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U Boat Batteries

Discussion in 'Submarines and ASW Technology' started by jagans, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. jagans

    jagans recruit

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    Hi Guys,

    I am a VietNam Veteran, and as I approach my 64th birthday I am spending more and more time looking at history. I know that Hindsight is 20-20, but there are some things that seem so obvious to me, that the question has to be asked. If some of you old timers can answer this question, I would appreciate it.

    It is my understanding that all of the batteries that were made for U-Boats were made by the Varta Corporation in two plants in Germany. It is also my understanding that these plants were never bombed by the allies. Why?

    A U-Boat without batteries becomes a small, slow surface ship.

    I suspect that Germany was probably way ahead of everyone else in battery technology, and probably sold their batteries to every other country, including the allies. The factories were therefore on the "no hit" list, as this would cut into the profits being made by the Military Industrial Complex of all countries involved in WW2

    If I sound like a cynic, you are correct. Remember, I am a VietNam Vet.
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    You can read bit about Allied raids on U-boat components (including batteries) here. The English is a bit stilted, but it can be understood. uboat.net - Technical pages

    I'm not sure it directly answers your question, but it's food for thought.

    By the way, I admire your cynicism. To me, it represents a healthy view of reality.
     
  3. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Where were the two plants that made the batteries located?

    It might be a question of accessibility or how practical it was just to bomb the two plants. I would guess that the allied air commanders thought it better to target the U-boats themselves at the shipyards or the sub pens in France. I would think that Hamburg or La Rochelle were probably a little more accessible than deep inside Germany during the U-boat “happy time”1940-41.

    Although, I think I remember that the allies used to target ball bearing plants and other small stuff….

    Anyway, good question! Let some others chime in more knowledgeable than me.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Here's a map from the U-boat site listed above that shows the component factories.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well jagans,

    Your cynicism serves you well here in the 21st Century. A company named EnerSys, a battery conglomeration of Varta, Hawker, and Chloride, provides batteries for most nations submarines.

    However, during World War II, this was not the case. For instance, the main manufacturers of US submarine batteries were Exide Corp. and Gould Storage Battery Company. British submarine batteries were provided mainly by Exide Corp., D P Kathanode, and Tudor Battery.
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Battery technology at the time was far more limited than it is today. Submarines all used lead - acid batteries similar to car batteries. There really isn't much to choose between them. The biggest factor in their manufacture at the time would have been purity of materials used.

    The US did add one major addition to batteries was the mercury oxide - zinc battery that gave longer life and a smaller size. This battery became widely used at the time in aircraft and in portable applications like radios and metal detectors.
     
  8. Artem

    Artem Member

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    Somebody would have to confirm on this one, but there's a pretty good chance that the manufactured parts like the batteries, might have been used by other industries or as components for other goods. That was the usually beauty of allied bombings, taking out a single production line could put a slow down a wide range of other production lines (if you hit the target :p ).
     
  9. Jan7

    Jan7 Member

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    Dear Jagan:

    In first place, wellcome to WW2F:)!



    About your question, these matter intrigued me from many years, and I search the Web. As an important source, I think that this german article, inter alia the history of AFA -predecessor of VARTA company-, could satisfy your curiosity:
    Enjoy!


    Please, after your lecture/read, can you explain your commentaries in this thread?

    For the tecnology of batteries, you are right: The tecnology captured at the end of the War in german submarines typ XXI, are the basis of the GUPPY I program destined to the U.S. Fleet Submarine



    Jan.
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Type XXI doesn't use new technology in its propulsion system but rather simply alot more of what already existed. The electric motors were larger and more powerful and the battery pack in the boat doubled in size. Between this and streamlining the hull for lowered water resistance the Type XXI was much faster underwater.
     
  11. efestos

    efestos Member

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