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Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:54 pm

American, British, German or Japanese


Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?
Last edited by SQ22 on Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title was misleading
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Re: Not aviation but military

Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:06 pm

I would say the Axis powers had more interesting sub technology and capabilities overall. German and US tactics were much more effective than anyone else’s - the Japanese navy was so disorganized on the sub front that they were launching planes off them and US sub hunting techniques ate up their fleet.
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Re: Not aviation but military

Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:14 pm

The Germans got the most press because of the Battle of the Atlantic. Yet, the USN subs strangled Japan's industrial capacity to a much greater degree than the U-boats did Britain's. The British and Japanese subs don't really enter into the equation when you consider results.
 
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Re: Not aviation but military

Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:34 pm

Once they got their torpedoes working, American submarines in the Pacific were devastating.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:02 pm

Bit of a silly question without setting some parameters.

Are you talking at the start of the war or the end? If you want to talk start, what start do you want? 1937 when Japan invaded China? 1939 when Germany invaded Poland? 1940 when German invaded western Europe?

If you want to talk end of the war, the german type XXI was very advanced. Nonetheless, it was hardly a threat considering the aerial and naval superiority the allies could throw against it. Still, the last one was only retired in 1984 (albeit by that time it was a research vessel). The XXI also formed the bases for the Soviet types Zulu, Whiskey and Romeo.

For the start of the war it's more interesting. I'll throw in some good old fashion patriotism and nominate the Dutch submarines O-19 and O-20. These where the first submarines with a snorkel. After the Germans invaded the Netherlands they got their hands on the technology. They quickly adopted and perfected it for their U-boats. Curiously, the Dutch boats that were able to escape to England where instructed by the English admiralty to remove the snorkels!
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:34 pm

These subs from the Japanese were ahead of its time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-400-class_submarine
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:06 pm

I read a great reference on this years ago that compared these plus the Italians. I think the author was Paddyfield or something like that? The book is in a box upstairs but it's too darn hot to go rooting through the attic today.

My recollection from this book and others:

German: Positives: Best of breed optics, great reliability. Negatives: Relatively poor range, relatively poor crew accommodations, poor torpedoes early in the war (but not as bad as the US, LOL!)

British: Positives: None that I remember, LOL. Negatives: Relatively poor reliability especially in tropical climates, not produced in large numbers.

Japanese: Positive: Best of breed torpedoes, strong optics. Negatives: Not made in large enough numbers.

Italian: Nothing that I can remember, LOL.

US: Positives: Great range, great command/control facilities (especially radar later in the war thanks to those British microwave electronics), relatively strong crew accommodations, built in huge numbers. Negatives: Poor torpedoes early in the war.

The poor US torpedo situation is legendary. The German one is less well documented but the Germans had their own torpedo crisis ( ref: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern. ... ontext=etd ).

Yes, crew accommodations matter. No point in showing up to the battle tired and hungry.

Yes, manufacturing matters. The Germans designed wonderful kit, but it was so precise they could not build them in large enough numbers, just like their tanks.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:54 pm

889091 wrote:
These subs from the Japanese were ahead of its time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-400-class_submarine

Only in size, and as we all know, size isn't everything...
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:37 pm

And a bit of google dug up the book I was referring to:

"War Beneath The Sea", by Peter Padfield ( Amazon link )

I remember getting the hardcover when it came out which was 1995. I guess my memory isn't too bad if I can recall something I read 25 years ago. Yet looking at the table of contents I'm not sure if it is structured as I thought. The first chapter is all about the men and the machines, and the rest is about the campaigns. It was a good read, but quite long ( 635 pages! ). The first chapter probably has the structure I recall.

If anyone has good book references, please share!

The hint that shook up my memory came from this list of 50 non fiction submarine books from Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/426 ... tion_Books

Turns out I've read 10 of them so 20%. A few look interesting to me. I usually prefer the first-person accounts and there are several of them listed here and at least one I have not read.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:58 am

Did revelation get his ideas on RN submarines ops from the writers of 'U571?'
A more considered look;
https://uboat.net/allies/ships/rn_subs.htm

Unlike the U-Boats, there were no long supply lines bound for Germany to interdict, no large convoys to go after. Not much in the way of major enemy fleets in the Atlantic either. Certainly not the target rich environment the USN had with Japan, aided by both Japan not really being into convoys and the poor ASW of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Not that it was easy for the USN submariners, a huge area of operations which is easy to forget about in the pre nuclear and even mostly pre snorkel age.

However in the Med, the subs along with the air and surface naval assets played havoc with Italian and then German supply lines, the latter being a significant factor in defeating the Axis in North Africa.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10th_Submarine_Flotilla

The RN could not really go all out in the Pacific until late in the war, once the need for them and other major naval assets in the European area of operations was much reduced.
From wiki'
The British submarine force in the Far East was greatly expanded from August 1943 onward. The British Eastern Fleet was responsible for submarine operations in the Bay of Bengal, Strait of Malacca as far as Singapore, and the western coast of Sumatra to the Equator. Few large Japanese cargo ships operated in this area, and the British submarines' main targets were small craft operating in inshore waters.[45] The submarines were deployed to conduct reconnaissance, interdict Japanese supplies travelling to Burma, and attack U-boats operating from Penang. The Eastern Fleet's submarine force continued to expand during 1944, and by October 1944 had sunk a cruiser, three submarines, six small naval vessels, 40,000 long tons (41,000 t) of merchant ships, and nearly 100 small vessels.[46]

The British submarine force expanded its areas of operation in the last months of the war. In late 1944, the 8th Flotilla—with 11 British and Dutch submarines—was transferred to Fremantle and operated in the Java Sea and surrounding areas under the command of the U.S 7th Fleet. The 4th Flotilla and the newly formed 2nd Flotilla remained at Ceylon.

By March 1945, British boats had gained control of the Strait of Malacca, preventing any supplies from reaching the Japanese forces in Burma by sea. By this time, there were few large Japanese ships in the region, and the submarines mainly operated against small ships which they attacked with their deck guns.

In April the 8th Flotilla moved to Subic Bay in the Philippines and the 4th Flotilla replaced it at Fremantle. At this time, there were 38 British and Dutch submarines in the theater, and an additional five boats on their way from Europe. The submarine HMS Trenchant torpedoed and sank the heavy cruiser Ashigara in the Bangka Strait, taking down some 1,200 Japanese army troops.

Three British submarines were sunk by the Japanese during the war: HMS Stratagem, HMS Porpoise, and HMS Stonehenge (which was mined).[47]


There wasn't a whole lot left to go after by the time the RN BPF force was established, courtesy of the USN.
However, as in other campaigns, the RN sub force did a lot of what would now be called 'SF support'.
The RN subs of WW2 were not written out of history, rather they were overshadowed. It wasn't until 1972 when they actually had an insignia, the Dolphins badge, this after carrying the strategic nuclear deterrent for 3 years by then!

Like most, the best designs came near the end, in the RN's case it was the A Class, post war after modernization they served until the start of the 70's. One of them played the role of a US nuclear sub in the film 'On The Beach'.
In the late 50's/early 60's some even went on exercise and patrol in the Arctic, under the ice, a risky proposition for a conventionally powered sub. And not one done after SSN's were available.
Not bad for a navy who were not much to write home about with subs, (LOL).
Last edited by GDB on Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:23 am

Revelation wrote:
German: Positives: Best of breed optics, great reliability. Negatives: Relatively poor range, relatively poor crew accommodations, poor torpedoes early in the war (but not as bad as the US, LOL!)


Poor range? They operated all over the Atlantic, some even in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Even the Italians sent some of theirs to join the German Monsun Gruppe based in Penang, Malaysia.

AFAIK, Italian submarines get less credit that they should because they didn't meticulously document and register all details about their missions like the Germans, British and Americans did. There were many ships sunk in the Mediterranean and Atlantic by unknown submarines, which often means an Italian submarine that never bothered to note down that they sunk something, so the kill can't be traced to anything.



Revelation wrote:
Yes, manufacturing matters. The Germans designed wonderful kit, but it was so precise they could not build them in large enough numbers, just like their tanks.


The Germans built more submarines than any other nation during WWII, around 1200, including 118 of the highly advanced Type XXI. The US only built some 280 submarines of their WW2 designs, and had a handful of antique WW1 era boats on the side.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:16 pm

I have give some points to the US for being able to sink a train with a sub - https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil ... -uss-barb/
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:56 pm

T18 wrote:
I have give some points to the US for being able to sink a train with a sub - https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil ... -uss-barb/


If setting saboteurs ashore to blow up railway lines and trains counts, the British will be way ahead of the Americans. Lots of cases of that happening in occupied Europe.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:40 pm

VSMUT wrote:
T18 wrote:
I have give some points to the US for being able to sink a train with a sub - https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil ... -uss-barb/


If setting saboteurs ashore to blow up railway lines and trains counts, the British will be way ahead of the Americans. Lots of cases of that happening in occupied Europe.


Fair enough but did the Royal Navy ever credit the sub ;) :lol:
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:08 pm

T18 wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
T18 wrote:
I have give some points to the US for being able to sink a train with a sub - https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil ... -uss-barb/


If setting saboteurs ashore to blow up railway lines and trains counts, the British will be way ahead of the Americans. Lots of cases of that happening in occupied Europe.


Fair enough but did the Royal Navy ever credit the sub ;) :lol:


The USS Barb had a remarkable career, on the RN side, to this day they won't name any sub supporting SF operations.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:07 pm

The german subs was probebly superior.

Many navies had copies of last german models in service until 80s like russian whiskey class. The most infamous one hit a rock in karlskrona 1981 close to start full fighting between swedish and russian forces when sweden started its attack preparations to force out the russian navy from swedish waters and swedish govetnment told the russian that no russian naval forces will enter swedish waters alive.

What failed germany naval forces was enigma and their trust in it. 1943 when enigma improved, the subs ruled the osean and when uk broke the crypto they failed.

What really should be discussed here is dofferent countries posibility of signal listening and code breaking.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:45 pm

olle wrote:
The german subs was probebly superior.

Many navies had copies of last german models in service until 80s like russian whiskey class. The most infamous one hit a rock in karlskrona 1981 close to start full fighting between swedish and russian forces when sweden started its attack preparations to force out the russian navy from swedish waters and swedish govetnment told the russian that no russian naval forces will enter swedish waters alive.

What failed germany naval forces was enigma and their trust in it. 1943 when enigma improved, the subs ruled the osean and when uk broke the crypto they failed.

What really should be discussed here is dofferent countries posibility of signal listening and code breaking.


To be fair though, US submarines also had long careers. The Balao-class submarine USS Catfish was began her career in 1944. Extensively modernized in the late 40s, in 1971 she was transferred to Argentina as the ARA Santa Fe, ending her career when she was disabled and captured by Royal Navy helicopters in South Georgia in the Falklands war in 1982 and scuttled in deep waters in 1985.

Taiwan takes it even further. The Tench-class USS Cutlass (1944) and the Balao-class USS Tusk (1943) are still in service! In 2017 it was reported that they would be modernized to see service until 2026, making them 82 and 83 years old.

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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:38 pm

I did some googling and came up with https://uboat.net/forums/read.php?20,59236,59248

    You have asked a very interesting, complex, and controversial question. It is not a easy one to answer, nor are there definitive answers. I'll confine myself to the German and US boats, the ones I know best.

    Comparing the US Gato fleet boats to the German VIIC compares the types that did the bulk of the fighting for the two navies. (Though the German type IXD2 is more comparable to the Gato in size - that doesn't change much the conclusions of my post).

    First, let's compare the boats general surface characteristics. The Gato class was generally superior to the VIIC on the surface. Its greater size meant higher speed, greater range, better crew habitability, and a more stable gun platform.

    The flexibility and robustness of the 4 engine indirect drive system of the US Gato's made engine failure caused aborts much rarer than in the direct drive, 2 engine U-boats. The longer range was a big advantage: even without milch cows or mid-ocean refueling (routine with U-boats) rarely did Gatos with torpedoes aboard and targets waiting head home because of a lack of fuel, a common problem with the VIIC: it was just too short ranged for the Battle of the Atlantic. On the other hand, surface gun actions by subs (apart from US plinking at fishing sampans - a widespread habit, especially in the later war years) were rare in WWII. And, despite air conditioning, and better crew quarters, the US crews had harder times completing their generally shorter patrols. They suffered more often from rotten food or spoiled water. The bigger US boats had bigger profiles, making night surface attacks harder (before radar made this difference moot). So give the surface characteristics to the US boats, but with reservations.

    Under the water, the German boats take the lead. The smaller VIIC had greater maneuverability, quietness, and greater diving depth. But, though greater depth seems a good advantage, it was actually more important to be able to submerge quickly than deeply. Most U-boats were destroyed on the surface or just under it, not at great depth. But still, the VIIC could submerge quicker than a Gato, but not by much: a well trained crew could get a Gato under in 35 seconds, vs maybe 20 or so for a U-boat. 'Under' was 60 ft for a Gato, and 45ft for a VIIC, due to the different sizes of the boats. Give this edge to the VIIC.

    As for weapons, the German torpedoes were clearly leaders. Though both sides struggled with torpedo problems, no one equalled the plethora of problems, and beauracratic inertia in solving them, of the Americans. US subs had torpedoes that broached, were duds, ran under targets, even circled, with desparing regularity. Their warheads were smaller. American electric torpedoes, a copy of the German version, lost something in the translation, and was full of problems. The US acoustic sub torpedo, the 'cutie', just plain didn't work, while the German T-5, well, sometimes worked. (Not to be confused with the US 'Fido' air dropped ASW acoustic torpedo, that proved VERY deadly against U-boats - US subs never used this weapon).

    As for mechanical systems, again a clear German lead. German sonar, optics (periscopes), machinery, from hull construction to engine design, was ahead of the Americans. The Germans even had schnorkels, though in reality the schnorkel was not very useful. A sub using a schnorkel could only make 4 or 5 knots and was blind (periscope and sonar unuseable).

    There is only one last category, but in some ways, the most important: electronics. Here the US boats enjoyed a huge, decisive, and commanding difference. US boats were equipped with a variety of radars, radar detectors, jammers, and communication devices that U-boaters could only dream of. At a time when U-boat commanders were struggling with makeshift detectors (that didn't work) made from wood, string, and wire, US boats sported a veritable forest of antennas off of their periscope shears. While U-boats were always at the electronic disadvantage to allied ASW, the opposite was true of US Gato boats fighting the Japanese. When many allied ASW ships had radar, Doenitz still claimed radar was impossible to mount on ships (let alone aircraft). When Allied ships were using direction finding to home in on U-boat radios, Doenitz claimed this was impossible. But most of all, the US boats had highly effective radar (the SJ) and very effective radar detectors. This offset all the disadvantages above, including slow diving times (radar gives better warning times), bad optics (use radar in attacks), etc. Towards the end, US boats even got the ST periscope mounted radar - one radar 'ping' and you have the exact range to the target - far offsetting any disadvantage in night attack scope design, and taking the guesswork out of attack solutions. And, of course, the US boat's radio codes were not compromised, while the U-boat 'Ultra' was read with increasing ease as the war dragged on. Many, (most?) U-boats were defeated electronically, by enigma intercepts, direction finding on radio emissions, or radar detection. The allies' complete mastery of the electromagnetic spectrum over the U-boat is the major reason for their defeat, a huge factor in the US subs victory over Japan, and the major difference between the US boats and the U-boats in combat effectiveness.

I think the Gato vs Type VIIC comparison is the correct one.

VSMUT wrote:
Revelation wrote:
German: Positives: Best of breed optics, great reliability. Negatives: Relatively poor range, relatively poor crew accommodations, poor torpedoes early in the war (but not as bad as the US, LOL!)


Poor range? They operated all over the Atlantic, some even in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Even the Italians sent some of theirs to join the German Monsun Gruppe based in Penang, Malaysia.

Well, I did say relatively poor range, and here are the numbers:
So Gato is 23% better, and it did have a big impact on operations. Relatively poor range forced Germany to resort to "milk cow" operations which were disasterous. Turns out parking a sub in the middle of a war zone and using lots of insecure radio chatter to coordinate refueling operations makes the "milk cow" extremely vulnerable.

Also Gato had 10 torpedo tubes and 24 torpedoes onboard vs 5 tubes and 14 torpedoes so it was delivering a lot more payload at range.

VSMUT wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Yes, manufacturing matters. The Germans designed wonderful kit, but it was so precise they could not build them in large enough numbers, just like their tanks.


The Germans built more submarines than any other nation during WWII, around 1200, including 118 of the highly advanced Type XXI. The US only built some 280 submarines of their WW2 designs, and had a handful of antique WW1 era boats on the side.

My research shows you were right and I was wrong on the manufacturing side, thanks for the correction.

https://uboat.net/technical/shipyards/ gives a break down by year:

U-boat production:
1935 (14)
1936 (21)
1937 (1)
1938 (9)
1939 (18)
1940 (50)
1941 (199)
1942 (238)
1943 (286)
1944 (229)
1945 (91)
Total: 1,156

The problem for the German side is the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic turned in mid 1943 ( ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Atlantic ) so the last few years of production was counter productive.

As for the topic of this thread, I think the effect of the US submarines was to help drive Japan to extreme fuel and food shortages far more than the U-boat ever did to the UK. As for advanced, whatever advancements the U-boot had came too late in the war to be of significance, and they didn't even have a plan to develop the kind of electronic warfare gear the Allies already had in operation.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:11 am

Revelation wrote:
I think the Gato vs Type VIIC comparison is the correct one.


For effectiveness perhaps, but not for most advanced. But then again the Type XXI wins that one hands down, no contest.

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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:01 pm

Revelation wrote:
I did some googling and came up with https://uboat.net/forums/read.php?20,59236,59248

    You have asked a very interesting, complex, and controversial question. It is not a easy one to answer, nor are there definitive answers. I'll confine myself to the German and US boats, the ones I know best.

    Comparing the US Gato fleet boats to the German VIIC compares the types that did the bulk of the fighting for the two navies. (Though the German type IXD2 is more comparable to the Gato in size - that doesn't change much the conclusions of my post).

    First, let's compare the boats general surface characteristics. The Gato class was generally superior to the VIIC on the surface. Its greater size meant higher speed, greater range, better crew habitability, and a more stable gun platform.

    The flexibility and robustness of the 4 engine indirect drive system of the US Gato's made engine failure caused aborts much rarer than in the direct drive, 2 engine U-boats. The longer range was a big advantage: even without milch cows or mid-ocean refueling (routine with U-boats) rarely did Gatos with torpedoes aboard and targets waiting head home because of a lack of fuel, a common problem with the VIIC: it was just too short ranged for the Battle of the Atlantic. On the other hand, surface gun actions by subs (apart from US plinking at fishing sampans - a widespread habit, especially in the later war years) were rare in WWII. And, despite air conditioning, and better crew quarters, the US crews had harder times completing their generally shorter patrols. They suffered more often from rotten food or spoiled water. The bigger US boats had bigger profiles, making night surface attacks harder (before radar made this difference moot). So give the surface characteristics to the US boats, but with reservations.

    Under the water, the German boats take the lead. The smaller VIIC had greater maneuverability, quietness, and greater diving depth. But, though greater depth seems a good advantage, it was actually more important to be able to submerge quickly than deeply. Most U-boats were destroyed on the surface or just under it, not at great depth. But still, the VIIC could submerge quicker than a Gato, but not by much: a well trained crew could get a Gato under in 35 seconds, vs maybe 20 or so for a U-boat. 'Under' was 60 ft for a Gato, and 45ft for a VIIC, due to the different sizes of the boats. Give this edge to the VIIC.

    As for weapons, the German torpedoes were clearly leaders. Though both sides struggled with torpedo problems, no one equalled the plethora of problems, and beauracratic inertia in solving them, of the Americans. US subs had torpedoes that broached, were duds, ran under targets, even circled, with desparing regularity. Their warheads were smaller. American electric torpedoes, a copy of the German version, lost something in the translation, and was full of problems. The US acoustic sub torpedo, the 'cutie', just plain didn't work, while the German T-5, well, sometimes worked. (Not to be confused with the US 'Fido' air dropped ASW acoustic torpedo, that proved VERY deadly against U-boats - US subs never used this weapon).

    As for mechanical systems, again a clear German lead. German sonar, optics (periscopes), machinery, from hull construction to engine design, was ahead of the Americans. The Germans even had schnorkels, though in reality the schnorkel was not very useful. A sub using a schnorkel could only make 4 or 5 knots and was blind (periscope and sonar unuseable).

    There is only one last category, but in some ways, the most important: electronics. Here the US boats enjoyed a huge, decisive, and commanding difference. US boats were equipped with a variety of radars, radar detectors, jammers, and communication devices that U-boaters could only dream of. At a time when U-boat commanders were struggling with makeshift detectors (that didn't work) made from wood, string, and wire, US boats sported a veritable forest of antennas off of their periscope shears. While U-boats were always at the electronic disadvantage to allied ASW, the opposite was true of US Gato boats fighting the Japanese. When many allied ASW ships had radar, Doenitz still claimed radar was impossible to mount on ships (let alone aircraft). When Allied ships were using direction finding to home in on U-boat radios, Doenitz claimed this was impossible. But most of all, the US boats had highly effective radar (the SJ) and very effective radar detectors. This offset all the disadvantages above, including slow diving times (radar gives better warning times), bad optics (use radar in attacks), etc. Towards the end, US boats even got the ST periscope mounted radar - one radar 'ping' and you have the exact range to the target - far offsetting any disadvantage in night attack scope design, and taking the guesswork out of attack solutions. And, of course, the US boat's radio codes were not compromised, while the U-boat 'Ultra' was read with increasing ease as the war dragged on. Many, (most?) U-boats were defeated electronically, by enigma intercepts, direction finding on radio emissions, or radar detection. The allies' complete mastery of the electromagnetic spectrum over the U-boat is the major reason for their defeat, a huge factor in the US subs victory over Japan, and the major difference between the US boats and the U-boats in combat effectiveness.

I think the Gato vs Type VIIC comparison is the correct one.

VSMUT wrote:
Revelation wrote:
German: Positives: Best of breed optics, great reliability. Negatives: Relatively poor range, relatively poor crew accommodations, poor torpedoes early in the war (but not as bad as the US, LOL!)


Poor range? They operated all over the Atlantic, some even in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Even the Italians sent some of theirs to join the German Monsun Gruppe based in Penang, Malaysia.

Well, I did say relatively poor range, and here are the numbers:
So Gato is 23% better, and it did have a big impact on operations. Relatively poor range forced Germany to resort to "milk cow" operations which were disasterous. Turns out parking a sub in the middle of a war zone and using lots of insecure radio chatter to coordinate refueling operations makes the "milk cow" extremely vulnerable.

Also Gato had 10 torpedo tubes and 24 torpedoes onboard vs 5 tubes and 14 torpedoes so it was delivering a lot more payload at range.

VSMUT wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Yes, manufacturing matters. The Germans designed wonderful kit, but it was so precise they could not build them in large enough numbers, just like their tanks.


The Germans built more submarines than any other nation during WWII, around 1200, including 118 of the highly advanced Type XXI. The US only built some 280 submarines of their WW2 designs, and had a handful of antique WW1 era boats on the side.

My research shows you were right and I was wrong on the manufacturing side, thanks for the correction.

https://uboat.net/technical/shipyards/ gives a break down by year:

U-boat production:
1935 (14)
1936 (21)
1937 (1)
1938 (9)
1939 (18)
1940 (50)
1941 (199)
1942 (238)
1943 (286)
1944 (229)
1945 (91)
Total: 1,156

The problem for the German side is the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic turned in mid 1943 ( ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Atlantic ) so the last few years of production was counter productive.

As for the topic of this thread, I think the effect of the US submarines was to help drive Japan to extreme fuel and food shortages far more than the U-boat ever did to the UK. As for advanced, whatever advancements the U-boot had came too late in the war to be of significance, and they didn't even have a plan to develop the kind of electronic warfare gear the Allies already had in operation.


I would agree with that, Hitler's best chance to cut the UK off was early in the war. The RN were still in the middle of updating it's Destroyer fleet, had not yet really got going on the Flower Class Corvettes, nor the Bases For Destroyers deal with the US.
Sunderland flying boats were new, Catalina's from the US even rarer.
But his U-Boat fleet was relatively small too, maybe because their fleet was working on the Z Plan which did not expect war with the Western Powers until 1944/45.
That fleet plan, though containing many subs was to be an ocean going surface one, around Battleships and the odd carrier.

As for Japan, they seem never to have any real answer to the USN sub force, in tactics, technology, which was surprising.
Maybe their carrier aviation element just overshadowed the rest.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:24 pm

This gets the award for the most interesting non-aviation topic so far this year! :bigthumbsup:

I think the Japanese lost out in tactics against the USA.

I also wonder if some things like the two super-battleships were really a waste of effort. Yes they were very, very heavily armed and armoured but also vulnerable (not the quickest things around).

I partly built a model of one (lost patience, will eventually finish it) and the thing is massive. They must have been an impressive sight in the day. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like when they opened fire with those gigantic guns. The details of the projectiles they fired is just chilling.

The Tamiya model kit has an excellent small booklet that comes with it if you are interested in this stuff.

The Japanese didn’t seem to lack the technical ability to have a capable naval force and they also obviously had talented designers/engineers. It’s surprising they lost out in the way they did, and lucky for my country.

I’ll keep watching this topic. :)
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:48 pm

cpd wrote:
This gets the award for the most interesting non-aviation topic so far this year! :bigthumbsup:

I think the Japanese lost out in tactics against the USA.

I also wonder if some things like the two super-battleships were really a waste of effort. Yes they were very, very heavily armed and armoured but also vulnerable (not the quickest things around).

I partly built a model of one (lost patience, will eventually finish it) and the thing is massive. They must have been an impressive sight in the day. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like when they opened fire with those gigantic guns. The details of the projectiles they fired is just chilling.

The Tamiya model kit has an excellent small booklet that comes with it if you are interested in this stuff.

The Japanese didn’t seem to lack the technical ability to have a capable naval force and they also obviously had talented designers/engineers. It’s surprising they lost out in the way they did, and lucky for my country.

I’ll keep watching this topic. :)


Not helped by the AA armament of Japanese ships being, for want of a better technical term, for shit.
While most navies learned and added to AA, for light AA the Japanese were stuck with low velocity, old, small mag fed 25mm ones, they could add as many as they liked of these to the Super Battleships and others, as their fates showed, it made little difference.




I’ll keep watching this topic. :)[/quote]
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:50 pm

What was kind of strange about the Japanese, was that even though they studied the RN Taranto raid, and copied it to attack Pearl Harbor, they still wanted the decisive surface engagement to settle things.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:53 pm

Res Battle of the Atlantic, Most books I read on the subject seemed to imply that US deployment of aircraft surveillance was far poorer than what the US was capable of doing. US plane people would not release long range planes in even moderate numbers. Others have almost violently disagreed. What is known is that convoys protected with air cover could defeat German subs even early in the war. Anyone have good links on this controversy?
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:12 pm

cpd wrote:
This gets the award for the most interesting non-aviation topic so far this year! :bigthumbsup:

I think the Japanese lost out in tactics against the USA.

I also wonder if some things like the two super-battleships were really a waste of effort. Yes they were very, very heavily armed and armoured but also vulnerable (not the quickest things around).

I partly built a model of one (lost patience, will eventually finish it) and the thing is massive. They must have been an impressive sight in the day. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like when they opened fire with those gigantic guns. The details of the projectiles they fired is just chilling.

The Tamiya model kit has an excellent small booklet that comes with it if you are interested in this stuff.

The Japanese didn’t seem to lack the technical ability to have a capable naval force and they also obviously had talented designers/engineers. It’s surprising they lost out in the way they did, and lucky for my country.

I’ll keep watching this topic. :)

I think the biggest fault of the Japanese was the failure to adapt and change. Early in the Pacific War, the Japanese had excellent equipment and tactics. They were also very well-trained and well-drilled. Through 1942 and into early 1943, in particular, they won a variety of naval engagements because of all of this and in large part because the US Navy was struggling to come to grips with how the Pacific War could or should be fought. There were problems with things like American torpedoes, of course, but also learning to fight with radar; the first night of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal is an excellent example of senior American commanders still not understanding how to take advantage of their gigantic technological advance in the form of radar-equipped ships. What should've been a big victory for the US turned into a terrible stalemate (at least in the tactical sense... strategically, it was possibly a big American victory, much like Coral Sea was).

But, as the war went on and the Japanese suffered more losses, they failed to change. They didn't learn from mistakes (for example in damage control). They didn't take advantage of new technologies. They didn't change their training protocols or processes (which, in particular, was a huge reason why their air arm failed so spectacularly from about the end of '42 onward).

There is a great quote from a historian about the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal: "On November 12, 1942, the (Japanese) Imperial Navy had the better ships and the better tactics. After November 15, 1942, its leaders lost heart and it lacked the strategic depth to face the burgeoning U.S. Navy and its vastly improving weapons and tactics. The Japanese never got better while, after November 1942, the U.S. Navy never stopped getting better."

In particular for this thread, the Japanese never really figured out how to use submarines. They had a few high-profile successes (particularly I-168 sinking the Yorktown and Hamman and I-19 with perhaps the single most deadly torpedo spread of the war sinking the Wasp and the O'Brien and damaging the North Carolina), but they were *very* few in the grand scheme of things. The Japanese also had one of the most eclectic submarine fleets of the war, including a surprising number of ex-Italian and ex-German boats that were stuck in Asia when their original owners capitulated to the Western Allies. A few boats actually had 3 owners: Italian boats taken by the Germans when the Italians surrendered that were then taken by the Japanese when the Germans surrendered. In fact, the I-504 (ex-RM Luigi Torelli as an Italian boat and ex-UIT-25 as a German boat) is apocryphally considered to have shot down the last Allied plane in World War II in mid-August of '45.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:03 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I think the Gato vs Type VIIC comparison is the correct one.

For effectiveness perhaps, but not for most advanced. But then again the Type XXI wins that one hands down, no contest.

best regards
Thomas

Do your comments extend to the realm of electronic warfare? Just curious, the source I posted above had some pretty derogatory things to say about Doenitz's appreciation of that very important aspect of modern warfare.

Also I have read "U-Boat Commander: A Periscope View of the Battle of the Atlantic", by Peter Cremer and he was very upset about the lack of a working radar detector. He said the set he had was for use on an older generation of radars, and it didn't even work well for that previous generation and was useless against the current generation. He said the most dangerous part of the patrol was the first and the last day, and as the war progressed it got worse rather than better as the Allies realized concentrating on the Bay of Biscay was paying huge dividends.

As above, I find the best books are the ones written by the people who were there. They are very honest about the strengths and weaknesses of their services and their equipment. Richard O'Kane's books on Wahoo and Tang are excellent reads, as is Cremer's.

johns624 wrote:
What was kind of strange about the Japanese, was that even though they studied the RN Taranto raid, and copied it to attack Pearl Harbor, they still wanted the decisive surface engagement to settle things.

Yes, the admirals of WW2 were strongly influenced by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tsushima

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Res Battle of the Atlantic, Most books I read on the subject seemed to imply that US deployment of aircraft surveillance was far poorer than what the US was capable of doing. US plane people would not release long range planes in even moderate numbers. Others have almost violently disagreed. What is known is that convoys protected with air cover could defeat German subs even early in the war. Anyone have good links on this controversy?

Both the US and UK were reluctant to provide long range bombers for the Battle of the Atlantic.

One relevant quote:

The mid-Atlantic gap that had previously been unreachable by aircraft was closed by long-range B-24 Liberators. On 18 March 1943, Roosevelt ordered King to transfer 60 Liberators from the Pacific theatre to the Atlantic to combat German U-Boats; one of only two direct orders he gave to his military commanders in WWII (the other was regarding Operation Torch).[65] At the May 1943 Trident conference, Admiral King requested General Henry H. Arnold to send a squadron of ASW-configured B-24s to Newfoundland to strengthen the air escort of North Atlantic convoys. General Arnold ordered his squadron commander to engage only in "offensive" search and attack missions and not in the escort of convoys. In June, General Arnold suggested the Navy assume responsibility for ASW operations. Admiral King requested the Army's ASW-configured B-24s in exchange for an equal number of unmodified Navy B-24s. Agreement was reached in July and the exchange was completed in September 1943.[66]

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Atlantic

Another:

Philip Joubert de la Ferté was not satisfied. He believed the command was short of three land-based and ten flying-boat squadrons. He refuted the Air Ministry's assertions that Coastal Command, in terms of suitable aircraft, was "comparatively well off".[10]

After Arthur Harris' appointment as GOC Bomber Command, the situation declined. Harris, since his days as a group captain at the Air Ministry's strategic planning division, had attacked the use of resources in maritime aviation, suggesting that bombing enemy shipyards and port facilities would solve the threat to trade defence.[11]

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Coast ... rld_War_II

I think the commanders of the air forces wanted to show that air forces could win wars on their own (something still controversial to this day) whereas the Battle of the Atlantic was about not losing the war.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:06 pm

One more thought: if you like this content you may like Drachinifel's channel on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4mftU ... vsVXZh7RTw

One recent episode of note, on the dreadful US torpedoes at the beginning of WWII: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ5Ru7Zu_1I

List of submarine videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 4u1i8lB_CA

Positives: Very well researched content, comes from a non-US point of view.
Negatives: Can be a bit too sarcastic and dramatic at times, but it's a minor criticism.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
One more thought: if you like this content you may like Drachinifel's channel on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4mftU ... vsVXZh7RTw

One recent episode of note, on the dreadful US torpedoes at the beginning of WWII: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ5Ru7Zu_1I

List of submarine videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 4u1i8lB_CA

Positives: Very well researched content, comes from a non-US point of view.
Negatives: Can be a bit too sarcastic and dramatic at times, but it's a minor criticism.


Excellent channel, one highlight being his account of the Tsushima battle, or rather the massively fraught, would not be believed in a movie, voyage there.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:20 pm

GDB wrote:
Excellent channel, one highlight being his account of the Tsushima battle, or rather the massively fraught, would not be believed in a movie, voyage there.

Agree. I had heard a bit about the Battle of Tsushima before I started watching his channel, but his videos on the topic really have boosted my understanding of the battle and of course the preceding voyage. I do think the story could be made into a movie. I have to wonder if such movie would be well received in Putin's Russia though.

One book I've read recently that I find very informative is "An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent" by Owen Matthews. Sorge was in a place where he had deep understanding of Japanese, Soviet and German concerns in the times immediately before Japan entered WWII. This is what led me to say that Japanese militarists were deeply influenced by the Battle of Tsushima.

There was a big discussion going around Japanese leadership circles at the time. The Soviet Union had been invaded by Germany so they felt they could invade north from Manchuria and take over most of the Soviet Pacific area which was rich in natural resources. As we know they ended up invading southward because they needed oil and the only known sources within invasion distance were in Indonesia. A key sequence of events was Japan occupied French Indochina i.e. Vietnam and the US responded by imposing an oil embargo on Japan. At the time, the US was their main source for oil, so this was a serious thing. The oil embargo led to Japan deciding on the Pearl Harbor attack and conquest of the areas south of it rather than an invasion of the Soviet Union.

Sorge's life story is pretty amazing, so it's a good read. It'd also be good fodder for a movie, but I think it'd be harder to explain what was going on to a movie audience. I got pretty confused at times reading the book because in essence he was a triple agent. He had earned the confidence of the Germans at the time he was spying for the Soviet Union and maintaining contacts with Japanese insiders who were Soviet agents. He was using the great info he was getting about Japan to keep his access to the German embassy where he was stealing their secrets and forwarding all of the above to the Soviets. I don't know how he managed to do all of this without getting caught for several years.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:51 pm

Another good channel is Mark Felton's. Here's a good video on U-Boats that sat forgotten for decades in a destroyed bunker in Hamburg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omn6VK64t9Q
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:17 pm

[photoid][/photoid]
cjg225 wrote:
Another good channel is Mark Felton's. Here's a good video on U-Boats that sat forgotten for decades in a destroyed bunker in Hamburg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omn6VK64t9Q


Another great channel, full of 'I've never heard of that', to events you were aware of but with much new information.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:17 pm

GDB wrote:
Another great channel, full of 'I've never heard of that', to events you were aware of but with much new information.

He just put up one about Caucasian Imperial Japanese soldiers in World War II the other day. I had to comment on the video asking him where the hell he even finds the source material for these videos. Some of this stuff is beyond obscure, yet he finds videos and source documents (I presume; it's not like he lists a bibliography at the end) for all of it.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:52 pm

cjg225 wrote:
Another good channel is Mark Felton's. Here's a good video on U-Boats that sat forgotten for decades in a destroyed bunker in Hamburg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omn6VK64t9Q


Oh yes, I’ve already seen that channel, quality content on there! Worth watching.
GDB wrote:
cpd wrote:
This gets the award for the most interesting non-aviation topic so far this year! :bigthumbsup:

I think the Japanese lost out in tactics against the USA.

I also wonder if some things like the two super-battleships were really a waste of effort. Yes they were very, very heavily armed and armoured but also vulnerable (not the quickest things around).

I partly built a model of one (lost patience, will eventually finish it) and the thing is massive. They must have been an impressive sight in the day. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like when they opened fire with those gigantic guns. The details of the projectiles they fired is just chilling.

The Tamiya model kit has an excellent small booklet that comes with it if you are interested in this stuff.

The Japanese didn’t seem to lack the technical ability to have a capable naval force and they also obviously had talented designers/engineers. It’s surprising they lost out in the way they did, and lucky for my country.

I’ll keep watching this topic. :)


Not helped by the AA armament of Japanese ships being, for want of a better technical term, for shit.
While most navies learned and added to AA, for light AA the Japanese were stuck with low velocity, old, small mag fed 25mm ones, they could add as many as they liked of these to the Super Battleships and others, as their fates showed, it made little difference.


Yes, they put heaps of those guns all over it (damn fiddly things to put together on the model). They also had that incendiary shell for the main guns that seemed impressive and would put up a wall of fire and some debris in front of opposing planes, but the pilots weren’t that worried about these “Sanshikidan” (aka beehive). Also the enormous blast of the main guns seemingly disrupted the fire of the AA weapons.

A standard armour piercing shell was near 1.5 tonnes in weight and moved at some 2500km/h (nearly 700m/s).

I also remember that everyone had to take shelter ahead of the firing of those main guns.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:13 pm

Yet, the 16 inch guns of the USN Iowa-class had a higher rate of fire and the armor piercing shells penetrated further than the Japanese 18.1 inch.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:25 pm

Interestingly, the Iowa-class was actually supposed to be the Kongou-class killers, and they only ever fired their guns in anger at land-based targets, a couple destroyers, and a training cruiser.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:00 pm

cjg225 wrote:
Interestingly, the Iowa-class was actually supposed to be the Kongou-class killers, and they only ever fired their guns in anger at land-based targets, a couple destroyers, and a training cruiser.


Yes, these huge ships were really out of place, hence why we don’t see them anymore. Carriers with aircraft and submarines are way more effective. And smaller, faster ships.

They were very expensive to build as well.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:11 pm

cpd wrote:

They were very expensive to build as well.
Not really compared to today's ships. The main cost is in the electronics and weapons.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:09 am

johns624 wrote:
cpd wrote:

They were very expensive to build as well.
Not really compared to today's ships. The main cost is in the electronics and weapons.


At the time though, and for Japan they didn't have the industrial capacity of other countries.

Nowadays we have considerably more resources and budgets to throw at military programs.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:10 am

johns624 wrote:
What was kind of strange about the Japanese, was that even though they studied the RN Taranto raid, and copied it to attack Pearl Harbor, they still wanted the decisive surface engagement to settle things.


cpd wrote:
I think the Japanese lost out in tactics against the USA.


It was more than that. The entire apparatus behind the frontline units was lacking. They lacked the resources to build ships and planes, they lacked the fuel to run them, and most importantly they lacked the training apparatus required to train all the pilots and sailors. I forgot where I found it, but Japan struggled to train more than something like 200 new pilots per year. Meanwhile, the US trained several thousand per month. Ditto for the UK and commonwealth with it's massive training programs in South Africa and Rhodesia.

Japan just couldn't afford to throw away large amounts of pilots and aircraft, which affected their tactics.


Revelation wrote:
As for the topic of this thread, I think the effect of the US submarines was to help drive Japan to extreme fuel and food shortages far more than the U-boat ever did to the UK. As for advanced, whatever advancements the U-boot had came too late in the war to be of significance, and they didn't even have a plan to develop the kind of electronic warfare gear the Allies already had in operation.


But to be fair, Japan was also technologically way behind everyone else. It's much easier to hunt Japanese convoys when they didn't have sonars and only major ships were afforded radars and radio detection equipment. The German uboats were up against a much tougher foe.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 am

Revelation wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I think the Gato vs Type VIIC comparison is the correct one.

For effectiveness perhaps, but not for most advanced. But then again the Type XXI wins that one hands down, no contest.

best regards
Thomas

Do your comments extend to the realm of electronic warfare? Just curious, the source I posted above had some pretty derogatory things to say about Doenitz's appreciation of that very important aspect of modern warfare.

Also I have read "U-Boat Commander: A Periscope View of the Battle of the Atlantic", by Peter Cremer and he was very upset about the lack of a working radar detector. He said the set he had was for use on an older generation of radars, and it didn't even work well for that previous generation and was useless against the current generation. He said the most dangerous part of the patrol was the first and the last day, and as the war progressed it got worse rather than better as the Allies realized concentrating on the Bay of Biscay was paying huge dividends.


On the Type XXI he would not just have had a stealth cover for the Snorkel, but also the Fu MZ 6 Naxos Ia or Fu MZ 7 Nela II for ~3GHz Radars, and above water theFu MB 26 Tunis with Cuba Ia Fliege and Mücke receiver covering 2 - 3.7 and 6.7 to 15 GHz to detect anything the allied had. And a light detector for search lights
The Fu MB 1 and 9 Cremer had on the Type VII only worked against older allied radars.

The whole point of the Type XXI was to dive the moment there was enough water under the keel and not surface until they where back. It could sprint into position under water (instead of surfaced with the older boats) and wreck a convoy without even popping up the periscope.

So, in essence the snorkel was the only bit of kit a radar could detect, and with the Schornsteinfeger stealth cover detection range was only about three miles as it reduced the return by 90% (MEDDO Radar) and 95% (Rotterdam).

The type laid out the technology and tactics diesel electric subs still use today. We used a Type XXI until 1968, and as a test boat until 1980. And that can was sunk 1945 and laid on the bottom for 12 years before that. France used its Type XXI until 1967.

Stroke of luck that this project didn´t starte 6 to 12 month earlier.

Best regards
Thomas

P.S. you can still buy apple cider brewed in Type XXI pressure vessels :D https://www.possmann.de/english/products/applewine/
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:29 am

German success failure was very much depending on enigma success failure. 1943 when Enigma was changed, submarines was successful 1944 when it was broken subs failed.


The same can be mentioned about many navy victories losses, in Cape Matapan, midway etc.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:46 am

Especially when considering most effective types, there is one additional factor not mentioned: turnaround time. Submarine campaign against merchant shipping is very much a battle of attrition where the number of tubes on station is critical for results. That means that the time a boat would spend on patrol versus time in transit or in base is also an important characteristic. Here is one very underappreciated advantage of Gatos: they could be turned around fast and it could be done in forward bases. As a result, the typical turnaround time for US boats was slightly over one week barring major repair or overhaul work.

The German boats, on the other hand, would typically spend between one and two months in base between patrols. One of the reasons was that the poor accommodation in the German boats, which meant that the crew had to be given several weeks off between patrols to keep them effective. But the German boats also tended to require more maintenance between patrols. As a result, the US boats spent far greater fraction of their time on patrol station than German boats. And that translates directly to more sinkings.

On the Type XXI, it is likely that the boats built would have been far less effective than their capabilities in paper would have indicated. It still had several problems that would have limited its effectiveness. It's diesel engines were underpowered, making the battery recharge times very long, its snorkel was difficult to use in anything except calm seas, and its hydraulic system was very vulnerable to both combat damage and wear, making the boats very unreliable. All of these would've likely been worked out in subsequent versions, and that is what the Allies pretty much did post-war. But the boats that Germans had ready and under construction in 1945 wouldn't have been nearly as effective as they could have been. And it was not helped by the terrible construction quality of the boats, which made their hulls both vulnerable and limited their maximum diving depth, and which meant that the boats were plagued by constant breakdowns. The physical Type XXIs Germany had and would have had during the the next year after the war ended, wouldn't have anywhere near the performance and effectiveness that one would expect by the technical specifications alone. Like many of the advanced German designs of all kinds of armaments, producing it in quality and numbers required for any effect on the war was simply beyond the ability of German armaments industry.
 
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:59 am

VSMUT wrote:
It was more than that. The entire apparatus behind the frontline units was lacking. They lacked the resources to build ships and planes, they lacked the fuel to run them, and most importantly they lacked the training apparatus required to train all the pilots and sailors. I forgot where I found it, but Japan struggled to train more than something like 200 new pilots per year. Meanwhile, the US trained several thousand per month. Ditto for the UK and commonwealth with it's massive training programs in South Africa and Rhodesia.

Japan just couldn't afford to throw away large amounts of pilots and aircraft, which affected their tactics.

Part of this was their terrible approach to training. The US and British liberally rotated their pilots to training squadrons to pass on their knowledge to trainees. Availability of both training and combat aircraft was certainly part of it, but it's a lot easier to train when you've got a lot of guys with combat experience performing training.

Conversely, the Japanese ran their pilots into the ground. They either survived to fight another battle or they died. They didn't go back to train new pilots.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:59 pm

cjg225 wrote:
Conversely, the Japanese ran their pilots into the ground.

Quite literally once the kamikaze tactic was started!
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Max Q
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:24 am

Did only the German subs incorporate snorkels ?
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cjg225
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:04 pm

Max Q wrote:
Did only the German subs incorporate snorkels ?

According to this, the Dutch started equipping subs with a sub-surface air-exchange system before the war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine_snorkel
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LMP737
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:36 pm

cjg225 wrote:
I think the biggest fault of the Japanese was the failure to adapt and change. Early in the Pacific War, the Japanese had excellent equipment and tactics. They were also very well-trained and well-drilled. Through 1942 and into early 1943, in particular, they won a variety of naval engagements because of all of this and in large part because the US Navy was struggling to come to grips with how the Pacific War could or should be fought. There were problems with things like American torpedoes, of course, but also learning to fight with radar; the first night of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal is an excellent example of senior American commanders still not understanding how to take advantage of their gigantic technological advance in the form of radar-equipped ships. What should've been a big victory for the US turned into a terrible stalemate (at least in the tactical sense... strategically, it was possibly a big American victory, much like Coral Sea was).

But, as the war went on and the Japanese suffered more losses, they failed to change. They didn't learn from mistakes (for example in damage control). They didn't take advantage of new technologies. They didn't change their training protocols or processes (which, in particular, was a huge reason why their air arm failed so spectacularly from about the end of '42 onward).

There is a great quote from a historian about the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal: "On November 12, 1942, the (Japanese) Imperial Navy had the better ships and the better tactics. After November 15, 1942, its leaders lost heart and it lacked the strategic depth to face the burgeoning U.S. Navy and its vastly improving weapons and tactics. The Japanese never got better while, after November 1942, the U.S. Navy never stopped getting better."

In particular for this thread, the Japanese never really figured out how to use submarines. They had a few high-profile successes (particularly I-168 sinking the Yorktown and Hamman and I-19 with perhaps the single most deadly torpedo spread of the war sinking the Wasp and the O'Brien and damaging the North Carolina), but they were *very* few in the grand scheme of things. The Japanese also had one of the most eclectic submarine fleets of the war, including a surprising number of ex-Italian and ex-German boats that were stuck in Asia when their original owners capitulated to the Western Allies. A few boats actually had 3 owners: Italian boats taken by the Germans when the Italians surrendered that were then taken by the Japanese when the Germans surrendered. In fact, the I-504 (ex-RM Luigi Torelli as an Italian boat and ex-UIT-25 as a German boat) is apocryphally considered to have shot down the last Allied plane in World War II in mid-August of '45.


As USN submarines took a bigger and bigger toll on Japanese merchant ships the IJN started using their fleet submarines to supply their many far flung island outposts. Of course the problem with that a submarines makes for a poor supply vessel and is not being used in it's primary mission, sinking enemy shipping.

The IJN submarine force never made a concerted effort to go after the USN's long supply chain across the Pacific either. Not that it would ahve changed the outcome of the war, just make it last a bit longer.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:55 am

Etika wrote:
On the Type XXI, it is likely that the boats built would have been far less effective than their capabilities in paper would have indicated. It still had several problems that would have limited its effectiveness. It's diesel engines were underpowered, making the battery recharge times very long, its snorkel was difficult to use in anything except calm seas, and its hydraulic system was very vulnerable to both combat damage and wear, making the boats very unreliable. All of these would've likely been worked out in subsequent versions, and that is what the Allies pretty much did post-war. But the boats that Germans had ready and under construction in 1945 wouldn't have been nearly as effective as they could have been. And it was not helped by the terrible construction quality of the boats, which made their hulls both vulnerable and limited their maximum diving depth, and which meant that the boats were plagued by constant breakdowns. The physical Type XXIs Germany had and would have had during the the next year after the war ended, wouldn't have anywhere near the performance and effectiveness that one would expect by the technical specifications alone. Like many of the advanced German designs of all kinds of armaments, producing it in quality and numbers required for any effect on the war was simply beyond the ability of German armaments industry.

Correct! Approximately 118 Type XXI were built by VE day. But only four were commissioned, and only two made it out of harbor on operational duty.

One major problem was the production methods chosen by armament minister Albert Speer. To speed up production the Type XXI was produced at several shipyards, but each shipyard produced a unique and mostly finished module to be transported to Hamburg for final assembly. Things didn't fit, leaving enormous amounts of unplanned rework to be done at the final assembly plant.

Today it doesn't surprice since the workforce at the various shipyards was almost entirely forced labor, POWs and unskilled semi-voluntary contract workers from occupied countries. The German shipbuilders were in the military.
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:35 pm

LMP737 wrote:
As USN submarines took a bigger and bigger toll on Japanese merchant ships the IJN started using their fleet submarines to supply their many far flung island outposts. Of course the problem with that a submarines makes for a poor supply vessel and is not being used in it's primary mission, sinking enemy shipping.

The IJN submarine force never made a concerted effort to go after the USN's long supply chain across the Pacific either. Not that it would ahve changed the outcome of the war, just make it last a bit longer.

Strangely, the Imperial Japanese Army purpose-build transport subs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_3_su ... rt_vehicle
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Re: Who had the most advanced / effective submarines in WW2?

Sun Jul 12, 2020 9:58 pm

prebennorholm wrote:
Etika wrote:
On the Type XXI, it is likely that the boats built would have been far less effective than their capabilities in paper would have indicated. It still had several problems that would have limited its effectiveness. It's diesel engines were underpowered, making the battery recharge times very long, its snorkel was difficult to use in anything except calm seas, and its hydraulic system was very vulnerable to both combat damage and wear, making the boats very unreliable. All of these would've likely been worked out in subsequent versions, and that is what the Allies pretty much did post-war. But the boats that Germans had ready and under construction in 1945 wouldn't have been nearly as effective as they could have been. And it was not helped by the terrible construction quality of the boats, which made their hulls both vulnerable and limited their maximum diving depth, and which meant that the boats were plagued by constant breakdowns. The physical Type XXIs Germany had and would have had during the the next year after the war ended, wouldn't have anywhere near the performance and effectiveness that one would expect by the technical specifications alone. Like many of the advanced German designs of all kinds of armaments, producing it in quality and numbers required for any effect on the war was simply beyond the ability of German armaments industry.

Correct! Approximately 118 Type XXI were built by VE day. But only four were commissioned, and only two made it out of harbor on operational duty.

One major problem was the production methods chosen by armament minister Albert Speer. To speed up production the Type XXI was produced at several shipyards, but each shipyard produced a unique and mostly finished module to be transported to Hamburg for final assembly. Things didn't fit, leaving enormous amounts of unplanned rework to be done at the final assembly plant.

Today it doesn't surprice since the workforce at the various shipyards was almost entirely forced labor, POWs and unskilled semi-voluntary contract workers from occupied countries. The German shipbuilders were in the military.


One wonders that some of the variance may have been sophisticated sabotage.
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