine of the DELFINEN class, SPRINGEREN. The keel was laid down on 3rd January 1961; she was launched on 26th April 1963 and commissioned on 22nd October 1964.
The DELFINEN class was coastal-submarines, designed for operations in Danish waters and in the Baltic. They have, however, participated in NATO exercises in the Atlantic. Their displacement was 575 ton surfaced and 646 ton submerged. They were 53.9 meters long, had a beam of 4.7 meters and a draught of 4.2 meters. The periscope depth was 11 meters. Max. diving depth in peacetime was 100 meters which during time of war could be extended to 200 meters. The reason for diving restrictions in peace time was that the submarine was more exposed to corrosion when diving at greater depths. Surfaced the boat was propelled by 2 B&W diesel engines and submerged by two Brown Boveri battery powered electric engines.
The speed was 16 knots, surfaced as well as submerged. She had two propellers. A snorkel, operated like a periscope, made it possible to run on diesel-engines if the boat was just below surface.
The DELFINEN-class were the first Danish submarines not to be supplied with guns and designed - literally - as submarines, meaning that they were designed to operate submerged. The submarines operating during World Wars I and II were designed to operate surfaced, and only dived in order to escape a counter-attack.
The SPRINGEREN was armed with eight torpedoes which could be fired through four 53 cm bow torpedo tubes. During the two World Wars the commander of a submarine had to aim with the boat, when firing torpedoes. It was a difficult operation where the speed of target as well as the speed of the torpedo had to be taken into consideration. The SPRINGEREN was supplied with a so-called TCI-firing-system – a wire guided system, by means of which the torpedoes could be guided en route and fired at a considerably longer distance.
Her crew consisted of 33 men: 8 officers and 25 petty officers and sailors.
To give our guests an impression of the life on board a submarine, all the technical installations on board the SPRINGEREN have been preserved with the exception of the 224 batteries (weighting 100 ton). The illusion of being in an operational submarine is supported by a soundtrack of the noise and communication normally occurring in a submarine. Every 15 minutes the diving alarm is sounded, the lights are extinguished, and the red night lighting is turned on.
Entering the submarine visitors come into the forward torpedo room, which also served as sleeping and living quarters for the crew. For the comfort of our guests, we have removed several bunks, tables and benches. Normally there would be 13 bunks (2 men shared one bunk, as half of the crew was on duty) and tables/benches for 26 men. In the room you will also see the equipment for emergency-supply of oxygen, to be used if the boat was wrecked, and flooded, ready for crew-escape.
Passing through a watertight door you enter a passage with the wardroom for 8 officers on the port side. The toilets and the galley are on the starboard side. Further on, you will find the sonar-, the radar- and the radio rooms. There is also a rack with suitcases in the passage. Submariners literally ”live in a suitcase” .The TCI-system and the radar mast are at the entrance to the combat room. In the combat room there are two periscopes, one for navigation and one for attacking. The plotting board is placed between the two helmsmen's chairs. The vertical-helmsman is placed aft at the port side, while the horizontal-helmsman is in the front. Through the second watertight door you will enter the engine room and leave the boat from the starboard side.
During your visit you will have gained a first-hand impression of daily life on board a submarine. You have seen the rough and cramped conditions under which the crew had to live and work – sometimes for weeks. It requires a special attitude of mind and a lot of adaptability to work in a submarine, and the crew had to be very skilled and familiar with all installations. Training of submarine-officers and –commanders took considerably time.
It is obvious why we consider the SPRINGEREN to be the main attraction of the museum. With this submarine Springeren – Maritimt Oplevelsescenter has preserved a splendid example of Danish shipbuilding know-how. An expertise and know-how now disappearing, since the political defense agreements from 2005 definitively abolish the submarines from the Danish navy – regardless of the fact, that our coastal submarines have proved to fulfill the requirements of NATO´s fight against terror.