Who made the best Subs in WW2
Germany gets alot of press on their subs but were they actually the best subs of the war? Please comment
Der Crew Chief
I can think of any that were better, especially the Type XXI, which was the first "real" ocean going Submarine built for long range underwater submergance. In fact the type XXI were the boats that pretty much led to the post war designs of the allies.
(tons) 1621 (sf)
Length: (m) 76,70 oa
Beam: (m) 8,00 oa
Draught: (draft) 6,32 m
Height: 11,30 m
Power: (hp) 4000 (sf)
(knots) 15,6 (sf)
(miles / knots) 15500/10 (sf)
6/0 (bow / stern tubes)
Mines: 12 TMC
Deck gun: No deck gun
Crew: 57-60 men
Max depth: ca. 280 m
sm = submerged, sf = surfaced, ph = pressure hull,
oa = overall, hp = horsepower.
Germany had the best subs, without a doubt.
The Type XXI was pretty revolutionary without a doubt, and if they'd been built and deployed in numbers sooner it would have spelled big trouble, but the best boats to see service in any numbers throughout the war belonged to the Americans. The Balo and Gato class boats were superior to the old German type VII and IX U-boats. The type VII in particular was never intended for prolonged deep ocean operations, but it was a design that was churned out by the hundreds and used to good effect for quite a while. The Japanese I-boat classes weren't too shabby either, actually.
Breaking the reply into three (because the third may be a suprise)
1) The Best Submarine of the war was without question is the German Type XXI
2) The Best submarine in service in numbers during the war were the American Fleet submarines
3) I would suggest that the best submarine at the start of the war 1939 was from from Poland. In 1939 Poland had the schnorkel and the AA guns fitted to their subs were twin 40mm Bofors. The Germans captured this technology and one of the suprises of the war is why the Germans didn't use the schnorkel earlier.
By the way for Nonskimmer one poor photo that I found in the loft. You may have seen it but its the interior of an X craft. What you see is the total space in the boat, behind you is the engine.
Apologies if you have seen it before
No matter how good the US subs were, our torpedos stunk. No other word could descibe it, other than criminal charges should have been filed against the Bureau of Ordinance for their negligence in never testing the torpedo's.
the old Sage
agreed on the KM although few in number the XXIII towards wars end were successful
Syscom. Your torpedo's did stink at the start of the war, as indeed did the Germans, but you did identify the problems and fix them by 1943 when the numbers ramped up.
Thanks for the pic of the X craft, Glider. That's the first time I've seen it.
The torpedo's had three major flaws that made them next to useless. What made matters so horrible, is the CinC of the sub force in the PTO helped develope them, and he couldnt believe or accept HIS torpedo was flawed. It wasnt untill mid 1943 that all the problems had been identified and fixed, and not untill late 1943 (a full two years at war) that the fleet finally had torpedo's that worked.
Originally Posted by Glider
I dont think the KM had that type of performance issues.
FYI, the three problems were:
1) Incorrect depth control mechanism designed for a peacetime use of a lightweight practice warhead and not the heavier wartime warhead.
2) Magnetic exploder that sometimes worked, usually didnt. When it did work, it usually prematurely exploded a couple dozen yards from the ship that was targeted. That made the skippers think they actually hit it.
3) The exploder striker was the wrong mass, in which a direct hit at a right angle to the ship meant a high gee impact, deforming the exploder mechanism before the striker could hit the explosive charge. Perversely, a risky shot at high angles, meant the exploder might actually work.
Der Crew Chief
Ill agree the Balo and Gato class were great subs. The thing that made teh Type VII so good though was not its design because as you said it was never meant for prolonged operations but rather the Wolf Pack tactics that they deployed.
Originally Posted by Nonskimmer
German Torpedo's in the first few years were very poor.
The T2 model of the G7e was in service with German U-boat fleets from the first day of WWII. In stark contrast with the G7a steam driven torpedo, the T2 left no visible stream of bubbles to alert ships they were under attack, and was virtually silent. However, these were the T2's only advantages over the G7a torpedo. The T2 in all other respects performed abysmally when compared to the G7a. Its range was much shorter than the G7a's at only 3000 m, and it ran much slower at 30 kt (55 km/h).
Poor range and speed were not the T2's only problems. Both of its exploders were terribly flawed. The magnetic influence mechanism, designed to allow the torpedo to run under the keel of a ship and detonate, breaking the ship's back, was totally inconsistent; often a T2 would detonate prematurely, or not at all. This lead the BdU to order all G7e/T2 torpedoes be fired only for contact detonation. However, the contact pistol of the T2 often did not work, either. The depth-keeping equipment of the T2 often failed as well, leading T2s to miss their targets by running too deeply under a target. Estimates of the failure rate of T2 torpedoes for one reason or another range between 20% and 40%.
However, the German Navy, after much prodding by German Sub Command (BdU), poured resources into correcting the T2's flaws. Gradually, it improved, and by the end of the Norwegian Campaign problems with the contact exploder and depth-keeping gear had been solved, as well as significant strides made in improving the magnetic proximity feature. At the same time, the T2's range was increased from 3000 m to 5000 m and eventually 7500 m. By that time, however, the T2 was already being phased out of production.
As you can see. There were some similar problems to the USA
You have to feel for the German crews. In addition to the following the Ark Royal was attacked by U39 with three torpedo's all of which exploded prematurely. U39 was sunk in the counter attack and the crew saved.
On October 30th Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Zahn of U-56 sighted in his area a truly juicy formation: the battleships Rodney, Nelson, the battle cruiser Hood and a dozen destroyers. Zahn eluded the destroyer screen and struck Nelson with a salvo of three. The impact pistol torpedoes clearly slammed against the ship's hull and…simply fell apart.
How was Italy's subs ? Did they have their own or did they use Germany's subs. How did Japan's sub perform?