Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

U-Boat Flak vs. Aircraft

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Che_Guevara, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Messages:
    1,109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Davy Jones's locker
    via TanksinWW2
    There are several incidents, when U-Boats repelled attacks by aircraft(s), one famous would be the "Fight back" of U-758 on June 8.1943. This boat was attacked by eight Avengers of the USS Bogue and downed two of em, while returning home without severe damage. U-763 downed two Liberators on Feb. 4th and a Halifax on the next day. U-648 downed a Whitley on May 17th, a Sunderland on Nov. 20 and a Liberator on Nov. 21 1943. These are just some examples of a successful fight against aircraft, considering that they even downed a Mustang (U-155), Beaufighters and so on, how did these subs manage to down an aircraft or several, while others (the major part) failed. At least 220 subs were lost to aircraft attacks, had those mentioned just luck? How skilled were the Flak Gunners of the U-boatforce (?their trainig program?) and how useful was the AA-Armament, for example were there any apparatus to balance the swell


    http://uboat.net/history/aircraft_losses.htm

    U-758

    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Che.
     
  2. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suomi Finland Perkele
    via TanksinWW2
  3. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    11,708
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Luton, UK
    via TanksinWW2
    It is mostly luck, I think.

    A U-boat (or any submarine) is not designed to be a steady gun platform in any but the calmest of calm seas.
     
  4. Commando

    Commando recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    0
    via TanksinWW2
    Well when you think that a U-Boat only has several machine guns, but a Liberator, or a Sunderland has many guns, and when the aircraft has made its dive and has passed its target, the tail gunners can keep firing, it is no wonder that so many U-Boats were sunk.
     
  5. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suomi Finland Perkele
    via TanksinWW2
    Aircraft machineguns weren't much of a danger for U-boat itself but for the crew on the deck. Main danger were the bombs, depth charges and homing torpedoes which were carried by bombers.
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    11,708
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Luton, UK
    via TanksinWW2
    U-boats towards the end of the war typically had an 88mm gun (which could be used as AA) a quad 20mm gun (flakvierling) and a handful of machineguns.

    A lucky hit from the 88mm, or a good burst from the 20mm could knock down a plane.
     
  7. Commando

    Commando recruit

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    0
    via TanksinWW2
    I guess all that the plane had to do was shoot the gunners, and then they were free to bomb the sub.
     
  8. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    11,708
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Luton, UK
    via TanksinWW2
    Indeed (although it sounds easier than it was in practice). This is why ASW planes had progressively more firepower added - for example later Sinderlands had (in addition to the front turret) a battery of 4 machineguns added in the nose
     
  9. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,006
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    On a space station in geosynchronous orbit above y
    via TanksinWW2
    I would imagine there was an element of luck and surprise. A plane making a bombing running would probably be coming in straight plus it would generally by one plane against one sub so the AA would be concentrated on a single target.

    Saying that more AA guns did have one big disadvantage. They increased the amount of underwater drag and noise the sub generated.
     
  10. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    1,097
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hunting Panzer IV's
    via TanksinWW2
    I think it was the late war XXI's (someone correct me on this if need be) that had no armament other than it's torps.....or else it was the one with the duel 20mm turrets, I forget
     
  11. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    139
    via TanksinWW2
    Some Liberators (B-24) were even fitted with a chin mounting for 4x 20mm cannon
     
  12. lynn1212

    lynn1212 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    upstate NY USA
    via TanksinWW2
    simplest method

    the planes also had the option of just staying out of range and calling in a DE to handle the problem
     
  13. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,006
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    On a space station in geosynchronous orbit above y
    via TanksinWW2
    Not usually. Unless very close to a convoy the odd were the nearest friend ship was hours or days away.

    Besides Coastal Command crews had to endure lots and lots of flying over empty water. I'd imagine the rare opportunity to have a go wasn't to be passed up.
     
  14. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,024
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    via TanksinWW2
    Actually the antiship guns of theU-boat's were not suited/capable for AA as they had a max elevation of only 30 degrees!
    BTW U-boats used 88mm (Type VII) and 105 mm (Type IA, IX XB) Anti ship guns (both not for AA).
     
  15. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    904
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Bloomington, Indiana USA
    via TanksinWW2
    Pretty amazing that a U-Boats' AA defenses could shoot-down a Short Sunderland. Those gunnery-crews deserved a "cee-gar."

    Tim
     
  16. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    High Point, North Carolina, USA
    via TanksinWW2
    Any plane can be shot down; all you have to do is hit it enough times or in just the right spot. Of course, that can be difficult.
     
  17. bosworth gannaway

    bosworth gannaway New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    via TanksinWW2
    It was all the more surprising, since the Sunderland was so well armed that Luftwaffe aircrew used to call it the "Flying Purcupine" ! Mind you, I know of at least one Sunderland unit that used to paint lengths of broomhandle black and stick 'em out of any spare window or aperture, seemingly to indicate the presence of many more guns and gunners !
    In a book I read about the US air force attacks on the Ploesti airfields, it was reported that the crews of a number of B-17's were en route to North Africa from the UK. Flying high over the Bay of Biscay they noticed a Sunderland successfully fighting off an attack made very much lower by six JU-88's. Conscious of being unable to assist, the Fortress crews were very pleased to watch ALL six of the -88's being progressively shot down into the sea. It was generall agreed amongst the American aircrew that it was the superlative gunnery of the Sunderland crew that acounted for the six kills.
     
  18. bosworth gannaway

    bosworth gannaway New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    via TanksinWW2
    Returning to the subject of combat between U-boats and Allied aircrew.
    After incurring very high losses amongst U-boats either leaving or returning from patrols when crossing the Bay of Biscay. The German navy decided to seriously up gun the a.a. weaponry of U-boats and order all captains to stay surfaced and fight it out with Allied aircraft. It was thought that submerging would always be fatal, whereas staying on the surface and fighting would be less so.
     
  19. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    11,708
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Luton, UK
    via TanksinWW2
    Which book?

    Yeah, thanks to them getting rid of the radar-detection devices they never stood much chance.
     
  20. merlin phpbb3

    merlin phpbb3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,724
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    middle England
    via TanksinWW2
    BG's Fables.

    Very interested to know where did they stick the other end of the broomsticks?
     

Share This Page