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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 725  
Subject: Re: Castles of Steel Date: 5/7/2004 2:57 PM
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Hi Fred,

The submarines of WWI were small surface ships that could submerge. On the surface they had reasonable range and speed using their diesel engines. But submerged they were slow, with limited battery life. And they could not remain submerged without power.

Did you see "Das Boot"? Surface running in heavy weather must have been quite a problem.

Even in World War II, convoy attacks were often made on the surface at night.

Poor performance when submerged is one of the reasons radar proved so effective against the U-boats. There were brief experiments with hydrogen peroxide as oxidizer that allowed more power and range when submerged, but high test hydrogen peroxide is nasty stuff to handle. Crews were none too happy about it.

Submarines (and submarine tactics) did not change much until nuclear power arrived in the 50s.

On battleship gun range, remember the investigation of the Iowa incident. The propellant charges had been made in 1938. Sounds like that technology came about in the 30s.

Battleships were often equipped with float planes. Before that there was some discussion of dirgibles for a while. These devices could be used for ranging over the horizon once communications allowed it. Of course, being up in one of those in the midst of a battle would take some courage. Agreed they were probably more effective at shorter ranges, but shore bombardment from longer ranges was probably practical.
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