• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

What happens to a submarine sunk by depth charges?

Discussion in 'Underwater Treasures' started by Jayfarmlaw, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. agilis

    agilis ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    An astonishing 75% of all WW2 German submariners never returned from their missions, the highest casualty rate of any service I know of. I believe the phenomenon of 'breaking its back' with an explosion directly under the target vessel from a giant air bubble was first noticed when acoustic torpedoes were used which fixed on propeller noise rather than direct contact. I think intentional use of this method was developed after WW2.

    My significant other's father served on a US sub when he was 18, in 1945. Being an African American from North Carolina his official designation was mess steward, although he was actually used in other capacities. That's how it was in the US military in 1945. I've seen his diary, which details how he helped sail a surrendered high tech German sub from Germany to New London just after the war. The captain gave him the ship's rifle as a trophy.
    OceanEyes, ChuckP and Bob DBF like this.
  2. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    Thank y'all for the information. I found some interesting sites so I'll share them in case you're bored and don't sleep anymore like me!

    Military history, including action reports of submarine battles. (Including everything else from Guyana to the Cuban Missle Crisis)
    Online Reading Room

    Latitude and longitude finder

    National Submarine Memorial
    USS Golet (SS-361)

    Vulcan/Paul Allen.com
    Continuing Paul Allen’s legacy | PaulAllen.com

    R/V Petrel Timeline

    Crush depth may well be a factor but with the recent discoveries by the Paul Allen expeditions, it may be possible to at least locate the sub. Once my case is finished and appeal times have run, and I can disclose some details, I will reach out to the Allen group to see if The Golet could be put on the list of ships to search for.

    I have read several action reports, damage reports, and survivor stories from the submarine service. The story of The Growler is particularly demonstrative of The Greatest Generation. Commander Gilmore was awarded the CMH after being seriously wounded and realizing that there was not enough time for him to get below deck during an air attack on his submarine, Once all other sailors were below deck, he gave the order to "Take Her down", knowing he was going to die. He gave his life so that his men and his ship would stand a better chance of getting below the surface and avoiding the second pass from the strafing runs. One article stated that the submarine service was the most dangerous duty in WWII with over a 20% casualty rate. The conditions and dangers these men faced are simply amazing.

    As I read these stories and realize that none are particularly unique in that so many gave up so much, I am humbled by their sacrifice. Thank you to all that have served.

    If you have any other information, links, or stories, please share.

    Thanks again
    Altamira and Bob DBF like this.
  3. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    Underwater Weapons

    It has pictures so I could understand the text.

    As for the WWII magnetic proximity sensors, they were discontinued by anyone who had them during the war because they were extremely sensitive and any magnetic anomaly would set them off, not just proximity to a ships hull, endangering the submarines using them. The torpedo problems in US submarines during WWII is story worth reading.

    dead dog and Akimbo like this.
  4. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    Very few WW2 era torpedoes detonated under a vessel breaking it's back. That was developed in the late 50s or early 60s if I recall correctly.

    As mentioned above, with exceptions to crush depth vs depth charge. The submarine will likely be more or less intact. Scorpion and Thresher are about the worst possible state a submarine can be in and they were found by MAD equipment from an aircraft verified by bathyscapes.

    The ocean is a very large place. And sometimes the bottom can be quite far away too!. But if there is one thing I learned about shipwreck hunting, it's that persistence pays off! I can tell you that I lost hope finding 2 wrecks and within a week of doing so our group located them (at the very last lane on the very last day).

    So if you are serious and you have the will. It can happen. And who knows, you may find someone else's lost relative on another ship.
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Since it is a class of one, presumably the Alvin itself did the photography.
  6. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Yes, magnetometers found the Thresher, but they were towed underwater by a search ship, not deployed by an airplane. The water was about 3000m deep and the wreckage was strewn all over. Photographs by the towing sled were the primary identification. The search area was narrowly defined by SOSUS (acoustic surveillance) records. The Scorpion was found the same way, photographically, with a small search area defined acoustically, but magnetometers were not used.
  7. mac64

    mac64 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Ireland
    The pressure hull will be intact and the outer hull will be damaged and rotting, if she is in water shallow enough to be bottom fished the chances are she is already found but not identified, get all fisherman’s fasteners and fouling reports for the area and start eliminating known reports, try matching the reported debris area and gear damage to the size of the target your searching for but sooner or later you’re going to have to do a hard search on known targets you haven’t eliminated.
  8. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    The Alvin class consisted of three deep submersibles (see links): Alvin (DSV-2)*, Turtle (DSV-3), and Sea Cliff (DSV-4). The Bathyscaphe Trieste II was DSV-1. I suspect that the Alvin was being upgraded to 20,000' with a new Titanium spherical hull at the time. The original steel sphere was later installed on the Turtle, which was retired in 1998.

    * DSV is a acronym for Deep Submersible Vehicle

    Whichever boat it was, there is no doubt that still photographs were taken in addition to video. I don't know for certain but the submersible on this project was "probably" fitted with a Hydro Products RCV, which was a remote controlled vehicle (now considered a ROV or Remote Operated Vehicle). The RCV was developed for the Navy and was small enough to be deployed through a submarine's torpedo tube. It had a thin umbilical cable and a 600-line black and white TV camera (considered high resolution for the day). I got to fly them a few times.


    The reason I suspect that the DSV was temporarily fitted with an RCV is it wouldn't be safe for a DSV to penetrated most of the wreckage. An RCV would have been expendable.
    Altamira and Bob DBF like this.
  9. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Thanks. I should have consulted Wikipedia rather than relying on my memory of my years at Woods Hole.
  10. cerich

    cerich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Georgia
    depending on how close the charges came and depth of water really. It could fracture hull and fill with water, it could fracture ballast tanks and sink past crush depth and implode.

    As a former submariner all of the outcomes suck
    Jayfarmlaw and Bob DBF like this.

Share This Page