Tag Archive | German Type 212

Aboard U32, a modern German shark

WELT has recently posted this super interesting 50~ minute English-language doc on the German Type/Klasse 212A Unterseeboot, U32 (S182) “on its journey from the Eckernforde naval base through the difficult-to-navigate Kiel Canal to Plymouth in England,” for a NATO exercise.

I caution you now, when compared to U.S. bubbleheads, the modern crop of Germans are a bit sloppy looking and sport a lot of hair, but then again, that has been pretty common in the past few decades with Western European NATO militaries with the exception of the French, Brits, and Italians. 

Nonetheless, Type 212s are excellent platforms.

Commissioned in 2005, U32 is tiny when compared to U.S. boats, tipping the scales at 1,800-tons (submerged) and having a length of just 183.7-feet.

She carries up to 13 fiber-optic-guided torpedoes in time of war or tension. With her X-tail, she can dive in seas as shallow as 55-feet– making her able to operate almost to the edge of the 10-fathom curve in littoral space– and, using AIP, remain submerged for weeks without poking a snorkel up. Periscope depth is just 44 feet.

On such a compact vessel, everything is a bit cramped and every compartment serves multiple purposes– the boat’s small arms locker is under the skipper’s bunk.

Sister U31. I still think a laughing sawfish would look great on her sail. 


Of note, Germany only has six of these vessels in a single squadron and a total of just about 80 active submariners in four crews, each of about 20~ men (and women).

“There are more Bundesliga footballers than submariners in Germany.”

The German boat also has beer aboard, enough for two cans per sailor per day– stored in empty torpedo tubes.

Donitz is surely rolling in his grave!

Italian Frogmen, Submarine by Germany, Arms by the US

Italian Gruppo Operativo Incurson

A team of four Italian Gruppo Operativo Incurson (Operational Raider Group) combat swimmers emerging from a Salvatore Todaro (S526)-class diesel attack submarine. The Salvatore Todaro (S526) is a German Type 212 class 1800-ton advanced SSK. These boats are able to transit up to two weeks without surfacing or snorkeling, which is huge for a non-nuclear boat. Manned by just a 27 man crew, one of these boats can float in 20-feet of water and carry up to 13 DM2A4, A184 Mod.3, Black Shark Torpedo, or IDAS missiles and 24 external naval mines. Oh yeah, and naval swimmers.  Note the ease of leaving the sub by the front door. Their weapons of choice are M4-type rifles with the swimmer on the far right carrying one possibly in 7.62x51mm NATO (judging from the straight box mag and longer barrel) which could make it a Mk110 type.

The Operational Raider Group is a unit of just 150-200 hardcore operators inside the more well-known COMSUBIN that are comparable to the US Navy Seals, Royal Marine SBS, or Danish Frogmen corps. They trace their lineage back to the MAS units and X MAS units of World War One and Two, meaning they have more sunken battleships to their record than any other combat swimmers on the market.

German Subs Stalking US Fleet in Atlantic

Ok, Ok, I know it’s an overly dramatic title, but its true.

Here we see crew members carry supplies on board the German Navy’s U32 submarine (L) at the navy harbor in Eckernfoerde, Germany, 07 February 2013. The submarine is expected to sail on 10 February 2013 to join the four-months lasting international maritime maneuver ‘Westlant Deployment’ on the east coast of the United States. A central exercise during the maneuver will be a simulated maritime combat between the submarine and a US aircraft carrier battle group.

The U32 is a Type 212 submarine of the Bundesmarine that was launched in 2003 and in current service. A fast diesel SSK boat, she is 183 feet long and carries a baker’s dozen of the worlds most advanced torpedoes. She is AIP and has such a low emission profile that she is considered 183-feet of the quietest ocean wherever she is– a literal black hole in the water. This coupled with the fact that she can operate submerged in as little as 45 feet of water, makes her a littoral specter.

However with the Truman’s deployment put on hold…who knows. If so, the U32 will have to get a lot closer to Norfolk.

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