Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday Oct. 7, 2015: Los Submarinos!
Here we see what could have very well been the last of old Adolph’s U-boat fleet in fleet operations, Submarino S-01 of the Armada Española.
Starting life as U-573, a Type VIIC U-boat built for Germany’s Kriegsmarine, she was laid down 24 October 1939, roughly 76 years ago this month, at Blohm and Voss in Hamburg. As such, she was a war baby, with the German invasion of Poland beginning some two months before. She cost the Germans 4 million marks.
The Type VIIC design was the backbone and icon of the U-boat force, with 568 commissioned from 1940 to 1945. For instance, the submarine in Das Boot, U-96, was a VIIC.
These 800-ton, 220-foot long vessels had great range (8,500 nm), could make 17.7 knots on the surface which was faster than most merchantmen of the day, and carried 14 advanced torpedoes and an 88mm SK C/35 gun with some 200~ rounds for those ships not worthy of a torp.
Commissioned 5 June 1941, on the cusp of the invasion of the Soviet Union, U-573 completed four combat patrols in an eight-month period between 15 September 1941 and 2 May 1942. Spending 119 days at sea, her inaugural skipper, Kptlt. Heinrich Heinsohn, helmed the vessel the whole time.
The city of Landeck in Tyrol adopted the submarine within the then-popular sponsorship program (Patenschaftsprogramm), organizing gifts and holidays for the crew, earning her the honorary name “U-573 Landeck,” and she carried that town’s coat of arms briefly.
U-573s four patrols produced lackluster results, only chalking up one kill, the 5,289-ton Norwegian flagged steamer Hellen, sunk by two of three torpedoes fired by the submarine about 4 miles off Cape Negro. The bow broke away and the Norwegian sank shortly after midnight without loss of life. All 41 crew members were picked up by the armed trawler HMT Arctic Ranger and landed in Gibraltar the next day.
Speaking of Gibraltar, on April 29, 1942, U-573 was encountered on the surface by a Lockheed Hudson bomber (U.S. A-28) of RAF Sqdn. 233/M who promptly dropped 325-pound depth charges on her until she submerged.
Damaged, the submarine was again attacked by Hudsons from No. 233 the next day.
With one man killed, his batteries leaking, a crack in his hull that prevented submergence to more than 45 feet, and numerous other issues, Heinsohn made for the closest friendly harbor– that of neutral but pro-German Spain– arriving at Cartagena on 2 May.
There, under the howls of British diplomatic protests, the Spaniards allowed the sub 90 days to patch up and get back into the Med. However, the battered U-573 was too far gone for pierside ersatz repairs against a waiting British blockade and on 2 August 1942, Germany sold her to Franco for 180 million pesetas (1.5 million marks) in a warm handover, minus torpedoes and shells, which were destroyed to help keep the British happy. Her flag, books, code machine and crests were given to the German ambassador.
Her 43-man crew, officially to be interned for the duration, snuck back to the Reich in small groups, and was replaced by a few civilian German naval technicians who remained with Spain’s new sub as advisers until well after the war.
(Note- One other German Type VIIC sub, U-760, was interned under the guns of the Spanish cruiser Navarra at Vigo harbor in 1943 and, her engines dismantled, was towed away by the British in 1945.)
While the war ended and Hitler was swept away with all of his legions of VIICs (Heinsohn himself, as well as most of Crew 33, were killed on other U-boats after they returned home), U-573, rechristened G-7 by the Spanish, endured.
Why G-7? You see Franco had planned to build six of their own VIICs that were to be numbered G1 to G6, but that never happened.
The thing is, the sole Type VIIC the Spanish did have was still a wreck. A floating wreck to be sure, but far from operational by any stretch of the imagination.
It wasn’t until 17 November 1947, after extensive refit in dry-dock to include much German contract labor, salvaged gear from Hamburg and new (American) batteries, she was in active service.
Painted gray, she still carried her 88mm Rheinmetall Borsig forward although her 20mm AA gun was landed. The Armada had acquired 12 working 533mm torpedoes and mounted a 7.62mm MG3 on her tower when needed.
Tested to 120 meters depth, her Spanish crew consisted of a Commander, Deputy Commander, Chief Engineer, Deputy Commander, three CPOs, 13 Cabos (NCOs) and 24 ratings.
Across her tower was installed “Todo por la Patria” (All for the Fatherland) in place of the old Landeck crest.
The most modern Spanish submarine until the 1950s, she was the pride of the fleet and made frequent appearance in period movies and film footage portraying German U-boats for obvious reasons.
“U 47 – Kapitänleutnant Prien,” a 1958 German film starring one U-573/Submarino G-7
In 1961, refitted with the help of the U.S., she was repainted black and renamed S-01.
CC. D. GUILERMO CARRERO GARRE of –.–. 1947 to 26.9.1949
CC. D. Ayuso SERRANO JACINTO of 26/09/1949 to 27/11/1952
CC. Joaquín Florez of 27/11/1952 to 19/11/1954
CC. D. TOMAS NAVARRO CLAVIJO of 11/19/1954 to 17/04/1956
CC. Juan A. MORENO AZNAR from 04/17/1956 to 04/05/1960
CC.D. ENRIQUE ROMERO GONZALEZ of 05/05/1960 to 09/29/1961
TN. D. Luis Rodriguez Mendez-Nunez 09.29.1961 to 15.02.1965
CC. D. LUIS FERNANDO MARTI NARBONA of 15/02/1965 to 20/09/1966
CC. ENRIQUE SEGURA Agacino of 20/09/1966 to 04/16/1968
CC. JAVIER GARCIA CAVESTANY of 16/04/1968 to 05/10/1969
CC.D. AREVALO EMILIO Pelluz of 05/10/1969 to 02/05/1970
Docked for the last time in February 1970, she was stricken from the Armada on 2 May that year. Plans to preserve her as a museum fell through and she was sold for about $25,000, her value in scrap metal.
While numerous submarines are preserved as museums, including 9 in Germany, there is only one Type VIIC on public display– U-995 at Laboe, Germany. Like U-573/S01 she was a Blohm and Voss boat and is a near sister.
(Note, the otherwise U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Chicago, Illinois is a type IXC).
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.50 m (165 ft. 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.20 m (20 ft. 4 in) (o/a)
4.70 m (15 ft. 5 in) (pressure hull)
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft. 6 in)
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft. 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged 6-cylinder 4-stroke Germaniawerft diesel engines totaling 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 shp). Max rpm: 470–490. Two Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 double-acting electric motors
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft.)
Complement: 44-52 officers & ratings
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA or 39 TMB mines
1 × 8.8 cm SK C/35 Rheinmettal Borsig naval gun with 220 rounds
1x Rheinmettal 20mm antiaircraft
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General Atomics has unveiled a new capability for its MQ-9B Guardian maritime UAV (a navalized 9B Reaper), presenting a sonobuoy capability along with other modifications to the Royal Navy in a bid to market the Guardian as an unmanned maritime patrol aircraft to supplement the likely procurement of a manned maritime patrol aircraft.
“What we’re really looking at is a Predator B carrying sonobuoys, controlling them, and sending sonobuoy information back to the ground station over a SATCOM link,” King says.
“The work has seen us put the system together in a lab and carry out ground testing and prove it end to end. We were ready to go flying in 2015, but the aircraft were diverted to more urgent work. So we will be flying this early in the new year to prove the system.”
In the 1860s, the Swiss government went looking for a rifle that would replace older percussion muskets and elevate them into the revolution in worldwide military arms ushered in with the U.S. Civil War. What they came up with saw extended service for the next 80 years in one form or another and was one of the most popular hunting arms in the U.S. for generations.
Why was it adopted?
In 1864, the standard Swiss Army rifle was the M1842/59 Milbank-Amsler, a gun that began life as a muzzleloader (M1842) then was modified over the years to a breechloader along the lines of the American Allin Springfield design of the same period. It was functional, but after the advent of rifles such as the Winchester and Spencer repeaters, and the French Chassepot and German Dreyse needleguns (both of whom shared a border with Switzerland), the Swiss needed to up their game if they wanted to remain quietly neutral.
This led to the one Friedrich Vetterli, a well-known firearms designer, joining with the Swiss gun maker Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft Waffen-Department (SIG) to come up with a neat design for its time.
We give you: the Repetiergewehr Vetterli and its Italian cousin, the Vetterli-Vitali
For more than a century, the CSS Hunley rested at the bottom of the ocean just outside Charleston harbor, its crew entombed, its hull gradually encased in hardening encrustations.
When it was raised 15 years ago off South Carolina, it looked more like a barnacled sea monster than the world’s first operational submarine, sunk in battle during the winter of 1864.
The remains of its eight sailors were removed in 2001, but research has continued, and Thursday, a conservation team announced that experts have now removed more than half a ton of the encrustations.
The result: the Hunley has much of the look and menace of a modern sub and is clearly the ancestor of the U-boat and the nuclear submarine of today.
Russian firearms expert and historian Maxim Popenker has a fascinating piece over at Weapons Man about Russian Internally Suppressed, Captive Piston Quiet Weapons. And it is well worth the read
From the piece: