Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
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miro777
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Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by miro777 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:01 pm

I was wondering if there was ever a Battle or a Patrol or any kind of Action in WW 2 where submarines and surface ships were in a battle group...

As in, wouldnt it have been great when there were some U-boots accompaning a valuable Battleship like Bismarck and they'd attack the enemies when needed.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by lwd » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:53 pm

Well Midway had planes and subs on both sides pretty close together. The Japanese tended to use subs as scouts but I can't think of a case off the top of my head where there was a surface/subsurface action.

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miro777
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by miro777 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:01 pm

But wouldnt it have been a great strategical advantage?

The Capital Ships would have had to reduce speed, but in general terms, it would have been pretty effective or not?
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by Bgile » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:06 pm

The battleships would be limited to submarine speeds, which are relatively slow. Do you really want Bismarck limited to about 14 kts while sub is surfaced and 4-5 knots when submerged?

The modern US navy finally built 30+ knot submarines so they could escort carrier task forces.

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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by marcelo_malara » Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:17 pm

Combined fleets involving surface ships and subs were discarded already in WWI if I am not wrong.

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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:24 pm

As a matter of fact during the Battle of Midway there was a very bold US skipper in command of a sub that tried to attack the vessels of Nagumo´s Kido Butai.
And it was a Japanese Sub the one that finished Yorktown just when her heroic skipper, Buckmaster, succeded in control her damages.

At the Battle of Leyte Kurita´s forces were first attacked by US submarine that succeded in slamming some torpedoes on the Main Force´s flagship and another cruiser.

At least US and Japanese tried the tactic of surface and submarine forces working together.

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miro777
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by miro777 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:17 pm

Yeah, I guess you are right concerning the speed...

even though the XXI subs could go 23kn submerged....which would have been around the speed HMS Rodney could go


its still a wonderful thought that Bismarck has 4 german subs accompaning him when KGV and Rodney approach for Final Battle.... :wink:
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by Bgile » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:12 am

miro777 wrote:Yeah, I guess you are right concerning the speed...

even though the XXI subs could go 23kn submerged....which would have been around the speed HMS Rodney could go


its still a wonderful thought that Bismarck has 4 german subs accompaning him when KGV and Rodney approach for Final Battle.... :wink:
I think they could go 23 kts submerged for about 30 min and then the battery was completely discharged.

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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by RF » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:24 am

Lutjens did try collaboration with submarines in respect of convoy attack on Operation Berlin, specifically to get the subs to sink the battleship in company with the convoy (HMS Malaya) but time and communication problems prevented effective action.

Another aspect to this took place in November 1941. Hilfskreuzer Atlantis and U-boat supply ship Python were both caught by county class cruisers while in company with U-boats. Both cruisers were aware of the possibility of sub attack and they sank the German ships while maintaining full speed to avoid torpedo attack, such that the U-boats were unable to even compute a torpedo solution. Without fast underwater subs this sort of combined operation won't work.
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by RF » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:27 am

miro777 wrote:
its still a wonderful thought that Bismarck has 4 german subs accompaning him when KGV and Rodney approach for Final Battle.... :wink:
The escorting British destroyers would have been let loose on them.....plus Vians five Tribals as well.
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by dunmunro » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:49 am

Top speed of the Type 21 was about 17knots. IIRC, only the Walter engined boats were capable of 23 knots - if they didn't explode first.

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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by RF » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:13 pm

I'm not aware of the Walther turbines exploding at sea, did this happen?
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Re: Submarine + Surface Ship Actions

Post by lwd » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:22 pm

From what I've heard the turbines didn't but if they're the ones I'm thinking of the batteries did. They had a failure mode that produced a fair amount of hydrogen. Mix that with the air on board and your sub or at least the battery compartment is a FAE. One of the U-boats the US was experimenting with after the war was lost to such an explosion.

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