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A U-Boat Type VIIC/41 in a hurry to surface!


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Hi all, herewith, at last, my RFI for the Revell 1:350 Type VIIC/41 in its seascape 'crash surface' setting - or rather my interpretation of it. The WIP thread is here for those interested.

 

In some (not all!) of my past RFIs I have endeavoured to come up with some kind of interesting back-story about the real thing on which my model was based. My initial interest in building this kit was based on my reading of the exploits of U-570 (later HMS Graph), which was attacked and ultimately captured by the Royal Navy after an ill-judged decision by her skipper to surface more-or-less right under the nose of a patrolling Lockheed Hudson. That story is related elsewhere in this forum I believe, and in any case U-570 was apparently found to be a Type VIIC, not a Type VIIC/41 as depicted by the kit. However, during the build I happened across the rather sorry tale of another Type VIIC, U-1206; with your indulgence I would share it with you, told in my own words. I'll put in the post immediately after this one, just in case people aren't into too much background info - I will be honest and say the only thing that links my model to this back-story is the probable sense of urgency regarding surfacing!

 

OK first off, here's the photos - I hope you enjoy them:

 

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Comments and criticisms, as ever, all welcome.

 

** Edited to correct incorrect reference to U-505 - should have been U-530, thanks to whitestar12chris :thumbsup2:

 

** Edited to correct incorrect reference to U-530 - should have been U-570, apologies to whitestar12chris and thanks to Alan P :thumbsup2: - I'm going back to bed now!

Edited by clive_t
Error correction, U-570, not U-530! (God give me strength)
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... and now, the 'back-story' - please feel free to skip if not interested!

 

 

Those of us who are of a certain vintage, will possibly recall the day that North Sea Oil was first piped ashore, to great acclaim and doubtless much back-slapping around the corridors of BP. During the survey of the pipeline route for BP's Forties Field in the mid 1970s, the survey team found the wreck of a submarine - in surprisingly good condition - on the seabed at a depth of about 70 meters, a few miles of the coast of Peterhead, Scotland (57.24 deg N, 01.37 deg W, if you want to go take a look). Later research revealed this to be the remains of the German U-boat U-1206, which was lost, scuttled, on 14th April 1945. The circumstances of this loss are somewhat bizarre, to say the least.

 

As is still the case today, submarine designs were more about function than comfort, and nowhere would this have been more keenly felt than with toilet facilities. The Type VIIC had 2 'heads' for a typical crew of 50 to 60 - if that sounds bad, then consider that in the early stages of any patrol the head nearest the galley was invariably pressed into service as a stowage for food supplies, thereby effectively reducing the facility to just one toilet for the entire vessel. Unlike British submarines which had a 'septic tank' to contain the crew's output, German submarine design opted instead to vent directly to the sea. Whilst this idea allowed more space for more useful things like fuel, torpedoes and assorted ammunition, the obvious downside was being unable to operate the flushing mechanism when submerged beyond even the shallowest of depths - a decidedly unpleasant prospect in the event of having to remain at greater depths for extended periods. Those prospects grew over time as the Battle of the Atlantic progressed, and the ability on the part of the Allies to patrol along greater parts of the convoy route became greater. It was said that when U-boats from this period returned to base from a patrol of any appreciable duration, the emerging smell from the open hatches was enough to make hardened dock workers vomit!

 

In 1943, German engineers rose to the challenge and came up with a design for a 'deep water' flushing toilet. This basically involved a complicated sequence of valves which directed the effluent to an  air lock where it was then ejected to the sea by air pressure. Whilst this made for a slightly better 'toilet experience' for the crew during these prolonged dives, it was also decidedly complicated to operate. So complicated, in fact, that it required specialist training of a designated crew member to ensure all the valves in the system were opened and closed in the correct order, and thereby avoid any unpleasant surprises.

 

And so it was, on 12th June 1943, that the keel for U-1206 was laid down at F Schichau GmbH, Danzig - one of the last U-boats to be commissioned during WW2. She was finally launched on 30th December 1943, having been fitted with the new deep-water flushing system. She was commissioned on 16th March 1944, immediately embarking on a 9-month training patrol as part of the 8th Flotille, captained by Oberleutnant Günther Fritze. At some point during this period, the U-boat returned to base to be fitted with a schnorkel device to allow the operation of its diesel engines whilst submerged, while Fritze was replaced by Kapitänleutnant Karl-Adolf Schlitt. On 1st February 1945 the vessel and her crew were transferred to the 11th Flotille. She sailed out of Kiel On 28th March 1945 for a 3-day training patrol in the North Sea. She then sailed from Horten Naval Base for a one-day patrol on 2nd April 1945, with the first active patrol finally commencing on 6th April 1945 out of Kristiansand, Norway.

 

On 14th April 1945, U-1206, which had been cruising at a depth of 60m (200ft) approximately 10 miles off Peterhead, was brought to a stop whilst a problem was investigated whereby the engines were failing to recharge the batteries. According to Schlitt's later report on the incident, whilst repairs were being undertaken, he received news that there was a leak towards the forward end of the vessel. Apparently 'someone' (possibly an officer, and indeed some claimed it was the skipper himself) had tried to use the toilet without first consulting with the designated flush specialist regarding its use. Something went wrong, and the specialist was called. However when the specialist arrived, he misunderstood the situation and opened the sea valve whilst the toilet valve was still open. The pressure from the depth they were at caused large quantities of seawater - liberally mixed with the contents of the toilet - to flood the interior. The bilge pumps were inoperable. The water/raw sewage cocktail quickly overwhelmed the batteries located directly under the toilet. The salt in the sea water reacted with the acid in the batteries to produce large amounts of chlorine gas; the toilet malfunction had rapidly escalated to become a threat to everyone on board.

 

The crew took emergency measures to surface immediately and vent the chlorine by opening all the hatches. Unfortunately, they had done so too close to the land, and were very quickly spotted - and attacked - by a patrolling aircraft. One crew member was killed in the attack, and the conning tower was so damaged as to render diving impossible. Schlitt had no choice but to throw his secret material overboard, and order his crew to abandon ship before opening the sea valves. The crew made for shore in rubber dinghies; however, rough seas and the steep rocky coastline conspired to claim the lives of a further three crew members. The 46 survivors, Schlitt included, were taken prisoner. Their captivity proved to be short-lived, as 16 days after the event, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, and 8 days after that the War in Europe came to an end.

 

Edited by clive_t
Corrected mixed up history around changes in captain and unit
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Nice job Clive, not to detract from your build, but you might want to check your U-boat history HMS Graph was ex-U-570 a type VII C, U-505 is the type IXC captured by the Americans and currently sitting on display in Chigaco.

 

All the best Chris

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11 minutes ago, whitestar12chris said:

Nice job Clive, not to detract from your build, but you might want to check your U-boat history HMS Graph was ex-U-570 a type VII C, U-505 is the type IXC captured by the Americans and currently sitting on display in Chigaco.

 

All the best Chris

Thanks Chris, I have corrected the text accordingly!

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Looks like a very dynamic setting, like the stormy seas and the representation of the water running off the deck and tower, very nice work 👍

 

Though you might want to have another look at your text if you still mean U-570 which was to become HMS Graph 😉

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5 minutes ago, Alan P said:

Looks like a very dynamic setting, like the stormy seas and the representation of the water running off the deck and tower, very nice work 👍

 

Though you might want to have another look at your text if you still mean U-570 which was to become HMS Graph 😉

Thanks Alan, I am having Senior Moment Overload here, bloody lockdown is sending me doolally :wacko:

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22 minutes ago, robgizlu said:

Very impressive and effective dio 

Rob

Thanks Rob, much appreciated.

14 minutes ago, GerryW said:

As a fan of "Das Boot", the original version, I am very impressed by this Dio. :thumbsup:

 

Gerry

 

Thanks Gerry, I too have this full length DVD in my collection - you will probably understand and appreciate that I had the theme music rolling round in my head for much of the time I spent building it! :thumbsup2:

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Great seascape (I'll copy technique) & fascinating story: daddy what did you do in the war? I had the most important job on board - the Submarine Excrement Expelation Designated Specialist.  

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18 minutes ago, rich2010 said:

Great seascape (I'll copy technique) & fascinating story: daddy what did you do in the war? I had the most important job on board - the Submarine Excrement Expelation Designated Specialist.  

Thanks Rich.

 

Actually, credit where it's due - I took a ton of inspiration and tips from that Scale-a-ton fella on You-Tube. The actual clip where he does his is here .

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53 minutes ago, DAG058 said:

That is really good! I want to watch Das Boot now...

If you can get at least the Director's cut, but for total enjoyment grab the TV series - 6 hours of tension and excitement pure, just perfect for a lockdown.:popcorn:

 

Gerry

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19 hours ago, DAG058 said:

That is really good! I want to watch Das Boot now...

Thanks Dago58, me too oddly enough! In fact, I've found the DVD so just need a suitable timeslot where I can watch it without 'er indoors chuntering away in my ear!

18 hours ago, GerryW said:

If you can get at least the Director's cut, but for total enjoyment grab the TV series - 6 hours of tension and excitement pure, just perfect for a lockdown.:popcorn:

 

Gerry

Gerry, that's exactly what I have on DVD :)

12 hours ago, beefy66 said:

Cracking job Clive you can feel the wind and salt in your face 👍

 

beefy 

Thanks Beefy, much appreciated :thumbsup2:

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Many, many years ago, a friend and I visited the Bavarian film studios while suffering the effects of a visit to the Munich beer festival the previous evening, and were shown around the full sized set of the interior of a U-Boat they had built to film Das Boot. It was claustrophobic enough in there with my friend and a guide, I can only imagine what it must have been like with 59 other people in there and the constant danger of the head backfiring (though some of the odours my friend was producing gave a faint hint). 
 

You’ve made a fantastic job of that Clive, it looks incredibly realistic. Good job!

 

Craig. 

 

 

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  • 3 months later...
On 30/04/2020 at 19:37, whitestar12chris said:

Nice job Clive, not to detract from your build, but you might want to check your U-boat history HMS Graph was ex-U-570 a type VII C, U-505 is the type IXC captured by the Americans and currently sitting on display in Chigaco.

 

All the best Chris

I can concur that U505 is the type IX that is on display in the Museum of Science in Chicago as I have been there. Great place to go.

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That sea looks freezing cold! Very nice modelling indeed.

I think you have got the size of the base dead right to show off the model while at the same time managing to make it look tiny against the cold, dark waters. Interesting backstory as well.

 

Tony.

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On 5/2/2020 at 9:30 AM, Dandie Dinmont said:

Many, many years ago, a friend and I visited the Bavarian film studios while suffering the effects of a visit to the Munich beer festival the previous evening, and were shown around the full sized set of the interior of a U-Boat they had built to film Das Boot. It was claustrophobic enough in there with my friend and a guide, I can only imagine what it must have been like with 59 other people in there and the constant danger of the head backfiring (though some of the odours my friend was producing gave a faint hint). 
 

You’ve made a fantastic job of that Clive, it looks incredibly realistic. Good job!

 

Craig. 

 

 

Thanks Craig, apologies for not acknowledging your comment sooner.

On 5/3/2020 at 8:53 AM, Jasper dog said:

Outstanding work, not my subject but brilliant modelling!

 

Interesting back story too.

Cheers

Cheers Darryl, again my apologies for omitting to acknowledge your comment!

17 minutes ago, TonyW said:

That sea looks freezing cold! Very nice modelling indeed.

I think you have got the size of the base dead right to show off the model while at the same time managing to make it look tiny against the cold, dark waters. Interesting backstory as well.

 

Tony.

Thanks Tony, very much appreciated.

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Wow! That's fantastic! The water looks amazing.

 

After reading the story I must admit that I've done a few that I'd rather sink the boat rather than own up to. :blush:

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