Diesel-Electric

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by AlanJWhite, Jan 27, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: 1. Arrival on Station

    AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    20:15 local time, 28 March

    The muffled roar of the Diesels faltered making the hum from the Electric Motors more audible. In the Captain's cubbyhole, the CO rolled onto his back and his eyes snapped open. His left hand reached for the light switch hanging beside his head but paused as he heard the valves shut and the engines shut down. Moments later he felt the boat begin a shallow dive.

    With a slight smile on his lips, he turned back onto his favored left side and snuggled back under the sheet. His last thought before sleep claimed him again was that he would have to add yet another complimentary remark to his draft for Jimmy's latest evaluation report.

    He did not wake as the sub leveled out at best listening depth and even the repeated turns of the box search were insufficient to disturb him again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  2. Threadmarks: 2. Contact

    AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    21:06 Local Time

    Even in the dim lighting of the control room the First Officer noticed the Sound Operator stiffen in his chair. He moved three steps across to stand behind the skilled rating but did not speak allowing him to concentrate on the faint sound arriving in his headphones. Twenty seconds later the Operator picked up his pencil and scribbled briefly on the top page his notepad. "21:07 HE dis. @ 105 . 1 H?, many others". Without removing his phones the rating glanced back at the Officer and briefly lifted the book off the bench to make sure it could be read clearly before resuming deep concentration on the incoming signal.

    The First Officer turned to look forward at the helmsman's and planesman's stations. The course needle read 265, the speed 4 and depth 60. Near perfect for initial detection in these water but bad for estimating distance and speed of a moving contact. "Helmsman, come left 90 degrees, Planesman maintain speed and depth". Even before turning the wheel the Junior Coxwain acknowledged "Make course 175. Aye sir".

    At his station by the periscope stand, the junior Lieutenant stirred slightly and opened his mouth to speak. The first officer smiled and spoke first. "Mr Barnes, please send to wake up the Captain but we will not call out the full watch quite yet thank you".
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  3. Threadmarks: 3. Second Sight

    AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    21:07 Local Time

    As he pushed back the curtain, the messenger was not at all surprised to find the Captain sitting up on his bed slipping his feet into the canvas yacht shoes he wore while the boat was submerged. Every one from shaft tunnel to Torpedo room knew the Skipper had more than a touch of what his own Gran would have called an dara radharc, no doubt inherited from his mother's side despite being born in India and raised in Scotland.
    He always seemed ready when needed especially if there was a bruion in prospect.

    "First Officer reports distant sound contact to the sou-sou east, sir"

    "Tell him I'll be there directly. Thank you, O'Rourke"

    When the Captain reached the control room, the First Officer and Lt. Barnes were bent over the Map Table starting a paper plot.

    "Well, Jimmy have our expected guests shown up at last?" the Captain spoke lightly but gave his First Officer a look that belied his tone.

    "We can hear someone coming up the driveway, Skipper, but whether it's the invited crowd or an extra delivery of Champagne we can't tell yet".

    The Captain nodded sagely. His second-in-command was just as aware as he was how useful it was to maintain a calm exterior.

    "Let's leave Barnes and the sound crew a few minutes to work up the plot. Anything drinkable in the Tea Urn?"
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  4. Machiavelli Jr Member

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    Ooh, interesting. We could be at any time in the C20th down to about 1970s on the basis of this, but the First Officer sounds a bit Bertie Woosterish - that plus "early adoption of technology" suggests we're before, perhaps well before, OTL WW2.
     
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  5. AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    Reasonable insights and deductions from minimal data. Not dead on for this episode. Hopefully all will slowly become clearer.

    I'm trying for technological plausibility while maintaining anthropological realism. Please feel free to call me out if I fail in either.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  6. Threadmarks: 4. identification

    AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    21:19 local Time

    The Captain and First Officer stood comfortably against the two periscopes, pretending to sip lukewarm tea from their white enameled tin mugs and watched Barnes complete his third set of updates to the plot.

    Barnes turned to them and spoke quietly but clearly. "We have a tentative solution, sir. Only one heavy, perhaps two medium and four light contacts. Currently 12000 yards distant bearing 85. Steering 250 at around 23 knots. Negative zigzag, though the lights are shuffling about a bit. We can refine that in few minutes if you maintain this course and speed."

    "Good work, Barnes. That's close enough for now but keep updating the plot while you can. Call the watch immediately, but quietly. We will be altering course and speed quite soon but no need to chance being heard."

    While Barnes was calling in the full crew over the tannoy rather than the Alert bells, the Captain drew his head closer to his second in command and whispered "Well, what do you make of that Walter?"

    Hearing his given name rather than his formal title or the common nickname given to all first officer's in His Majesties submarines, Lieutenant Commander W. Miles-Elliot knew that this question was one more part of his C.O.s personal version of the Crusher. "Good news and Bad sir. That speed means it cant be the Admiral, so it has to be a valid target. However there are far fewer contacts than intelligence reported. So it may be a second force or the expected one with some having been detached".

    "All true, Walter but perhaps we can deduce more. Going by the radio reports this afternoon, the enemy knew the Admiral was chasing him and was running for home at high speed. 23 knots is fast enough to run from the Admiral's main force but leaves the enemy vulnerable to some of his faster ships. I doubt that speed is one they have chosen of their own freewill, especially with no zigzag. I think someone, probably one of the fly-boys, has lamed the enemy flagship and they have their eyes firmly looking over their shoulders"

    "making him a sitting bird for us!"

    "Perhaps, Walter. Why don't you go plot a sprint to put us 400 yards off their estimated course, a couple of thousand yards ahead of the lead escort."

    21:23 Local Time

    HMS Quetzal turned onto a new course, slid slowly down to 140 feet and accelerated smoothly to 17 knots.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
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  7. Threadmarks: 5. Opening Credits

    AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    21:00 Thursday 20 June 2024, BBC4 on Freeview

    Opening shot - a study in monochrome

    Looking across the mouth of a bay to the headland on the far side
    Grey sky, grey sea, grey rock
    Low scudding cloud, rollers out to sea, seabirds quartering across the bay but no vessels in sight
    A hint of green atop the low and rounded cliffs but no beach or wave-cut platform visible beneath.
    The waters of the bay are obviously deep and somehow ominous.

    Panning left - The cliffs continue, growing slightly lower as we traverse.
    Finally a hint of a cross cut valley, green with fir trees and nearer the shore the first sign of human activity.
    A building with straight sides and a rounded roof along its larger axis.
    No windows at all but on the gable facing the water a pair of large doors as for a barn
    No visible activity in or around the structure but then the ground level partially obscured from this angle.

    Discovery shot - finally a glimpse of the near shore.
    On the narrow stretch of shingle is a small orange and black RIB boat pulled above the high tide mark.
    Sitting on the near gunwale is a tall, rangy fellow dressed in hiking clothes but with yachting shoes on his feet.
    He is looking intently across the bay at the building which he has clearly in view.

    Intro - Turning to face the camera, he smiles and speaks

    "Hello, today we have the privilege to visit one of the most restricted places in Britain.
    We are going to see where the Royal Navy is building one of it's most important and most potent weapons for the twenty-first century"

    Cut to a montage of historical clips:
    paintings of naval fights, a view of HMS Victory in Pompey, Black and white films of a line of Dreadnoughts, Swordfish taking off in atrocious weather.
    No voice or text until a tattered White Ensign whipped by a gale from a battered flagstaff appears
    This is overlain with the simple gold text "The Senior Service" with the second line fading in below "the Royal Navy today"

    Cut to a second montage of modern clips: a frigate, a Carrier with Two control towers, a VTOL jet landing, a Mine Hunter drifting.
    This time with the appropriate sound fading into the lapping of the waves as the POV pans down to the waterline.

    Then an echoing silence as the camera sinks into the twilight of the waters.
    The screen is empty and then at the limit of vision a streamlined shape, just a darker form in the near darkness
    New letters: "Part 3 - Silent Hunters"
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
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  8. Paul_Sussex Well-Known Member

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    Follow-ons to the R-class submarines?
     
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  9. AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    and there was I, thinking I was being so opaque ;)

    If you are busy, you can probably skip the Episode 6 (that I will be posting later today)

    It's working title is "Family Tree" :biggrin:
     
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  10. steamboy Well-Known Member

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    Very intersting and damn well written! I wonder who the SS is stalking.
     
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  11. Paul_Sussex Well-Known Member

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    Skip it? Not a chance! :)
     
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  12. Pangur The Cat Donor

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    quite right
     
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  13. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Hmmm...interesting. If the enemy force is moving at 23 knots, their sonar is degraded, however escorts would be doing alternate sprint/drift to allow for better passive listening, and if this is a force that has been spotted attacked already, and since they are not zig-zagging I would expect active sonar would be used, at least intermittently. Since the boat is in an ambush position, I wonder about them using diesels - unlikely they would have been on the surface and using the schnorkel means they put a lot of sound in the water. A 21st "new" diesel electric sub would have some AIP system, and since they are simply hanging about rather than running fast to get in position, using that would make them quieter. A prudent captain would have charged up his boat fully before the enemy was expected, so he would have maximum time on the AIP. Just saying.

    Diesel-electric subs are really quiet when running electric, especially at low speed to reduce blade noise. When running diesels either on the surface or on snort they are much noisier than nukes...

    watching this.
     
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  14. gatordad699 Well-Known Member

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    Couple of technical things.

    Unless it’s a modern boat with a WAA on the sides or has a towed array out, a boat needs two reference points at different angles to firm up range and distance. It’s just basic trig. Computers do it on modern boats but they still use manual backup. And if it does have an array out, it can’t go faster then 5-10 knots before having to bring it in.

    You said the Target was 12000 yards at 85 degrees heading 250 at 23 knots. 85 degrees is almost directly due South, heading just 20 degrees off of due West. Going 17 knots on the hypotenuse of that triangle will not get you ahead of them.

    Keep an eye on the layer. Don’t know depth of water, but 60 is fairly shallow to be hunting. That’s usually done below the layer. Sometimes you get a convergence zone above though.

    Like the poster above said, watch for the sprint and drift. It’s almost impossible to find a Target that’s just sitting there.

    Watch your baffles for other subs. Best asw is another sub. (If this is fairly modern. WWII not so much)

    If modern, watch out for helos and planes. Helos especially. They drop in out of nowhere.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  15. AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    First and foremost, thanks for reading so attentively and commenting so expertly.
    I will try to address as many of your points as I can.
    as always, ping me back on both style and substance if I get it wrong :confounded:

    Without giving away too many Official Secrets, I can confirm that HMS Quetzal does NOT have AIP.
    However, her run to the search area left her with a good battery charge. You may wonder how, I can not possibly comment (yet).

    Even an hour's box search at shallow depth will not have depleted the charge as much as it might have done for her contemporaries (whenever that might be).

    The point about the layer is well taken but suffice to say the water is shallow and warm and familiar to this crew,
    They have hunted here before... and killed nearby too, more than once :evilsmile:.

    Thanks for the query about the sprint into attack position.
    I very carefully gave only a speed not a course for this move exactly because I could not trust my navigation too much.

    However, while the targets are heading nearly West as you say, they are to the East not the south.
    I tried to make Barnes figures put the targets moving almost exactly into RNs jaws.

    The fast & deep sprint Quetzal made is to avoid the light escorts
    (and to hint at her capabilities for dramatic purposes of course :biggrin:)
     
  16. Threadmarks: 6. Great Grandfather

    AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    Running Time +2:30

    Rear shot of the RIB motoring sedately across the bay, swinging out to approach the building from its gable end.
    Slowly, beyond the helmsman, as the distance decreases the "barn" grows and grows.
    At its base, the two arms of a concrete dock that provide even greater shelter than the bay itself.
    On the left platform are several cranes and other paraphernalia.
    On on the right three figures in working coveralls stand at parade rest by some steps leading up from the water.
    All were dwarfed by the building behind.

    Running Time + 3:45

    "Welcome to the DEN , Mr Rains" said the older of the figures. "I am Rear Admiral Mary Barrow and this is my Engineering Chief, Commander Devonshire. And this is my keeper ... I mean my Flag Lieutenant ... David Vickers".

    "Call me Jonathon" the presenter murmured as he shook each hand in turn
    He stepped to one side and craned his head up to examine the monumental building.
    "Not exactly what most people expect a den to be Admiral!"

    The senior officer smiled and the engineer grinned. "Officially it stands for 'Design and Engineering (North)' but I rather suspect one of my predecessors was a fan of Millwall Football Club. However once a TLA is in place, it's the devil to get it changed!"

    "In any case, come inside Jonathon. Come and meet Artemis ... though I suppose we should not really call her that yet. She won't be properly named for nearly a year, even assuming Devonshire and his crew continue to work their habitual miracles."

    Running Time +42:00

    Rains and Devonshire are on a gantry looking down at the vast shape that occupies the bulk of the main hall.
    Devonshire is speaking quietly but pride in his work and his service glow through like a banked furnace.

    "I realise she looks a mess, chopped up across her spine like a conger eel on the fishmongers counter.
    But the modular construction means we can both prefabricate elsewhere if needed
    AND have greater access when the parts DO arrive here.
    As the Admiral said earlier she'll be buttoned up in 11 months. The first of the 'Improved Astute SSNs' ... "

    he stops and peers sideways at the presenter. "Pardon me for saying but You don't look convinced Jonathon "

    "No, No ... it's not that. The design and engineering and workmanship are breathtaking but well ..
    I've always thought that the RN had rather more experience fighting against submarines than using them.
    In fact that the submarine was traditionally looked on as a bit of an underhand weapon by the RN"

    "Less than the gossip would have you believe, and certainly NOT this lady.
    You see when Artemis is in service she will certainly gobble up any surface targets
    but her main prey is intended to be the other sides submarines. Set a thief to catch a thief as it were!"

    "Oh ... is that a new mission for the Navy?"

    "Hardly that, Jonathon. The RN commissioned it's first dedicated "anti-submarine submarine" in 1918"

    "Over a century ago ... in the Great War?"

    "Yes. We call such ships 'Hunter Killers' now, but the 'R Class' were built for the same mission.
    Why don't you come with me to the wardroom?
    We have some scale models that explain how things developed."

    _______________________________________________________

    Note: I decided to split the next episode into two.
    With a following sea, the remainder will be posted by eight bells of the first watch
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  17. Paulo the Limey Gone Fishin'

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    Very interesting looking tale, and I like the way it is being told. One minor quibble:

    Is the presenter not that well versed in RN ranks?
     
  18. steamboy Well-Known Member

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    And it sounds like the RN's built some kind of big Sub pen like underground/cliffside pen for the DEN.
     
  19. AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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    Authors issue ... originally I had only two staff on the quayside but then decided I needed three for a later scene so Barrow got a field promotion:relievedface: but the sub editor missed a knock on.
     
  20. AlanJWhite extensive reader, occasional poster, tyro author

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