Hydra’s Midget Submarine in Captain America


In this fourth and final installment in our series about futuristic and fantastic technologies in the latest Captain America film, we’ll have a look at the mini submarine a German spy uses to try to escape 1940s New York early in the movie.

Daniel Simon's rendering of the midget submarine in Captain America
Daniel Simon's rendering of the midget submarine in Captain America

The Germans practically invented the submarine and built quite a number of very small ones near the end of the war to try to stop an invasion of Europe and later to disrupt Allied supply lines.

Most similar to the craft in Captain America was the Biber (“beaver”), the smallest submarines ever operated by the Kriegsmarine. More than three hundred of them were built but they weren’t particularly successful in sinking enemy vessels. The Biber was operated by a single person and armed with two torpedoes, mounted on the sides where the propellers are on the craft in Captain America.

A similar one person boat was the Molch (“salamander”). It also carried two torpedoes and was fully electric. Like the Biber, it was a failure. Several hundreds were built but many of them sunk.

Rather more successful was the Neger (“Negro”), practically a human torpedo. The Marder, based on its design, was also fairly successful and it, too, resembled the midget sub in Captain America in that it could dive and spotted a transparent dome for the pilot to see what was outside. Its maximum diving dept was twenty-five meters.

Captain America concept artwork by Jim Carson
Captain America concept artwork by Jim Carson

Like all vehicles in the film, the submarine was designed by Daniel Simon but conceptual artwork was provided by Jim Carson. Visit his website to view more of his work for Captain America.

The sub was one of the first vehicles from the film that was spotted by the press because it was actually built. Wired has a nice video up with comment from Simon about the submarine’s design process.


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