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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ships and Subs of New London

This is the Eagle, a tall ship on active service with the US Coast Guard. She is harbored here in New London, Connecticut, and the juxtaposition with the Electric Boat Company in the background of this picture on the Thames River is as complimentary as it is ironic.

The tall ship had been launched in Germany in 1936 as Horst Wessel. Taken over by the United States, it was commissioned in 1946 into the Coast Guard. The Electric Boat Company’s history goes a bit farther back in the past, and a bit farther ahead into the future.

Financier Isaac Rice founded the Electric Boat Company in 1899, and in 1900 the US Submarine Force was established with the Holland, the world’s first practical submarine being built here.

Here is a magazine ad for Electric Boat during World War II. During World War I and just after, Electric Boat built 85 submarines for the U.S. Navy. During World War II, 74 subs and 398 PT boats were built here. In 1951 they began work on the Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, completed in 1954.

New London, founded in 1646, was a navel base of operations as far back as the Revolutionary War. Today, it is home to the United States Coast Guard Academy, and home to the Eagle, and home to several nuclear-powered U.S. Navy submarines.

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