"Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

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

Post by DerGiLLster » 26 Dec 2018 01:26

T. A. Gardner wrote:
25 Dec 2018 23:19

Not entirely true, as the USN proved in the late 40's. The GUPPY boats got batteries that used more carefully designed plates that were thinner, greater in number, and purer in quality of material going into them. That increased cell capacity (in terms of ampacity) while keeping the cell the same size. By using new materials like plastics for the shell, they reduced the weight and increased safety as well. In this way, the same size battery could put out more power or last longer.

The USN also in that program, rearranged the interior of the sub to increase efficency of the crew.

Now, the US had the advantage that their boats were larger, and somewhat more redundant, than German boats. For example, on some GUPPY mods, they removed one diesel (out of 4) reducing both surface speed (considered acceptable) and giving more room for other machinery. They simply ran the remaining diesels more and schnorkeled more to keep the batteries charged.
Getting rid of the deck guns and their magazines gave the conversions new space for more batteries. This could be done on something like a Type IX but not on an electroboat.

So, there are things the Germans could have done, even to older designs, to improve underwater performance. Imagine a Type IX that has the deck gun removed, is streamlined as best as possible, has an increased battery capacity by using the magazine and say removing the stern torpedo tubes along with those torpedoes. Maybe some additional rearrangement of things internally as well. Add some air conditioning to improve crew efficency as well. Add the better GHG sonar like the Type XXI got, and you have a pretty going moderately fast underwater sub. It can snorkel and it can outrun slow escorts and has a much better chance of evading depth charges and 18 knot escorts.

Let's assume the result is a 12 knot submerged boat for 1 hour. That's sufficent to render the Flower class obsolete. They are now entirely too slow for ASW work. That's a near paradign shift in a weapons system. That would require the Allies to make big shifts in escort procedures as well as how they attack submarines.

I'd bet that was doable by early 1943.
How would the Allies respond? Do you know any class of ships that knock out this new hypothetical U-Boat? What ships were brought out late in the war, planned post war, for potential submarine use?

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: "Bastard" Electro U-boats From Early 1943?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 26 Dec 2018 02:18

DerGiLLster wrote:
26 Dec 2018 01:26
T. A. Gardner wrote:
25 Dec 2018 23:19

How would the Allies respond? Do you know any class of ships that knock out this new hypothetical U-Boat? What ships were brought out late in the war, planned post war, for potential submarine use?
I would expect the Allies to do several things:

1. Continue production of US destroyer escorts as these could make 28 knots. The US stopped at about 500 units in late 1942 and tapered off production. They had planned for about 1000 units and could have kept cranking out more. These would replace older, slower vessels like the Flower class.

2. See the conversion of older British DD into ASW boats in larger numbers. The RN did this postwar, and could have done it during the war.

3. See the introduction of Hedgehog, Squid, Weapon Alpha, and the like more quickly and widely.

4. See improved versions of FIDO and other homing torpedoes put into service earlier

5. See directional sonobouys like the CRT-4 introduced more quickly.

6. See a reduction in depth charges as a primary weapon. I could also see a better version of the K gun introduced to throw the charges into a wider pattern.

There could also be a larger effort by the USAAF and RAF to bomb and destroy the shipyards where the subs are produced reducing the number being introduced into service. Another might be far more mining off known U-boat ports in an effort to sink them as they leave harbor.

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