Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Midgets I.

This is coolbert:

The topic for discussion is midget submarines.

A midget submarine is carefully defined by the wiki entry as:

"A midget submarine is any submarine under 150 tons, typically operated by one or two but up to 6 or 8 crew, with no on-board living accommodation."

Submersibles small in size, but meeting the accepted criteria as to what constitutes a submarine.


* When surfaced, powered by an air-breathing diesel engine.

* When submerged, powered by an electric motor which uses a large bank of batteries for "juice".

* Submerges by taking in water into ballast tanks.

* Surfaces by expelling the ballasted water with compressed air.

* Engages enemy targets primarily by firing a torpedo.

The norm for fighting submersibles as established by John Holland a long time ago now.

Personally, I have always wondered about the midget submarine and the utility of same. More effort than they are worth. The returns are less than for what is put into them? Having a general purpose, versatile, medium size, ocean-going submarine is far more preferable?

[Please keep in mind that a conventional German U-boat of World War Two [WW2] would displace about 1000 tons. Midget submarines, as defined, displace only about 1/10th as much.]

With regard to midgets, the role historically has always been defensive or special purpose missions. NOT deep-water [pelagic] vessels with long-range capacity. Definitely NOT! Used in littoral waters for coastal or harbor defense. And having versatility as a harassing weapon when performing the special operations type of mission!

According to Suvorov, the midget sub is seen by Soviet/Russian naval planners as:

* "capable of penetrating into places in which the ordinary ship cannot"

* Cheaper.

* Harder to locate and destroy.

The midget sub is a concept now passe'? NOT really living up to billing in the past, and now an anachronism in the nuclear age? Maybe NOT SO!?




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