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CSS Pioneer


Its a little known fact that the submarine is not a modern invention. Primitive diving bells were used for warfare as far back as about 413 BC, and there's record of submersible boats and capsules being independently invented by a number of court inventors and common tinkerers as a novelty item throughout the Middle Ages and well into Renaissance. The 18th and 19th centuries are littered with designs for military submersibles that never went into production.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about the American Civil War, in which the Confederate Army designed and built a number of military submersibles. Most proved failures during their test runs, but one was a success. That one was the C.S.S. Pioneer. Though little more than a multi-use non-explosive torpedo with a couple guys inside peddling to make it stab Union ships with its pointy front bit, but it was safe, effective and combat ready. So why, then, do hear about the Southern sub-aquatic sloop-stabbing shipcycle in our history books? Well, the answer is simple, and admittedly somewhat anticlimactic: Advancing Union troops forced the Confederate forces to abandon the Pioneer prototype on the beach, and they never really got a chance to manufacture more. The end. But on the other hand, its awesome!

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