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Bad way to make submarine history

Printed From: Rontini Submarine BBS
Category: General
Forum Name: Submarine Related
Forum Description: Submarine Related Topics
Printed Date: 20 Oct 2018 at 3:56am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.04 -

Topic: Bad way to make submarine history
Posted By: oldsubs
Subject: Bad way to make submarine history
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2017 at 8:33pm
I believe this is the first instance of a female crewmember dying on board a submarine in the history of submarines as warships.  

Sad indeed-may their souls know peace.  43 men, one woman. 

Jim Christley

Be Well

Posted By: KC Ward
Date Posted: 29 Nov 2017 at 12:25pm
Was a rescued female civilian lost in WW2?

Posted By: oldsubs
Date Posted: 29 Nov 2017 at 12:42pm
I don't know of such an instance.  What submarine?

Then comes the question: Does a rescuee count as formal crew? 

As far as I have been able to determine my statement above still stands, "first instance of a female crewmember dying on board a submarine". 

Be Well

Posted By: SaltiDawg
Date Posted: 29 Nov 2017 at 1:18pm
As stated, I also believe that your your statement stands.

I did find where some guy owned a private submarine and he killed a woman (Kim Wall) on-board.

I also am aware of women being rescued/transported by Boats during the war - don't recall any deaths.

Posted By: Sewer Pipe Snipe
Date Posted: 30 Nov 2017 at 8:44am
Not being an expert on such things, an acquaintance asked the following question. Could the Argentine Sub have tried to surface in those twenty foot seas and capsized due to propulsion and positioning problems, making a blow undo-able? I told him I wasn't an expert on such things either, and would see what others thought. Could it have happened? In an inverted position  there would be no flotation provided by the free flooding ballast tanks.

Had I done everything right throughout my life, the World wouldn't have noticed.

Posted By: gerry
Date Posted: 30 Nov 2017 at 11:38am
I'm no expert either, but I don't see why not. A boat without propulsion or steerage on the surface in that sea-state? She could only roll so far before losing air from her MBTs through the grates at the keel. 

Maybe possible to recover from this if the crew isn't too banged up (or previously overcome from the fire).. and if her air banks were not depleted, preventing a blow (assuming she righted once submerged). Seems like rolling more than 45 degrees would probably damage a lot of things (especially people), maybe making recovery much less likely. 


USS Simon Bolivar - SSBN 641 (B)
USS Henry M. Jackson - SSBN 730 (B)
USSVI - Wyoming Base

Posted By: oldsubs
Date Posted: 30 Nov 2017 at 1:15pm
Not knowing exactly the fire/flooding/personnel injuries and such makes this supposition but here goes.

For sure:  The worst case condition for a submarine in high seas is to be in transition between being surfaced and submerged.  There is a point at which the center of gravity and center of buoyancy are in the same plane and the boat can roll over with sufficient wave force. 

  If the boat was fully surfaced it has no point of rolling at which it is unstable, unlike surface ships.  Thus, it will always recover from a roll.  The same is true of a fully submerged submarine. 

For guess.  If she was on the surface in high seas and running in snorkel mode to keep the air inductions as high as possible but still took water down the snorkel induction due to non closure of the head valve it could have been the cause of the fire/shorting of one of her batteries.  This also may have made it necessary to shut down all her diesel generators.  If the induction mast/piping were full of water it changes the equation of the points above because they are high up and change the center of gravity.  If someone decided to 'ride it out' submerged and deep for a day to reach shallow water close to port she may have tried to submerge then the above points won't work.  If she was already submerged then the below scenario might be in play.

For further guess.  Battery fires cause great crew disruption.  Fumes, smoke and the ingress of water (chlorine gas) could incapacitate or kill the majority of the crew in a short time.  It could also divide the boat into sections with the batteries in between and disrupt communications and emergency procedures.  The concept of improper actions on the part of the crew leading to worsening the situation start to loom large.  Loss of depth control is then a real possibility. 

If properly operated she won't roll over although it might seem like it at times.  Operations in high seas in a round bottomed boat with less than 10% reserve buoyancy are exciting at best and dangerous or life threatening at worst.  The best advice I ever heard on either a diesel or nuc for rough weather while operating on the surface was to 'button up, tie down, hold on and ride it out'.  Any other action might make things worse. 

Don't know what happened to San Juan.  I do know it must have been nightmarish. 

Be Well

Posted By: oldsubs
Date Posted: 30 Nov 2017 at 2:11pm
Thinking a bit more I dimly remember:

While transiting across and around the Pacific on old 'Ustafish'  we got into some heavy weather when a typhoon had a faster 'speed of advance' than we had that the aux of the watch would put the low pressure blower on all main ballast tanks ten to fifteen minutes each hour.  As we rolled we might lose air from the main ballast tanks and thus some positive buoyancy.  We didn't really roll far enough to do that or to lose much but it was better to keep them pumped up than to suddenly find out that you are dangerously close to neutral buoyancy. 

Perhaps, due to all the other things going on the San Juan failed to do this.  Don't know.  It is, however, easy to lose sight of the big picture (in this case staying afloat and stable) when fighting details like crew dying and fires.

Sailing with the crews I have been honored to be with makes me realize what a talented bunch submarine sailors are. 

Be Well

Posted By: Gil
Date Posted: 30 Nov 2017 at 3:26pm
I was wondering on these German submarines that are being supplied all over the world what the batteries weigh  Being Guppy III the Pickerel had over 500 tons of cells.  Are the new batteries the Germans use at all similar in weight or size?  Even with that tonnage of batteries we were taking 36 degree rolls on the way to Westpac in January 1968.  Also as I guess as with with all diesel boats we never submerged during a storm, no matter how rough the sea was.  As a lookout on the transit to Yoko I was under water a handful of times.  My guess it that more than a few waves were forty feet above our waterline.  Funny thing was as I went to the watch I was joking about the use of safety lines we were provided.

Posted By: bob dubois
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2017 at 5:48am
I rode out hurricans on the surface while on Diesel boats. It was better being lookout than down below. We raised the snorkel mast for fresh air for the diesels.

Bob DuBois SK1(SS)
USS Sailfish SS572
USS Sculpin SSN590
USS John Adams SSBN620(Blue)
Holland Club

Posted By: SaltiDawg
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2017 at 9:00pm
During WWII in the Pacific, off watch lookouts would routinely try to relieve early when heavy seas.

Posted By: Gil
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2017 at 9:14pm
I imagine back then the lookouts got soaked in any kind of storm because their spots were so low to the water.  I'd think being a lookout in the cold Atlantic would be worse on a lookout.

Posted By: Flapper
Date Posted: 02 Dec 2017 at 7:01pm
Originally posted by Gil Gil wrote:

I imagine back then the lookouts got soaked in any kind of storm because their spots were so low to the water.  I'd think being a lookout in the cold Atlantic would be worse on a lookout.
Hence 'north atlantic' sails.

ET1ss Nuke; 1962 - 1973. SSN-588, CVA-63, SSBN-629 BLUE, SSN-669 PLANKOWNER, FICPAC

Posted By: SaltiDawg
Date Posted: 02 Dec 2017 at 7:12pm
Originally posted by Gil Gil wrote:

I imagine back then the lookouts got soaked in any kind of storm because their spots were so low to the water.  I'd think being a lookout in the cold Atlantic would be worse on a lookout.

When relieved, the Lookout would lay below and head for an engine room and dry out clothing on the diesels.

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