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

US Submarines

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Skua, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Skua

    Skua New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    2,889
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Norway
    via TanksinWW2
    I have some superficial knowledge about the different classes, production numbers etc., but would like to know more.

    And what about US submarine doctrines, their "wolfpacks" etc. ?
     
  2. 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 think the American tended to go in much more for subs operating independently. Effectively assigned an area then go out an patrol it.


    Wolf pack tactics used by the Germans relied on a lot of shore control and a lot of radio traffic. Later in the war wolfpacks stopped working all that well because the radio traffic warned the convoy they were coming.
     
  3. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    You might enjoy reading Silent Victory by Clay Blair.
     
  4. canambridge

    canambridge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,649
    Likes Received:
    6
    via TanksinWW2
    S-Class:
    Dimensions (feet): 265 long x 21 high x 13 wide
    Displacement: surfaced 903 tons, submerged 1230
    Max Speed: surfaced 14.5 knots, submerged 11 knots
    Test depth: 200 feet
    Range: 8,000 miles
    Torpedo Tubes: 4 forward, 1 aft; 12 torpedoes
    Gun: 1 x 4 inch
    Small and old, 12 were in the Pacific

    P-Class (3 in class)
    Dimensions (feet): 300 long x 25 high x 13 wide
    Displacement: surfaced 1330 tons, submerged 2005
    Max Speed: surfaced 19 knots, submerged 8 knots
    Test depth: 250 feet
    Range: 10,000 miles
    Torpedo Tubes: 4 forward, 2 aft; 16 torpedoes
    Gun: 1 x 4 inch
    Earliest fleet type submarines, introduced welded hulls

    Salmon (6 in class)/Sargo (10 in class) classes:
    Dimensions (feet): 310 long x 27 high x 14 wide
    Displacement: surfaced 1449 tons, submerged 2198
    Max Speed: surfaced 20 knots, submerged 9 knots
    Test depth: 256 feet
    Range: 10,000 miles (85 submerged)
    Torpedo Tubes: 4 forward, 4 aft; 20 torpedoes

    Nautilus (1)/Narwahl (1) class:
    Dimensions (feet): 371 long x 33 high x 15 wide
    Displacement: surfaced 2915 tons, submerged 4050
    Max Speed: surfaced 17 knots, submerged 8 knots
    Test depth: 328 feet
    Range: 18,000 miles (60 submerged)
    Torpedo Tubes: 4 forward, 2 aft; 26 torpedoes
    Guns: 2 x 6 inch
    Large boats that were something of a dissappointment, although an argument could be made that Nautilus made victory at Midway possible.

    T-Class (78? in class):
    Dimensions (feet): 307 long x 27 high x 14 wide
    Displacement: surfaced 903 tons, submerged 1230
    Max Speed: surfaced 20 knots, submerged 8.75 knots
    Test depth: 200 feet
    Range: 8,000 miles (60 submerged)
    Torpedo Tubes: 6 forward, 4 aft; 24 torpedoes
    Gun: 1 x 5 inch
    Crew: 60
    Last pre-war subs. One of the class, Tautog led in ships sunk with 26 confirmed.

    Gato (73 in class)/Balao (101 in class)/Tench (11 in class) classes :
    Dimensions (feet): 312 long x 27 high x 15 wide
    Displacement: surfaced 1825 tons, submerged 2410
    Max Speed: surfaced 20.75 knots, submerged 8.75 knots
    Test depth: 300 feet (crush depth 750)
    Range: 8,000 miles (60 submerged)
    Torpedo Tubes: 6 forward, 4 aft; 24 torpedoes
    Gun: 1 x 5 inch
    Crew: 80
    Standard U.S. fleet subs of WWII, top three subs (Flasher, Rasher and Barb) in tonnage were all Gato class, with nearly 300,000 combined tons.

    The U.S. had 112 subs of all types worldwide on December 7, 1941 and commissoned 203 during the war. The U.S. lost 53 subs in WWII, 47 to enemy action.

    U.S. subs did use small wolf-packs (2-6 boats) in 1944-45, but were solitary hunters befroe that. U.S. Wolf-packs were commanded by one of the boats at sea, not from land as was the German practice. Most attacks were submerged and night attacks were preferred. Guns were normally only used for small, unarmed targets or to deliver a coup-de-grace.
     
  5. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    The S-class actually includes five-ish different but related classes. About 38 units served during WWII.
    There were three different P classes, one which consisted of Shark and Tarpon--don't ask me to explain.
    Salmon began a new wave of "S" boats unrelated to the earlier S classes.
    The Narwhal class was among several "V" classes (which makes some sense once you look at their naming system), all of which were pretty unsuccessful.
    Tambor had eleven sisters. Half the class had T-names, half had G-names.
    You can find detailed breakdowns in books like Conway's or (of course!) FLEETS OF WORLD WAR II.
     
  6. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suomi Finland Perkele
    via TanksinWW2
    Hmm, Fleets Of World War II, from Richard Worth? :p
     
  7. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    Why, yes, that's the one! I've heard it's very good....
     
  8. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suomi Finland Perkele
    via TanksinWW2
    I'm sure you know that better than I. I haven't even bought that book yet.
     
  9. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    High Point, North Carolina, USA
    via TanksinWW2
    The US Navy did organise some wolfpacks in 1944-45. The sub skippers had trouble adjusting, since they were trained to operate indepently, and all of their experience had been in such operations. Still, some spectaculart successes were scored by the American packs, which were not centrally controlled by COMSUBPAC.
     
  10. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    "I haven't even bought that book yet."
    I ship to Finland! Hey, you can even order a copy of my novel RETURN TO KALEVALA, set in mythic Finland.
    Anyone who would like a copy of either book (both books!) can send an e-mail to my screen name @att.net .
     
  11. canambridge

    canambridge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,649
    Likes Received:
    6
    via TanksinWW2
    Thanks for the class numbers Tiornu, I had great difficulty getting numbers on the boats in each class.
    U.S. subs sank 1153 Japanese merchant ships totaling 4,861,300 tons. 81 IJN vessels of more than 1,000 tons were sunk: 4 CV, 4 CVL/CVE, 1 BB, 3 CA, 9 CL, 38 DD and 23 SS (722,100 tons).
    U.S. subs conducted 1474 patrols, with an average of about 48 days per patrol. On average, there was one Japanese ship sunk per patrol (.945 actually). On average about 10 torpedoes were launched per ship sunk.

    U.S. subs had a loss rate of over 18%, (52 lost of 288, 41 on patrol, although I have another source which says 47) making it one of the most dangerous service arms.
     
  12. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    High Point, North Carolina, USA
    via TanksinWW2
    It was indeed. An American submariner stood a far better chance of getting killed than any surface sailor in the USN, with the exception of aviators.
     
  13. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    11,708
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Luton, UK
    via TanksinWW2
    That was pretty much true for every nation's submarine service though.
     
  14. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    If you were a German sub crewman, your chance of survival was somewhere around 25%....
     
  15. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suomi Finland Perkele
    via TanksinWW2
    I've read somewhere that there was 40000 sub crewmen and 35000 of them didn't came back. I'm not sure if this is correct number. That makes 12.5% survival changes.
     
  16. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    You will see loss rates listed anywhere from about 50% on up. I consulted with GuĂ°mundur Helgason of uboat.net before I settled on my figure.
     
  17. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suomi Finland Perkele
    via TanksinWW2
    I believe he has more knowledge about this matter than I. Actually, I'm sure he has.
     
  18. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    High Point, North Carolina, USA
    via TanksinWW2
    To get back on topic, I believe that the American fleet subs of the GATO and BALAO classes were the best of their type produced by any nation and superior to those of other nations in most categories (torpedoes excepted, of course... :roll: ). Their range, speed, and habitability topped that of any other WW2 sub class, to the best of my knowledge.
     
  19. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    via TanksinWW2
    In range and speed, they were not tops. Habitability is subjective, and it's hard to get a handle on that. The Gatos warrant a comparison with the Type IX, which was Germany's primary ocean-going design.
     
  20. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    High Point, North Carolina, USA
    via TanksinWW2
    Given that the American boats repeatedly crossed the Pacific without refuelling (before the Midway naval base started doing so, of course), I'd give them top nod for range. And I firmly believe that the crews of the American fleet boats enjoyed better living conditions aboard their subs than their opposite numbers in any other of the wartime navies did.
     

Share This Page