Tag Archive | life on a submarine

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. 

U31

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!

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