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Big Gun submarines

Boxman

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covert_shores said:
HMS X-1 (not an X-Craft!!!) built in 1920s. The guns were only 5.2" but mounted in twin enclosed turrets. For a time she was the largest submarine in the world. Very cool boat.

The British K-Class is also worth a look in, definitely cruiser submarines although the guns are less big.
Here is almost nine minutes of British Pathe newsreel footage of the Royal Navy's "submarine cruiser" HMS X.1 at sea, circa 1925.

YouTube: British Pathé - "The Undersea Battleship Arrives (1925)" - FILM ID:372.09
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-QQtjqYo6Q
 

Foo Fighter

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K class were 'fleet' boats, not cruiser submarines. Their task was screening the surface ships. Stick to 'M' class.

Not having a go at anyone, pointing out an error is all.
 

Kevin Renner

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I've wondered if it would of been possible to mount a self contained rocket launch system using the shore bombardment rockets employed in WWII amphibious landings on a Gato Class and use them for attacking Japanese held islands with the object of targeting airfields. If possible it would be a lot cheaper than employing a carrier with it's surface group. Fire off the rockets. Submerge, cast off the rocket pod and let it sink. The sub then goes off to do what subs do.
 

GWrecks

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Kevin Renner said:
I've wondered if it would of been possible to mount a self contained rocket launch system using the shore bombardment rockets employed in WWII amphibious landings on a Gato Class and use them for attacking Japanese held islands with the object of targeting airfields. If possible it would be a lot cheaper than employing a carrier with it's surface group. Fire off the rockets. Submerge, cast off the rocket pod and let it sink. The sub then goes off to do what subs do.
Didn't that one Soviet amphibious assault submarine have a bunch of rocket tubes for shore bombardment?

I forget the source that said that, though. GlobalSecurity maybe?

EDIT: Think it was Project 621 - the first well-known amphibious assault submarine proposal.
 

Grey Havoc

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Wurger said:
How is your mastery of the beatiful italian language? Please read:

http://www.marina.difesa.it/conosciamoci/editoria/marivista/Documents/2011/12_dicembre/breve_storia_del_sommergibile_cannoniere.pdf

Any appreciation of artillery submarines would be extremely incomplete if the german examples (and there are plenty) weren`t mentioned. Mind especially pages 53 to 58, with a proposed U-Kreuzer (more than 7000 tons) with two single turrets, each with a 210mm cannon. It stemmed from Professor Oswald Flamm who, besides submarines, designed torpedos. It was to have a trilobed hull, a simplification of it (lazy 8) being present in the japanese I-400.
There was also another U-Kreuzer (Type XI) designed around 1937-38, with two twin turrets utilizing the 12.7 cm/45 SK C/34 gun (5 inch, or 127mm). Six torpedo tubes, four forward and two rear. Was intended to be able to carry a single Ar 231 spotter aircraft. Compliment 110 crew and officers. Four were ordered from the AG Weser yard in Bremen in early 1939, but only one (U-112) had been laid down at the outbreak of WWII and the rest were shelved. U-112's fate is uncertain, though there have been unconfirmed reports that she was requisitioned by & completed for the Sicherheitsdienst for use in cloak and dagger operations.
 

airman

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The Dutch submarine concept of 1943-1944 about a 1,125 tons submarine armed with 2 cannon of 2,4 inch
all technical data on

http://www.hisutton.com/Dutch_WW2_Subs.html
 

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covert_shores

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Thanks for the reference to my site!

Yes, what I think is most interesting about the Dutch designs is a) triple-hull b) omission of Dutch snort mast. By then big gun subs were less credible anyway
 

chimeric oncogene

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Are railguns compatible with the Vertical Gun concept? Can you have a Vertical Railgun for Advanced Ships?

VGAS, from what I have seen on this board, needed a large finned rocket-assisted round to provide the round with enough maneuvering capability to hit targets away from the vertical. Given the small projectile sizes commonly described for railguns (<50kg sabot-dart-like rather than 100-kg plus rounds), does this mean a railgun VGAS does not make sense?

One might think that a VGAS could be built with light gas gun propulsion or liquid propellant, but a railgun sounds iffy.
 

Grey Havoc

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Something like a gauss rifle (also known as a coilgun) might be more practical than a railgun for a VGAS application.
 

Grey Havoc

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In theory at least, it would be easier to build a coilgun that can handle larger munitions than an equivalent railgun, further to that a railgun is relatively more complex and expensive to build & maintain than a coilgun. Another factor is that a compact coilgun (for example one that could be incorporated into a VLS cell) is easier to design and implement than a compact railgun. The trade off of course is that coilguns are generally less powerful than railguns.
 

TomS

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In theory at least, it would be easier to build a coilgun that can handle larger munitions than an equivalent railgun, further to that a railgun is relatively more complex and expensive to build & maintain than a coilgun. Another factor is that a compact coilgun (for example one that could be incorporated into a VLS cell) is easier to design and implement than a compact railgun. The trade off of course is that coilguns are generally less powerful than railguns.
On the flip-size, vertical guns only achieve significant range when they achieve very high Max Ordinates, because the rounds need to have altitude to glide out after they tip over. And the way to get high MaxOrd is with a high muzzle velocity. That may favor railguns, since coilguns will face possible limitations on maximum acceleration because electromagnets take finite time to build and dissipate their magnetic fields.
 

jsport

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Next generation energitics would allow a rocket assist roumd firing VLS to achieve very high Max Ordinates and therefore would have a preferable range maybe even space.
but politics prevents the better solution.
 

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Russian submarines:
Ch. A. Del-Proposto (Italian) project (1916): - 2300/2500 ton, 25/7.5 knots, lenght 91 m, width 7.8 m, weapon: 2x6" L/45, 4x4" L/60 guns
Bazilevskiy projects (1930th):
"Cruiser" - 6400/8640 ton, 30/11 knots, lenght 185 m, width 13 m, main battery: 3x2x150 mm L/40 recoiless guns
"Battleship" - 6900/9315 ton, 24/9 knots, lenght 185 m, width 13.5 m, main battery: 3x300 mm L/40 recoiless guns
Malinin underwater cruiser "Maximum" (1921) - 20000+ ton, 30/15 knots, 3 inch armour, 6x2x8" guns
 

Avimimus

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So 6 forward tubes with reloads, 10 lateral tubes with reloads, at least one rearward firing tube (no reloads), 2x152mm & 2x102mm guns, and a kindof pump-jet like propulsion system? The sail design reminds me a lot of the French submarine Mariotte/Q74!

What are the sources of your info?
 

TomS

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Bazilevskiy projects (1930th):
"Cruiser" - 6400/8640 ton, 30/11 knots, lenght 185 m, width 13 m, main battery: 3x2x150 mm L/40 recoiless guns
"Battleship" - 6900/9315 ton, 24/9 knots, lenght 185 m, width 13.5 m, main battery: 3x300 mm L/40 recoiless guns
These two are presumably using recoilless guns designed by Leonid Kurchevsky in the 1920s/30s. Those tended not to be great weapons, and Kurchevsky himself was executed in the late 1930s.
 

Avimimus

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Bazilevskiy projects (1930th):
"Cruiser" - 6400/8640 ton, 30/11 knots, lenght 185 m, width 13 m, main battery: 3x2x150 mm L/40 recoiless guns
"Battleship" - 6900/9315 ton, 24/9 knots, lenght 185 m, width 13.5 m, main battery: 3x300 mm L/40 recoiless guns
These two are presumably using recoilless guns designed by Leonid Kurchevsky in the 1920s/30s. Those tended not to be great weapons, and Kurchevsky himself was executed in the late 1930s.
True... but there was a lot of optimism about their light weight (and even potential for auto-loaders) prior to the discovery of their dismal ballistic performance. They also seem promising from a submarine if they could be loaded before surfacing and used 'M-class style' at relatively close ranges. Certainly cheaper than torpedoes for merchant raiding and of similar accuracy.
 

Sciquest2525

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I have often wondered what would have happened if these monster scout cruiser subs had been built. What use would the USN have made of them? Would they have still been in service in WWII? How would they had conducted a battle surface? With eight 8 inch guns, they could have messed up a Japanese convoy unless it had cruisers. Eight inch guns would have shot to pieces any escorting destroyers and sank numerous merchant ships in a convoy. Shore bombardment role in the form of surprised raids on Pacific islands occupied by the Japanese. Good topic for alternate history story!
 

TomS

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I have often wondered what would have happened if these monster scout cruiser subs had been built. What use would the USN have made of them? Would they have still been in service in WWII? How would they had conducted a battle surface? With eight 8 inch guns, they could have messed up a Japanese convoy unless it had cruisers. Eight inch guns would have shot to pieces any escorting destroyers and sank numerous merchant ships in a convoy. Shore bombardment role in the form of surprised raids on Pacific islands occupied by the Japanese. Good topic for alternate history story!
The USN did build the three V-type subs (Argonaut, Narwhal, and Nautilus) as long-range scouts. They seem to have given their best service as transports supporting guerillas and special raiding forces (Marine Raiders on Makin, Army Scouts on Attu, etc.). That is probably a sign of how even larger cruiser subs would play out.
 

Sciquest2525

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The V-type subs were limited to two open mount 6 inch guns. The 1920 proposals had four or eight 8 inch guns and were armored against gunfire or gunfire and torpedo attack. The best armored sub was limited to four eight inch guns and a speed of 11.75 knots. These subs could also carry scout planes and had full fire control with armored turrets and conning tower. Six forward and two aft torpedo tubes were featured and machinery was diesel electric. With that kind of capability, limiting them to transport roles would have been a colossal waste. Suggest you go to that site linked above and check out these 13,500 ton monsters.
 

DWG

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The problem is the bigger the sub, the less suitable it is to operating in shallow water, and the longer it is likely to take it to submerge (ISTR even the smaller US subs were fairly slow to submerge at the start of the Pacific War). Which means another way of conceptualizing these designs is as a weak CA with the AA armament of an undermanned garbage scow. Unless you plan on shooting it out with actual CAs, which will be better armed, better armoured, and have better fire control, there's no reason to go heavier than 5-5.2", they'll get the job done versus merchants. Even X1's concept of shooting it out with light escorts is probably too risky for the return.
 

TomS

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The V-type subs were limited to two open mount 6 inch guns. The 1920 proposals had four or eight 8 inch guns and were armored against gunfire or gunfire and torpedo attack. The best armored sub was limited to four eight inch guns and a speed of 11.75 knots. These subs could also carry scout planes and had full fire control with armored turrets and conning tower. Six forward and two aft torpedo tubes were featured and machinery was diesel electric. With that kind of capability, limiting them to transport roles would have been a colossal waste. Suggest you go to that site linked above and check out these 13,500 ton monsters.
That speed would prevent such a sub from being useful in patrol and anti-convoy ops. Shore bombardment support to raiding operations sounds like an ideal way to use their guns, which would otherwise be overkill.
 

carvalho2008

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I think that
guner submarines can be good use when for stealth surprise atacks to eliminate the primary defenses as preparative for invasions
 

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Then we could look at the steam powered version with 20 knots surface speed and eight 8 inch guns, armored against gun and torpedo attack. I refer to Friedman's book Submarine Through 1945 which is in my local library. The above links shows designs for various capabilities.
 

Arjen

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Steam-powered submarines - the British Royal Navy tried that in WW1. The K-class submarines took too long to dive, suffered much from all the extra hatches that needed secure closing before the dive, had to raise steam after surfacing which also took time. Steam turbines in submarines weren't practical - not until the advent of nuclear power.
 

Sciquest2525

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You have not referenced Friedman's book or the USN website referenced in above posts. I don't have it handy but, I remember that the one monster had five pressure hulls arranged three on top of the bottom two. Boilers were in the bottom two and could therefore isolate the heat produced and removed the problem the K class experienced in part, at least. I don't know the dive times but these are armored subs with up to full CA firepower. One had ten forward tubes and 4 aft tubes. The ultimate expression was a C&R proposal for 25 million dollar scout cruiser sub. They were to scout the Pacific and fight for information. The ultimate steam powered sub had deck and side armor, side protection system and armored conning tower and turrets. Please refer to the listed sources and then make your call.
 

DWG

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Steam-powered submarines - the British Royal Navy tried that in WW1. The K-class submarines took too long to dive, suffered much from all the extra hatches that needed secure closing before the dive, had to raise steam after surfacing which also took time. Steam turbines in submarines weren't practical - not until the advent of nuclear power.
There was also Swordfish pre-K-class, so successful a submarine she was converted into a surface ship.

France also tried it, with the Pluviose and Brumaire classes, they got more use out of them than we did the Ks, but still lost three to accidents.
 

DWG

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You have not referenced Friedman's book or the USN website referenced in above posts. I don't have it handy but, I remember that the one monster had five pressure hulls arranged three on top of the bottom two. Boilers were in the bottom two and could therefore isolate the heat produced and removed the problem the K class experienced in part, at least. I don't know the dive times but these are armored subs with up to full CA firepower. One had ten forward tubes and 4 aft tubes. The ultimate expression was a C&R proposal for 25 million dollar scout cruiser sub. They were to scout the Pacific and fight for information. The ultimate steam powered sub had deck and side armor, side protection system and armored conning tower and turrets. Please refer to the listed sources and then make your call.
The problem with any steam submarine is that they are slow to dive, having more holes that need to be closed than non-steam subs. And this is the very early days of remote operation, meaning automated closing systems had the chance to jam. So forget crash-dives in one of these, someone needs to walk around the deck to ensure everything has closed properly. A diesel sub could be pre-trimmed to dive (Q tank flooded) and held surfaced on the planes, that absolutely wasn't possible in a steam sub, it was an accident waiting to happen. The absolute minimum time to dive a K-class was 5 minutes, and the norm was 30 minutes. That's time you didn't have when facing an aircraft or an escort. Making it worse, bigger subs had a tendency to be slower diving, due to inadequate free-flood provision for the casing, and a big-gun submarine is likely to have more casing (around the turrets etc), as is a steam submarine (around the intakes and funnels).

As for reading the book and making the call, the USN read the original design and made its call.
 

Sciquest2525

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It was a lack of Congressional support that made the call. However, while steam was proposed by C&R, they were not wedded to it. There were problems with subs of such size attaining a reasonable speed of 17 knots on diesels while retaining the torpedo and gun protection. A further enlarged boat of around 500 feet was proposed when steam fell out of favor but by the time(1921) a design was drawn up, lack of interest by Congress rendered the project moot. However, the other diesel proposals might have worked and this is the first time a design with multiple pressure hulls was put forth. Limiting diameter for pressure hull tech was 22 feet. Four inch AA guns were included. Check out the link. The designs are vary striking and include the internal deck plans.
 

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Friedman in his latest British submarines book seems to indicate that the Admiralty did not consider the K Class a failure. They were built for a specific purpose, to accompany the Grand Fleet, scout out where the German High Seas Fleet was and cut off their likely escape route and/or harry them from a different quarter so the Germans had to worry about shells and torpedoes on either flank. Several K Class subs were indeed sunk or heavily damaged from ramming (most of them in one unfortunate pile-up) but that was largely due to a lack of situational awareness and skills in maneouvering so many different types of ships together. The K's were still reliant on destroyers for example as communication relays and even more importantly all the plotting calculations and battle planning was done on the destroyers (I suppose a very early form of net-centric warfare). The fact the Admiralty wanted another batch of K's towards the end of the war is further prove that they saw them as important assets (all but one of that batch were cancelled post-war).

Steam turbines had to be used to get the neccessary surface speed, there was no alternative at that time as diesels could not provide enough power reliably, some range being sacrificed. There was at least one serious accident with the funnel arrangements but in seems largely that the problems were not quite as severe as often portrayed. Indeed Swordfish's failure was worthwhile as lot of experience in how to design a submarine steam turbine and boiler powerplant was incorporated into the K Class.

The other thing to bear in mind is that submarines like the K Class were designed before the war and before the concept of 'crash diving'. It just wasn't thought about until wartime experience showed how vital it was, especially as aircraft became a more serious threat. That made cruiser-sub concepts like those in this thread rather problematic if they could not dive fast enough, there were in effect just sitting targets and forefeited any advantages of being able to submerge over a standard ship.
 

Arjen

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If I remember correctly, the K-class were meant to operate as fleet submarines, which involved being part of fleet manoeuvres. Low profile vessels stuck between cruisers and battleships were easily overlooked with predictable accidents as a result. Royal Navy leadership may have thought the K-class somewhat succesful, I wonder if any of the subs' crews were ever consulted. In my view, the K-class subs were as useful as a chocolate teapot.
 

Foo Fighter

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I have to strongly disagree with your statement of the usefulness of a K class submarine. To compare it with a chocolate teapot is ridiculous. A chocolate teapot has calorific value............. I know, I shall get my hat and coat.

To suggest a large gun is of use on a submarine as a stealth measure misses entirely the point of their being armed with torpedo's. IMHO a large gun armed submarine asks the same question the K class design did, why?
 

DWG

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Friedman in his latest British submarines book seems to indicate that the Admiralty did not consider the K Class a failure.
I'm not sure Jellicoe and Beatty ever saw anything for the Grand Fleet they wanted less of (well, except Furious).

There's also some useful discussion in DKB's The Grand Fleet, and the classic narrative rather than technical reference for the K class is The K Boats, by Don Everitt (I've no idea where my copy has gotten to).
 

DWG

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They were built for a specific purpose, to accompany the Grand Fleet, scout out where the German High Seas Fleet was and cut off their likely escape route and/or harry them from a different quarter so the Germans had to worry about shells and torpedoes on either flank.
Don't know whether Friedman discusses it, but I wonder whether the Ks were another example of the RN's fascination with 'Browning shots', the idea that a battleline was a dense enough target you could usefully fire at it in general, if sea conditions and range wouldn't let you fire at specific ships. It's one reason why the RN was so eager to keep torpedoes on battleships, the Grand Fleet destroyer flotillas were an obvious part of it, and the Ks would have represented a third shot to Jellicoe's bow.
 

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Check out the link.
No need, I went through all the Springstyles when NHHC first published them, which is about fifteen years ago now. The cruiser subs make a nice set with the battlescouts, fascinating, but mostly as an example of the way designers can get sidetracked from a simpler, less risky solution.
 

Hood

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They were built for a specific purpose, to accompany the Grand Fleet, scout out where the German High Seas Fleet was and cut off their likely escape route and/or harry them from a different quarter so the Germans had to worry about shells and torpedoes on either flank.
Don't know whether Friedman discusses it, but I wonder whether the Ks were another example of the RN's fascination with 'Browning shots', the idea that a battleline was a dense enough target you could usefully fire at it in general, if sea conditions and range wouldn't let you fire at specific ships. It's one reason why the RN was so eager to keep torpedoes on battleships, the Grand Fleet destroyer flotillas were an obvious part of it, and the Ks would have represented a third shot to Jellicoe's bow.
Yes 'Browning shots' were mentioned, it was a tactic the Admiralty thought highly of but the submarines of the time carried too few torpedo tubes (typically only 2 bows until the later classes) and so some thought was given to external dropping collars like the French used but the Admiralty were not keen on the loss of underwater speed. Then it was suggested to put 90 degree angle gyros in the beam torpedoes to maximise the ahead firepower sector. In practice the 'Browning shot' never really worked with the torpedoes of the day. Ironically the 'Browning shot' was one inspiration behind that other peculiar British submarine class, the monitor M class. The idea being if the torpedoes missed or you exhausted your pre-loaded tubes then the M could surface directly astern of the target for a no deflection stern shot with the 12in gun.
 
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