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A Little-Known Episode in the Battle of the Atlantic

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by downfall1983, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. downfall1983

    downfall1983 Member

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    After reading this article, I was shocked (as a canadian). Here, take a look and tell me what you think.

    Click Here

    My initial thoughts...I was aware of german u-boats venturing into the gulf of st.lawrence but this...this takes the cake! I'm truly stunned!
     
  2. erik.hillis

    erik.hillis Member

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    Very interesting
     
  3. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    This is interesting, but how did the telescopic system work? that allowed them to provision themselves at sea? Perhaps it means provision 'air' in reference to the schnorkel.

    "U-boats did not return to Canadian waters until 1944, when the Allied armies were poised to invade Germany itself. The average life of a U-boat was only three missions, so the crews were always eager to find easy targets. The submarines were equipped with a snorckel, a telescopic system allowing them to provision themselves at sea and recharge their batteries without having to surface. Using this system, the U-1223 entered the St. Lawrence undetected, seriously damaged the frigate HMCS Magog on October 14 and sunk the Canadian freighter SS Fort Thompson on November 2. Three weeks later, in Cabot Strait, the U-1228 torpedoed the corvette HMCS Shawinigan, making it the last victim of the Battle of the St. Lawrence. These German attacks, though very limited, momentarily reawakened the fears experienced two years before. In May 1945, the U-boat menace finally came to an end when the U-889 and U-190 surrendered to the Canadian Navy, at Shelburne, Nova Scotia and Bay Bulls, Newfoundland."
     
  4. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Yes I think so, but I'm not sure.

    I think the snorkel also allowed air intake and exhaust for the diesel motors, in order to run them while slightly submerged and in the ame time charging electric motors, can somebody who knows about subs confirm and/or explain ?
     
  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Telescopic only means it is made up of a series of pipes fitting inside each other that can be stretched and collapsed, like your camera tripod.

    A snorkel was a tube allowing the sub to suck in air from just above the surface while submerged. It could be telescopic or rotating.

    Two rotating mechanism examples:
    http://web.ukonline.co.uk/chalcraft/sm/images/artemissnort3.JPG

    http://www.military-collections.com/U-995%20photos/SUsnorchel.jpg

    One teslecopic, collapsed in this case.
    http://zone.sousmarins.free.fr/Schnorkel%20walter.jpg

    This is a better model.
    http://www.sandcruiser.com/05pics/dolphin/snorkel.jpg
     
  6. scrounger

    scrounger Member

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    Hello;They not only attacked ships in the St Lawrence but U boats were right off shore of Halifax Nova Scotia. On Jan 14 , 1945 when Germany was facing defeat everywhere, U1232 attacked and sunk 3 ships in convoy Bx 141 within sight of the shore ! The tanker British freedom was hit and The liberty ship Martin Van Buren had to take evasive action to keep from hitting the sinking ship. as soon as it returned to it's spot in line she too was torpedoed and badly damaged, attempts to tow her failed and she drifted ashore and was a complete loss .A few minutes later the tanker Athelviking was sunk. To make matters worse the freighter Odysseus in the midst of all the confusion decided to turn around and make a mad dash for the safety of Halifax only to run aground on a rocky beach and was wrecked..so within a few hours of leaving the harbor the convoy lost 4 ships. Meanwhile the U boat escaped and returned to Norway where Captain Kurt Dobratz was awarded the Knights Cross. P. S 10 days earlier Dobratz torpedoed 2 ships in basically the same place approximately 10 miles from shore, one sunk the other was damaged .
     
  7. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Ace

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    Currently reading "Iron Coffins"; the snorkel was raised like a periscope, and allowed air to be drawn into the sub and (via a second tube, I'm assuming) diesel exhaust to be expelled. They could then either run one diesel for battery charging, and the other for propulsion, or run both diesels for propulsion and make upwards of 15 knots while submerged, something unheard of at the time (typical submerged speed, engines running on battery, was around 3 knots). The problem with this was waves....the flapper valve at the top of the snorkel would get shut by a wave, and the boat would slowly fill up with diesel exhaust fumes if the seas weren't incredibly calm. Some captains praised the system, some cursed it. But submarines still use a snorkel today, so it worked!
     
  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    did you know that after the U-1223 left the St. Lawerence it went back to Germany and thus served in the Eastern Baltic helping save German civilains from certain doom of the Soviets, making it's way back safely to northern/German waters before surrendering. there has been some texts that state the U-1223 hit three different ships the Magog was a total write off so we can say she indeed was sunk.
     
  9. scrounger

    scrounger Member

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    I dove on 2 of the wrecks from that ill fated convoy, And friends of mine have visited the other 2 . I have been to the remains of the Odysseus and the Martin Van Buren,friends of mine have visited the British Freedom and the Athelviking. the latter two are deep and assessable only by technically trained divers using tri mix
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    any photos to share possibly ?
     
  11. scrounger

    scrounger Member

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    Hello ;I have dove on the remains of the Martin Van Buren, She drifted aground near Sambro, a fishing community not far from Halifax . She was scrapped where it sat after the war. now spread across the bottom to a depth of about 40 ft are steel plates and lengths of pipe and other bits of the ship they didn't salvage. The Greek freighter Odysseus is a couple of miles down the coast in about the same shape . As for the 2 deeper wrecks they are much more intact , the British Freedom is in 165 to 200 ft and the athelviking is in about 300 ft . They are accessable only by trained technical divers
    Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia On the Rocks: Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia - Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia
     

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