Jutland – Clash of the Dreadnoughts (2004)

Time Team Special – The Lost Submarine of WWI

If you didn’t catch this first time around, it’s available to view on the Channel 4 website.

You might also consider following Innes McCartney on Twitter.

Time Team Special – The Lost Submarine of WWI

Channel 4
Sun 7 July 2013
Duration: 47:07

Today’s submarines are vast, billion-pound, high-tech monsters with a nuclear payload that can level cities. But the story of Britain’s first submarines began over a century ago, with inventors risking life and limb in a range of bizarre contraptions.

Sir Tony Robinson joins forces with expert diver and historian Innes McCartney to uncover the experimental origins of Britain’s Submarine Service, through a series of wreck dives, underwater blast tests and hands-on demonstrations.

At the start of the 20th century, Britain lagged far behind Germany in developing these new weapons, but by 1914 they had caught up, in an underwater arms race that would play a vital role in World War I.

Now underwater archaeology in the English Channel is shining new light on this story. This Time Team Special reveals how information revealed by Innes’s dives and the team’s experiments is helping to map the successes and failures of the submarine pioneers.

With the help of Phil Harding, Tony demonstrates how these early machines were turned from catastrophic death-traps into weapons of war, and reveals how German U-boats came within weeks of defeating Britain and her allies.

This is a forgotten chapter of underwater history: the story of the birth of a weapon that changed the world.