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What are you reading?

jmj689

Member
I'm halfway through The Good Shepherd, which is what the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound is based on. It's like sipping through whiskey. Drinking it slowly. Anyone have any insights on whether it's pretty realistic on what a SWO would go through?
 

Notanaviator

Well-Known Member
I'm halfway through The Good Shepherd, which is what the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound is based on. It's like sipping through whiskey. Drinking it slowly. Anyone have any insights on whether it's pretty realistic on what a SWO would go through?
Can’t speak to the realism in Good Shepherd, and no recent SWOs can probably provide real world comparison, but the convoy escort aspect is one of the many plot threads of Red Storm Rising, which has been mentioned before I’m sure on this thread (probably by me?). One of my favorite Clancy books.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
I'm halfway through The Good Shepherd, which is what the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound is based on. It's like sipping through whiskey. Drinking it slowly. Anyone have any insights on whether it's pretty realistic on what a SWO would go through?
I haven't read The Good Shepherd but I have read The Cruel Sea which is a similar story from the perspective of the RN. The Cruel Sea story seemed to align closely with Greyhound so I'd imagine the Good Shepherd is fairly representative of the SWO Battle of the Atlantic experience. Which there's no recent corollary for. Even Red Storm Rising, while very good, is still ~40yrs old and I doubt representative of how it would be done today.
 

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
Contributor
I'm halfway through The Good Shepherd, which is what the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound is based on. It's like sipping through whiskey. Drinking it slowly. Anyone have any insights on whether it's pretty realistic on what a SWO would go through?
Read "A Measureless Peril," about the Battle of the Atlantic. Fantastic piece of work.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
I haven't read The Good Shepherd but I have read The Cruel Sea which is a similar story from the perspective of the RN. The Cruel Sea story seemed to align closely with Greyhound so I'd imagine the Good Shepherd is fairly representative of the SWO Battle of the Atlantic experience. Which there's no recent corollary for. Even Red Storm Rising, while very good, is still ~40yrs old and I doubt representative of how it would be done today.
They got some stuff very right in Greyhound that still applies. Limiting lines of approach being a big one for a diesel. It seemed like they had a pretty solid movie MOBOARD going as well, as I could follow the bearings, and they generally stayed pretty consistent given the LLA and/or the sprinting the diesel boats had to do while being detected.

The one thing that didn't quite seem to match up was how the subs could swing wide to stay out of gun range, but still also keep up in the heavy seas, but I guess we're not talking about modern gas turbine/nuke allied ships. Then again, when a FFG would try to sprint in heavy seas, she would almost immediately break something.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
They got some stuff very right in Greyhound that still applies. Limiting lines of approach being a big one for a diesel. It seemed like they had a pretty solid movie MOBOARD going as well, as I could follow the bearings, and they generally stayed pretty consistent given the LLA and/or the sprinting the diesel boats had to do while being detected.

The one thing that didn't quite seem to match up was how the subs could swing wide to stay out of gun range, but still also keep up in the heavy seas, but I guess we're not talking about modern gas turbine/nuke allied ships. Then again, when a FFG would try to sprint in heavy seas, she would almost immediately break something.
Yeah, I'm no ASW guy but it did seem like the tactical picture stayed pretty consistent throughout.
I'm also no expert on WWII Cans or SSs but my limited knowledges are that the performance of a surfaced sub was pretty similar to that of an escort and may even have exceeded the performance of many of the crummier escorts like the corvettes.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
Sprinting is a relative term (the movie sped up the action for poetic license and to keep it from being 80 hours long) when the PIM is about 5-10 knots, a surfaced U boat can do roughly double that (if they have the gas and if the sea state permits it). Trying to head off yet another well positioned U boat in a 2000 ton Fletcher doing 30+ in heavy seas sounds miserable- just think of the mysterious bruises all over your body from when you're trying to get from one part of the ship to another and you keep banging into valves, electrical boxes, and every single piece of hardware protruding from the bulkheads, the random heavy stuff that was supposedly secured for sea but is now sliding across the deck during a 45° roll...
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Sprinting is a relative term (the movie sped up the action for poetic license and to keep it from being 80 hours long) when the PIM is about 5-10 knots, a surfaced U boat can do roughly double that (if they have the gas and if the sea state permits it). Trying to head off yet another well positioned U boat in a 2000 ton Fletcher doing 30+ in heavy seas sounds miserable- just think of the mysterious bruises all over your body from when you're trying to get from one part of the ship to another and you keep banging into valves, electrical boxes, and every single piece of hardware protruding from the bulkheads, the random heavy stuff that was supposedly secured for sea but is now sliding across the deck during a 45° roll...
Good point on the escort speed being limited by the speed of the convoy which often wasn't very fast.
 

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
Contributor
I had to dig around in my old notes, but if you are interested in SWO fiction (with a bit of rotary fun) I recommend David Poyer's "The Gulf." As I recall there are a few unusual plot twists, but the focus of the novel is very SWO and action based. Published in 1999, I imagine you can get a copy for a dollar or two on Amazon. Looks like this...

29647
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Sprinting is a relative term (the movie sped up the action for poetic license and to keep it from being 80 hours long) when the PIM is about 5-10 knots, a surfaced U boat can do roughly double that (if they have the gas and if the sea state permits it). Trying to head off yet another well positioned U boat in a 2000 ton Fletcher doing 30+ in heavy seas sounds miserable- just think of the mysterious bruises all over your body from when you're trying to get from one part of the ship to another and you keep banging into valves, electrical boxes, and every single piece of hardware protruding from the bulkheads, the random heavy stuff that was supposedly secured for sea but is now sliding across the deck during a 45° roll...
Certainly, but the U-boat was in that same state and had to fight the same bout of physics...actually more so depending on how they were running.

My dad was on diesel boats and he would talk about how they would run snorkeling (a preferred method than having the larger radar cross-section of the sail exposed) in heavy seas and how tiring it was for the helmsman. I don't remember what the actual snorkel depth was, but it wasn't much more than a heavy sea state wave form, so the biggest obstacle was trying to keep the snorkel clear. When/if the boat would hit a good wavefront and the helmsman (and by extension, the OOD) weren't able to counter it, the snorkel would submerge. The system was designed to take that, but then the engines would start finding air elsewhere which would end up creating a pressure vessel down below until the snorkel popped back out of the water. Obviously everyone onboard would feel that happen.

Apparently when it did, the OOD would be awarded a giant set of wings to be worn on his uniform, for "galantly and conspicuously broaching the boat." I'm pretty sure my dad said he was awarded them at least once. I got the impression it wasn't uncommon, even if it wasn't desired.

None of that changes your point, Jim, but just pointing out the sub gets beat up too when it tries to sprint. That said, a slower PIM of the convoy in that kind of sea state makes sense...although I'm sure they were trying to balance that with keeping ahead of the LLAs.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Certainly, but the U-boat was in that same state and had to fight the same bout of physics...actually more so depending on how they were running.

My dad was on diesel boats and he would talk about how they would run snorkeling (a preferred method than having the larger radar cross-section of the sail exposed) in heavy seas and how tiring it was for the helmsman. I don't remember what the actual snorkel depth was, but it wasn't much more than a heavy sea state wave form, so the biggest obstacle was trying to keep the snorkel clear. When/if the boat would hit a good wavefront and the helmsman (and by extension, the OOD) weren't able to counter it, the snorkel would submerge. The system was designed to take that, but then the engines would start finding air elsewhere which would end up creating a pressure vessel down below until the snorkel popped back out of the water. Obviously everyone onboard would feel that happen.

Apparently when it did, the OOD would be awarded a giant set of wings to be worn on his uniform, for "galantly and conspicuously broaching the boat." I'm pretty sure my dad said he was awarded them at least once. I got the impression it wasn't uncommon, even if it wasn't desired.

None of that changes your point, Jim, but just pointing out the sub gets beat up too when it tries to sprint. That said, a slower PIM of the convoy in that kind of sea state makes sense...although I'm sure they were trying to balance that with keeping ahead of the LLAs.
I'm sure you and Jim know this but for the record the snorkel wasn't a thing until very late in the war. Also the surfaced speed of WWII subs far exceeded that of their submerged speed. WWII subs were really mostly boats that could safely sink multiple times vice a boat that stayed underwater all the time.

Im sure the sea state wasn't helping the convoy SOA but I also think that many of the merchies were very slow and the convoys went at the pace of the slowest merchies. Because not this the escorts would have to consider all approaches because the u-boats could attack from multiple angles or maybe even from within the convoy.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
I'm sure you and Jim know this but for the record the snorkel wasn't a thing until very late in the war. Also the surfaced speed of WWII subs far exceeded that of their submerged speed. WWII subs were really mostly boats that could safely sink multiple times vice a boat that stayed underwater all the time.

Im sure the sea state wasn't helping the convoy SOA but I also think that many of the merchies were very slow and the convoys went at the pace of the slowest merchies. Because not this the escorts would have to consider all approaches because the u-boats could attack from multiple angles or maybe even from within the convoy.
The discussion made me remember an article from The National Interest that details what can go wrong in a hurry if the snorkel / diesel malfunctions. In this case, it was a Chinese submarine.

 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
I'm sure you and Jim know this but for the record the snorkel wasn't a thing until very late in the war.
I was not aware of that. Interesting. That certainly would help with keeping the speed up, but I'd argue no less vomit-inducing.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
(the movie sped up the action for poetic license and to keep it from being 80 hours long)
Reminds me of what a B-17 crewman told me once. Aerial attacks on B-17 formations were rarely the continuous action seen in movies and TV. Due to the formidable defenses of a B-17 there was a furious wave of slashing attacks that lasted just a very few minutes (depending on the number of fighters in formation), then an interlude of several minutes while the enemy climbed back to altitude and formed for another attack. It was compressed in movies and TV for dramatic effect and to limit the running time.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
I was not aware of that. Interesting. That certainly would help with keeping the speed up, but I'd argue no less vomit-inducing.
Yeah, just looked at the wiki on it and they say early 44. Also came with significant speed limitations and the vacuum limitations your mentioned earlier. Before 44 submerged time was limited by battery capacity.
 
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