Shark Tale: All about armed frogmen

by Sohail December 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Man has long conquered every possible element, adapting them to the war. Naturally, as soon as the land he went to fight in the sea, but with the advent of the fleet appeared and underwater divers. Today we decided to inspect the arsenal of fighters and submarines to understand the development of their weapons.



The first mention of combat swimmers belong to the year 480 BC. e. Herodotus described the feat Greek Skillisa, who along with his daughter, cutting their cables ships of the Persian fleet, sent 200 of them to certain death in the storm. More – more. Tightly connected with the sea military history is replete with descriptions of various feats swimmers, but one of the most technically advanced swimmers close to images of combat diver became a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1488 the great scientist created the image of “man-frog.” Actually suit submitted Leonardo, became the ancestor of all diving suits, with glass glasses, ballast and the first prototype fins – webbed gloves, because of which the development takes its name.Unfortunately or fortunately, Leonardo deliberately simplified the air, which caused failure of fresh ideas in the army.

Following the development of the Leonardo da Vinci of underwater saboteurs long forgotten, and only the beginning of the XX century this area again attracted the attention of the military.Do not know exactly what country revived this kind of troops, known only by the mid-1930s, most of the advanced countries have started successful creation of portable breathing apparatus. As we can see today, these developments have had success.

Actively developing throughout the XX century, underwater divers entered the XXI century with huge luggage development, own tactics and fight underwater with a specific weapon.That’s about it and will be discussed below.

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The primary threat to human life swimmer  
inhabitants were ravenous  
sea. There are plenty of  
cases where the commando  
operation frustrated because of  
a shark attack.

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Surprisingly, despite the huge “age” frogmen, their weapons poor. As in antiquity, the main weapon is a knife divers. It is this subject, always protect them from marine animals and their kind, very little has changed: he becomes a two and a half thousand years a little more ergonomic and more durable knife was a knife.

The same situation with harpoons. Certainly, harpoon gives more leeway under water than a knife, but even pneumatic harpoon shell develops a relatively small speed under water and has the same modest injurious effect.



Since the mid-1930s engineers, realizing cons spear and knife, tried to develop a firearm, working under water, but until the 1960s it turned out badly. Like most modern underwater saboteurs, divers early and mid-century armed with simple firearms that are used only by going to the land that was less strong, putting soldiers lives at risk.

However, the primary threat to human life swimmer were predatory marine creatures. There are many cases when the sabotage operation frustrated because of a shark attack. It is a solution to this problem and has become a top priority for engineers. Initially offered different options – one of the most viable was a chemical that either frightened animals, or kill them. But there were also failing as electroshock. For obvious reasons, all, have rejected this idea immediately.

The first to solve this problem with a simple cartridge offered Frank Liberatore, creating in 1964 his “underwater weapons.” Liberatore invention represents six installed at the end of “mortar” with a rifle cartridge. There, under the mortar, located spike, which played the role of the trigger. In a shark attack should swipe it this spike occurred resulting shot. Later, in 1987, national Liberatore engineer Harry Bumfer perfected “underwater weapons” and called him a “shark sword.” We can not say that his innovation was something supernatural. Engineer simply transferred the trigger on the other end of the pole, giving the opportunity to shoot at the enemy, not only in the face, but at a distance, though very small. The next person to have perfected “Underwater Weapon”, became an engineer Vorhes. His idea is not original, too: it just added to an existing system, a couple of extra barrels.

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“Underwater weapon” Liberatore


Alas, all these ideas are relatively good in the fight against marine predators (and then only for very short distances, so the bullet trajectory instantly changed because of the resistance of water), but what to do with enemy forces?

Of course, you can try to beat your opponent in melee, but by following a simple human logic, the enemy is better to stop on the way. To do this all over the world have taken place and the development of underwater firearm with a large distance defeat.

The main problems faced by engineers who were water resistance, density is 800 times greater than air, and hit her in the trunk, that the management of fire from automatic and semiautomatic weapons led to the accumulation of steam, which very quickly made weapons worthless. These two factors have shown the importance of developing a new type of weapon, which was to be effective and visible beneath the water and on land.

One of the first such development was the revolver American engineer R. Barr Corporation of AAI. Revolver Barr submitted in 1969, was a simple gun with a rotating firing pin and six static trunks. The main innovation was the foam cover, which gave the revolver neutral buoyancy, not allowing him or sink or float, and special ammunition. That these weapons have largely determined the further development of underwater firearms. In fact, each cartridge is a separate trunk, which was placed acicular bullet ejected wad. The same wad, after the shot, clogging the trunk liner, preventing leaving gunpowder gases, thereby unmasking swimmer.

There is a legend that the revolver was used by British combat swimmers during the conflict in the Falkland Islands, but this is just a legend, as a weapon consisted armed only with Belgian commandos.

No less interesting model revolver was presented engineer Francis Stevens. Stevens had a revolver rotating unit of six barrels .38 and fired bullets swept.


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Of course, you can 
try to defeat the enemy in close combat, but by following a simple human logic, the enemy of the best 
stop on the way.

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Drawings underwater pistol R. Barr

The very first gun developed Chandli American engineer William Lambert in 1964. “Reactive rifle with a rotating striker” in its design resembles that proposed by Barr: Block of 12 fixed-barrel cartridges and rotating striker. However, this design has a lot of disadvantages. First, the large size. It is because the developer has added a second handle. Secondly, the platoon commander tight spring. To her cock, required considerable effort. According to the authors, a large ring on the mechanism of the platoon commander was to simplify the task, but, despite this, the shooter was spending a lot of time and effort on the hammer is cocked. Third, the jet needle projectile system Lancejet. Unlike the Barra ammunition to the gun when fired Lambert let gas out, which greatly unmasked position swimmer.

Later, in 1978, Lincoln Barr (no relation to the previous Barra) constructed “underwater shopping harpoon gun.” Weapons, outwardly similar to the rifle Lambert fundamentally different in design. In this system, moving drum with 13th-trunks cartridges mounted in two rows and three striker, each in its own row, remained motionless. Self-cocking mechanism is allowed to conduct serial rifle fire from each of the series, releasing swept shells equipped with a small jet engine for solid fuels.

But the development of underwater weapons produced not only in the United States. In 1971 the GDR was designed by AJW underwater pistol BUW-2. This repeating semi-automatic trigger, firing rockets-actively with the hydrodynamic stabilization. The cartridges are placed in the four shafts, which form the disposable unit.

Firm Heckler & Koch also participated in the development of weapons for divers, presenting his pistol P11. This model is interesting not only because it was delivered to the already assembled and recharged only in special workshops, but also the fact that each of the five trunks initiated by electronic trigger system. This system is different smoothness and softness descent, but had its drawbacks.

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Rifle Lincoln Barr

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Gun H & P P11

Domestic developments

Despite described above, we have to say about the weapons until the 1990s it was considered fantastic: APS (automatic underwater special) and Quadruple pistol SPP-1. Developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union, weapons created a furore in the world only in 1990.

In the mid-1960s in the Soviet Union, as well as throughout the world, there were groups of frogmen. The Cold War and the active development of many countries in this direction for our commanders emphasized the importance of this kind of troops. In some Black Sea bays were deployed base for training of combat swimmers. One of these abandoned stations still stands between Sudak and the New World in the Crimea.

In 1968 it was given the task of designing an underwater gun, pistol or rather complex.TSNIITOCHMASH and NBC developed the 4.5 mm cartridge and a pistol, put into service in 1971 under the designation SPP-1 (special underwater pistol). It should be noted that the design of the weapon involved Elena and Vladimir Simonov. Vladimir Simonov accounted grandnephew of the famous Soviet SP designer Simonov.

To pay attention to the beginning of the cartridge. This ammo is a combination of bullets and a simple needle intermediate cartridge. Dvuhkonusnye flattened needle weighing 13.2 grams and a length of 115 mm was inserted into the sleeve intermediate cartridge with a charge of gunpowder, but with enhanced integrity. Shell due to its shape when moving under water created around an air bubble, which allows for a huge range of defeat – 17 meters. For comparison, the majority described above means self sighting range was less than ten meters.

Developed in the early 
1970s in the Soviet Union, 
weapons created a furore 
in the world already in the 1990s.

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Special underwater pistol SPP-1

It is starting from the specific ammunition, domestic design bureaus began to create the weapon. SPP-1 refers to a non-automatic pistols multilaterals. To recharge the whole unit is lowered down the barrel, and is locked to the bottom hook and latch, like simple hunting guns.Reloading a pack of four cartridges. Unlocking trunks extractor unit moves pack with spent cartridges back, facilitating overcharging: under water, this process takes about five seconds.

Self-cocking trigger mechanism provides a consistent shooting and operates from a single trigger. Each time it is pressed nipple located at the rear of the barrel is rotated by 90 degrees and in turn has all primers in a pack.

An important feature of the SPP-1M are special and spring, and sear pritoplyayuschaya facilitate descent and curved forward trigger guard. Larger bracket simplifies shooting in insulated gloves that are part of the swimmer’s equipment in the northern waters.

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“Automatic underwater special” (APS)

Another innovative development in the field of underwater weapons-APS, or “Automatic underwater special.”

Weapons designed for shooting special 5.66-millimeter cartridges IPU MPST (tracer) type 5,66 x39. Cartridge for APS was slightly longer and heavier than its “cousin”, developed for the pistol. It is curious that the trigger collected in a separate enclosure and allowing maintenance of single or continuous fire, flag is provided with an interpreter fire, part is the fuse. The unusual shape of box magazine 26 rounds associated with long cartridge and a relatively small width of the spring feeder.

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In the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts player 
armed with Soviet machine MTA.

Two secondary weapons

And finally, the latest development in the field of domestic production of underwater weapons – came five years ago to replace the APS machine amphibious ADS. New weapons and looks much more modern predecessors and significantly exceeds their specifications. In fact, on the basis of Tula gunsmiths ADS managed to create a machine that shoots equally well in two environments – on land and in water, which is much easier life frogmen who instead of two machines can take on only one task. So, if the previous version on land already at a distance of 50 meters showed very weak sighting, the ADF is capable of hitting a ground target at a distance of ten times larger.

For firing ADS after landfall just need to change the ammunition and switch mode “air / water”, after which the weapon goes to work for sushi with excessive energy shot that water used to overcome the inertia of the fluid.

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Automatic amphibious ADS

Now similar developments are carried out in many armies of the world, but officially machine, designed for shooting in two environments, adopted for use only in Russia.



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