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  • Defense and Arms Control Studies Program at M.I.T., Winter 92/93, v. 2, # 2, pp 19-24


  • 1. Military Geography Submarines Geo 4950 Dr. Fahrer by Jeff Bahls This is a dual presentation using Google Earth as well.I will attempt to answer all questions, however; some items may be classified and I will not discuss in detail those items.
  • 2. Scope of Submarine Geography• In this presentation use of Google Earth is employed to show spatial relations between states and topography of ocean floors• While used in WWI, submarine warfare developed dramatically during WWII – Will give States, Statistics, Base Locations• The Cold War saw many developments as well – Submarine Warfare Tactics from WWII to present• Present Day Fleets
  • 3. WWII Submarine (United States) USS Billfish SS-286 Note the Cannon Note the Bow
  • 4. WWII Submarine (German) U-853 It was not until after WWII that subs weredesigned to runsubmerged vicesurfaced as you see here.
  • 5. United States Submarine Readiness• On December 7th, 1941 there were twenty one submarines attached to the U.S. Pacific Fleet based in Pearl Harbor. Following the attack, the American submarine fleet received at 4:00pm on the afternoon of 7 December 1941 orders issued by Admiral Harold Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, for all available boats to immediately put to sea and for those already underway to conduct "unrestricted submarine warfare" against anything Japanese.: The United States, by calling for unrestricted submarine warfare, officially renounced article 22 of the London Naval Treaty of 1930 which formally spelled out the guidelines and procedures that a submarine was required to follow when attacking an enemy non combatant vessel. When the war began, U.S. submarines had no RADAR (Radio and Detection Ranging) but by August of 1942 an air search system (the SD) and the first surface search RADAR system (the SJ) was installed aboard a US submarine. By early 1943, the US had begun limited use of a proven cooperative attack tactic known as "wolf-packing".
  • 6. Another Problem: Torpedoes• Torpedo problems plagued the fleet submarine throughout much of the war, but the early years proved to be the most trying time for sub skippers regarding the ordnance they carried. Malfunctioning torpedoes were reported by boat captains from the onset of hostilities and the response from BuOrd was always the same: The weapons were fine, it was the crews inabilities that were to blame. History has proven otherwise.• US fleet submarines went into battle armed with the MK XIV steam torpedoes which were equipped with the MK VI influence exploder. The design behind the exploder was to allow the torpedo to detonate within the magnetic field under the keel of the target boat, effectively breaking the ships back.
  • 7. Submarine Tactics Offensive• German Flotillas commander, Kapitan sur Zee Karl Donitz, was a firm believer in the value of the submarine.• Tactics If Donitz had been frustrated in his hopes of priority being given to the U-boat arm, he had, undeterred, given considerable attention to the development of effective tactics. At this time the submarine was considered irrelevant by many in naval circles, especially in the British Royal Navy, but also in some quarters of the German Naval High Command. The submarine, it was argued, was too slow, and too easily detected by the British ultra-sonic detection device known as "asdic". As late as 1937, the British Admiralty declared that the submarine would never again be a major threat. Donitz did not share this belief.
  • 8. Submarine Tactics Offensive Video-WWII-TVC10B Start 40 sec in to end
  • 9. Submarine Tactics Offensive• Tactics The tactics he and his team developed had four basic ideas. Previously, submarine commanders had been taught to attack at a range of at least one and a half miles. This, it was believed, would minimize the risk of detection by asdic, but it also demanded the expenditure of a full salvo of torpedoes in order to achieve a great enough "spread", with a very poor standard of accuracy. Donitz, reasoning that there was no proof that the "asdic" detection system was actually as effective as had been claimed, ordered his commanders to close in to about 550 yards before attacking. This had the major advantage of increased the chances of obtaining more than one hit with a salvo of four torpedoes. During the war some U-boat commanders like the "ace", Otto Kretschmer, would develop this tactic to the point of actually sailing into the middle of convoys and picking out the best targets. This employed the use of Point and Shoot Torpedos
  • 10. Submarine Tactics Offensive• Tactics Donitz also adopted the tactic of night-time surface attacks. Indeed his U-boats generally only submerged to evade the enemy or escape adverse weather conditions. A U-boat on the surface, especially at night, presented a very small target, and both speed and endurance were significantly greater than when operating submerged. (Submarines of this era ran much faster on the surface viathe diesel engine, instead of submerged off of the battery.)Although U-boats sometimes used gunfire to sink merchantships, mainly to economize on their stock of torpedoes, thelatter, so far as Donitz was concerned, remained their chief andmost effective weapon. Certainly he impressed on hiscommanders the need to avoid surface combat, in which the U-boats pressure hull was fatally vulnerable to even one hit.
  • 11. Submarine Tactics Offensive• Tactics The tactic with which Donitz is usually most closely associated is the "wolf pack" attack. This had in fact first been suggested during World War I, but it was left to Donitz to refine and put it into practice. As it eventually evolved, the tactic called for a group of U-boats to be spread out across the anticipated path of a convoy. During daylight hours they would sail towards the convoy, usually at about 10 knots, whilst after dusk, in order not to miss their target in the darkness, they would turn and sail in the same direction as the convoy. The first U- boat to spot the convoy would signal its position to U-boat headquarters, and send out homing signals to assemble the rest of the pack. When the attack actually began, each commander would be left to decide his own tactics. The original wide spread of the pack meant that continuous attacks were often mounted for several days as fresh U-boats came up with the convoy.
  • 12. TOTAL MERCHANT SHIP LOSSES - SEPTEMBER 1939 to AUGUST 1945 Number of British, Allied, Total Gross Registered Location neutral ships Tonnage North Atlantic 2,232 11,900,000 tons South Atlantic 174 1,024,000 tons UK waters 1,431 3,768,000 tons Mediterranean 413 1,740,000 tons Indian Ocean 385 1,790,000 tons Pacific Ocean 515 1,348,000 tons Causes in order of Number of British, Allied, Total Gross Registered tonnage sunk neutral ships Tonnage1. Submarines 2,828 14,686,000 tons4. Aircraft 820 2,890,000 tons2. Mines 534 1,406,000 tons5. Other causes 632 1,030,000 tons6. Raiders 133 830,000 tons3. Warships 104 498,000 tons7. Coastal forces 99 230,000 tons
  • 13. Wolf packing / Sea Routes / Convoys start – stop at 1:20 start at 2:10 to end Video-WWII-TVC10C
  • 14. United States Became Just as Effective!
  • 15. Anti-Submarine Warfare (Defensive)
  • 16. Defense Against U-Boats Video-WWII-TVC10P Start to 1:30 and 3:00 to end
  • 17. Defense Against U-Boats Video-WWII-TVC10J Start :35 to :50
  • 18. Convoy Routes (U.S.)
  • 19. Convoy Routes (Soviet)
  • 20. U-Boat Bunkers• Geography Question: Why would the Germans build bunkers in other countries?• (Show Google Earth)
  • 21. German U-Boat Bunkers U-Boat Bunkers in Germany, 1939 - 1941 Roof Location Name Size (m) No. of Docks Capacity When Constructed ThicknessHamburg Elbe II 137 x 62 3 0 dry, 2 wet = 2 6 boats Dec 1940 - 1941Hamburg Fink II 151 x 153 3.6 0 dry, 5 wet = 5 15 boats Mar 1941 - 1944Heligoland Nordsee II 156 x 88 3 0 dry, 3 wet = 3 9 boats Jan 1940 - Jun 1943 Kiel Kilian 176 x 79 4.8 0 dry, 2 wet = 2 12 boats Nov 1941 - Nov 1943 Kiel Konrad 163 x 35 3.5 1 dry, 0 wet = 1 5 boats Apr 1943 - Oct 1944 Bremen Hornisse 362 x 68 4.5 Mar 1944 (incomplete) Bremen Valentin 450 x 100 7.3 Feb 1943 (incomplete)
  • 22. German U-Boat Bunkers U-Boat Bunkers in France, 1941 - 1944 Roof Location Name Size (m) No. of Docks Capacity When Constructed Thickness 10 dry, 5 wet = Brest - 192 x 333 6.2 20 boats Jan 1941 - Jul 1942 15 Lorient Dom 81 x 16 1.5 2 dry, 0 wet = 2 2 boats Feb 1941 - May 1941 Scorff 129 x 51 3.5 0 dry, 2 wet = 2 4 boats Apr 1941 - Aug 1941 Keroman I 403 x 146 3.5 5 dry, 0 wet = 5 5 boats Mar 1941 - Sep 1941 Keroman II 403 x 146 3.5 7 dry, 0 wet = 7 7 boats May 1941 - dec 1941 Keroman 168 x 142 7.5 5 dry, 2 wet = 7 13 boats Oct 1941 - Jul 1943 III Keroman 160 x 130 7 4 dry, 1 wet = 5 24 boats Jul 1943 (incomplete) IVa Keroman 95 x 150 7 3 dry, 0 wet = 3 (incomplete) IVb 8 dry, 6 wet =St. Nazaire - 291 x 124 7 20 boats Mar 1941 - Jan 1942 14 7 dry, 3 wet =La Pallice - 195 x 165 7.3 13 boats Apr 1941 - Mar 1943 10 7 dry, 4 wet =Bordeaux - 232 x 160 5.6 15 boats Sep 1941 - May 1943 11 Unknown = 13Marseille Martha ??? x 230 Unknown 20 boats Jan 1943 (incomplete) total
  • 23. German U-Boat Bunkers U-Boat Bunkers in Norway, 1941 – 1944 RoofLocation Name Size (m) No. of Docks Capacity When Constructed Thickness Bergen Bruno 131 x 143 6 3 dry, 3 wet = 6 9 boats Nov 1941 - Jul 1944Trondheim Dora I 153 x 105 3.5 3 dry, 2 wet = 5 7 boats Apr 1941 - Jul 1943 Dora II 167 x 102 3.5 2 dry, 2 wet = 4 6 boats Jan 1942 (imcomplete)
  • 24. Cold War GamesGeographically what is the significance of this view?
  • 25. Submarine Tactics Have ChangedSince WWII technology increased the capabilities of submarines as well as their roles.During this time the United States developed the concept of Triad Defense. Land basednuclear missiles, Long range bombers, and Ballistic Missile Submarines.To this end Fast Attack Submarines served to protect Ballistic Submarines as well assurface fleets. This included sending attack submarines deep into the enemies ports aswell as playing hide-n-go-seek with enemy submarines. (Tell story)Nuclear reactors enabled submarines to only be limited to the amount of food they cancarry for their crews.Also new and improved Defensive Systems for ASW warfare were developed.With all of these developments the main defense for a submarine remains the sametoday as it did in WWII, to remain undetected. Thus the Submarine Service, with all ofits secrecy is called the Silent Service.
  • 26. A Sub at Periscope Depth Can be Seen from the Air
  • 27. Soviet and U.S. Tensions• The USS Baton Rouge, a Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine and the Russian Sierra class submarine collided at 20:16 Moscow time, at 69o38.7 North and 33o46.9 East, roughly 4.7 miles from the line connecting Tsypnavolok Cape and Kildin Island (see map below). The US Navy stated that the collision occurred more than 12 miles from the shore, at a location in international waters. However, Russia uses a different set of rules for defining the boundary between territorial and international waters, and the Russian rules put the collision site inside their territorial waters.
  • 28. Recall GoogleEarth location
  • 29. SOSUS Array – Submarine Acoustic DetectionPictured here is the1st SOSUS Array net.Later in the ColdWar, every port orgeographic chokepoint would be linedwith Arrays.Note Base locationsfrom Google Earth
  • 30. Thermoclines / Sound Channels How a submarine uses the ocean itself to hide. Factors include: salinity, temperature and depth. This concept is why it is NOT necessary for a sub to go thousands of feet deep. How could geographic concepts by applied?
  • 31. Soviet “Fishing Trawler” Spy Ship
  • 32. ASW – P3 Orion Aircraft
  • 33. Components of Submarine Warfare Detection
  • 34. CharacteristicsAccording to the U.S. government, the top speed of Los Angeles-classsubmarines is over 25 knots (46 km/h, 29 mph), although the precisemaximum is classified. Government sources give the maximum operatingdepth as 650 feet (200 m). The two diagrams are roughly an accurate size comparison The government cites the same characteristics for the Ohio Class
  • 35. Ohio and Los Angeles Class’s Side by Side
  • 36. Moving HavensExample of SSN Patrol – called Delousing Example: 5 Miles Route of SSBN Example: 10 Miles
  • 37. Geographic Question• What could be the Geographic component of a Ballistic Missile Submarine? (Think globally).
  • 38. Ballistic Missile Submarine
  • 39. Ballistic Missile Submarine
  • 40. 4) After breaking the surface of the waves, the missilecontinues being propelled vertically by the plume of steamanother 50 feet above the ocean’s surface where the firststage rocket fires3) The steam surrounds each missile rapidly shooting ittowards the surface of the ocean which is approximately 100feet above the top of the sub2) A separate rocket motor at the base of each silo firesinstantaneously boiling the water in the bottom of thelaunch tube, creating huge volumes of steam1) During the firing sequence, the hatch door on top of thesubmarine is opened exposing the domed shape of theTrident Missile nose section
  • 41. s Submerged Missile Launch Basics• 1. The missile launches out of its silo by firing its 1st stage boost motor (A).• 2. About 60 seconds after launch, the 1st stage drops off and the 2nd stage motor (B) ignites. The missile shroud is ejected.• 3. About 120 seconds after launch, the 3rd stage motor (C) ignites and separates from the 2nd stage.• 4. About 180 seconds after launch, 3rd stage thrust terminates and the Post- Boost Vehicle (D) separates from the rocket.• 5. The Post-Boost Vehicle maneuvers itself and prepares for re-entry vehicle (RV) deployment.• 6. The RVs, as well as decoys and chaf, are deployed during backaway. f• 7. The RVs and chaff re-enter the atmosphere at high speeds and are armed in flight.• 8. The nuclear warheads detonate, either as air bursts or groundbursts.
  • 42. U.S. Attack Submarine
  • 43. Mark 48 TorpedoNo more the point and shoot torpedo: Wire guided like a video game. Several automatic search patterns.
  • 44. What One Mk-48 can do
  • 45. Akula Class Soviet Attack Submarine
  • 46. Typhoon Class Soviet Submarine
  • 47. Citations• Brandt, P., Alpers, W. & Backhaus, J. O., (1996), Study of the generation and propagation of internal waves in the Strait of Gibraltar using a numerical model and synthetic aperture radar images of the European ERS 1 satellite, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 14237-14252.• Defense and Arms Control Studies Program at M.I.T., Winter 92/93, v. 2, # 2, pp 19-24.• Handler, J., "Russia’s Pacific Fleet -- Submarine Bases and Facilities," Janes Intelligence Review, April 1994, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 166-171. Maryland.• Polmar, N., (1986), Guide to the Soviet Navy, Fourth Edition, United States Naval Institute, Annapolis.• Roscoe, T., (1949), United States Submarine Operations in World War II, Theodore Roscoe US Naval Institute.• Williamson, G., and Pavlovic, D., (1945), U-Boat Crews, 1914-45, London.
  • 48. Citations•••••• ?panel=3_1••••••