The snorkel has become
a standard fixture of all diesel-electric submarines. Developed in its
modern form by Germany in World War II, it was widely adopted and improved
after the war. Basically, the snorkel connects a submerged submarine's
diesels to the atmosphere through a pair of tubes, one for air intake,
one for exhaust. A key feature is the head-valve on top of the air-intake
mast that prevents water from entering. Before the snorkel, submarines
had to surface to run their air-breathing diesel engines, but snorkel-equipped
submarines can remain submerged, with only the tip of a mast exposed above
the water for the required air.
Click image for larger version of diagram.
Copyright © 2000, The National Museum of American History