How deep did WW2 submarines typically travel?

Sep 2013
750
Chattanooga, TN
#1
I'm not sure that the technology existed in WW2 for submarines to go extremely deep. The water pressures below, say, 1,000 feet might have been too great for the technology in WW2 submarines.

How deep were WW2 submarines typically able to safely go?

A slightly different question: How deep did WW2 submarines typically go underwater?

If there was a significant different between how deep American submarines, British submarines, German submarines, and Japanese submarines could safely go, what was the difference?

How deep were American WW2 submarines typically able to safely go underwater?
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,169
South of the barcodes
#2
The Germans tended to have the best designs, the type 21 uboat was the first that was built to spend its time underwater using snorkels and only surface for minimal time.

Typical maximum depth for ww2 subs was usually only about 150 metres, 200 would be extreme and lethal crush depth was usually about 350 metres.

Thats going to vary between models, nations and year but its a rough ballpark.
 
Likes: grey fox
Oct 2015
657
Virginia
#3
The "test depth" of the Gato class fleet boats of the US Navy was 300 feet, the later Balao and Tench class boats had a test depth of 400 feet. However, captains reported they had recovered from plunges as deep as 600 feet.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,725
Sydney
#5
U- boat captains would often dive at 200m to escape depth charges
such was their confidence in their ships
involuntary dive to 300m without catastrophic crushing were recorded
that would have been a pretty tense moment for the crew
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,998
Dispargum
#6
The "test depth" of the Gato class fleet boats of the US Navy was 300 feet, the later Balao and Tench class boats had a test depth of 400 feet. However, captains reported they had recovered from plunges as deep as 600 feet.
The definition of 'test depth' varied from one navy to the next, but typically it was about half of the design depth.
 
Oct 2015
657
Virginia
#7
Thats right. The US Navy figured "test depth" at 2/3 of "design depth", which was a bit less than calculated crush depth.
The Germans evidently figured it at 1/2 or a little less.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2015
2,682
MD, USA
#9
I would guess that the limits were based on whether the pumps could keep up with the leaks.
Oh, I never got the impression that was the major concern. Leaks imply a weakness, which could lead to a complete instantaneous collapse of the hull. So there shouldn't be any. It's called "crush depth" for a reason, not "flood depth".

Matthew
 
Likes: El Chupakabra

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