WWII Submarines

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Bigxiko, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Bigxiko

    Bigxiko Member

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    I've always heard and read about the German U-Boats
    but i've only read few refferences to the allies submarines
    i believe that they had them, right?
    could anyone provide any information, please?
    I would like to know more about them


    PS: sorry if this theme was already been discussed
     
  2. magnocain

    magnocain Member

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    Yes the allies had subs! The American subs choked the Japanese shipping in the PTO. You just never hear about them, like how the Bismarck is still more famous ,then say, the USS Wisconsin.
     
  3. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    A good book on the USA in the Pacific is a old book Silent Victory BY Clay Blair.JR.
     
  4. Haztoys

    Haztoys Member

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    The Japanese had lots of sub's...They may have had more then any country.. They just did not use them in the best way.. I would say the Pacific war would of been different ..Not the out come ..If the Japanese had used there sub's right...I wonder why they did not use there sub's in the way the Germans did ...
     
  5. Bigxiko

    Bigxiko Member

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    probably because they didn't believed it could be a real threat and so didn't used them
     
  6. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Yes, it probably has already been discussed, but I am the wrong person to tell you where it is; however, I can give you a reasonably good reference for the history of US fleet subs. There is an old US WWII sub not too far from where I live that is available for tours and overnighters (my Boy Scout troop is planning on doing the overnighter thing sometime this year). Go here for more info:

    Maritime Park Association - USS Pampanito Home Page
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    The Japanese used their subs, initially anyway, as adjuncts of the Battle Fleet. They scouted and were supposed to wear down the opposing Fleet. At least that was the theory behind the Japanese battle plan. The US used this idea as well but they also used their subs as commerce raiders.

    Later in the war, with better torpedoes, the US did a lot better with both rolls although the commerce raider had the best results.

    Japan stayed with the fleet adjunct assignment except in those places where they were used as contact to cut off bases.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There is a new book out on the Japanese Submarines jointly written by a Japanese and American Naval Historians "The Japanese Submarine Force and WWII" Carl Boyd Akihiko Yoshida, Bluejacket Books, 1995 -2002 (reprint)
    It dispels nearly all the myths and legends around the submarine force.

    The Japanese sub force was wedded very closely to the fact that the Japanese wanted the decisive naval battle fought in the central pacific, and were keenly aware of two things in their prewar planning. Firstly, the naval treaties condemned them to an immediate numerical inferiority in Battleship numbers, which they needed to redress by the use of their light forces, aircraft and submarines to attrition away, as the US forces advanced across the pacific for the decisive Jutland style battle in the Marshalls or the Marianas (the Japanese were right to assume this in their planning, because this was precisely what the Americans intended to do before PH came along). The second was that Japan in a prolonged war against the Americans could not hope to win. The war had to be short, and the naval victory sudden, to shock the Americans to negotiate peace.

    Against this background, the Japanese submarine was perfectly designed. The US battleship force had a fleet speed of under 20 knots. So the Japanese designed their big subs to cruise at 24 knots on the surface, and to have very long legs. They also provided aircraft to many of their designs. These features would have allowed the Japanese subs to track the progress of the battle fleet, move ahead of the fleet, and then set elaborate and deadly ambushes for it, as often as torpedoes remained in the magazines.

    That was the theory, but two things upset the plan,and the Japanese were very slow to realize it. The first, was Pearl Harbour, which effectively removed the slow moving battle force from the equation. Henceforward, the US was forced to rely on its fast carriers, and its light forces for the prosecution of its war. The carriers possessed two things that made them hard targets, speed (a fleet speed of 30 knots), and aircraft, which allowed the positions of the Japan subs to be often spotted in advance, and avoided.

    Later, as the Americans brought into commission new battleships, these were also able to operate at speeds that the Japanese subs were unable to counter. One other factor began to be apparent from the middle of 1943 on wards, was the increasing allied proficiency in ASW warfare. At the beginning of the war, US ASW effectiveness was terrible, but later, as they learned new techniques (taught to them by the British), the weaknesses if the Japanese sub force really started to come to the fore. The weaknesses were both technological and doctrinal. The technological weaknesses were basically the large size (easy to spot on the surface), and slow diving times (longer to seek safety by diving). The doctrinal problems were the forced usage of the subs as transports for the army (a staggeringly large number of subs were lost on these missions, in which ULTRA allowed the allies frequent opportunities to set ambushes), as well as the continued use of the subs to support fleet operations despite its proven failure (this meant the Japanese were often attacking heavily guarded military TFs).

    On those occasions where Japanese subs were used on merchant shipping duties, they were effective. They managed to sink, or capture (the ship would be damaged, return to port, and then be captured by the advancing Japanese....this happened very frequently in the Far East, where an estimated 300000 tons affected by sub damage was captured, and re-used by the Japanese). A very large percentage of merchantmen listed as damaged by allied sources, were actually never returned to service after hits by Japanese subs. IN the NEI, off the coast of Australia, and in the Indian Ocean, the Japanese subs proved to be very effective at mercantile warfare. But the commitment to total employment to attacking merchantmen was never there, there was no Donitz in the Japanese submarine arm to force the correct use of the force in its entirety.
     
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  9. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    Pick up a book named "Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II by Eugene B. Fluckey"

    I read this book several years ago and it was very interesting. Pretty much covered one US Gato Class Fleet Submarines operations in the PTO, but was pretty indicative of all US Sub. operations in World War II.
    Goes into some detail of the USS Barb actually landing men on the Japanese mainland which was quite interesting when I read it, but it's been a few years and I do not recall what they actually did. Something like a commando mission.
     
  10. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    The Royal Navy had around 90 submarines at the beginning of WW2 with 9 under construction in total 270 were deployed and 80 lost.

    This site should help with the RN side of things

    *British Submarines of World War Two - A History
     
  11. Bigxiko

    Bigxiko Member

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    Thanks guys,
    thank you for the information and the links
     
  12. starling

    starling Member

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    yes,never forget the royal navies subs in the shallow med,those boats xploits can or should never be underestimated.starling.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    If memory serves the IJN had about 63 subs at the time of PH. That does not include midget types. According to Janes, 1945, they lost about 125 subs during the war which was almost all. Their resources as far as new construction were limited so the IJN never had the numbers of subs the US or Germany had.
     
  14. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Pretty good post, short, too the point and effective. Good job Parsifal.
     
  15. richardlol

    richardlol New Member

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    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the greatest naval war of all time. The attack was brilliantly timed and executed, but fatally flawed. Many say that failing to catch the U.S. carriers in port was the biggest error. Possibly so. In any case, the carriers weren’t there to be attacked.

    The U.S. Pacific ww2 submarine force was there however, and it was totally ignored. Hundreds of Japanese torpedo-plane pilots flew right over—and sometimes next to—the submarine base and it’s munitions dump on neighboring Kuaha. In doing so, they missed a golden opportunity to destroy the one arm of the U.S. Navy capable of attacking the weakest link in the Empire’s chain: shipping.

    Japan was an overpopulated island nation totally dependent on imports for everything from rice to oil. The large surface ships either damaged or destroyed at Pearl Harbor were impressive and powerful, but it would have been many months, or even years, before the ships could operate deep into Japanese controlled areas of the Pacific. However on the afternoon of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, the order was given: Execute unrestricted air and submarine warfare against Japan. The subs, with their supplies and harbor facilities spared in the attack, were the only forces capable of responding immediately, and respond they did—slowly at first, but with gathering speed.

    WW2 Submarine War Patrols - From the Captain's logs
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The shear incompetency of the US sub forces in the first 18 months of the war is amazing. The Japanese didn't need to touch a thing at Pearl because the sub forces were already neutered.
     
  17. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I don't know if I would go so far as to call it "sheer incompetency"...we were still learning how to fight this war, we didn't have our wartime industry geared up yet, and our torpedo technology was...well....embarrassing. There were alot of good, and several excellent sub commanders, with great crews, who would fire a perfect salvo, only to watch the torpedos bounce off the hull of their targets. Which then made our subs sitting ducks. It'd be like sending the Army up against Rommel on the Atlantic Wall, armed with blanks.

    Bucksnort: read that book, but couldn't remember the title! Thanks for refreshing my memory on that! The mission where they landed the "commando" troops on the island was to plant a mine underneath a railroad rail. They managed to do that without setting off the mine (not bad for a bunch of submariners!), and got an ammo train as a reward. They were still fairly close to the island, on the surface, when the train came along and set off the booby trap, which lit up quite a large area. They got away unscathed, though, without a shot being fired in their direction, because (they found out after the war) the Japanese thought it was an air attack due to the size of the explosion (the mine went off directly underneath an ammo car, IIRC), and directed their attention upwards, instead of out into the harbor.

    :occasion5:
     
  18. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    The british T-class subs are worth to be mentioned, too.
    They performed well in the METO and are excessively armed with torpedo-tubes. Rather a kind of submarine-destroyer. They are technically impressive designs with a good 42 days patrol endurance and large battery capacity for 48 hours at silent submerged running (2.5 Kts).
    All together 16 boats out of 52 production boats were lost, 13 of them in the Mediterranean.

    My Sources are
    "Allied Submarines of World War Two", Poolman, Kenneth, 1990
    "Allied Submarines", Watts, Anthony J., 1977
    "Allied Submarine Attacks of World War Two", Rohwer, Jürgen, 1997
    "Submarine Command - A Pictorial History", Reginald Longstaff, 2002 (2nd ed.)
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Rabid, as events proved:

    1) the US Sub doctrine was faulty

    2) The skippers were for the most part overly cautious and mediocre

    3) The admirals and their staff were horrible at their jobs.
     
  20. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Granted, Sys. Personally, though, when I hear "sheer incompetency", I get the image of everybody involved being total and complete idiots....captains, crew, and HQ. Most of the military was still in 'tween-war mentality, or run by those who had fought during the First World War, and unable/unwilling to adapt tactics and strategies to the evolving machinery of warfare. There were, however, brilliant nuggets amongst the dross. So, I'll agree completely with your last post....I just had issues with the wording of the other one. :occasion5: Semantics.
     
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