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Old August 12 2013, 10:00 PM   #120
Crazy Eddie
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Re: So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Which, like the teeth of a cornered rabbit, is not their intended use, nor is it even their typical use, and as per the examples you cited, turned out to be a highly ineffective use after all.
Your definition of highly ineffective is either off or you just didn't bother to read the articles. Stern tubes were of use to discourage and potentially sink pursuing ships.
I read the articles. Three of those were acts of desperation by a submarine commander could not use his vessel's PRIMARY defensive tactic of submerging and sneaking away. Two of those three cases resulted in the loss of the U-boat and enemy victory.

One of them wasn't a case of "discourage pursuers" but was a preemptive attack by a Norwegian submarine to sink what it suddenly realized was an enemy vessel.

The intended use of a torpedo is to sink the enemy ship.
Yes, OFFENSIVELY, at ships you have specifically targeted and are maneuvering to get a position on. "Discourage pursuers" is not what the designers had in mind when they installed them; you can use mines and fishing nets for that too, but those devices were also developed with a different purpose in mind.

It's really no different than the Romulans tossing an old-style demolition nuke out of their garbage chute. The nuke is designed for self-destruction, but a sufficiently desperate commander might rig one as a mine if he thought it was his only chance to survive.

Obviously stern tubes could also be used for attack as the sub turns to leave and open distance after attacking with her bow tubes.
That's the main scenario: a submarine running on the surface has a top speed of not more than 20 knots (usually much less), while in WW-II submarines mainly attacked while submerged where their top speed was not much more than 10 knots. A vessel at that speed doesn't "open the distance" as such; the attack maneuvers of such a vessel looks like a zigzag or sometimes a tight circle, where the submarine fires its bow tubes at the first target, then selects the next target and turns its stern tubes, then selects the next target and turns its bow tubes again. The trick is to get off as many fish as you can in the shortest amount of time before the escorts figure out where you are, then dive like hell and get out of sight.

This is how sub skippers were TRAINED to use their weapons. If they got caught on the surface and had to joust with enemy destroyers, it meant they screwed up somewhere and were now fighting for their lives. It's no different than a Marine fireteam that winds up picking up their rifles like clubs and beating their enemies to death with them. Sure, they might get lucky and have it actually work, but this would be an example of "You're doing it wrong!"

Also interestingly, the Germans thought of using torpedoes to take out escorts. They had some kinks to work out but apparently got it to work near the end of the war.
Wake homing torpedoes, IIRC, were used in this capacity in 1944 and 45 and were pretty effective. Significant to note that wake-homing torpedoes cannot be used in a "down the throat" attack and have to be fired from a rear aspect on an enemy ship or else they'll have nothing to guide on. The acoustic torpedoes you mention in your link were mainly experimental and from what I've read were only used a handful of times before Germany surrendered.

To be perfectly honest, wlf, this is something people just don't get about submarine warfare in general. Submarines' only EFFECTIVE defense is to dive and hide. The installation of deck guns, antiaircraft weapons and acoustic "sink the guy chasing us" weapons were all examples of wishful thinking and none were particularly successful. This is one of the reasons why a lot of the more advanced sub designs of the war omitted their AA guns altogether and replaced them with more powerful deck guns capable of limited offensive fire against merchant vessels; later generations omitted them altogether, with the Soviets installing some manpad AA missiles on their later designs.

To this day, in fact, no "defensive" torpedo weapon exists for submarine use. The closest thing we have to that is the SLAT anti-torpedo weapons the EU has been developing, which is basically a lightweight torpedo designed to intercept other torpedoes; this is being designed for surface vessels, and it is unclear if a sub-launched version is even being considered. My impression is that such a system may also be wishful thinking, but if the technology is advanced enough, who knows? The point is, submarines do not possess effective defense systems -- AT ALL -- except for stealth and acoustical countermeasures. The best sub commanders learn to use those two assets to their full advantage and survive that much longer; it's the ones who screw up and get caught who have to take desperation shots and hope to get lucky.
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; August 12 2013 at 10:10 PM.
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