History of U-2513 - History

History of U-2513 - History

U-2513

(Former German Submarine: dp 1,621 (surf.) 1,819 (subm.), 1. 251'9", b. 21'9", dr. 20'3", s. ;5~ to16 k.; cpl. 57; a. 6 21" tt., 4 20 mm.; cl. U-2501)

U-2515—a former German Type XXI submarine constructed in late 1944 and early 1945 by Blohm ~ Voss at Hamburg, Germany-was surrendered to the Allies at Horten, Norway, after the collapse of Nazi Germany in May 1945. No records have been found to indicate whether or not she was ever commissioned in the Kriegsmarine, but the location of her surrender suggests that she may well have been at least placed in service-though perhaps hastily in the spring of 1945 to escape advancing Allied forces. In any event, it is certain that she made no war cruises. Documents covering her activities between May 1945 and mid-1946— at which time the United States Navy took possession of her-are likewise unavailable. In all probability however, she lay at dockside in some port in occupied Germany or perhaps in an Allied harbor.

The first real record of her activities begins in August 1946 with her arrival in Charleston, S.C. Presumably, that arrival coincided with the end of her voyage from Europe to the United States. At Charleston, the submarine underwent an extensive overhaul which was completed late in September. On the 24th, she departed Charleston and headed for Key West, Fla. The following day, she began six months of duty which included both evaluation tests of the U-boat's design and duty in conjunction with the development of submarine and antisubmarine tactics.

On 15 March 1947, she headed north from Key West bound for the New England coast, and arrived at Portsmouth, N.H., on the 22d. She remained there until 8 September when she began six weeks of operations out of Portsmouth and New London, Conn., under the auspices of the Commander, Submarines, Atlantic Fleet. She concluded that duty on 15 October and departed New London a return to Key West. U-2518 resumed her old duties at Key West five days later and continued them until the summer of 1949. In mid-June 1949, the submarine moved from Key West north~ via Norfolk, Va.,—to Portsmouth, N.H., where she was placed out of service in July 1949. She remained at Portsmouth until August 1951 at which time she was

moved to Key West. On 2 September 1951, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered that U-2518 be sunk by gunfire. Presumably, that decision was carried out soon thereafter-though the exact date of the action is not recorded.


Truman Beach: The 33rd President at Key West

The president’s shirts were loose, comfortable, vividly patterned, and tropically bright. They represented a break from the blue-suit, white-shirt formality that had been Harry Truman’s hallmark since his days as a Kansas City haberdasher. They proclaimed temporary independence from the mansion Truman called “the big white jail.” Some people found them gaudy, garish, and unpresidential. Others simply called them Harry Truman shirts. When photographs of Truman wearing them hit the newspapers, people showered the Little White House at Key West, Florida, with gift shirts. Since there were far more than the president could wear, he had dozens laid out on the lawn for others to take. And that led to “the Key West uniform” and contributed to the breezy informality of all of the president’s Florida vacations. Arriving at Key West in the giddy aftermath of Truman’s dazzling upset election victory in 1948, Vice President-Elect Alben Barkley took in the president’s vivid shirt, jaunty cap, and casual slacks. “Where’s the general store?” he asked. “I want to get an outfit like that.” 1

Truman visited Key West 11 times from November 1946 to March 1952, vacationing and working there in good times and bad for a total of 175 days. He timed his escapes for the fall or late winter, trading Washington’s cold and often snowy weather for the warm breezes that blew through what the newspapers variously called the whispering, rustling, or swaying palms. 2

At the end of the island chain stretching from Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, the coral island of Key West—4 miles long and two miles wide—is the southernmost point in the United States. Coconut palms, purple and red bougainvillea, frangipani, red and pink hibiscus, and tinted oleanders thrive in the frost-free tropical climate. Off-shore, the cobalt-blue reaches of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico offer deep-sea fishing for yellowfin, grouper, amberjack, mackerel, and barracuda.

For Truman, the navy submarine base at Key West offered a degree of privacy, security, and freedom unavailable in most vacation spots. The president could swim on a beach reserved for him, nap in the afternoon, sip a bourbon if he felt like it, and play poker until midnight. “Down there the president felt that he could step out of the house and walk around without every person he encountered wanting to stop him and talk to him,” said Commander William M. Rigdon, who managed the president’s vacation workday. “From the first day he saw the advantages it offered.” 3

While in Key West, President Harry S. Truman often relaxed in brightly patterned tropical-style shirts. Publicity about them resulted in a surplus of gifts shirts that he laid out on the lawn for others to take. This led to an informal dress code and "loud shirt" contests among Truman's staff.

The president slept in the northeast bedroom on the second floor of the 10-room, West Indian-style Commandant’s House, which soon became universally known as the Little White House. Built by the U.S. Navy in 1890, it had screened and louvered porches that filtered the midday sun, welcomed the ocean breezes, and assured privacy. After Truman won his election in 1948, the navy had the house professionally redecorated, hanging maritime paintings and prints borrowed from the U.S. Naval Academy. Impressed with the new style and comfort of the place, Truman told his wife: “I’ve a notion to move the Capitol to Key West and just stay.” 4

When Truman’s choice of Key West was made known, the navy designated a former enlisted men’s beach for his use. Located on a spit of land near the Civil War-era Fort Zachary Taylor, it had its drawbacks. The sand was sparse, and the underlying crushed coral could cut a swimmer’s feet. The navy hauled in tons of new sand to build up and improve the beach, constructing a small cabana as a place to change into swimming suits or step out of the sun. A concrete shuffleboard was installed. The president enjoyed it from the start. Once he started swimming there the press named it “Truman Beach.” 5

The president quickly settled into a Key West routine. He rose as early as 7:00 a.m. and took a bracing morning walk, ranging the tree-shaded streets of the submarine base and sometimes venturing into town. The presidential yacht Williamsburg docked nearby to offer communications and logistical support. Its crew had breakfast ready when Truman returned to the Little White House, usually around 8:00 a.m. The president was often joined at the breakfast table by members of his senior staff, some of whom shared the house with him. They might include Fleet Admiral William Leahy, his chief of staff William D. Hassett, his correspondence secretary or Clark Clifford, chief counsel, speechwriter, and political tactician. After breakfast the president worked on his mail until about 10:00 a.m., then gathered aides and walked with them to Truman Beach to soak up the sun, tell stories, discuss the day’s news or government business, and watch games of beach volleyball or darts. When Truman was ready he took off his sun helmet and went in for a swim. “If the weather was cool, he swam anyway, to the shivering horror of Secret Service men who had to stay in the water as long as he did,” said Commander Rigdon, who, along with his other duties, kept a detailed log of the president’s vacation activities, not neglecting humorous incidents and adding an occasional wry comment. 6

Map of Key West, highlighting the sites associated with Truman. Locations are approximate.

John Hutton, for the White House Historical Assocaition

Returning to the Little White House for a 1:00 p.m. lunch, Truman generally allowed himself the luxury of an afternoon nap, followed by a two-hour poker game at 4:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. Unless Bess Truman and their daughter, Margaret, were with him, the president most often skipped the nightly screenings of first- run movies and adjourned to the south porch for a second poker session that wound up near midnight. When Rigdon noted in his log that the president had spent the evening “visiting with friends on the south porch,” insiders knew that was code for poker. 7

Except when his wife and daughter visited, it was a masculine world. Truman liked the easy banter at Truman Beach—or in a fishing boat or at the poker table, which might be called the true center of a Truman vacation. Coming downstairs after his afternoon nap, Truman told Rigdon, “Bill, round up a quorum.” Soon the president and seven other men were pulling up chairs around the poker table made for him by sailors at the submarine base. 8 Many thought he loved the game mostly for the ribbing that punctuated play. “Getting together with his old friends with whom he was completely comfortable was the greatest relaxation he had,” Clark Clifford remembered. Truman bet freely and often, liked wild cards, oddball variations of the game, and an occasional bluff. Fellow players said he enjoyed himself even while holding losing hands. 9

Ken Hechler, then an aide and later a Democratic congressman from West Virginia, concluded that the president sometimes used poker for more than just relaxation. “Although the conversations were never very heavy, I did observe several occasions when the president sized up prospective appointees and other people by measuring how well they stood up to ribbing,” he said. Another aide, George Elsey, said the stakes were set so that “nobody would get hurt if his luck or his skill were particularly bad.” Key West rules softened the blow for losers: the pot automatically replenished 10 percent of the losses. Rigdon said it was impossible to win or lose more than $100 a week others put the risk factor at $190. But for some, that was still a lot of money. Assistant Press Secretary Roger Tubby once fell so disastrously into the hole that he began to fret about paying his household bills. Finding himself with a good hand, he nervously stayed in the game as the pot grew larger and others dropped out. Finally only he and Truman remained. Then Truman folded and the happy aide raked in his winnings. “Well, it was simply the president staking me, getting me out of the hole,” Tubby said.” 10

A Truman-era postcard describes the Little White House in Key West Florida, as "the president's favorite winter resort, a delightful spot for recuperation in a luxuriant tropical setting, profuse with beautiful flowers and the best fishing grounds near by."

White House Historical Association

At Key West, with more time to read, think, and talk, Truman often displayed his love of history. Aide Joseph G. Feeney said that one night the talk at the Little White Flouse turned to famous military conflicts. Truman arranged four sets of silverware on a table, and he and press secretary Charlie Ross fought out 14 major battles in world history, moving the knives, forks, and spoons to represent armies and divisions. 11

Although he valued the rest and relaxation, Truman could not shed his responsibilities. On his second Key West vacation in March 1947, he discussed details of the Marshall Plan, soon to become the keystone of the economic recovery of postwar Europe. While at Key West he dealt with a coal miners’ strike led by United Mine Workers leader John L. Lewis, the cold war with the Soviet Union, and the shooting war in Korea. Events followed the president, even under the palms. During his March 1949 visit, communist forces routed China’s Nationalist government and took over the Chinese mainland, leading to the domestic political debate over “Who lost China?” In March 1950, during a news conference on the lawn, he rejected demands that he give Senator Joseph R. McCarthy access to the State Department’s security and loyalty files and made front pages when he called the Red-hunting Wisconsin Republican “the greatest asset that the Kremlin has.” In November 1951, he surprised his staff by disclosing that he had decided not to run for reelection the next year. He swore them to secrecy until he was ready to make the news public. 12

Truman insisted, as many presidents have, that so much work went with him to Key West that his holidays were more a change of scenery than true vacations. There was much evidence to back his claim. He said he signed his name 600 times a day on bills, proclamations, executive orders, and letters no matter where he was. He worked on the State of the Union address during November visits, and he gave frequent news conferences. Executive assistants “by the half dozen” made claims on his time. “What I’m saying,” he told a cousin, “is that the business of the government never stops no matter where the president goes—it follows him.” 13

President Harry Truman and news photographers pose for the cameras at The Little White House in Key West, Florida, in March, 1951. "There's the big white jail," said Truman, looking back at the White House during one of his brisk morning walks.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library


U-2513

Surrendered on 9 May 1945 at Horten, Norway (Waller & Niestlé, 2010).

Transferred to Oslo 18 May
Departed Oslo 3 June
Arrived Lisahally, Northern Ireland 9 June.

Blue marker shows the final fate of the boat after the war. Orange marker shows German surrender. Map is click-able and zoom-able.

This boat is a dive site

This XXI boats lies at 228 feet depth (ca. 75m) at 24.53N, 85.15W near Dry Tortugas, west of the Key West, USA.

This boat has been dived to by US Navy divers, the first dive was probably made in 1952 by 12 divers.

Depth: 228 feet (69 meters)
Position (lat, long): 24.53, -85.15

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-2513 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

Media links


Dive into History
Keatts, Henry C. and Farr, George C.


The American View of the Type XXI Submarine

This U-boat was very hush-hush and off-limits to ordinary souls. However, when she shifted her berth to “our” pier (and nicked us in the process), we became friendly with the American crew and gradually talked our way on board for a look-see. We learned that she was U-2513, a brand new Type XXI “electro boat,” one of two such craft allotted to the U.S. Navy as war prizes. Commissioned and commanded by one of Germany’s most famous U-boat “aces,” Erich Topp, she and her mass-produced sister ships had been completed too late to participate in the war.

In our superficial examination of U-2513, we were quite impressed with some of her features, especially her top speed submerged. She had six sets of storage batteries, comprising a total of 372 cells (hence “electro boat”), which enabled her to quietly sprint submerged at about 16 knots for about one hour. This was twice the sprint speed of our submarines and sufficient to escape from almost any existing antisubmarine warship. Alternately, the large battery capacity enabled her to cruise submerged at slower speeds for a great many hours, whether stalking prey or escaping.

The next most impressive feature to us was her Schnorchel, or as we anglicized the German, snorkel. This was a sophisticated “breathing tube” or mast with air intake and exhaust ducts, which enabled U-2513 to run her two diesel engines while submerged. By rigging one diesel (or both) to charge the batteries while submerged, she could in theory remain underwater for prolonged periods, thereby greatly diminishing the chances of detection by enemy eyes or radar.

Nor was that all. Her periscope optics and passive sonar for underwater looking and listening were much superior to ours. Her ingenious hydraulically operated torpedo-handling gear could automatically reload her six bow torpedo tubes in merely five minutes. A third reload could be accomplished in another twenty minutes. The thickness and strength of her pressure hull was said to give her a safe diving depth limit of about 1,200 feet, twice our safe depth limit and sufficient to get well beneath most existing Allied depth charges. She even had an “automatic pilot” for precise depth-keeping at high speeds.

Much later, when some of these details and others about the Type XXI “electro boat” leaked out, they caused an utter sensation in naval circles. Prominent experts gushed that the Type XXI represented a giant leap in submarine technology, bringing mankind very close to a “true submersible.” Some naval historians asserted that if the Germans had produced the Type XXI submarine one year earlier they almost certainly could have won the “Battle of the Atlantic” and thereby indefinitely delayed Overlord, the Allied invasion of Occupied France.

The American evaluators on U-2513 were not so sure about these claims. In the classified report they sent to the Chief of Naval Operations, dated July 1946, they wrote that while the Type XXI had many, desirable features that should be exploited (big battery, snorkel, streamlining, etc.), it also had many grave design and manufacturing faults. The clear implication was that owing to these faults, the XXI could not have made a big difference in the Battle of the Atlantic. Among the major faults the Americans enumerated:


History of U-2513 - History

History has lost another key figure from World War Two. Admiral Erich Topp passed away in Suessen, Germany on December 26, 2005. It's hard for us as relatives of casualties on the NERISSA to think of Erich Topp as anything other than a murderer but war is war. The chances of him surviving in a U-boat were very slim but he survived and was Germany's third highest ranking U-boat commander. We must respect and honour him for the part he played in history and his important contributions to society following the war. He was a great man. Because he played a purely military role during the war, the British released him almost immediately after his capture. Later in his career as an officer in the West German Navy, he spent a significant time in the U.S. Pentagon. He is survived by his two sons, Dr. Kay Peter Topp born in 1945 and Michael Topp born in 1950.

Erich Topp and Crew of U-552

Postwar examination of Kreigsmarine documents and logs conclusively attributes the sinking of Nerissa to U-552 under the command of Erich Topp. Topp and U-552 claimed notoriety by torpedoing and sinking the American destroyer Reuben James on October 31, 1941, over a month before the United States' entry into the war. Erich Topp survived the war and is acknowledged as the third top scoring U-boat commander having sunk 34 Allied merchant ships with a gross displacement of 193,684 tons. Erich Topp was recalled from active service in 1943 to serve as an instructor and subsequently was given command of U-2513 in 1945. He surrendered his boat to the British at the conclusion of hostilities. His original command U-552 was reassigned to another commander and she continued her remarkable career which spanned 4 years and 5 months of active service. U-552 was scuttled by her crew on May 2, 1945 at Wilhelmshaven to avoid capture.


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What were the biggest tech and weapon mistakes and missed opportunities of Germany in ww2

To put it simply, it wasn’t a war-winning weapon. Worse for Germany, it didn’t really do anything … and arguably hastened the Third Reich’s defeat.

For one, the submarines—only two were ever operational—suffered from several technical problems that forced engineers to work overtime to resolve. The hydraulic torpedo loading systems didn’t work at first. The engines and steering systems were defective. This made the submarines “decidedly less of a threat than originally foreseen,” Jones writes.

Germany largely ironed out these problems. But even if the submarines had worked perfectly at the outset, it’s unlikely they would have had much of an effect on the outcome of the war.

This is because the submarines were tied to a losing strategy. And in 1945, German naval strategy was a hopeless cause.

The Type XXI was a piece of crap.

RedSword12

The Nazis' Advanced Type XXI Submarine Was a Giant Mistake

The Type XXI was a piece of crap.

RedSword12

The Nazis' Advanced Type XXI Submarine Was a Giant Mistake

The Type XXI was a piece of crap.

Johnrankins

Answer the question please. Where would Germany have set up natural salt dome storage?

Are you referring to Vickers Hardened?

200 kg heavier than RR, Bristol, or Pratt equivalents with all the bells and whistles. That cuts into airframe mass. Japanese engines were about 100 kg lighter than the Wally equivalents. That goes into alloy blocks and that means steels.

Are you sure they were the ones to devise the solution?

Read your article. Their octane rating was different due to the measurement used. Their quantity was different due to production bottlenecks (lack of production facilities). Neither is a competence question.

So incompetence does not necessarily correlate with moral reserve? Or are you saying the US was immoral in its war with the Nazis?

So you acknowledge that the Nazis were competent in at least one area.

So the Nazis are competent at night vision and camoflauge at least.

Adolf Busemann predates them.

GUPPY class submarines (1946-1960)

www.naval-encyclopedia.com

Type XXI submarines (et al) inspired GUPPY. Adhesive barriers for anechoic tiling were overcome by war's end but economic bottlenecks and time trade-offs doomed the ideaby that point in the war.
And I'm happy to review your source for the claims about the crawlspace - US Navy officials don't make a habit of placing their commander-in-chief aboard a 'deathtrap'.

1946 Truman - Deutsches U-Boot-Museum

Not sure Speer and Guderian are what we would call easily comparable, and self-promoter or not he still got a lot of credit for keeping their economy running.

Gotta protect the ships that trade somehow - or just produce more than the enemy can destroy.

So murdering the leadership of a given country to keep it in the fight even if it is threatened with complete subjugation/annhilation is now a morally acceptable solution to you?

If you do not value human beings in general, then African Americans, American women, Mexican Americans, Native Americans from the Sioux and Navajo nations, praise their efforts). and JAPANESE Americans (really PRAISE these guys.) will be left aside and one limits one's economic efforts in ship-building, generating intelligence, farming, causing the B'Dienst and the Japanese Signals Service to tear their hair out, and in general overall economic activity===> especially in feeding and supplying the Red Army, so those guys can put an end to the Berlin Maniac and his monstrous regime.

That is the moral vision applied to war M79.

RedSword12

McPherson

Salt dome - Origin of salt domes.

GUPPY class submarines (1946-1960)

www.naval-encyclopedia.com

And I'm happy to review your source for the claims about the crawlspace - US Navy officials don't make a habit of placing their commander-in-chief aboard a 'deathtrap'.

1946 Truman - Deutsches U-Boot-Museum

RedSword12

McPherson

McPherson

An engineer would look at that horror show and tear his hair out.

RedSword12

The Type XXI was NOT a deathtrap! This is clearly bad argumentation on your part, since the only real evidence you have produced is an inconvenient access shaft, and even the value of that testimony is questionable.

Far, far more evidence points to you being wrong on all counts.
1. The president was allowed to go on board for a demonstration dive.
2. The XXI was used for decades after the war by navies that had no reason to risk the lives of well-trained submariners in XXI's unless they WERE NOT death traps.
3. The article you cited as evidence for the XXI being crap says very little about the technical issues of the XXI (and also does not mention issues which would make the submarine a death trap), instead noting that most of the issues were essentially fixed by the war's end, and that the reason why the XXI was a bad idea was because it was never going to be enough to change the tide of the war.
4. The only qualification you have in order to claim the XXI was a death trap was a little tour of the Wilhelm Bauer. Compared to the expertise of the navies which INSISTED on using these submarines far longer than they needed to, you are clearly far from qualified to make a valid judgement on the design.

An engineer would look at that horror show and tear his hair out.

Look More Closely Later

Seems to me that 'Stockpile (more) oil (before going to war)' is an obvious missed opportunity .

To achive this, given limited foreign exchnage (before looting half of Europe) strikes me to be the bigger question (POD earlier synthetic production, POD spending less foreign exchange on other thigs, POD get some more credit from American Banks (issue a few more Bonds), POD do more deals with oil suppliers earlier & buy on credit etc. etc.). This is althistory === the Nazi's can pay for it with Handwavium ..

As to where to store all this extra oil, well, that's the least of their problems = 'use salt domes' is just as good an answer as any other . I would have thought any old disused mine would do the trick, if not then I suppose purpose built underground storage** tanks (for the finished products - gasoline, diesel etc) could be constructed (although no-doubt "some-one" will tell me how impossible it is to store oil products underground in any way what-so-ever without it catching fire or blowing up)

**Without wishing to get into an argument, I woud have thought that underground storage would be a harder to destroy with bombs and lower priority target than, say, the synthetic oil plant or the oil refineries …

HexWargamer

Hope no-one thinks I'm suggesting that underground storage is immune to being bombed . just harder to find and put out of action than an oil refinary or synthetic oil plant .

To be fair, it took the USA entry into the war to focus the Brits. on fact that precision bombing of strategic resources (eg oil production) could pay dividends .. and then it was left to the Americans to do it .

Early war, as we know, the RAF switched to night bombing of cities (because they could not tollerate the losses of day bombing and could not find any target smaller than a city at night) . by 'Dambusters' time (May 1943) I bet most of the pre-war stockpiles would have been use up and the salt domes (or whaterver) almost empty ..
(plus, dams are behind big lakes of water that are easy enough to find at night . an underground storage facility (I would contend) is not so easy to find) .

EDIT by the time the RAF gets around to dropping Tallboys and Grandslams the Nazi's are well on the back foot and on the way down . dropping such bombs on submarine pens, the Tirpitz and any Nazi facility being constructed eg. the V3 site and V2 launch facility will likley be higher priority than on some now likley empty of it's last drop of oil abandoned mine.

Salt dome - Origin of salt domes.

Interesting - are you referring to specific incidents in pre-war Germany and if so which ones?

(A) where is a reference to High-temperature steel/gunmetal alloy from the link? and (B) you might want to dig a bit further than a Reddit post

Again, your using some sort of ethical calculus as a substitute for economic limitations. Allied analysis after the war showed German synthetic fuels were just as good as what the Allies were using - just not in nearly the quantity. That's an economic bottleneck.

So as long as you don't think the contribution is significant you have no trouble with Nazis being technically competent. Got it.

Again, so long as you don't think the contribution is significant you have no trouble with Nazis being technically competent. Either they have the competence to camoflauge their proposed pipelines or they lack it and thus should not proceed with a project that would endanger their oil supplies. Choose.

So Nazis assembled functional night vision equipment and had the competence to enact effective camoflauge on par with the USSR of the 1950s but they are now technically incompetent. because you say so?

You are free to say whatever you like, NASA recognizes Busemann as progenitor if the idea. https://history.nasa.gov/SP-468/ch11-3.htm

Please keep on topic and respond to posts as written. We were not discussing the snorkel, we were discussing GUPPY.

So you're unable to give a response. Noted.

Economics and their effects on Nazi production, McPherson, are worthy topics for your further reading and consideration. Nazis lacked the industrial capacity and often the raw ingredients to manufacture weaponry (especially advanced weaponry/engines/etc.) in quantities needed.

Type XXI German submarines keep coming up as inspiration for both. Not a coincidence.

Had the Nazis overrun Russia I shudder to think how many more would have died. And your apparent agreement with my post about your finding the murder of Soviet leadership acceptable to keep the USSR in the war as needed even had Japan invaded from the East and Moscow been threatened with utter annihilation is also noted.

Derek Pullem

I think salt domes and oil storage were the suggested technology that same have helped the Nazis overcome some of their issues in mid war (dragging thread back from unwarranted and borderline racially insulting accusations of incompetence against the German people).

Salt dome storage technology is actually relatively simple once you see a need for it. Many of the best sites are in NW Germany close to Emden. They would be exposed to RAF bombing but the actual exposed equipment is relatively cheap and easily rebuilt or it could be hardened a la U boat pens. Won't stop a tallboy or grand slam but neither of those would be able to disrupt the actual oil storage reserves, just the surface facilities.

But as I noted earlier, the Nazis saw no reason to store oil when effectively their coal mines were storing oil and the synthetic fuel plants were processing it. The problem was that the syn plants could not be defended and the same logic would have applied to refineries for stored oil too. Salt domes can be used to store products (avgas etc) but admitting this is defeatist talk!

HexWargamer

HexWargamer

Thaddeus

my view has always been the Elektroboote were developed in reverse order, that they should have built the (much) smaller Type XXIII first, it was more within their technical and production capabilities.

they also needed an even smaller mini submarine, maybe the Italian exploits could have motivated them? they later had a good design with the Seeteufel which had tracks that could have somewhat solved the launching issues.

Edgeworthy

The Type XXI was NOT a deathtrap! This is clearly bad argumentation on your part, since the only real evidence you have produced is an inconvenient access shaft, and even the value of that testimony is questionable.

Far, far more evidence points to you being wrong on all counts.
1. The president was allowed to go on board for a demonstration dive.
2. The XXI was used for decades after the war by navies that had no reason to risk the lives of well-trained submariners in XXI's unless they WERE NOT death traps.
3. The article you cited as evidence for the XXI being crap says very little about the technical issues of the XXI (and also does not mention issues which would make the submarine a death trap), instead noting that most of the issues were essentially fixed by the war's end, and that the reason why the XXI was a bad idea was because it was never going to be enough to change the tide of the war.
4. The only qualification you have in order to claim the XXI was a death trap was a little tour of the Wilhelm Bauer. Compared to the expertise of the navies which INSISTED on using these submarines far longer than they needed to, you are clearly far from qualified to make a valid judgement on the design.


Under the Cover

An excerpt from Hitler's U-Boat War

On a chilly day in the late fall of 1945, our submarine, the U.S.S. Guardfish, proudly flying battle pennants, nosed into the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, joining scores of mass-produced sister ships, all home from the sea.

Collectively we submariners were known as the Silent Service, and proud we were of that distinction. Unknown to the public, we had played a decisive role in the defeat of Japan. In forty-two months of secret warfare in the Pacific Ocean area, 250 of our submarines, mounting 1,682 war patrols, had savaged Japanese maritime assets, sinking 1,314 ships of 5.3 million gross tons, including twenty major warships: eight aircraft carriers, a battleship, and eleven cruisers. For almost three years Guardfish, a fine boat, had played a prominent role in that war, sending nineteen confirmed ships to the bottom (including two fleet destroyers and a patrol boat) during twelve long and arduous war patrols in Japanese-controlled waters.

After we had moored at a pier where we were to mothball Guardfish, we were startled to see a strangely different submarine close by. Painted jet black, she looked exceptionally sleek and sinister. We soon learned that she was a German U-boat that had surrendered shortly after VE-Day. She was manned by an American crew that was evaluating her on behalf of naval authorities in Washington.

This U-boat was very hush-hush and off-limits to ordinary souls. However, when she shifted her berth to our pier (and nicked us in the process), we became friendly with the American crew and gradually talked our way on board for a look-see. We learned that she was U-2513, a brand new Type XXI electro boat, one of two such craft allotted to the U.S. Navy as war prizes. Commissioned and commanded by one of Germanys most famous U-boat aces, Erich Topp, she and her mass-produced sister ships had been completed too late to participate in the war.

In our superficial examination of U-2513, we were quite impressed with some of her features, especially her top speed submerged. She had six sets of storage batteries, comprising a total of 372 cells (hence electro boat), which enabled her to quietly sprint submerged at about 16 knots for about one hour. This was twice the sprint speed of our submarines and sufficient to escape from almost any existing antisubmarine warship. Alternately, the large battery capacity enabled her to cruise submerged at slower speeds for a great many hours, whether stalking prey or escaping.

The next most impressive feature to us was her Schnorchel, or as we anglicized the German, snorkel. This was a sophisticated breathing tube or mast with air intake and exhaust ducts, which enabled U-2513 to run her two diesel engines while submerged. By rigging one diesel (or both) to charge the batteries while submerged, she could in theory remain underwater for prolonged periods, thereby greatly diminishing the chances of detection by enemy eyes or radar.

Nor was that all. Her periscope optics and passive sonar for underwater looking and listening were much superior to ours. Her ingenious hydraulically operated torpedo-handling gear could automatically reload her six bow torpedo tubes in merely five minutes. A third reload could be accomplished in another twenty minutes. The thickness and strength of her pressure hull was said to give her a safe diving depth limit of about 1,200 feet, twice our safe depth limit and sufficient to get well beneath most existing Allied depth charges. She even had an automatic pilot for precise depth-keeping at high speeds.

Much later, when some of these details and others about the Type XXI electro boat leaked out, they caused an utter sensation in naval circles. Prominent experts gushed that the Type XXI represented a giant leap in submarine technology, bringing mankind very close to a true submersible. Some naval historians asserted that if the Germans had produced the Type XXI submarine one year earlier they almost certainly could have won the Battle of the Atlantic and thereby indefinitely delayed Overlord, the Allied invasion of Occupied France.

The American evaluators on U-2513 were not so sure about these claims. In the classified report they sent to the Chief of Naval Operations, dated July 1946, they wrote that while the Type XXI had many desirable features that should be exploited (big battery, snorkel, streamlining, etc.), it also had many grave design and manufacturing faults. The clear implication was that owing to these faults, the XXI could not have made a big difference in the Battle of the Atlantic. Among the major faults the Americans enumerated:

Poor Structural Integrity: Hurriedly prefabricated in thirty-two different factories that had little or no experience in submarine building, the eight major hull sections of the Type XXI were crudely made and did not fit together properly. Therefore the pressure hull was weak and not capable of withstanding sea pressure at great depths or the explosions of close depth charges. The Germans reported that in their structural tests the hull failed at a simulated depth of 900 feet. The British reported failure at 800 feet, less than the failure depth of the conventional German U-boats.

Underpowered Diesel Engines: The new model, six-cylinder diesels were fitted with superchargers to generate the required horsepower. The system was so poorly designed and manufactured that the superchargers could not be used. This failure reduced the generated horsepower by almost half: from 2,000 to 1,200, leaving the Type XXI ruinously underpowered. Consequently, the maximum surface speed was only 15.6 knots, less than any oceangoing U-boat built during the war and slightly slower than the corvette convoy-escort vessel. The reduction in horsepower also substantially increased the time required to carry out a full battery charge.

Impractical Hydraulic System: The main lines, accumulators, cylinders, and pistons of the hydraulic gear for operating the diving planes, rudders, torpedo tube outer doors, and antiaircraft gun turrets on the bridge were too complex and delicate and located outside the pressure hull. This gear was therefore subject to saltwater leakage, corrosion, and enemy weaponry. It could not be repaired from inside the pressure hull.

Imperfect and Hazardous Snorkel: Even in moderate seas the mast dunked often, automatically closing the air intake and exhaust ports. Even so, salt water poured into the ships bilges and had to be discharged overboard continuously with noisy pumps. Moreover, during these shutdowns, the diesels dangerously sucked air from inside the boat and deadly exhaust gas (carbon monoxide) backed up, causing not only headaches and eye discomfort but also serious respiratory illnesses. Snorkeling in the Type XXI was therefore a nightmarish experience, to be minimized to the greatest extent possible.

The U.S. Navy did in fact adopt some of the features of the Type XXI electro boat for its new submarine designs in the immediate postwar years. However, by that time the Navy was firmly committed to the development of a nuclear-powered submarine, a true submersible that did not depend on batteries or snorkels for propulsion and concealment. These marvels of science and engineering, which came along in the 1950s, 1960s, and later, were so technically sophisticated as to render the best ideas of German submarine technology hopelessly archaic and to assure the United States of a commanding lead in this field well into the next century.

This little story about the Type XXI electro boat is a perfect example of a curious naval mythology that has arisen in this century. The myth goes something like this: The Germans invented the submarine (or U-boat) and have consistently built the best submarines in the world. Endowed with a canny gift for exploiting this marvelously complex and lethal weapon system, valorous (or, alternately, murderous) German submariners dominated the seas in both world wars and very nearly defeated the Allies in each case. In a perceptive study, Canadian naval historian Michael L. Hadley writes: "During both wars and during the inter-war years as well, the U-boat was mythologized more than any other weapon of war."

The myth assumed an especially formidable aspect in World War II and afterwards. During the war, the well-oiled propaganda machinery of the Third Reich glorified and exaggerated the successes of German submariners to a fare-thee-well in the various Axis media. At the same time, Allied propagandists found it advantageous to exaggerate the peril of the U-boats for various reasons. The end result was a wildly distorted picture of the so-called Battle of the Atlantic.

After the war, Washington, London, and Ottawa clamped a tight embargo on the captured German U-boat records to conceal the secrets of codebreaking, which had played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic. As a result, the first histories of the U-boat war were produced by Third Reich propagandists such as Wolfgang Frank, Hans Jochem Brennecke, and Harald Busch, and by Karl Dönitz, wartime commander of the U-boat force, later commander of the Kriegsmarine, and, finally, Hitler's successor as Führer of the Third Reich. These histories, of course, did nothing to diminish the mythology. Hampered by the security embargo on the U-boat and codebreaking records and by an apparent unfamiliarity with the technology and the tactical limitations of submarines, the official and semiofficial Allied naval historians, Stephen Wentworth Roskill and Samuel Eliot Morison, were unable or unwilling to write authoritatively about German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. Hence for decade after decade no complete and reliable history of the Battle of the Atlantic appeared, and the German mythology prevailed.

My wartime service on Guardfish kindled a deep and abiding interest in submarine warfare. As a Washington-based journalist with Time, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post, I kept abreast of American submarine developments during the postwar years, riding the new boats at sea, compiling accounts of the noteworthy advancements and politics in articles and books. In 1975 I published a work of love, Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan, the first, full, uncensored history of the Silent Service in that very secret war.

The publication of Silent Victory triggered suggestions that I undertake a similar history of the German U-boat war.


WWII German U-Boat Sunk Off Key West

Blog Revisited – On April 8th, 2012 I posted this blog, last night on TV I saw a program on the History Channel called ‘Deep Sea Detectives’ about this very submarine. Here it is again.

Off of Key West lays the amazing wreck of the WWII German submarine U-2513. This Type-21 ‘Master of Disaster’ was then the most technologically advanced submarine in the world. It was too-little too-late for Germany arriving only months before the end of the war. Despite being the pride of the German Navy and its supreme Naval commander Admiral Karl Doenitz (seen below), it now resides at the bottom of the ocean in 235 feet of water.

You must be qualified in decompression techniques in order to dive this wreck. Something is terribly wrong about this wreck! Why does this German Nazi submarine have several U.S. made parts and signs printed in English? TRUE!

First its history: The WWII German Type-21U-2513, a 1621-ton submarine, was built in 1944 in Hamburg, Germany. Surrendered in May 1945, she was allocated to the United States as a spoil of war winding up in Key West in October 1946.

Answer: Now a U.S. possession, she was fit with several U.S. parts and English signs and then thoroughly tested and disected in every way. An ‘A’-List of dignitaries visited their prize including the Navy top brass and our Commander In Chief. Here she was employed as a high-speed target for anti-submarine forces and used to evaluate the underwater performance of advanced submarines. Once her German batteries had expired, she was taken out to sea and sunk in October 1951 in tests of the weapon ‘Alfa’ anti-submarine rocket.

Seen below is President Harry S. Truman (white cap) leaving USS U-2513 after visiting the former German submarine on December 5th 1947, at what is believed to be the Key West Naval Station.


Design [ edit | edit source ]

Like all Type XXI U-boats, U-3523 had a displacement of 1,621 tonnes (1,595 long tons) when at the surface and 1,819 tonnes (1,790 long tons) while submerged. She had a total length of 76.70 m (251 ft 8 in) (o/a), a beam length of 8 m (26 ft 3 in), and a draught length of 6.32 m (20 ft 9 in). Α] The submarine was powered by two MAN SE supercharged six-cylinder M6V40/46KBB diesel engines each providing 4,000 metric horsepower (2,900 kilowatts 3,900 shaft horsepower), two Siemens-Schuckert GU365/30 double-acting electric motors each providing 5,000 PS (3,700 kW 4,900 shp), and two Siemens-Schuckert silent running GV232/28 electric motors each providing 226 PS (166 kW 223 shp). Α]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 15.6 knots (28.9 km/h 18.0 mph) and a submerged speed of 17.2 knots (31.9 km/h 19.8 mph). When running on silent motors the boat could operate at a speed of 6.1 knots (11.3 km/h 7.0 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate at 5 knots (9.3 km/h 5.8 mph) for 340 nautical miles (630 km 390 mi) when surfaced, she could travel 15,500 nautical miles (28,700 km 17,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph). Α] U-3523 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes in the bow and four 2 cm (0.8 in) anti-aircraft guns. She could carry twenty-three torpedoes or seventeen torpedoes and twelve mines. The complement was five officers and fifty-two men. Α]


Watch the video: Secret of the U 110 Documentary