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German Type XXI U-Boat. Super Drawings in 3D


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German Type XXI U-Boat

Kagero Super Drawings in 3D



One of the most influential designs in the history of the submarine, the Type XXI was to set standards until the introduction of the nuclear boat a decade later. Though both closed-cycle turbines and diesels had been introduced, both still needed development, so a stopgap high-power electric boat was produced, using mostly established technology. With the lower pressure hull packed with high power density cells, the Type XXIs could, for the first time, develop more power submerged than surfaced. Their main propulsion motors were supplemented by low power units for silent manoeuvring.




The design was suggested at a conference in Paris in November 1942 as an alternative to the Walter turbine boats which were taking so long to develop, and by June 1943 the preliminary design work was complete. The first Type XXI was built in June 1944. Like that in the Type XVII, the pressure hull of the Type XXI was of ‘double-bubble’ cross section, though externally framed. It was prefabricated in eight sections at a variety of sites, being brought together for final assembly at the shipyard. The external framing increased volume and facilitated the addition of a hydro-dynamically clean outer skin. Construction was all-welded for a target of five boats per week in an ambitious programme to produce an eventual 1,500 units (U-2500 to U-4000). Most other submarine programmes were curtailed or cancelled to this end.




The Type XXIs were designed to spend their full patrol time submerged, so the snort was used mainly to run diesels for battery recharge. Habitability was greatly improved, with air-conditioning and air-regeneration apparatus. The only guns were paired automatic weapons set into the forward and after profiles of the elongated fin. A combination of active and passive sonar was used to provide a full torpedo-firing solution without recourse to the periscope. Additional advantages of this type of U-boat were quick deep-diving capability, a fast and silent speed and rapid torpedo reloading. Two proposed but un-built variants, the Type XXIB and Type XXIC, would have increased the number of torpedo tubes from six to 12 and 18 respectively by the insertion of extra sections into the hull. Fortunately for the Allies, the Type XXI never became fully operational before the end of WW2 . Only one Type XXI U-Boat (U-2511) – of the total of 131 commissioned – began with the first operation one week before the German surrender. Several non-operational U-boats were sunk during the evacuation voyages from the ports in northern Germany, which were threatened by Allied troops, to Norway; all by aircraft and in home waters.




This is the latest book in Kageros series in 3D format with the first seven pages describing the design, propulsion, armour, armament, and service.  The rest of the book is filled with the highly detailed 3D renderings these books have become renowned for, covering every part of the hull, tower, armament, fixtures and fittings. With this title though, there is also a full set of renderings for the interior of the boat as well as separate pages showing the torpedoes, including their interiors, and engines. As usual the drawings are beautifully done with some excellent views for us modellers in showing items you wouldn’t normally notice, or even see. In total there are fifty three pages of renderings, giving a pretty comprehensive insight into the U-Boats shape and equipment. The book also comes with a fold out A2 sheet with multi views of the boat in a rather strange 1:150 and the more normal 1:350 scales on one side, while on the reverse there are line drawings of the interior sections of the boat, in no particular scale.



While the other books in the series have been superb, the inclusion of the interior renderings raises this book to another level. I’m not sure about the colours used and further research will be required, but I imagine they are pretty close and would be a perfect companion to those modellers building the Revell 1:144 kit with interior as well as the more normal kits of this revolutionary submarine.






Review sample courtesy of

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