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German mini subs were they effective

Discussion in 'Germany at Sea!' started by Prospero Quevedo, Jun 28, 2021.

  1. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I read that the Germans built two thousand mini subs training young men almost boys to crew them. Launched 600 to devastate English shipping. Only sinking one merchantman and damaged two and only a small handful returning. Seems a high price for one ship. Always makes me wonder if the channel floor and the southern coast is littered with hundreds of derelict subs. Were they actually that ineffective. The italians had some success. The British tried to use minis against the Tripitz but.failed. Japan built a bunch but I don't think they did well.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Germans at one time put the glass cover floating in hundreds and ällied were. For. A second in chaos.

    From SKORZENY MEMOIRS
     
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...I didn't think any mini-subs were ''effective''--as in a game changer ..depends how you define ''effective''
     
  4. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I'm not saying they had to be a game changer but it says they built like two thousand of them various models. Sent out like six hundred only a handful making it back and they only sank one merchantman and damaged three. That's a pretty poor showing, but yes all countries that built mini subs in any number had very poor results. The Italians were the only ones to had any real success though the mini subs they used were more like manned torpedos if I remember correctly. The Japanese built a good number but didn't seem to have much success with theirs as well. Anyway seems like a huge waste of resources and men for the Germans and like what happened to those almost six hundred subs there's very few accounting of them a few where sunk by British patrol ships but the vast majority just disappeared. That's why I said I wonder if the channel and bottom near the British shores are littered with hundreds of these subs. Their always finding or salvaging uboats why don't they look for some of these guys. Lol, maybe they can bring up that giant crane they lost.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    German mini-subs, not including the various manned torpedoes, sank 15, mostly small, vessels for about 17,700 tons, and damaged 5 large ships for 105 (35 2-man & 70 1-man) lost mini-subs.


    Most of the mini-subs were hampered by a short range and required calm seas for conducting attacks. Given their restrictions and lack of parent vessels capable of transporting them to more profitable hunting grounds, they were about as successful an they could be.


    The manned torpedoes had less success with higher losses.

    A good place to start looking for information is here.
    Midget submarines - U-boat Types - German U-boats of WWII - Kriegsmarine - uboat.net
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think they had their best resultts when Dönitz ordedere them as Hitler said that when the invasion is imminent all the Ktiegrmarine attacks the invasion fleet.All th Kriegsmarine boats at once!!
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The invasion was too early for the mini-subs(not seeing action until August, 1944). While the manned torpedoes did participate, but not until early July, 1944. Although the manned torpedoes met with some success, sinking a Liberty Ship & some smaller vessels, and damaging an old British cruiser that had been transferred to Poland(ORP Dragon) which was not deemed worth repairing and scuttled as a breakwater. On the nights of 15-16 August & 16-17 August, 1944, they also torpedoed the hulk of the old French battleship Courbet, which had been sunk as a breakwater on June 9, 1944 - So, no loss to the Allies there.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    24 production models were ordered as a first batch out of an eventual run of 324. Deliveries throughout 1944 comprised three units in May, six in June, nineteen in July, 50 (fifty) in August, 117 (one hundred and seventeen ) in September, 73 (seventy three) in October and 56 (fifty six) in November. Some components destroyed by air raids on Kiel but on the whole Allied bombing failed to disrupt production.

    Biber (Beaver) - Midget Submarines - German U-boats of WWII - Kriegsmarine - uboat.nett
    Could the troops have prototypes among`Skorzeny , like said, send mini sub cupolas instead od true subs and created a panic among the allied boats.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Skorzeny was busy with the Neger manned torpedoes in late April, 1944 attacking the Anzio beachhead.
     
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  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Anyway, Anzio or elsewhere, Skorzeny remembered putting out tens of cupolas only, and making havoc that way among the enemy troops in his memoirs.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Very propably the same info as above:

    Neger ( Negro)



    These boats were used against the allied invasion fleet off Normandy during two occasions before the allied breakout on land forced them to be relocated out of range of Normandy in early July 1944. The 40-strong Neger flotilla operated from Favrol Woods (west of Honfleur) and on 5 July 26 of them attacked the invasion fleet but of the 24 who attempted an atttack only 9 survived, having sunk 2 small British minesweepers, the HMS Magic and HMS Cato.
    The second attack was on the night of July 7/8 was carried out by 21 Neger boats, as the night was clear and moonlit and the boats sailed awash all of them were spotted and destroyed both by aircraft and A/S vessels. This attack resulted in the sinking of the minesweeper HMS Pylades and the damaging of the Free Polish cruiser Dragon which was later scuttled to form the Goodeberry breakwater of Normandy.

    Neger (Negro) - Midget Submarines - German U-boats of WWII - Kriegsmarine - uboat.net

    I recall now that Skorzeny was on a mission in Hungary bout the samee time.

    In October 1944, Hitler sent Skorzeny to Hungary after receiving word that the Regent of Hungary, Admiral Miklós Horthy, was secretly negotiating with the Red Army. The surrender of Hungary would have cut off the million German troops still fighting in the Balkan peninsula.
    Otto Skorzeny - Wikipedia
     
  12. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    The Germans must have thought they could capitalize on the use of mini subs but they just didn't pan out the wat they wanted. Part I think that they were too late in the war to make a big difference and the lack of good training of the men who crewed them. It said that most were not even sailors most were young volunteers that we're giving a quick training course and sent on missions many never returning. Germany built over two thousand of various models and were developing more new improved models trying to increase the endurance and speed. However most were still in the prototype stages when the war ended. That had such a poor result would it have been better to have used that steel to build more other needed machines such as tanks or anti tank guns.
     
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  13. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Last ditch half-measure stuff is a poor substitute for regular weaponry.

    OK, panzerfaust is an exception. Even the Soviets eagerly pressed them into service.
     
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  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Mini subs and manned torpedoes are good for point defense of ports & harbors, but lack range for anything else.

    As to crew training, well it is hard enough for a trained skipper to hit a maneuvering target. Although, the Germans were probably counting on surprise to get close enough to a target to guarantee a hit. Couple this with poor periscope optics and no TDC or German equivalent and you are firing by guess and by God. Not to mention the poor engine ventilation of the manned torpedoes, which killed a share of the pilots by CO2 poisoning.


    The problem is that surprise only works for the first few missions, the the weapon is known to the defenders and countermeasures taken. Given that most manned torpedoes could not dive and the plexiglass cupola was easily spotted from the air(or from sea in the requisite calm condition the manned torpedoes needed), a ready defender can wipe out the attackers.


    No, the mini subs and manned torpedoes used very little steel(certainly not armor quality steel) and with a crew of 1 to 3 required little manpower draw. Further, there was little that was technically complicated in the designs, so the did not need the man hours to produce a tank.

    As to regular submarines, the result is the even greater. It is asymmetric warfare...Think of all the destroyers, escort carriers, destroyer escorts, corvettes, frigates, etc. that the Allies produced to counter the U-Boat threat, then add to that all the aircraft & crews that went to counter the threat. It cost the Allies far more to defend against U-Boats then it cost the Germans to build them. Then, think if the Allies put all that steel, men, man hours, etc. into producing & crewing tanks, artillery, AT guns, etc. Besides using all of those ASW aircraft to attack land targets.

    Without U-Boats, Germany is far worse off t hen she was with them.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I guess mostly you mean the old sunken ships next to landing areas as they would block the minisubs from reaching their target?
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Think of it as an "added benefit." The sunken ships & Phoenix Breakwaters was to create just that a breakwater around the Mulberry Harbors.

    A breakwater makes it easier to unload the vessels in the harbor
    [​IMG]
    Choppy on the ocean side, calm on the harbor side.
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    No. I think it was a very good idea wherever used. Nothing against it, on the contrary..
     
  18. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I also read that a number of crews were lost due to poor or malfunctioning air systems that's a rotten way to go. Germany had by far the most mini subs, England , France, Japan, Italy and others built some. The US didn't develope interest in them till after the war for deep sea rescue and wreck and undersea exploration and small transport subs for special operations.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I have
    Not crunched the numbers, but Japan was probably equal in mini subs and manned torpedoes if you factor in the late war Kaiten construction, possibly surpassing German with those numbers.

    The US was not interested in mini subs because of the great distance needed to transport them any where they could be used effectively. For that matter, they had little interest in constructing submarines similar to the Type VII, because of limited operational functionality against Japan.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I guess the fear they created was the biggest weapon, not the true military threat.
     

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