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How are U-boats re-supplied with torpedoes whilst in port?


bootneck
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The only photos I can find of u-boat resupply is when the torpedoes are actually being passed down the chute onboard, but how would they be delivered to the dockside?  Would the torpedoes be delivered by truck or train?  If by truck, any advice on which vehicle type etc?   I have ideas for a diorama and have a u-boat kit but have hardly any visual information on a setting.

cheers,
Mike

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  • bootneck changed the title to How are U-boats re-supplied with torpedoes whilst in port?
2 hours ago, Black Knight said:

To the dock from main supply via train then by truck to the storage and truck from storage to dockside. Truck most likely to be the ubiquitous Opel Blitz

 

The reason why you don’t see the transport is that the U-boat pens did not have room along their sides for vehicles.

 

The concrete U-boat pens were designed with a service lane that ran across the heads of the individual pens and in front of the workshop areas at the rear of the structures. There were entrances/exits at both sides (except the Keroman K1 & K2 pens in Lorient with only one but they were for deep maintenance not simple rearming). Rail lines were laid into the floor allowing delivery of anything necessary by either road or rail. Overhead cranes ran the length of each pen. The number and capacity in each individual pen varied depending on the function of that pen. But they were generally of 1,3,5 and 30 ton capacity.

 

Google U-boat pen interiors and plenty of photos both past and present should come up.

 

There is a photo about half way down this page with a Type IX loading a torpedo while in the pen. Overhead you can see the travelling crane.

 

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/submarine-pens.html

 

Edited by EwenS
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I wasn't planning to build a u-boat pen diorama as that would close in most of any detail.  I'm thinking of an open base, such as Toulon or bases before the bunkers were completed.

 

Mike

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Whoops, just seen the photo above 🙂
 

I had never given this any thought until I saw this thread so reading with interest.

 

One thing that occurs to me - isn’t a torpedo longer than an Opel Blitz truck?

 

Could an Opel Blitz really have been use to transport u-boat torpedoes - maybe using trailer carriages?

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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That clearly isn't an Opel Blitz, but a tractor unit and a long trailer, possibly one designed for the job?  Perhaps posting this on Missing Lynx could bring a much fuller answer.  Preferable the Braille Scale sub-forum for 1/72 modelling.

 

I can't see enough of the tractor unit to identify it, though I wonder if it is one of the Ford 917 series?  There are a number of 1/72 scale models of German trucks, but of course this could be a beute French type or even Czech.  PST do a trailer body for an earlier Ford: although a box type it could be modified to a low-sided example such as this.  There are however many different German types available in resin.

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12 hours ago, whitestar12chris said:

Hi Bootneck, did a google search and found some photos below;

Hope this helps

Hi Chris,

those are great references, thanks.  The iPad image is good as it also shows background settings, something I plan to build with card model buildings.

cheers,
Mike

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On 9/17/2021 at 10:27 AM, bootneck said:

 The iPad image is good as it also shows background settings, something I plan to build with card model buildings.

 

The 'iPAD' is - I think - the 1st Polish Armoured Division (so 1st PAD) - as this is well know photo of the Polish tankers who captured that lorry with German torpedo (apparently during evacuation of some of the Channel harbours).

 

I suppose the lack of the photos of the German lorries carrying torpedoes is for a reason - Germans were in deep shortage of trucks and lorries for the whole war.  Using them in the naval bases in which there were a lot of rail (normal and narrow-gauge) installations would be waste of the priceless resources. The other German problem was a fuel - lorries used gasoline which was in badly shortage, and trains used coal, which Germans had. I think there was no reason to put a torpedo on the lorry in any part of the normal transportation chain between the torpedo factory and the u-boot interior.

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Thanks for the correction GrzeM.  I could go with a rail transfer, possibly at a German port or even one of the French ports before the bunkers were built.  I just don't want to do it and then everyone comes out the woodwork with statements like "it wasn't like that" and hence why I am asking for advice first.

 

cheers,

Mike

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I have some hint - Museum of Polish Aviation in Cracow published scans of the 'Evidence in camera' wartime magazine. The magazine published mostly air photo reconaissance photographs - including u-boat bases. You may check them, maybe this will clarify something.

The link for digitised collections is https://muzeumlotnictwa.pl/digitalizacja_archiwaliow/digitalizacja.php but there you get list of thousands of publications. The best way to find 'Evidence in camera' is to use your browser 'find' option (ctrl+F) and then just type 'evidence'.

 

Here you have photo of pier in Brest from the magazine. I know these are not u-boats, but it shows what you can expect:

spacer.png

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