When it comes to talking about wartime technology and innovative machinery, submarines don't often get the credit they deserve- despite having played a significant role in World War I, World War II and The Cold War. Due to their covert ability, they can lurk deep within the sea and attack merchant and military surface ships as well as other submarines with relative ease.
Unlike other wartime artillery, submarines have also served a wider purpose in science operations, tourism and marine archaeology for many years. But in this article, we will focus on the vessels and submarine bases that history forget.
This article features lost and forgotten submarines and bases that make for an eerie and spooky montage, and by the end of this article, we're sure you'll agree with us when we say that these abandoned submarines and bases are genuinely haunting spectacles.
Here are 17 examples.
1. USS Ling
Longer than a professional football field, this abandoned, 312-foot submarine lies on the riverbed of Hackensack, New Jersey. While it is plain to see to onlookers, it is closed to the public, despite previously being open to the public as a museum.
But after Hurricane Sandy all-but destroyed the high-speed sub, restoration efforts stalled once the damage was deemed irreparable. What's more, USS Ling is technically outside city limits, and with a GoFundMe page raising a measly $25, USS Ling looks likely to rot for some time.
2. German U-Boat
This Nazi war machine was believed to have been shot down by American forces in 1942 with 45 sailors inside after making its way back from the American coast during a mission to hunt Allied cargo ships.
However, after coastguards picked up a sonar contact, three depth charges killed all 45 crew members onboard, and it was only last year that divers came across the 72-year wreckage.
3. Drug Submarines
While submarines are typically associated with war and science, drug cartel members often craft their own unique subs to avoid capture when smuggling their drugs overseas.
Devoid of windows, many can be found abandoned in the banks of rivers along the South American coast and can contain up to 6 tonnes of cocaine. They are also equipped with cameras to help them navigate in both the day and night.
4. The Island of Vis
This quaint Croatian island has been inhabited since the 4th century BC before being Venetians conquered the islands, a dialect of which is still prevalent among locals.
As countless small islands are covering the Adriatic sea, many submarine bases are established owing to the sequestered location, and one such base is found on the Croatian island of Vis. Now a tourist attraction, kayakers are free to roam inside- if they aren't too scared.
5. Underground Submarine Base
The Soviets were notorious for their classified submarine bases. One example is the abandoned underground submarine base in the city of Sevastopol, Crimea.
Called Balahalva, the Russians stored countless weapons there, and the facility itself was more than capable of installing nuclear war subs into the Mediterranean sea. Since Russia has reclaimed Crimea, who knows what will happen to the base.
6. Abandoned Naval Mines
Underwater mines still exist across large swathes of the world's oceans after being planted there during WW2 and the Soviet era as a way of covertly sinking ships. It is estimated that there are 1.6m tonnes of conventional and chemical weapons in German territorial waters alone.
Some can still be found in and around Denmark, so if you're thinking of catching a ferry while there, you may want to change your mind.
7. Project 651
Project 651 is no more, having spent its final days docked in the American coastal state of Rhode Island. Characterized by its red, Soviet star, Project 651 was a class of Soviet diesel-electric submarines equipped with cruise missiles. If you go by its NATO reporting name, the vessel is referred to as Juliett-class.
Launched in 1965, the submarine was used as the set of the Harrison Ford movie K-19: The Widowmaker. It was then a museum before a storm all-but sunk it.
8. INS Kursura
Asia’s first submarine museum once traveled a distance greater than the earth’s diameter. The INS Kursura, as it was formally called during its three decades of service out at sea, was both a wartime machine and messenger of peace to other nations.
Now docked in its home country of India, the Hudhud cyclone flooded much of its interior, but the state government moved swiftly and saved it from ruin.
9. Sub Marine Explorer
This submarine is unique as it was the first of its kind to dive and rise without assistance from the surface. The brains behind the groundbreaking submarine was the German inventor, Julius Kroehl.
Revolutionizing aquatic artillery, the explorer could go below 100 feet for hours at a time. However, there was one major flaw in its design: it constantly made passengers sick after dives.
This was attributed to decompression sickness known as "the bends" and despite countless tests as to how this could be overcome, passengers continued to suffer, and it was abandoned until being discovered in Panama by archaeologist James Delgado in 2001.
10. Aberlady Bay
Found in the mushy sands of Scotland's Aberlady Bay, the XT class vessels were built by Vickers-Armstrong Limited in the 1940s and were used in training in the leadup to a dangerous mission during World War II.
Overcoming Germany’s Tirpitz battleship, the vessels were then docked in the bay and used for military target practice.
11. Nazi U-Boat Hoax
Numerous clickbait sites will claim that this abandoned submarine discovered in the great lakes of Niagra Falls belonged to the Nazis, but this just isn't true.
It is more likely that an unknown government was testing a submarine in the area and discarded it after all testing was completed. Then again, there is simply no way of knowing if that was the case either.
12. Kuril Islands
The rusted ruins of Kuril Islands are no longer a secret. Operated by the Russian army, those who venture far enough will come across a series of Soviet murals plastered across the crumbling walls.
Fascinatingly, the rusted hulk of a depleted submarine can still be found floating aimlessly in the caldera. Spooky.
13. The Yellow Submarine of Coney Island
This vessel wasn't used for war- it simply made journeys from America to Europe before it sunk just off the coast of New York in 1956.
Thanks to Maritime salvage law, anyone who can reach the craft is welcome to salvage anything that may be lurking in the interior.
14. The Russian Submarine And The Pond It Found Itself In
Emerging from a pond in an outer district of Moscow, Russia, this blue submarine found itself in a suburban pond- much to the bemusement of Internet users. However, the actual reason wasn't that interesting.
In actuality, a construction company planted the submarine there for a publicity stunt.
Part of Soviet Project 611, this Zulu V class B-80 submarine was deployed as an attack sub in World War II. Its design was a pastiche of the German XXI U-boat and would spawn the Foxtrot-class subs that were among some of the most successful vessels of all time.
Pictured above, one was even transformed into a museum ship in the Dutch Navy port of Den Helder before moving to Amsterdam’s Maritime Quarter where it is now rented out for parties. Pretty cool.
16. Hara Submarine Base
What was once an important naval base for the Russians has been abandoned for some time, and instead of naval officers, it's urban explorers and graffiti artists who call Hara Submarine Base home.
The construction of this base lies an hour outside the Estonian capital of Talin, an area of the Baltics which was crucial for Russians in intercepting enemy threats. Overseeing the Gulf of Finland, if submarines funnelled their way through and into the port city of Saint Petersburg, the country would be under serious threat, which made this base ideal for stopping that from happening. A shadow of its former self, the ruins have been shown no mercy by local taggers and unruly teens.
17. Bravo-class submarine. Project 690 Kefal "Mullet" class.
The Project 690 Kefal ("Mullet") class (known commonly by its NATO name Bravo class) was a series of submarines made by the Soviet Union. While predominately used in training drills, they had the capiability to be used in battle.
A total of four vessels were built by the Soviet Navy between 1967 and 1970. However, by the 1990s, all subs were attacked, and only the "SS-310" (pictured), which is located at a shipyard in Kherson sanding, remains floating.