Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The End of the War

It is late in 1944, but there is no Christmas
joy in Germany.....Her cities are little more
than heaps of rubble....The allied bombers
come 24 hours a day....The British by night
and the Americans by day.....100,000 civilians
are dead in Hamburg, Germany's second largest city from  fire bomb raids....Desolation
is everywhere.

V-1 and V-2  Reprisal weapons rain down
on allied cities, but without a guidance system there is no way of controlling what they will hit.  Again, it's a race to see who can kill the most women and children, and
Germany is losing.....

At sea,  the much vaunted U-Boats are much
the same as they were in 1940.......80% are
the little 750 ton  Mk VII boats another 15%
are the larger 1,200 ton MK IX boats. The
Fatherland's hopes lie in three new types.
The MK-XVI boats with the experimental
Walter   closed cycle Hydrogen Peroxide engines......There are problems with them.
They simply explode without warning, and the 6 boats they built have become 3 boats.

The large MK XXI boats are larger than the
American Submarines, faster than them, and they can dive deeper....one is complete.
7 more are under construction.   They could win the war, but Germany will need a 100 of them, and with the allies pounding the shipyards,  It may be impossible to complete
the 7 that are unfinished.  U-2511 is undergoing sea trials off Norway, but she is
the only complete MK-21 Boat.

The MK-XXIII boats are small.  Their range is short, and they are all electric. Much beyond the coast of Europe and they are useless.  Hitler had them built to defend the
Baltic Sea from a seaborne Soviet naval threat that never materialized.

In short, the German response to the Allied
invasion of Europe is  too little and too late.

The first combat patrol of U-2511 the Nazi
"Super-Sub"  occured  the day before the war ended.   Her captain made a dummy attack on a British Cruiser but did not fire
a torpedo......He knew the war was lost and
simply couldn't stand the thought of useless
bloodshed .....He couldn't resist the chance to make  the British look foolish....He made his dummy attack, then sped away at a speed no submarine could manage up until that day.  The next day it was all over.  Most of
the advanced MK-XVII,  MK-XXI's, and MK-XXIII were studied by the British and Americans then given to the French.  The
MK-XVII lasted a week before it blew itself out of the water taking 35 Frenchmen with
it......The French operated the MK-XXI Super Subs until 1979....Including the U-2511.   Nobody wasted much time on the little  MK XXIII electric boats.......

The Japanese got a copy of the blueprints
for the MK-XXI's and built 2 ,  7/8 scale copies   neither was finished by the end of the war. They were the first ships in the Imperial Japanese Navy to employ all electric welding.......U.S. Navy sources that
examined the Japanese copies of the MK XXI's  said they compared favorably with
the German originals......The Navy Scuttled them in deep water......Relieved, no doubt,
that they never entered active service.