Train submarine

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by mistereddb, Oct 26, 2013.

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  1. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Congratulations, you have come up with the theory that almost saw the Allies lose the First World War. One hundred years ago, incorrect calculations about the problems of convoys meant that transatlantic ships were routed independently, "dispersed over a wide area".

    The carnage was enormous, almost enough to bring England to its knees. It was not until they abandoned the idea of "dispersal over a wide area" and introduced convoys that the merchant ship losses became sustainable.

    A noisy cheap sub is easy to find, partly because they can't "disperse over a wide area" because they have to go from port to port so they end up being concentrated. You'd only need one hunter-killer torp or ASW missile to kill each train sub and by dispersing them you will find that you cannot protect them.

    Even in WW2, top-class escorts or escort groups (such as USS England, Donald McIntyre on HMS Hesperus or Walker's Support Group) could sink several subs in a single cruise. So a dozen frigates and a dozen subs could easily take out 25 train subs each time they try to make the passage to Oz. How economical is it to lose 25% of your highly-trained crews and fairly expensive subs each run?

    Check out the casualty and survivability rates of U Boats in late WW2; when they were nimbler, quieter, deeper and more survivable than the "train sub" and still suffered enormous losses against much cruder forces than the "train sub" will face. A Type XIIC sub was pretty sophisticated compared to a Flower class corvette but they still lost; a train sub compared to a modern frigate would be no contest.

    For a good primer, try "Business in Great Waters", a scholarly account of the U boat and convoy battles of WWs 1 and 2. One of the interesting things is that, like so many properly-researched works, it shows that people were NOT stupid when they decided not to introduce convoys earlier; the brilliant minds were temporarily mislead by incorrect statistical analysis and practical problems.

    The moral is that it was NOT, as sometimes said, that those in charge were idiots - they were smart people faced with reality. There are very few times, IMHO, when people who know nothing about an area actually come up with good ideas. The train sub is not one of them.
     
  2. Vulkyn
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    Vulkyn Senior Member

    There is nothing in the whole idea that seems plausible, practical or economical.

    Why not try to build a 100 meter scaled down prototype with working engines put it in test run and let us know how that went ?
     
  3. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Nobody ever commented on my input that this was a subpar idea.
    Woe is me.
     
  4. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Samsam,

    I was going to, but it was a pretty flimsy pun. :D
     
  5. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SamSam [​IMG]
    Nobody ever commented on my input that this was a subpar idea.
    Woe is me.



    I guess it has to sit and age until it's fully groan.

    .
     
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  6. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    The only qualification I have here is that I have been in the transport industry for 25 years and have found that there is a lot of freight that comes and goes to isolated places particularly now with the internet but then a qualified shipbuilder would possibly not know that so it needs a group of people with their combined experience to develop new things such as we have here.

    Regarding convoys may I say a ship would be 100 times more easy to find than a submarine as it would easily be seen from the air and on radar and who would be willing and able to come down here to protect our convoys. We have not and will not have the capacity so it is trainsubs or suck up to everybody even a Hitler.

    From what I have heard about the detection of the German subs it was more to do with them breaking their enigma code so they knew where they were more than any radar advances but at the time they did not want people to know about their enigma success.
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Lost faith in the US "nuclear umbrella" mistereddb ? I would say strangulation of trade routes would be an act of war, to be met with a military response that made it too costly to the enemy to continue, your budget would be better spent on military capability than kilometre long freight subs.
     
  8. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Diesel or diesel electric subs still have to operate on the surface most of the time. You can't carry enough batteries to provide a range of anything like what you would need to make the trip underwater. The only option would be nuclear, and they are so expensive that even the Britsih government is only building diesel electric subs now.

    And there weren't high resolution sattelite available in WWII.
     
  9. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    Mr Efficiency
    Yes personally I would not be too sure the American people would be willing and able to help us after their last blue and it is like before WW2 when they were sick of war.

    The trouble with increasing military capability is it needs to be done before any act of aggression and that makes everybody else get nervous and do the same.

    Surely it is better spending money making friends than making weapons which I doubt we could afford anyway with our aging population.


    Stumble
    A diesel submarine with a snorkel could stay below the surface so it would not be detected by radar and that would be its only defense.

    I think high resolution satellites are a bit iffy.
     
  10. Red Right Return
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    Red Right Return Junior Member

    I would invest in Chinese solar cells, wind or hydro power instead.
     
  11. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    A bit off thread I know but a guy I heard on the radio said that spending heaps on green energy may make us feel good but would not reduce global emissions much and said the only way really is to make renewable energy cheaper by putting that money into research to find ways of energy production that is cheaper than coal fired power stations.
     
  12. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member


    They can pick up even snorkels real easy, and the high resolution satellites are not iffy, and would pick up such a large shallow submerged sub easy as pie.
     
  13. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    parkland
    I am in very deep water here (ha ha) but I think both the periscope radar and high resolution satellite have the same problem with clutter http://www.jhuapl.edu/techdigest/TD/td1801/ousbourn.pdf

    I do worry that only having two weeks supply of fuel down here makes us very vulnerable.
     
  14. tugboat

    tugboat Previous Member

    I personally see loading and unloading issues...
    this idea in smaller scale has been investigated but the ideas proved impractical...
     

  15. mistereddb
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    mistereddb Junior Member

    I would be very interested in what your reservations are and what problems you know have been encountered by others if you don't mind expanding.

    There was some talk about how isolated Eden NSW was and it needed a huge road construction and also they are hoping for funds for a new jetty for cruise liners.
     
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