WI:Krigesmarine type xxI

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by HMS queen Elizabeth, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Not as safe as one thinks.

    Yes; it is batty. (^^^) Of the three solutions, NAVOL is probably the easiest and safest to engineer, though not the most accessible to solve chemically (stored pressurized oxygen is.), but even it is insane once a gelled "slightly toxic" monopropellant (Otto fuel) becomes possible.

    RFNA is usually limited at 84% nitric acid with dinitrogen tetroxide (~12-13%) and 1-2 % water plus trace inhibiters to keep it from eating the stainless steel or aluminum storage tank and piping. There are too many stories of accidental venting and the service crew doing the Wiley Coyote and not making it (Soviet safety gear was not the best and also see underlined.) to discount the safety hazards involved.

    Italians knew how to use mines which for them were ASW weapons. They were good at transit analysis and laid ambush minefields accordingly. The Regia Marina gets a bad rep. They were quite an effective navy for what they had and the problems they faced. Some of their solutions were "novel".
     
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  2. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    Which is why I always questioned the wisdom of using high-test peroxide as a propellent on a sub that WILL be attacked at some point...
     
  3. gatordad699 Well-Known Member

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    Having been depth charged 5 times (admittedly not on a WWII boat) I will disagree with this statement. Basically nothing leaked. Warships are engineered for things like shock damage. Stuff is mounted so it will move, but not break.
     
  4. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    Er, not sure what you were doing when it happened, but some of the accounts of being in a U-boat while being attacked are seriously scary.
     
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  5. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    There's a reason the RN nicknamed their two subs Exciter and Exploder... :D
     
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  6. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    Way too many stories of batteries getting soaked in sea water and releasing chlorine gas. Or one U-Boat that underwent something like a 20-hour attack, the entire crew on masks lying in their bunks waiting for the end. Their attackers finally left and they managed to surface, fix up the sub and go home.

    I heard a lot of stories about the problems with high-test peroxide on board these two...
     
  7. PSL Information not passed on is lost.

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    Except the German plan was to load all the Aural in thick plastic bags suspended seawater in the outer hull , with a series of escape hatches to dump any ruptured bag IMMEDIATELY in the event of a problem.
     
  8. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    The hydrogen peroxide still has to be piped into the engine to combust (one solution uses a silver mesh plate as a catalytic element and drive either a piston on a crank shaft or turbine spinner with the working steam and gases at pressure. The corrosive will attack any weak soldered, sintered, or improperly welded or connected pipe coupling with disastrous results.
     
  9. AJE Well-Known Member

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    That seems to be true of any hydrogen peroxide tank, as someone on uboat.net mentioned:

    That could be one problem, but in practice it seems many other problems cropped up with using hydrogen peroxide in submarines. Although there are many stories of HMS Explorer and HMS Excalibur, the most detailed account I know of is in The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945, on page 90 (may be available in the preview). As can be seen, many problems besides corrosion were present:

    The two experimental HTP submarines, HMS Explorer and HMS Excalibur, also suffered from considerable problems once they were commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1956 and 1958. Both submarines were designated primarily as anti-submarine targets, but they were rarely used due to the high cost of HTP. HMS Explorer only managed 22 hours of exercises during its first commission, while HMS Excalibur only achieved 100 hours. They were also unsurprisingly regarded as unsafe. In Explorer, the hydrogen peroxide was fed into a catalyst chamber where oxygen became disassociated from water with a great release of heat. The resulting steam and oxygen were then passed into a combustion chamber where sulphur-free fuel was injected which burnt and considerably raised the temperature. Water was then injected to cool the gas, producing yet more steam, which was then used to drive a turbine. The steam was subsequently condensed in a condenser where carbonic acid was removed and then injected back into the combustion chamber again while the carbonic acid was pumped into the sea. The whole process of starting and running the HTP machinery in Explorer was known as 'fizzing' and to the unwary bystander 'fizzing' in harbor was 'like a preview of doomsday.' The sight of exhaust gases, emerging at speed, towered above the submarine in great plumes of grey smoke, and was accompanied by a roar which shook windows a hundred yards away. When Explorer first 'fizzed' after joining the 3rd Submarine Squadron at Faslane, HMS Adamant's officer of the watch was so convinced that the submarine was about to explode that he called out the fire and emergency party and summoned the local fire brigade.

    The volatile HTP could only be stored in containers and passed through pipes made of 'compatible' materials such as glass, porcelain, PVC, some forms of rubber, certain types of stainless steel, and, for a limited exposure time, aluminum. It reacted vigorously with incompatible materials, such as mild steel, brass, wood, clothing, or human tissue, instantly producing both heat and oxygen- two of the three essentials to establish combustion. On both Explorer and Excalibur the HTP was carried in 54 special bags, outside the submarine's pressure hull. Filling these bags with HTP was a dangerous operation in itself as the bags had a worrying tendency to explode. During sea trials in February 1957, one of Explorer's HTP bags burst, exploded and flooded much of the HTP system with sea water. 'Any small leak in any of the plastic fuel bags needed a docking to change the whole lot,' recalled Michael Wilson, one of Explorer's COs. 'It was VERY frustrating.' Explorer was eventually confined to a small timber jetty a few hundred yards from Adamant and awarded the nickname 'Exploder.'

    At sea, however, HMS Explorer's performance was both impressive and complicated. The HTP propulsion machinery gave short periods of very high underwater speeds. The same weight of hydrogen peroxide provided 35 times the energy that could be stored in an electric battery. But the HTP system suffered from repeated breakdowns and was notoriously unreliable. Those in charge of operating and maintaining it resorted to unusual practices to carefully nurture the equipment. 'If I, as Engineer Officer, failed to do my usual rounds and do my daily obeisances, the turbines would not perform' remembered John Pratt (hereafter referred to under his pen name, John Winton), one of the specially trained and highly attuned engineers who served on board HMS Explorer. 'They would not, in any case, perform on Sundays or holy days; break-downs on those days happened too often to be coincidence. Once, after we had slogged for 36 hours into a raging Atlantic gale, neither turbine would start. Later, I checked and found it was Yom Kippur.' It sometimes took weeks for Explorer to accept a new operator and superstition was widespread. Some members of the ship's company were forbidden to move aft of the Control Room bulkhead while Explorer was 'fizzing' because of the so-called 'evil eye' effect. Despite the dangers inherent in operating both Excalibur and Explorer, their crews grew very fond of the two submarines. 'We did not look upon her as being dangerous. The crew took the bangs and fires as a matter of course,' recalled another of Explorer's COs, Commander Christopher Russell.

    One of the most dangerous incidents on board HMS Explorer occurred on 5 October 1961, off the Mull of Kintyre. Explorer was fizzing on the surface, acting as a target for another, dived submarine. 'It was the first "fizz" of the day, indeed the first for many days, after lengthy and exhausting repairs,' wrote Winton. 'There was much jubilation on the turbine platform when both turbines got under way and settled down to the required r.p.m. with only the minimum of bangs and alarms. It seemed that for once we were going to have a good day.' After 15 minutes' fizzing, the watch keepers in the Control Room became concerned about the volume of smoke pouring down the conning tower. The First Lieutenant, a new arrival, was standing at the foot of the tower ladder with painful eyes, struggling to catch his breath. He mistakenly assumed that the smoke was a normal occurrence in Explorer, having heard that anything was possible as far as HTP was concerned.

    As carbon dioxide poured into the submarine the equipment designed to measure the gas content showed such unprecedented results that all 3 indicators were reported as defective. 'Looking back now, it does seem that I was extraordinarily slow to take the point which was being hammered in on me from all sides,' reflected Winton. But he, along with the rest of the crew inside the submarine, was suffering from the effects of carbon dioxide poisoning: headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Their judgment and reasoning were also impaired. As he recalled:

    I myself felt perfectly fit, although one or two men around me were screwing up their eyes in concentration and complaining of slight headaches. But there seemed no reason to stop the turbines. It cost our department so many back-breaking man hours to maintain them, and we had to overcome so much 'bad joss' to start them, that subconsciously we all must have resisted the idea of stopping the turbines unnecessarily or prematurely.'

    Explorer's CO was with the Navigating Officer on the bridge, where there was no sign or smell of gas. When he descended into the submarine he found a Control Room that was full of smoke and a number of crew members asking to be relieved. The CO immediately ordered a full stop and evacuated the submarine, and as the crew clambered onto the casing some were very sick. Others lay face down on the casing, their foreheads pressed into their fists. A few just sat, looking bewildered. HMS Explorer was decommissioned in June 1963, followed by HMS Excalibur in May 1964.

    There is a general overview of all hydrogen peroxide development as a fuel here, mostly detailing Germany's many projects based on Hellmuth Walther's research. Note that although the diagram of HMS Explorer's propulsion system on page 20 is illegible because of the criminal way they scanned that into a PDF, it seems to be the same diagram as on the bottom of page 3 on this PDF.
     
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  10. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    Given the panic the Allies felt when they encountered Type XXIs OTL, I'd say an earlier exposure would (reasonably) be mightily serious. Allied ASW had no platforms to track really fast U-boats; they needed helos capable of lifting a 600pd (or so) DC. (TSR might, just, do the job; it could also carry a faster *Mk24, which would be the ideal response.) A better *FIDO would need to be faster by about double, & would need to overcome the self-noise issue, unless active sonar is used. Improved Hedgehog (Mousetrap?) would be too short-ranged to be useful; it'd need to be *ASROC. Faster-sinking a/c DCs sound good, but localizing the target ain't nearly so easy as it's been made out, so I'm dubious. Corvettes would, at a stroke, be obsolete; they'd be too slow: every slow convoy would be defenseless, since RCN (which was doing the duty) was incapable of operating DDs...

    Were the OTL Type XXIs buggy & over-complicated? Yes. "Revolutionary" might be too strong, since the Type IX's pressure hull could just as well have been fitted with a more-streamlined casing, more battery capacity, & more hp, along with better (bow & stern array?) sonars & such, without the auto-loading torpedo rig & other kludge. The udw endurance at 17kt need not be high; a sprint of a couple of minutes would put a boat out of range of a DC-dropping DD or a/c (or an OTL FIDO-dropping a/c) quite nicely. (Doing this wasn't uncommon for USN boats, which didn't have unlimited battery capacity, either--& were barely half as fast udw.)

    Would this win the war for Germany? No. Would it delay things long enough for sunrise over Dresden? I'd say so: from May to August 1945 ain't long at all..

    Of course, the change in available shipping might happen at an opportune moment & cause Winston & Co to rethink invading Italy, which was a singularly stupid idea, & divert the wasted shipping to supplying an invasion buildup & end up with it going off more/less on OTL schedule...

    Or MacArthur could be reined in, & shipping & LCs found that otherwise went to PTO/SWPA.

    Got to see the whole board...

    Sounds lovely, but where are you getting the hp from? Especially since you need a lot more much faster escorts...& there were already shortages of diesels for DEs OTL, which were selected because of shortages in turbine plants OTL...

    Got to see the whole board...
    The problem with Squalus (& IIRC Sturgeon before her) wasn't the control system, it was the main induction valve, which didn't fail safe when it didn't close correctly. (If there's also an issue with the Xmas Tree showing it shut when it wasn't, I'm unaware of it--but I wouldn't rule it out; I've read about a similar problem attaching to the conn hatch.)

    That said, it appears the designers of all U-boats deserved court martial.:eek::mad: (I have no qualms; sailors are sailors, & they deserved better.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  11. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    39,000 on two shafts... Let's see Fairbanks-Morse 38TD8-1/8-12 at 2,600 kW each, that means 16 diesel motor generators supplying ~ 19,500 kW to one each Westinghouse Brushed DC motor per shaft.

    That works. US production requirement? 500 Westinghouse motors and 1600 additional diesel-electric motor generator sets. For a nation building 10,000 locomotives between 1941 and 1945? How hard is it to add 1600-3200 more motor generator sets to a production requirement for 20,000 motor generators?

    Might want to file that away for future use?

    Your problem as solved is that the subs cannot chase a freighter going that fast: not even atomic boats! As for diesels?

    The main induction valve unseated and jammed. It had to be totally redesigned. I mean that the Christmas Tree (invented after as a safety measure) did not exist as an immediate fault path indicator to tell the crew where to go to manually fix the casualty. The British (and the Germans) never fixed their own main induction faults which they designed into the T class and the Type VIIs and Type IXs, respectively, which probably caused the loss of at least eight British and one Israeli boat as well as dozens of German boats.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  12. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    And a bare hull which can't go to sea because there are no engines for it is a waste of steel, so it's effectively sunk before it's launched, which was kinda the point... It doesn't matter how notionally fast it is, or if a U-boat can notionally catch it, if it's left incomplete.
    Yes, I knew that part.
    :eek::eek: That astounds me.:mad:
     
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  13. AJE Well-Known Member

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    You can always make a submarine go as fast as a surface ship as long as you're willing to add more tonnage to the ship and fill that tonnage with diesels and batteries (or reactors and turbines); submarines obey the same laws of speed and economies of scale as ships do. It won't see much, but neither will the ships it's hunting/being hunted by at that speed.

    The problem in WWII is diesels (for both really fast submarines and merchant ships); those 10,000 locomotives you mentioned the US built were almost all steam-powered. With the exception of a few diesel RSD-1 locomotives for Lend-Lease on the Persian Corridor, all diesel locomotive production was stopped in WWII because all diesels were reserved for LSTs (and even then there weren't enough diesels as the Mark 3 LSTs had to be built with steam turbines).

    That being said, the problem with German submarines in the Battle of the Atlantic was unrelated to the actual submarines they used and more to their organization and equipment. Therefore these submarines would not change much in the war. But that does not mean that submarine warfare is always doomed against a navy that has good ASW and merchant ship designs. In my opinion, against a submarine force whose technology, leadership, and organization is equal to its opponents (obviously this does not describe Nazi Germany), there is no counter. A navy will lose its merchant fleet against submarines without some technological, leadership, or organizational advantage over and above what its opponent has (and will have) in a war; in cases of complete parity the submarine is superior to its countermeasures.
     
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  14. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    The solution is sprint and drift for surface ship and sub. Guess which WW II one is noisier when it sprints? The passive sonobuoy loves a speedy WW II sub.

    Granted, but a nation that can produce 1,000,000 aero engines will be able to produce 20,000 diesels easily if they see the need. The industrial decisions to go steam powered locomotive was wonky in some respects, but based on the realistic fact that the American homeland had coal out the wazoo. Persia was an area where the fuel option was heavy oil or diesel fuel. So the Americans built diesel locomotives for that place. The Russians as a consequence STOLE a Fairbanks Morse powered American built diesel locomotive in Iran and reverse engineered it. I believe their version was the TE2?

    The point being that the Americans could build as many diesels as they wanted, but for reasons of industrial common sense, chose to concentrate on turbines for warships, and quintuple expansion steam engines for liberty ships.

    That was a test case for the Pacific and I disagree that technological parity is that critical. The Japanese submarine service started out with better launch platforms and superior torpedoes to the American one. It lost to the USN. The reason for the Japanese submarine service defeat was incompetent leadership and wrong doctrine; not technology. The Americans, if they had been given I-boats and Japanese torpedoes would have done better after their own year of failure, but that is because the technology would work properly, once they figured out how to fight a submarine campaign. It is not technology per se, as human factors. Organization, yes certainly. Equipment if it works helps, but not so much, as doctrine and leadership does. The human factors are absolutely critical to success. Submarine leadership from boat division on up to the force commanders is the key. Lockwood and the much maligned Christie were an order of magnitude superior in those qualities to Braindead Takagi (Japanese 6th Fleet) and Herr Admiral Doenitz. How can one explain the idiocy of a German admiral who refuses to believe his line officers that the British have airborne look down radar? The Luftwaffe had lookdown radar. The American example, for this lunacy, is the Japanese have HUFF DUFF and magnetic anomaly detectors, Uncle Chuck. What did Lockwood do? Change tactics with the SJ and figured out a way to fox MAD; just as he solved the torpedo problem.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  15. AJE Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure even a WWII submarine is quieter than a surface ship. Surface ships have seemingly no consideration given to sonar noise whatsoever (except minesweepers and mine hunters, those ships sometimes had diesels quieter than any submarine diesels of the day).

    Yes, but unlike the Japanese, the Germans did fail for mainly technological reasons. The main reasons for the Battle of the Atlantic being lost in mid-1943 were that their codes had been broken, that HF/DF was employed by the Allies, and that the Germans failed to implement radar warning receivers for 10 cm and 3 cm radars in a timely manner. Those technologies were not matched by Germany and the German military had no knowledge of the first 2 technologies at all, making it that much worse for them. Had Germany nullified those 3 disadvantages by either making proper countermeasures or by using the same technologies against the Allies, they would have continued to cause massive damage to Allied convoys through to the end of the war and not fully lost the Battle of the Atlantic, without changes in organization or leadership.

    Now it is true that those 3 technological failures were the result of abysmal organization and leadership in Germany's research and development, but by that standard everything is due to human factors, and the statement that human factors are critical would be pointless. If anything was a technological factor, it was those 3 that caused Germany to lose the Battle of the Atlantic.
     
  16. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    You could not tell by either I Boat or TYpe VII, whose screw noises were loud enough to silence shocked sex-starved shrimp.

    Codes were broken by poor op-sec, poor communications doctrine, and by human beings. SIGABA held. It was not for want of Axis trying and in spite of American incompetence (MacArthur).

    Everyone, including the Germans to track Allied convoys, used HUFF/DUFF. It relied on incompetent human beings (your enemy) not getting it through their thick skulls to stay off the radio and use radar sparingly. The Japanese were as good at HUFF/DUFF as the British. The USN joined MacArthur in not being able to keep off the 133 MHz. Idiots.

    The Germans in the Luftwaffe sure knew about centimetric radar and how to zero in on Lancasters that used it. What was the Kriegsmarine's problem again?

    See above the human factors at work. :)
     
  17. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    I continue to think you're over-estimating how easy it is to translate detection into attack. It's not like that sonar contact is a fixed target, especially if it's a U-boat trying her damnedest to avoid detection. Using FIDO ahead & astern sounds good, until you realize the "ahead" shot is presuming the sub won't change direction on hearing torpedo screws, & then it's a chase--& we're back to *FIDO having to be a lot faster. There's a reason it took helos to track & attack fast (nuke) boats--& many of the same problems attach to attacking Type XXIs.
    And what won't be built? Or supplied? How many of the diesel DEs don't get built if those engines are going into *Supervictory ships? (I wonder if it's possible to build bigger corvettes, powered by more of he existing triple-expansion engines; impractical?)
    With this, I totally agree--& it's because I do, I don't believe the Type XXI would ever happen. BdU was convinced (with reason!) they were winning, & Dönitz was indifferent (if not actively hostile) to technological innovations like the Type XXI represented (never mind the torpedo-loading kludge). Dönitz believed he didn't need better boats, & until late 1942 or early 1943, he really didn't, & by then, it was too late.

    Dönitz changing tracks to win without Type XXIs is possible--but another thread...
    I have to disagree. The Germans knew about HF/DF, but didn't believe the Allies could make it work fast enough, let along fit it in ships. The Brits disabused them of that notion. IMO, the value of KM Enigma is overblown. (Given how stupid Dönitz was about comsec,:eek: the Brits hardly needed it.:rolleyes:) And Bomber Command gave the Germans two major gimmies on ASV: keeping it out of Coastal Command's hands, & having it captured by Germany on its first operational mission.:eek::rolleyes: (That's not counting misuse of a/c.)

    I'd like to hear comment on the general proposition on use of Type XXIs. I picture 5-6 surrounding a convoy, rushing in to shoot, then run, with corvettes unable to defend or successfully pursue--even being able to hear them on approach, or "escape", doesn't mean you can be close enough to shoot them with *Hedgehog or *Mousetrap. Putting a/c on them presumes you've got them airborne at all times, & have sonobuoys deployed; what happens when the U-boats are waiting for you off Halifax? That sounds like an easy ambush, to me, where the U-boats get away clean (or comparatively). How much ground can a Type XXI cover in the time between DD sonar detection & TSR overhead (if it has to be launched, first)? How big a circle will a TSR have to search if sonobuoy detects a transient "close", & how far can (will) a Type XXI travel in that time, before *FIDO is remotely in range? IDK, but I don't think it's anything like as easy as it looks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  18. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    a. Nuke boats don't run flat in 30 minutes.
    b. A fast Type 21 is as deaf as a post behind; so the chaser fish is an unknown and will chase in kind of unnoticed as the forward threat becomes the main concern. IF it, the Type 21, turns, (FIDO was quiet; it had to be.) once it hears screws ahead, it cuts its own speed by 40% and/or traps itself in a corkscrew down that it has to break out of due to sail induced banking. It also presents a broadside aspect for almost 50 seconds. That is a long time to be slowed and vulnerable to a torpedo that is tactically practically as fast as your are and can turn much tighter without that inverted keel board type effect. If anything I would say I underestimate Allied ASW forces in this exercise.

    I don't like reciprocating steam engines because they put an easy sound trace into the surface duct alerting the enemy that interferes with own hull mounted sonar. NTW about diesel powered escorts either, but WTH? Ideal is steam turbines with electric drive. But that gets us into problems with turbine manufacture that is more difficult by 1/2 order of magnitude than diesels. US manufacture logic? Put a muffler on it, cross fingers and hope it works. And why not make some of those cockamamie Supervictories into ASW support platforms?

    Empire Mersey

    [​IMG]

    Hi! I flew in 1942.

    Yup.
    Ditto. Yup.

    About 8,000 meters at best tactical speed of 8 m/s. Not fast enough to outrun four Mr. R-4s. Splash, splash, splash, splash ... BOOM. The British were very excited about Mister Sikorsky's toy.
     
  19. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    I'm less convinced a sub crew is going to ignore the "deaf zone" dead astern, especially if they hear torpedo screws, & a turn away from one ahead puts the stern chaser "in view" for the sub's HE--& a run from 1 is a run from both, unless the sub turns 180, which has to be pretty stupid...:eek: I'm presuming both are passive homers, which may be mistaken, so a broadside isn't such a big deal.
    I was after that as a "quick & dirty" answer to shortages of diesel &/or turbine; if not...
    I had the same idea, actually.;) (I just neglected to offer it.:oops:) Only a "flat spot" would really be needed. (For operations in worse weather, what are the odds the RCN boys think of the *Beartrap hauldown in '43-4?:cool::cool: ).

    Drawback is, the R-4 can't lift a 600pd DC, never mind a 1000+pd *FIDO 2. Now, an *R-5 or *R-6, with 600hp (or so) R1340 would do nicely (at risk of sacrificing some T-6s or something, presuming spare capacity for R1340s couldn't be found; strip out some older T-6s, at need?).
    That would do it. It would also eliminate the CVE as a type, & probably see the retirement of TSRs, too. (Not long before the *R-5½ ( :openedeyewink: ) is doing plane guard duty...& maybe a Canadian helo-building licence?:cool: )
     
  20. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    a. Your typical U-boat in hunting convoys is shallow.
    b. (^^^) Just might work but I was thinking of contact detonated sink grenades..



    [​IMG]

    Hi! You need to rush me into service if I am to drop fish. I first flew in 1945, but was not really reliable until 1948.