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Author Topic: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?  (Read 2861 times)

Offline covert_shores

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British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« on: November 22, 2017, 11:58:00 am »
I am reasonably familiar with axis submarine projects, built and unbuilt, c1945. We're there any interesting British or American projects at this time beyond the typical A-Class and Fleet Boats?

From what I've read it seems that the allies were content to build large numbers of relatively conventional boats whereas the desperate situation drove axis powers to innovate more?

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Offline Hobbes

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 12:02:40 pm »
There were the British experiments with HTP-powered submarines (first a salvaged German vessel, later the Explorer class)

Offline Avimimus

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 04:06:48 pm »
The allies had superiority in surface vessels (and arguably invested in better fire-control systems etc.) whereas the Germans had to invest in trying to keep their submarines viable. They had plenty of targets too in the form of convoys, whereas the allies had occasional merchants and the rare chance of encountering a capital vessel - much less challenging targets.

There may be something about German engineering/procurement culture that lead to an often unwise willingness to embrace radical engineering solutions (e.g. VS-5 Versuchs Schnellboot and the Untersee-Gleitflächen-Schnellboot Manta if the latter is real). In comparison to some concepts the Type XXI was relatively orthodox and low development risk.

Offline covert_shores

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 11:15:55 pm »
There were the British experiments with HTP-powered submarines (first a salvaged German vessel, later the Explorer class)
i thought the British (and American and Soviet) flirtation with HTP was all after the war?
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Offline Hobbes

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 11:33:10 pm »
True. I assumed you meant 'from 1945 onward' instead.

Offline devarts

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 01:21:31 pm »
Polmar's Cold War Submarines has some information on the early history of US interest in nuclear propulsion, which began even before the war.

Offline royabulgaf

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 05:45:00 pm »
Avimimus- You hit the nail on the head.  German engineering was always "why use a sheet metal stamping when two precision machined pieces work just as well?"  The perfect is the enemy of the good enough.

Offline DWG

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2017, 06:28:48 pm »
There may be something about German engineering/procurement culture

I suspect more the political aspect at the top of the procurement tree. There were so many odd beliefs among the Nazi hierarchy that Speer stands out because he was so comparatively normal. And one man can only do so much. The factionalism amongst the Nazis that led to organizational bizarrities like Fallschirm Panzer Division Hermann Goering as a Luftwaffe unit, encouraged the party barons to develop parallel armaments capabilities, with vulnerabilities to being sold technical weirdness.

Essential question when looking at the weirder projects: who was it for, and who was backing it or would build it?

Offline Hood

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 02:46:44 am »
Near the end of the war thoughts in the Admiralty were turning to future submarines.
The 1944 Estimates included provision for three Improved A Class subs and the 1945 Estimates included one experimental submarine.

In January 1945 the Improved A was being sketched out. It would be optimised for submerged performance with streamlining and featured updated equipment, an improved snort, a bigger control room and more torpedo loading space.
By July 1945 the design was diverging from the A origins; a 1,800 ton design with a novel snort (not sure what made it novel) and high-capacity batteries enabling 13-14kts submerged, two shafts were chosen and the stern torpedo tubes were removed to improve the hydrodynamics.
Then in September 1945 the focus was put onto using HTP turbines. The design becoming the B1; 1,700 tons, 21kts submerged for 6 hours with a nominal 6,000shp per shaft. The powerplant was affected by depth due to back-pressure effects, so the 12,500shp powerplant at shallow depths would only produce 9,300shp at 330ft submerged. It was planned to have the first boat completed in 1950. It seems possible that twelve of these subs were ultimately planned in post-war planning but they were cancelled in 1949, though its possible work carried on as D.K. Brown has the drawings may have been completed in 1951.

The 1945 Experimental submarine was based on the B1 but was planned to reach 25kts as no military equipment would be fitted. The powerplant would be either a twin 2,500shp set reproducing the catured  Type XVIIA set as fitted to U-1407 or a single 7,500shp set from the Type XVIII. From this work progressed onto the E1, the Explorer Class, that were eventually built.

There might be another couple of designs out there, its possible there is a C or D design (assuming the 1945 Experimental was either C or D but not both).

Offline Kadija_Man

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2017, 08:57:33 pm »
Try the Wiki page on the Amphion-class submarines.  It will provide a good starting point.

Offline ninjrk

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2017, 08:04:24 am »
I've always assumed that submarines like the Type XXI and I-201 classes were the result of an enemy with overwhelming anti-submarine capability.  The British and Americans had reliable and effective submarines and they could spend the vast majority of their time on the surface with little risk.  The Germans and Japanese had to either think outside the box or just cancel their submarine program.  The type IX and VII's showed that despite Germany's reputation for over-engineering they could come up with solid, robust designs as well.

Offline ceccherini

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2017, 05:26:13 am »
I've always assumed that submarines like the Type XXI and I-201 classes were the result of an enemy with overwhelming anti-submarine capability.  The British and Americans had reliable and effective submarines and they could spend the vast majority of their time on the surface with little risk.  The Germans and Japanese had to either think outside the box or just cancel their submarine program.  The type IX and VII's showed that despite Germany's reputation for over-engineering they could come up with solid, robust designs as well.
What's extremely interesting is how germans and japanese came to similar designs in a similar time frame, one indipendent from other trough a very different development path: japanese started development of streamlined electrical boat in late '30 with no.71 prototype while german ideas about boats  with  great electrical capacity came after problems in making the walter closed cycle turbine an operational system

Offline Avimimus

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2017, 03:01:10 pm »

Another interesting facet of this: The Royal Navy built a number of relatively radical and advanced submarines during the first world war (arguably more innovative than their German counterparts).

So, that might be worth attempts to explain. :)

Offline Hood

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2017, 02:47:56 am »
I think it was probably the war that disrupted efforts.
D.K. Brown points out that the T, S and U class designs were good but ageing in concept even by 1939. Submarines had been a low priority before the war and so effort was kept to the minimum.

Work on noise reduction began in 1937 but standardised flexible mounts didn't appear until the ARL got involved in early 1944, the A's to be the first to benefit and being designed to limit their machinery noises from being heard beyond 500 yards. The T and S classes also benefited and had improved shock proofing too. Brown states British submarines may have been the quietest during the war, so advances were made but in less visible ways. The Germans and Japanese went for greater speed but didn't give as much thought to noise. You could argue speed was more effective if you could outrun surface escorts (until the advent of ahead-firing mortars and rockets anyway) but avoiding detection avoided the need to run at high speed to get away.

The Admiralty didn't ignore speed, HMS Seraph being quite quickly modified to produce 12.5kts submerged rather than 8.8kts during 1944. So the effort could have been made but it was felt the loss of surface performance, lack of a gun and increased diving time outweighed the benefits of high submerged speed.

Offline Kadija_Man

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Re: British and American advanced. sub designs c1945?
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2017, 09:02:51 pm »
I wonder how much of that preference came about because of the poor performance of the K-boats in WWI?   They had excellent surface speed but being steam powered, took an inordinate amount of time to dive and their poor surface keeping was legendary.   No doubt the experiences with that and the succeeding M-class boats no doubt colour RN perceptions on what they wanted in a "proper" submarine...