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French Submarine from WW1 Discovered off the Coast of Tunisia

Sanskriti Airon

15th October 2020

One week ago, Tunisian divers discovered the wreck of a WW1 era French submersible off the north-eastern coast, near a place called Cap Bon. The submarine was later identified as ‘The Ariane’. A French Navy vessel that served in the First World War and was sunk by German U-Boats in 1917. As far as the records show, only 8 of its original 29 man crew survived the event.

The Ariane and its crew off the coast of France (Source: The Middle East Monitor)

The divers in question who made this discovery were managers of a local diving club and were hunting for new diving spots with their students. According to a statement on The Hindu, the diving director of the Ras Adar club, Selim Baccar said, “We knew they were wrecks, but we didn’t know what we were going to find. We came across the submarine on the first dive”.

Analysis of the wreck yielded some information about the craft. Algae and other miscellaneous marine life covered the almost entirely intact ruin. A historical examination by experts led to the deduction that it was ‘The Ariane’- based in Bizerte, a French port at the time. In a report from The Hindu, Baccar explained that The Ariane is the third sub-nautical wreck found off the Tunisian coast and the only one to date from WW1.

Historians have also been able to surmise the precise conditions under which sank The Ariane. As submarine technology was not very advanced in the 1910s, the crafts could only stay underwater for a few hours. Reportedly, the conditions on board such vessels were highly congested, increasing the likelihood of a crew surfacing. The Ariane made such a surfacing stop, during which a German U-Boat was able to launch a torpedo into its hull, causing catastrophic damage. As mentioned before, only 8 of the 29 men survived. The discovery of The Ariane has been a welcomed respite into history and an engaging story for many.

News Sources: The Hindu, France 24, The Middle East Monitor

Edited by: Aayush Lahoti

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