We All Live in a Midget Submarine -1 reply

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Fuzzy Bunny

Luke, I am your mother.

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2nd May 2005

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#1 12 years ago

Hi Kids, today's prescription drug overdose-induced episode of Fuzzy's Weird War II (I like that name, don't you?) deals with miniature subs. Specifically, these are submarines lovingly cared for by Japanese people so they can be kept in your living room--the so-called Bonsai Boats. Actually, we're going to talk about the Italian 10th Light Flotilla, one of the Navy Special Assault Units. Since 1935, the Italian navy had been experimenting with explosive motor boats, midget subs and human torpedoes based on the idea of the Duke of Spoleto, and in 1940, this unit was formed. The Italian Navy had a head-start on underwater breathing apparatus research, and was thus able to field well-trained frogman units. Armed with so-called "SLC" (siluro a lenta corsa, or "slow-speed torpedo") or "Maiale" (pig) piloted torpedoes, these frogmen proceded to sink, cripple or damage on the order of 120,000 tons of Allied (mainly British) shipping during the war. The SLC was an electrically propelled two-man underwater "scooter", which was either launched from a submarine, or ingeniously enough, from a secret underwater compartment of the Italian "merchant ship" Olterra, interned across the bay from Gibraltar at Algeciras. They were one-way vessels; the crew was expected to surrender or escape after doing their damage. Great. The front of each of the SLCs was a detachable warhead, for whose placement I haven't been able to find any diagrams on the quick. However, the idea was to attach a cable to both bilge keels (if you don't know, google is your friend) of a warship, and suspend the warhead directly underneath the ship, where the armor was weakest. The crews then had 2-3 hours to get away. The best-known attack of these is well-described at http://web.ukonline.co.uk/chalcraft/sm/chariots.html The most famous SLC attack of the war was also launched from Sciré, two months later - the sinking of the British battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant in Alexandria on the night of 18-19 November 1941. Three SLCs penetrated Alexandria, two of which laid their warheads correctly. The attack commander, Count Luigi de la Pene, was captured with his second in command, Bianchi, and interrogated aboard Valiant while the warhead's time-fuze was still running. As they would give nothing away, they were imprisoned deep in the battleship until de la Pene, knowing that nothing the British did now would be of any use, sent Captain Morgan the message 'Your ship will blow up in five minutes.' The Italians were on deck when the two battleships shook to violent explosions and settled on the harbour bed. They were as sunk as ships could be in such shallow water, and the Italian Navy now had the domination of the Mediterranean within its grasp, but the opportunity was wasted. Two other crewmen got away, but were captured when trying to use English currency to pay for a drink (the British had agreed to use Egyptian cash.) Another major attack took place at Valetta harbor in Malta in 1941, involving air units, exploding motor boats and SLCs. It was a failure, but an exciting read, at http://louishenwood.com/ital.html

Ships sunk, damaged or crippled during WWII by Maiale (source: http://www.comandosupremo.com/Decima.html)

Durham 10,900 Tons Gibraltar Sep, 1941 Baron Douglas 3,900 Tons Gibraltar July, 1942 Raven's Point 1,900 Tons Gibraltar July, 1942 Kaituna 10,000 Tons Mersin July, 1943 Meta 1,600 Tons Gibraltar July, 1942 Camerata 4,900 Tons Gibraltar May, 1943 Stanridge 6,000 Tons Gibraltar Aug, 1943 Queen Elizabeth 32,000 Tons Alexandria Dec, 1941 Valiant 31,000 Tons Alexandria Dec, 1941 Harmattan 4,600 Tons Algiers Dec, 1942 Jervis 1,700 Tons Alexandria Dec, 1941 Mahsud 7,500 Tons Gibraltar May, 1943 Fernplant 7,000 Tons Iskenderun Aug, 1943 Empire Centaur 7,000 Tons Algiers Dec, 1942 The idea was successful enough to be copied by the Royal Navy, in the form of the "Chariot" series of midget subs--these were fairly successful, serving to sink some Italian ships and contributing to resistance operations in Europe and specifically, Norway.

An interesting relic of this is the large size of men's luxury watch dials today, started by companies such as Panerai. These massive dials were originally produced to allow Italian frogmen to read time more easily and made it into mainstream fashion in the last 5 years. In fact, a lot of boutiques that carry Panerai watches have cool models of SLCs in the window--these are apparently given away with some Vendome models if you have a few grand to spare for a nice toy.

We'll deal with other countries' human torpedoes, and more specifically midget subs, some other time, but in case you want to do some googling, some key words are:

-X-type (UK) -Kaiten suicide submarines (JP) -Type A midget submarine (JP) -Neger/Marder/Biber (DE)




Gauntlet

Dead rather than Red!

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25th April 2004

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#2 12 years ago

The Germans had a Midget Sub named "Neger"...interesting!

So the Kaiten were the Jap midget they launched from other large submarines, right?




Fuzzy Bunny

Luke, I am your mother.

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#3 12 years ago
GauntletThe Germans had a Midget Sub named "Neger"...interesting!

They weren't know for, how shall we put it diplomatically, being terribly politically correct in such matters.

So the Kaiten were the Jap midget they launched from other large submarines, right?

Among other things, yes. There were also suicide motor boats. Not all the Kaitens were suicide subs, by the way. I'll do a later post on them at some point.




Seth_Soldier

"Mort aux cons !"

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23rd December 2003

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#4 12 years ago

Isn't "neger" a german food speciality (baker and confectionneries ?pâtisserie?) ? It's done with chocolate with inside a sort cream.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

The Bad

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7th December 2003

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#5 12 years ago

Yes, but it is usually called "Morenkopf" (blackman's head) :)




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

Wanna go Double Dutch?

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9th December 2003

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#6 12 years ago

"Neger" in Dutch translatesto "nig-ger(oid)" but then in a non-offensive way. It's not the most politcally correct word out there (Neger) but it isn't as badly as it's Enlish equivelant Nig-ger either.

Submarines own us all, those midget submarines are pretty funny. I remember those two midget submarins used by the British trying to bypass the anti-torpedo nets surrounding the Tirpitz in her fjord (Norway) planting explosive (mines) under her belly.

Yes, but it is usually called "Morenkopf" (blackman's head)

"Moorkop" pwns you! I never knew you Germans had them too! I just love Moorkoppen, I always thouht it was purely a Dutch pastry! :yum:

Moorkop.jpg




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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13th April 2005

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#7 12 years ago

WWII Time Depth and Compass watches from Panerai




MrFancypants Forum Admin

The Bad

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#8 12 years ago

Großadmiral Dönitz "Moorkop" pwns you! I never knew you Germans had them too! I just love Moorkoppen, I always thouht it was purely a Dutch pastry! :yum:

Moorkop.jpg

You can find them sometimes in the South of Germany. I always thought they were typical Swiss pastries :)

There is also the more reknown Negerkuss which was renamed to Schokokuss.

As for midget-submarines, I especially like the story of the Italian who calmly waited in the belly of a battleship which was about to blow up. I would really like to see the face of the captain when he received the message :)




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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13th April 2005

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#9 12 years ago

OMG Look at that thing it looks like a hamburger!




Seth_Soldier

"Mort aux cons !"

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23rd December 2003

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#10 12 years ago

as neger food i was thinking about that (lol sorry i haven't found yet an other pictire) : neger_ani2.gif Or is it call negerkuss ?