[FOUNTAIN]Submarines represent stealth attackA submarine is a cunning means of attack. It hides itself deep under the sea, makes a surprise attack and then disappears silently.
A primitive, leather-bound submarine model was first introduced in 1578. In 1776, the first submarine attack was cunningly planned.
A modern submarine was invented in 1861, and its use spread rapidly. During its Civil War, the United States invented a barrel-shaped, one-person submersible. With the drill attached to the top of the submersible, it could puncture the bottom of the enemy ships and scare enemies with bombs.
In 1886, the French Navy commissioned the Gymnote, and England, Germany and Japan competed to deploy their own submarines by 1915.
During World War I, Germany found that deploying submarines proved more effective than expected. The U-21 sank the British cruiser Pathfinder in September 1914, killing 259 of 296 crew members on board. Fifteen days later, the U-9 attacked three more British cruisers and buried 1,459 Brits at sea. Submarines emerged as the new top-class weapon.
Submarines were heavily used during World War II as well. From 1939 to 1945, a total of 23 million tons of Allied ships sank, while only 782 U-boats went down. That’s why Leonardo da Vinci, who first sketched a design for a submarine, kept his design confidential, saying the invention could bring catastrophic results if it fell into the wrong hands.
The biggest strength of a submarine is its clandestine nature. Sonic technology is mainly used to detect submarines, but the sound is muffled under water. Also, the noise of the current, other vessels and marine creatures make it even harder to detect a presence of a submarine.
Recently, reports of a North Korean submarine near South Korea created quite a stir. While the government said it had not confirmed the presence of a submarine, a high-ranking military insider admitted that he was always wound up because of the frequent intelligence reports on the North Korean submarines’ appearances.
I am not even curious as to what Pyeongyang wanted to achieve with their stealth mission. What I wish to know is why it cannot give up old habits when such antics can only backfire on North Korea and irritate the Roh Moo-hyun administration.
by Ahn Sung-kyoo
The writer is a political news deputy editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.