Author Topic: Top 10 Submarines in History  (Read 14655 times)

Offline JTheotonio

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Top 10 Submarines in History
« on: July 22, 2008, 06:35:25 AM »
No cheating if you have seen the Discovery/History Channel's piece on the Top 10 Submarines in history.  They based their choices on 5 atributes - Stealth, Fear Factor (must be a reality TV thing), Service Length, Combat Performance, and Inovation.  Their choices need not be a specific sub, but could include a class of submarine.  I was surprised by some of their choices, but not all. 

So again, without looking at the History Channel, or cheating, what do you think the Top 10 Submarines should be (of all time)?

I also posted this over at LIB - knowing that there could be different people engaged in this thread between the two BBS's.  :D
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Offline Lance Dean

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 09:54:02 AM »
I don't know enough to make an intelligent answer, but I have seen this TV show many times.  I'm always amazed at what they chose for #1.  I can see it, kinda, sorta.

Offline JohnG

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 12:41:21 PM »
I think they would have the Barb for #1 since it has sank the most enemy vessels. At least I think it did. If it covers all Subs, the Nautilus is going to be on there as the first nuke boat. And of course the best sub of all time....the Hunley!
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Offline MWALLEN

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 12:45:54 PM »
It's all subjective.  Their choice for #1 wouldn't have been my choice.  The Boomer was #10...way too high IMHO.  Balao wasn't even listed, but the Gato was.  I figured the Balao was a better class of fleet boat due mostly to the thicker pressure hull.  But, I missed that part of the show and only saw the re-cap right before that announced the #1 choice.

I watched the same type show, but comparing surface ships.  #2 was a Nimitz-class carrier.  #1 was the Iowa-class Battleship.  I figured the carrier would have won hands-down, but the BB won due mostly to it's length of service.  I would have voted the carrier #1 based on their criteria.
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Offline JTheotonio

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 01:28:57 PM »
I don't know enough to make an intelligent answer...

Neither do I.  But, then I didn't see a lot of ex-submariners narrating that show.  Arm-chair analysist, and they have a totally different take on things.
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Offline Lance Dean

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 01:58:05 PM »
John, you have a point there for sure.

And Mark, I thought the same thing you did about the Gato vs Balao thing.

Truth is, comparing ALL submarines from all over the world from all time is impossible.  For the most part, newer=better.  Sure, some may be quieter, some may dive deeper, some may be built to sink other ships while some may be built to wipe out countries.

It was odd to see the #1 submarine wasn't a nuclear powered sub...

Offline AVGWarhawk

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 03:40:03 PM »
I think some of the selections and grading were done mostly for what the submarine did in that part of history and time.  For instance, the Nautilus was the first nuke boat and helped kick off what the cold war came to be.  The VII German U is probably the most recognizable boat for a lot of people and probably visually the scariest of them all.  Let's face it, anything brought up on uboats of submarines for that matter, the VII is always pictured.  The VII was really the uboat menace and precursor to unrestricted submarine warfare. The VII really brought terror to the sea.  Service length and fear factor are high and with good reason.  Then innovation was graded in as well.   
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Offline JTheotonio

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 03:51:28 PM »
Sounds as if some of you saw the show, or at least part of the show.  I was trying to see what angles you all would take.  I could agree with about 4 of their choices at max.  They were almost no brainers.  Some never crossed my mind.  I'll list them all tomorrow and then let's see what everyone thinks.
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Offline JohnG

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 04:27:15 PM »
I wish I could have seen it, but only 3 channels will do that to ya.

So...what was the top 10?
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Offline MWALLEN

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2008, 04:36:33 PM »
Here is the link from the Military Channel website:

http://military.discovery.com/convergence/topten/topten.html

There are other Top 10 lists also. 

JohnG: I guess you can buy the whole set on DVD here:

http://shopping.discovery.com/product-71297.html?jzid=40588013-34-0
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 04:38:22 PM by MWALLEN »
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Offline JTheotonio

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Here is the Military Channel's Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 07:39:13 AM »
As promised here is the list of the Top 10 subs, starting at #10.  The text with each is from the Military Channel not mine.  I did put a couple of comments next to the name of some to indicate what I thought their ranking should be.  Some on this list I don't even agree with.  Any discussion on these now that you know which made the list?

10. George Washington Class (Should have been much higher #2 or 3)
By the grim logic of the Cold War, submarines armed with strategic nuclear missiles did much to keep the peace. Hidden under the ocean and extremely difficult to detect, the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) was the perfect deterrent. A potential adversary knew that even if a surprise nuclear attack wiped out land-based missiles and bombers before they were launched, the SSBNs (or "boomers") would survive to retaliate. The world’s first SSBN was the USS George Washington, first ordered in 1957 and commissioned in 1959. Earlier Soviet subs had carried nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, but they were diesel-powered boats with limited endurance. The George Washington’s nuclear propulsion enabled it to remain underwater for months without surfacing. Each of the five boats in the George Washington Class carried 16 Polaris missiles, giving a single submarine the capability to devastate an opponent’s heartland.
9. Type XXI U-boat
The Allies were fortunate that the Type XXI U-boat arrived too late to see combat. Had it been deployed before the end of war, it could have had a devastating impact on the Battle of the Atlantic. The Type XXI had numerous advanced features for its time, including high-capacity batteries that enabled it to remain underwater for days, a streamlined hull, and a snorkel to recharge the batteries while underwater. With an underwater speed of 17 knots, it could actually outrace most surface warships.
8. Typhoon ClassSoviet-built Typhoons are the largest submarines in the world, weighing in at 48,000 tons (a U.S. Ohio-class ballistic missile sub weighs less than 20,000 tons, while an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is only about 9,000 tons). Despite its size, the six Typhoons that were built were surprisingly quiet and hard to detect. They carried 20 SS-N-20 (NATO code name "Sturgeon") ballistic missiles equipped with multiple nuclear warheads, as well as anti-ship guided missiles and torpedoes. The boats featured multiple pressure hulls for greater strength.
7. Sentoku Class (while big, it really played no major role in WWII)
A submarine that’s an aircraft carrier seems like mating a fish and an elephant, but that didn’t stop several navies from trying. The Imperial Japanese Navy’s I-400 Sentoku Class boats of World War II were 6,500 tons, almost three times the size of U.S. Gato Class subs, and about the same displacement as a U.S. George Washington-class nuclear-powered missile sub from the early 1960s. The three Sentoku boats each carried three torpedo-equipped M6A Seiran floatplanes that would be launched by catapult, and then ditch in the water upon their return.
6. X-Craft
While many of the most famous submarines were giants, at the other end of the sub spectrum were the midget submarines. Britain’s X-craft were used for special attack missions in heavily defended harbors that were impervious to conventional submarine attack. Their most famous raid was in 1943, when X-craft damaged the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian harbor. The tiny 27-ton submarines were towed by larger boats to the target area, where they were cast off to make their way to the target. The crew would plant explosive charges before returning to the mother sub.
5. USS Nautilus (Should have been much higher, maybe #2)
The USS Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. Until the Nautilus, submarines were powered by diesel engines that could not be used underwater. Subs could either expose themselves on the surface when using their diesels, or run submerged on batteries that had limited power. But a nuclear-powered submarine could spend its entire voyage submerged and hidden. In 1955, for her maiden voyage, the Nautilus traveled 1,100 nautical miles – the longest submerged cruise in history at that time.
4. T Class
Known also as the Triton Class, these boats formed the backbone of the British submarine force during World War II. Displacing about 1,500 tons, T Class subs packed a heavy punch of 10 torpedo tubes. However, they all fired forward, compared to other subs that could fire torpedoes with both bow and stern tubes. T-class boats exacted a heavy toll of Axis shipping supplying Rommel’s Afrika Korps, but suffered heavy losses in the narrow, shallow waters of the Mediterranean.
3. Gato Class
American Gato Class submarines were the bane of Japanese merchant ships during World War II. Fast, well-armed and with good range, they were well-suited for the undersea war against Japan. Gatos displaced about 1,500 tons, and were armed with six bow and four stern torpedo tubes. They could travel 20 knots on the surface and nearly 9 knots submerged.
2. Seawolf Class (If anything this should have been #1)
At more than $4 billion apiece, Seawolf Class submarines were the most expensive in history. But they were designed for a mission that brooked no failure; stalk and destroy Soviet ballistic missile subs before they could launch their weapons. Designed to be extremely fast and extremely quiet, the high price tag and diminished Soviet submarine threat with the end of the cold war caused the program to be cancelled after the first three boats were delivered. One of them, the USS Jimmy Carter, has since been converted into a spy sub.
1. Type VII U-Boat
Perhaps the ultimate symbol of the deadly underwater predator, the Type VII U-boat may be the most famous submarine class in history. It was also the most numerous, serving as the workhorse of the German submarine forces in World War II. At around 900 tons displacement, and armed with five torpedo tubes, the Type VII was smaller than the big American fleet boats, but it came perilously close to winning the Battle of the Atlantic. But the cost was frightful; of 1,100 U-boats constructed in World War II - including 700 Type VII's - more than 800 were lost. More than 75 percent of U-boat crewmen perished.
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Offline JTheotonio

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Top 10 Submarines in History - remaining pictures
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 07:40:54 AM »
Here are the remaining pictures from the last post - Top 10 Submarines
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Offline Darrin

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 06:41:28 PM »
Sad part of history on the Geo Washington.... She was origionally built with a different name on her hull as a Fast Attack and when the decision was made to make her a "boomer" they put a plug in for her missile tubes and changed her name.... who can name the ship that later recieved that name????

Offline JohnG

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2008, 10:46:00 PM »
....odd countdown. I figured it was the Top 10 Submarines, not Sub Classes....but eh whatever I guess. We all know what the best Submarine is anyway.... 8)
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Offline Darrin

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Re: Top 10 Submarines in History
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 11:29:45 PM »
Obviously the BEST submarine is the one that is still at SEA :2funny:

While Torsk is a museum like the rest she has the distinction of SINKING the last warship of WWII and she also served with distinction throughout her career to include being apart of the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS and finally being Decommed in '68 and then serving as a reserve boat until '71 and being pulled from a SINKEX by the city of Baltimore in late '71 early '72 and giving her a home for the last 36 years.