"Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

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LWD
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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by LWD » 11 Sep 2009 12:11

I believe at least primitive MAD devices were used in WWII. They should have been able to pick up these boats. It's also not clear when/if the problem with the batteries would have been noticed.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Lars » 11 Sep 2009 16:38

Airborne magnetic anomaly detection gear coupled with sonobuoys and homing torpedos would be the answer. The combination wasn´t ready in any satisfactory combination before 1945. Too late for the 1942-1943 period even if development is speed up.

And what do mean with battery problems?

http://uboat.net/allies/technical/mad.htm

http://uboat.net/allies/technical/sonobuoys.htm

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by LWD » 11 Sep 2009 18:40

Lars wrote:....And what do mean with battery problems? ....
The US lost one of their U-boats that they were testing post war due to an explosion caused by the batteries. This was apparently endemic to the design. Since they were in shallow friendly water most of the US crew was rescued and the cause of the explosion analyzed. German U-boats operating in a war time environment would probably not be so lucky.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Mark V » 11 Sep 2009 22:16

red devil wrote:This is assuming that Britain's scientists didn't come up with something that would detect these 'new' boats. It is entirely possible that threat = solution.
Hi,

There is no need guessing.

Soviet Navy XXI-clone threath, and USN/RN measures to counter it in late-40s/50s are in practise the same. They attacked the problem with vigor, even before it materialized. After all, it was ONLY reason for USA and Britain to maintain their fleets after WW2. Their luck was that Soviets did decide to play the game.

Brit scientists did not find magic wand to counter Soviet fast boats, so how they would had fared any better against similar Kriegsmarine boats ? Problem was (mostly) solved with technical advancement in all aspects of ASW, not any single invention.

-

BTW. Problem finding those convoys is forgotten in this discussion. Because poor aerial recce U-boats did have to rely their own eyes. Going snorting will cut dramatically possibilities finding convoys, unless it is countered with good passive sonar system, and boat periodically slows to listen. Type XXi boats did have good sonar, but what about improved VII ?

Regards

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Lars » 12 Sep 2009 10:38

LWD,

Aren´t you talking about the Walter design?

The batteries of the improved VIIC would be like in the old VIIC just more of them.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by red devil » 12 Sep 2009 11:55

http://uboat.net/technical/batteries.htm

IX/XXI type battery

Battery types 1935 - 1945 produced by the AFA
Type I
124 cells 36 MAK 740 (9260 Ah) Types II A-D
62 cells 36 MAK 580 (7160 Ah)
62 cells 44 MAL 570 (8380 Ah)
Types VII A-F
124 cells 27 MAK 740 (6940 Ah)
124 cells 27 MAK 800 (8480 Ah)
124 cells 33 MAL 800 (9160 Ah) Type IX - C
124 cells 36 MAK 740 (5650 Ah)
124 cells 44 MAL 740 (11300 Ah)
Type IX D
248 cells 44 MAL 740 (22600 Ah) Type XB
248 cells 33 MAL 800 (18220 Ah)
Type XIV Milchkühe
124 cells 28 MAL 1000 (12000 Ah) Walter - U-boat V 80
62 cells 26 MAL 570 (3240 Ah)
Walter - Types 201 - 202
62 cells 17 MAL 570 (2450 Ah) Walter - Type XVII
62 cells 26 MAL 570 (3240 Ah)
Type XXI Electric Boats
372 cells 44 MAL 740 (33900 Ah) Type XXIII Electric Boats
62 cells 2x21 MAL 740 (5400 Ah)

www.uboat.net

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 30 Sep 2009 04:42

I think I would go the streamlining route myself.

Another possibility here is that the KM pays more attention to electronic warfare as well. Here on a VII or IX they lengthen the conning tower to accomidate at least two additional telescoping masts in addition to periscopes. One mast is equipped with a search radar. This gives the boat, surfaced or submerged, a degree of detection ability it previously lacks. By putting the radar (say a Hohentwiel type unit as it is fairly compact) that is capable of general surface and low altitude air search on an extendable mast they could have had a considerable advantage in detection allowing boats to escape air attack more frequently. The second mast is for an improved ESM suite that allows detection of Allied radar and radio surfaced or submerged. By mounting these where they can be used submerged greatly enhances the sub's ability to detect targets and evade attacks not only while surfaced but while submerged. It would make snorkeling safer too.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Lars » 30 Sep 2009 13:00

T. A. Gardner wrote:I think I would go the streamlining route myself.
By this you mean to uprgrade VIIs and IXs instead of building the all new XXIs, I suppose?

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 30 Sep 2009 19:08

Lars wrote:
T. A. Gardner wrote:I think I would go the streamlining route myself.
By this you mean to uprgrade VIIs and IXs instead of building the all new XXIs, I suppose?
Yes. Sort of a GUPPY upgrade to them. Lose the deck gun and AA armament. Streamline the hull to minimize underwater resistance. Repaint the boats to make them less observable from the air when submerged at shallow depths. Get rid of the top hamper and much of the deck casing as practical.
The intent here is not so much to raise the top underwater speed which really isn't going to change much but, to increase underwater endurance at a given speed.

When you couple this with an improved active and passive sensor system the boat becomes more useful in detecting and attacking targets as well as evading attacks in return. Its clear that fighting it out on the surface was a losing proposition. It is also clear from the historical record that half-a$$ed measures like the original Naxos ESM set wasn't going to cut the mustard either. The KM only half-heartedly tried radar on boats and then did so in a very haphazard way. They mounted the antennas low to the waterline, used incorrect antenna polarization (this increased noise and sea returns), and simply didn't try and figure out how to make radar a useful tool for the u-boat.
By contrast, the USN in the Pacific gave their boats mast mounted surface and air search radar and ESM. They went to the trouble of training boat captains and crews in the use of this equipment to where they had confidence in it. For example, when first fitted with radar many captains were reluctant to use it as it seemed to show many more aerial targets than they had previously encountered using visual detection. The Navy showed how this increase was simply consistant with the greater detection range of the radar and then how the radar gave boats more time to evade aerial detection or attack. This resulted in boat captains becoming believers in the equipment and putting it to good use.
Look at how U-boat captains thought Naxos and other electronics were causing them to be detected erronously. The KM did little or nothing to disuade them of this belief. Not helping this was the crude and clumsy nature of the equipment itself. The infamous "Biscay Cross" antenna looked amateurish and crude (a couple of pieces of wood with a wire loop on it). Hence, captains didn't believe in it, didn't want to use it, and became suspecious of other electronics as well.
This is poor human engineering. Had U-boats been given properly designed equipment and their captains and crews trained in its use it would have made a huge difference for them. But, the KM was hide bound and myopic to the possibilities electronics offered.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Tim Smith » 01 Oct 2009 14:42

Dönitz wasn't very technically minded.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Mark V » 03 Oct 2009 18:23

Tim Smith wrote:Dönitz wasn't very technically minded.
Indeed. He was great mind in developing the tactics of U-boatwaffe, and correctly targeted enemy shipping where-ever it was easiest to sink. He did properly understood that it is one, single pool of resource.

Taking grips with technological advancement was not his best areas.

There is discussion in this thread about faster underwater speed for U-boats. Well, that would had been usefull, but secured radio communications, and burst sending radio transmitters (ability to receive burst transmissions is not required) would had been much, much more usefull than any advancement of submarine underwater speed performance in 1943. It was breach of their communications that allowed majority of convoys bypass wolfpacks, and u-boat radio reports of contacts immediately resulting transmitting U-boat being attacked by escorts, and attack inhibiting presence of patrol aircraft, that drove Germans out of North Atlantic in May 1943.

End result would had been the same. U-boats were defeated BEFORE British Frigate and US DE, and CVE programs got them to sea at BIG numbers. There was also no lack of Liberator patrol ac in 1944/45, as there were in 1943.

If above problems would had checked by Germans, it would had at best made NW Europe invasion build up impossible for 1944, end result: Russian soldiers ordering latte by gunpoint in Parisian cafes in 1946, and maybe there still today :-)

200 or so operational type XXI or advanced variants of VII/IX would had been another matter, but Germans clearly lacked resources to field them in sufffient numbers (IIRC two type XXI eventually got to war patrol), and by 1944 they had also lost almost all of the highly experienced crews, irreplaceable experience lost for ever. Those that did go to sea could not replace the losses as submariners that did go to sea DIED in patrol or two during that time.

--

If Germans would had established an clandestine program concentrating to U-boats, instead surface fleet prototype vessels like their Washington Treaty cruiser copies, committing 100% for immediete war threath around late 1938, they may had had around 75 operational *** boats in summer-40, 125 or so by mid-1941, and 160 in early 1942...

...well that may had tipped the balance, just barely...... causing serious food shortage and loss of strategic imports in Britain, maybe forcing British to negotiation table.

After turn of 42/43 it was of no use, as US shipbuilding could counter any losses.



*** boats of training flotillas, and boats in sea trials/training for first deployment are excluded

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Lars » 05 Oct 2009 17:52

I was surprised o find out that only in mid-1942 did the u-bootwaffe conduct systematic trails to find out why depth charges sometimes caused u-boats to emergency surface due to battery leaks, system failures, etc. even if their hull wasn´t breached.

Three years into the war. Now there was incompetence if there ever was one.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Mark V » 07 Oct 2009 19:49

Lars wrote:I was surprised o find out that only in mid-1942 did the u-bootwaffe conduct systematic trails to find out why depth charges sometimes caused u-boats to emergency surface due to battery leaks, system failures, etc. even if their hull wasn´t breached.

Three years into the war. Now there was incompetence if there ever was one.
In great many cases the depth charge effects were indeed cumulative. Boat may first evade attack with fresh batteries, but if escort vessels ASDIC operators were good and connection re-established, the persistant attacks had good chance to cause more and more damage, same time as U-boats dwingling electricity reservoirs made it more and more suspectible for attacks.

But i fail to understand how studies would had improved situation much. By 1942 Germans were well aware that submerged endurance and speed were good medicine to avoiding to be attacked at first place, and greatly enhanced possibilities of breaking contact (and made search area after initial contact MUCH larger, and thus more difficult to effectively covered).

About their boats. They were the most robust submarines there were during WW2. Maybe some auxiliary equipment had room for improvement, but other than that they were great. Germans used safety factor of 2 building them, when everybody else was in neighbourhood of 1.3-1.5, and same time their test depth was on average deeper than Allied subs. That means much better depth capability. For average mass produced German VII 150-160 metres was nothing, for any other navies boats that was impossible or very near it. Germans had done between wars extensive studies of pressure vessels design, and were way ahead anyone else, and they did not save steel either. It is better engineering to have pressure vessel coping more than other equipment, as it still leaves many times chance of emergency surfacing when other equipment is failing to level where mission is killed. To have it other way means lot of unexplained losses with all hands.


Regards



BTW. USN did also tests of submarines durability, on ASW side of playfield. They designed new very heavy depth charges. Also Brits deployed very heavy torpedo tube deployed depth charges. In the end better and more effective solution was to increase the sink rate of depth charges - by weighting, streamlining or both, keeping the "standard" weight for ease of handling, and dropping LOTS of them. Rarely rewarded, the Italian Navy taught some serious ASW lessons to RN in Med.

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Lars » 10 Oct 2009 14:33

Mark V,

By February 1942, the Germans still believed that the depth charges was the greatest threat to the u-boats when it was in fact becoming the accumulated effects of the Ultra decodings, radar, air power, and HF-DF. The result of the German February 1942 analysis was a developmental dead end, the VIIC/41 with its greater diving depth. This was rather moot as it was much easier to develop faster sinking depth charges than further diving u-boats.

Mid-1942 was certainly too late for depth charge attacks to be systematically adressed by the Germans. Almost all of the resulting changes went into the XXI and the XXIII boats: Rubber and synthetic Buna-rubber coatings on batteries and critical instruments and pipes, etc. Almost nothing was changed on the VIIICs. But what-if the U-bootwaffe had adressed these problems in, say, mid-1939 and made the VIICs safer from depth charges?

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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by Mark V » 10 Oct 2009 16:42

Lars wrote:Mark V,

By February 1942, the Germans still believed that the depth charges was the greatest threat to the u-boats when it was in fact becoming the accumulated effects of the Ultra decodings, radar, air power, and HF-DF. The result of the German February 1942 analysis was a developmental dead end, the VIIC/41 with its greater diving depth. This was rather moot as it was much easier to develop faster sinking depth charges than further diving u-boats.

Mid-1942 was certainly too late for depth charge attacks to be systematically adressed by the Germans. Almost all of the resulting changes went into the XXI and the XXIII boats: Rubber and synthetic Buna-rubber coatings on batteries and critical instruments and pipes, etc. Almost nothing was changed on the VIIICs. But what-if the U-bootwaffe had adressed these problems in, say, mid-1939 and made the VIICs safer from depth charges?
I agree fully that communications security would had been the easiest way to improve U-boatwaffe performance, like i wrote couple post a go.

In the end, as significant as radar was, its menace blinded Germans from grave deficiency of their radio procedures. Just blocking Ultra and shipborne HF/DF would had got U-boatwaffe going strong for several months longer in north-Atlantic, maybe even half year, with no other advancements in technology. It may had cost Allies the Normandy invasion during summer-44, and cost pennies for Germans. From latter part of -43 other measures are needed, as long range patrol ac, CVEs, and DEs become more and more abundant.

Deep diving was surely good defensive method, as it was very late in war till Allied got sonar equipment with any reliable depth measuring ability. Increasing the depth ability from, say around 100 metres that was about average on other navies submarines, to around 200 metres increased hugely the possible locations of submerged boat under attack - and gave them ability to go under convection layer (if present) in most of operating areas. Increased depth ability was good survival measure, but did not a bit increase offensive capability of boats.

Rewgards

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