This is a very important book, aiding the understanding of how U-Boats evolved into submarines, most WWII U-Boats really being submersible torpedo boats. The term ‘submarine’ has been misused since the first primitive submersible vessels. The snorkel offered the opportunity for a submarine to remain underwater from the start of the voyage to the return to home port. Purists will say that snorkel equipped U-Boats were still not real submarines but, in tactical terms, the snorkel made the submarine. – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: Total Undersea War, The Evolutionary Role Of The Snorkel In Donitz's U-Boat Fleet 1944-1945 FILE: R3248 AUTHOR: Aaron S Hamilton PUBLISHER: Seaforth Publishing, Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £35.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Royal Navy, German Navy, WWII, World War II, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, war at sea, naval architecture, submarines, anti-submarine warfare, U-Boats, propulsion, closed cycle engines, diesel-electric, batteries, battery charging, radar, sonar, submersible torpedo boats ISBN: 978-1-5267-7880-2 PAGES: 416 IMAGE: B3248.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y2o7p6eq LINKS: DESCRIPTION: This is a very important book, aiding the understanding of how U-Boats evolved into submarines, most WWII U-Boats really being submersible torpedo boats. The term 'submarine' has been misused since the first primitive submersible vessels. The snorkel offered the opportunity for a submarine to remain underwater from the start of the voyage to the return to home port. Purists will say that snorkel equipped U-Boats were still not real submarines but, in tactical terms, the snorkel made the submarine. – Most Highly Recommended
The story of the snorkel and attempts to build closed cycle engines has rarely been told and this new book offers a very worthy presentation of how and why the snorkel revolutionised submarine warfare. This very able review of the importance of the snorkel is supported by B&W illustration through the body of the book.
The Germans did not invent the snorkel. The idea of the breathing tube is as old as the idea of the submarine. The Dutch had been experimenting with snorkels for their submarines before the German invasion of the Netherlands. The Germans deserve the credit for refining the idea and applying it in an attempt to reduce U-Boat losses. From their work, every navy operating submarines now uses the snorkel as a standard item of equipment, even on nuclear submarines and other closed-cycle-powered submarines.
At the beginning of WWII, the German Navy was only able to keep a handful of U-Boats at sea, and most were small Type II Coastal Submarines. Even so, they started to make an impact on the progress of the war. Their two major weaknesses were their lack of range and limited underwater capacity. Once submerged, their speed dropped from 17 knots surface maximum to around 5-6 knots submerged. This meant that they had to remain on the surface most of the time to find a target convoy or vessel, shadow it and then get in front to submerge and wait. Once they fired their torpedoes the convoy escorts would come looking for them and a very effective tactic was to keep the submarine under water until breathable air and battery power were exhausted. Many submarines were destroyed by this tactic and it became increasingly effective as radar equipped aircraft could force the submarine to submerge while the hunter killer surface warships arrived to deliver the fatal blows.
The Germans saw the potential for the snorkel to solve this problem by enabling the submarine to change breathable air and charge batteries with only a very small snorkel tip to be exposed to radar. However, the real advantages did not come until the end of WWII as the first Type 21 and Type 23 submarines started to enter service. These warships were equipped with much greater battery capacity, increased torpedo capacity and a streamlined hull with significantly lower noise signature. This started to move the class on from a surface warship with guns, and other drag and noise creators, that could operate at very low speed for a limited period, to a submarine that was faster underwater than on the surface, could remain submerged for very long periods, being was very much harder to locate.