Wednesday, June 26, 2013
U Boot Typ IIB U-23
The Type II U-boat was designed by Germany as a coastal U-boat, modeled after the CV-707 submarine, which was designed by the Dutch dummy company NV Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (I.v.S) (set up by Germany after World War I in order to maintain and develop German submarine technology and to circumvent the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles) and built in 1933 by the Finnish Crichton-Vulcan shipyard in Turku, Finland. It was too small to undertake sustained operations far away from the home support facilities. Its primary role was found to be in the training schools, preparing new German naval officers for command. It appeared in four sub-types.
Germany was stripped of her U-boats by the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I, but in the late 1920s and early 1930s began to rebuild her armed forces. The pace of rearmament accelerated under Adolf Hitler, and the first Type II U-boat was laid down on 11 February 1935. Knowing that the world would see this step towards rearmament, Hitler reached an agreement with Britain to build a navy up to 35% of the size of the Royal Navy in surface vessels, but equal to the British in number of submarines. This agreement was signed on 18 June 1935, and U-1 was commissioned 11 days later.
The defining characteristic of the Type II was its tiny size. Known as the Einbaum ("dugout canoe"), it had the advantages over larger boats of the ability to work in shallow water, diving more quickly, and being more difficult to spot due to the low conning tower. However, it had a shallower maximum depth, short range, and cramped living conditions, and could carry few torpedoes.
The boat had a single hull, with no watertight compartments. There were three torpedo tubes forward (none aft), with space for another two torpedoes inside the pressure hull for reloads. A single 20 mm anti-aircraft gun was provided, but no deck gun was mounted.
Space inside was limited. The two spare torpedoes extended from just behind the torpedo tubes to just in front of the control room, and most of the 24-man crew lived in this forward area around the torpedoes, sharing 12 bunks. Four bunks were also provided aft of the engines for the engine room crew. Cooking and sanitary facilities were basic, and in this environment long patrols were very arduous.
Most Type IIs only saw operational service during the early years of the war, thereafter remaining in training bases. Six were stripped down to just a hull, transported by river and truck to Linz (on the Danube), and reassembled for use in the Black Sea against the Soviet Union.
In contrast to other German submarine types, few Type IIs were lost. This, of course, reflects their use as training boats, although accidents accounted for several vessels.
These boats were a first step towards re-armament, intended to provide Germany with experience in submarine construction and operation and lay the foundation for larger boats to build upon. Only one of these submarines survives to this day; the prototype CV-707, renamed Vesikko by the Finnish Navy which later bought it.
On February 3, 2008, The Telegraph reported that U-20 had been discovered by Selçuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer in 80 feet (24 m) of water off the coast of the Turkish city of Zonguldak. The paper also reported that Kolay knows where U-23 and U-19 are, scuttled in deeper water near U-20.
Deutsche Werke AG, of Kiel, built four Type IIBs in 1935 and 1936, Germaniawerft AG, of Kiel, built fourteen in 1935 and 1936, and Flender Werke AG, of Lübeck, built two between 1938 and 1940, for a total of twenty built.
German submarine U-23 was a Type IIB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine, built in Germaniawerft, Kiel. She was laid down on 11 April 1936 and commissioned on 24 September.
At 4:45 am on 4 October 1939, U-23 scored one of the Kriegsmarine's early successes of the war when she torpedoed and sank with gunfire, the merchant ship Glen Farg about 60 mi (97 km) south-southwest of Sumburgh Head (southern Shetland). One person died, while 16 survivors were picked up by HMS Firedrake and landed at Kirkwall the next day.
In 16 patrols U-23 sank seven ships for a total of 11,179 gross register tons (GRT) including two warships, as well as damaging a warship and an auxiliary warship.
Over the course of her service with the Kriegsmarine, U-23 had ten commanding officers, the most famous of whom was Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer, who went on to become the top scoring U-boat ace. After service in the Atlantic with the 1st U-boat Flotilla, U-23 served as a training boat with the 21st U-boat Flotilla from July 1940 until September 1942. U-23 was then refitted and transported overland to the Black Sea port of Konstanza, Romania, with the 30th U-boat Flotilla until September 1944.
U-23 was scuttled by her crew on 10 September 1944, off the coast of Turkey in the Black Sea at position Coordinates: to prevent her capture by the advancing Soviets.
On 3 February 2008, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that U-23 had been discovered by Selçuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, in 160 ft (49 m) of water, three miles from the town of Agva