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Submarine warfare is one of the four divisions of underwater warfare, the others being anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare and mine countermeasures.
Submarine warfare consists primarily of diesel and nuclear submarines using torpedoes, missiles or nuclear weapons, as well as advanced sensing equipment, to attack other submarines, ships, or land targets. Submarines may also be used for reconnaissance and landing of special forces as well as deterrence. In some navies they may be used for task force screening. The effectiveness of submarine warfare partly depends on the anti-submarine warfare carried out in response.
The age of submarine warfare began during the American Civil War. The 1860s was a time of many turning points in terms of how naval warfare was fought. Many new types of warships were being developed for use in the United States and Confederate States Navies. Submarine watercraft were among the newly created vessels. The first sinking of an enemy ship by a submarine occurred on 17 February 1864, when the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, a privateer sank the sloop USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Shortly afterward, however, H. L. Hunley sank, with the loss of her entire crew of eight.
Submarine warfare in World War I was primarily a fight between German and Austro-Hungarian U-boats and supply convoys bound for the United Kingdom, France, and Russia. British and Allied submarines conducted widespread operations in the Baltic, North, Mediterranean and Black Seas along with the Atlantic Ocean. Only a few actions occurred outside the wider European-Atlantic theatre. German submarine attacks on Allied merchant ships, especially the sinking of Lusitania, turned American public opinion against the Central Powers. The U.S. demanded it stop, and Germany did so. Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff (1853–1919), chief of the admiralty staff, argued successfully in January 1917 to resume the attacks and thus starve the British. The German high command realized the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare meant war with the United States but calculated that American mobilization would be too slow to stop a German victory on the Western Front.and played a large role in the United States entering the war in April 1917.
All participants were supposed to abide by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, but this was found to be impracticable for submarines. The German government maintained the British naval blockade was illegal under international law. Initially, German submarines did attempt to comply with the prize rules, but later switched to unrestricted submarine warfare following the British introduction of Q-ships with concealed deck guns. American diplomatic pressure forced the Germans to stop this for a while, but in January 1917 Germany declared a war zone around the British Isles and sank up to a quarter of shipping entering it, until escorted convoys were introduced. Pathfinder was the first combat victory of a modern submarine, and the exploits of SM U-9, which sank three British cruisers in under an hour, established the submarine as an important new component of naval warfare.The sinking of HMS
German submarines were used to lay naval mines and to attack iron ore shipping in the Baltic. The British submarine flotilla in the Baltic operated in support of the Russians until the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. During the war, the British invested efforts into developing a submarine that could operate in conjunction with a battleship fleet – the "Fleet Submarine". To achieve the necessary 20 knots (37 km/h) (surfaced) the K-class submarines were steam powered. In practice, the K class were a constant problem and could not operate effectively with a fleet.
Between the wars, navies experimented with submarine cruisers (France, Surcouf), submarines armed with battleship caliber guns (UK, HMS M1) and submarines capable of carrying small aircraft for reconnaissance (HMS M2 and Surcouf).
Germany was denied submarines by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, but built some anyway. This was not legitimized until the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935, under which the UK accepted German parity in submarine numbers with the Royal Navy.
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In World War II, submarine warfare was split into two main areas – the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Mediterranean Sea was also a very active area for submarine operations. This was particularly true for the British and French, as well as the Germans. The Italians were also involved, but achieved their greatest successes using midget submarines and human torpedoes.
In the Atlantic, where German submarines again sought out and attacked Allied convoys, this part of the war was very reminiscent of the latter part of World War I. Many British submarines were active as well, particularly in the Mediterranean and off Norway, against Axis warships, submarines and merchant shipping.
Initially, Hitler ordered his submarines to abide by the prize rules, but this restriction was withdrawn in December 1939. Although mass attacks by submarine had been carried out in World War I, the "wolf pack" was mainly a tactic of World War II U-boats. The main steps in this tactic were as follows:
With the later increase in warship and aircraft escorts, U-boat losses became unacceptable. Many boats were lost, and the earlier experienced commanders with them.
In the Pacific, the situation was reversed, with US submarines hunting Japanese shipping. By war's end, US submarines had destroyed over half of all Japanese merchant ships,totaling well over five million tons of shipping. British and Dutch submarines also took part in attacks on Japanese shipping, mostly in coastal waters. Japanese submarines were initially successful, destroying two US fleet aircraft carriers, a cruiser, and several other ships. However, following a doctrine that concentrated on attacking warships, rather than more-vulnerable merchantmen, the smaller Japanese fleet proved ineffectual in the long term, while suffering heavy losses to Allied anti-submarine measures. Italian submarines and one German submarine operated in the Pacific Ocean, but never enough to be an important factor, inhibited by distance and difficult relations with their Japanese ally.
Japanese submarines operated in the Indian Ocean, forcing the British surface fleet to withdraw to the east coast of Africa. Some German and Italian submarines operated in the Indian Ocean, but never enough to play a significant role.
Since the Second World War, several wars, such as the Korean War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the Falklands War, have involved limited use of submarines. Later submarine-launched land-attack missiles were employed against Iraq and Afghanistan. With these exceptions, submarine warfare ceased after 1945. Hence strategic thinking about the role of submarines has developed independently of actual experience.
The advent of the nuclear-powered submarine in the 1950s brought about a major change in strategic thinking about submarine warfare. These boats could operate faster, deeper and had much longer endurance. They could be larger and so became missile launching platforms. In response to this the attack submarine became more important, particularly in regard to its postulated role as a hunter-killer. The US also used nuclear submarines as radar pickets for a while. There have also been major advances in sensors and weapons.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union played what was described as a 'cat-and-mouse' game of detecting and even trailing enemy submarines.
As the likelihood of unrestricted submarine warfare has diminished, thinking about conventional submarines has focused on their use against surface warship. The mere existence of a submarine may curtail surface warships' freedom to operate. To counter the threat of these submarines, hunter submarines were developed in turn. The role of the submarine has extended with the use of submarine-launched autonomous unmanned vehicles.[ citation needed ] The development of new air independent propulsion methods has meant that the diesel-electric submarine's need to surface, making it vulnerable, has been reduced. Nuclear submarines, although far larger, could generate their own air and water for an extended duration, meaning their need to surface was limited in any case.
In today's more fractured geopolitical system, many nations are building and/or upgrading their submarines.[ citation needed ] The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has launched new models of submarines every few years;[ citation needed ] South Korea has upgraded the already capable Type 209(Chang Bogoclass) design from Germany and sold copies to Indonesia. Russia has improved the old Soviet Kilo model into what strategic analysts are calling equivalent to the 1980s-era Los Angelesclass, and so on.[ citation needed ]
At the end of his naval warfare book The Price of Admiralty, military historian John Keegan postulates that eventually, almost all roles of surface warships will be taken over by submarines, as they will be the only naval units capable of evading the increasing intelligence capabilities (space satellites, airplanes etc.) that a fight between evenly matched modern states could bring to bear on them.[ citation needed ]
However, thinking about importance of the submarine has shifted to an even more strategic role, with the advent of the nuclear ballistic missile submarine carrying Submarine-launched ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons to provide second strike capability.
A modern submarine is a multi-role platform. It can conduct both overt and covert operations. In peacetime it can act as a deterrent as well as for surveillance operations and information gathering.
In wartime a submarine can carry out a number of missions including:
A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against powerful short range attackers. They were originally developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.
The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
U-boat is an anglicised version of the German word U-Boot[ˈuːboːt](
The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the Naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. The campaign peaked from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.
The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; they are generally the larger ships when compared to other warships in their respective fleet. A capital ship is generally a leading or a primary ship in a naval fleet.
Unrestricted submarine warfare is a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink vessels such as freighters and tankers without warning, as opposed to attacks per prize rules. Prize rules call for submarines to surface and search merchantmen and place crews in "a place of safety" before sinking them, unless the ship showed "persistent refusal to stop ... or active resistance to visit or search".
Commerce raiding is a form of naval warfare used to destroy or disrupt logistics of the enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping, rather than engaging its combatants or enforcing a blockade against them.
The names of commissioned ships of the United States Navy all start with USS, for "United States Ship". Non-commissioned, primarily civilian-manned vessels of the U.S. Navy under the Military Sealift Command have names that begin with USNS, standing for "United States Naval Ship". A letter-based hull classification symbol is used to designate a vessel's type. The names of ships are selected by the Secretary of the Navy. The names are those of states, cities, towns, important persons, important locations, famous battles, fish, and ideals. Usually, different types of ships have names originated from different types of sources.
There are three major types of submarines in the United States Navy: ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines, and cruise missile submarines. All submarines in the U.S. Navy are nuclear-powered. Ballistic missile submarines have a single strategic mission of carrying nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Attack submarines have several tactical missions, including sinking ships and subs, launching cruise missiles, and gathering intelligence.
Naval Warfare in World War I was mainly characterized by blockade. The Allied Powers, with their larger fleets and surrounding position, largely succeeded in their blockade of Germany and the other Central Powers, whilst the efforts of the Central Powers to break that blockade, or to establish an effective counterblockade with submarines and commerce raiders, were eventually unsuccessful. Major fleet actions were less decisive.
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track, and deter, damage, or destroy enemy submarines.
Naval tactics is the collective name for methods of engaging and defeating an enemy ship or fleet in battle at sea during naval warfare, the naval equivalent of military tactics on land.
Beginning in ancient times, mankind sought to operate under the water. From simple submersibles to nuclear-powered underwater behemoths, humans have searched for a means to remain safely underwater to gain the advantage in warfare, resulting in the development of the submarine.
Allied submarines were used extensively during the Pacific War and were a key contributor to the defeat of the Empire of Japan.
The U-boat Campaign from 1914 to 1918 was the World War I naval campaign fought by German U-boats against the trade routes of the Allies. It took place largely in the seas around the British Isles and in the Mediterranean. The German Empire relied on imports for food and domestic food production and the United Kingdom relied heavily on imports to feed its population, and both required raw materials to supply their war industry; the powers aimed, therefore, to blockade one another. The British had the Royal Navy which was superior in numbers and could operate on most of the world's oceans because of the British Empire, whereas the Imperial German Navy surface fleet was mainly restricted to the German Bight, and used commerce raiders and unrestricted submarine warfare to operate elsewhere.
The Atlantic U-boat campaign of World War I was the prolonged naval conflict between German submarines and the Allied navies in Atlantic waters—the seas around the British Isles, the North Sea and the coast of France.
The convoy—a group of merchantmen or troopships traveling together with a naval escort—was revived during World War I (1914–18), after having been discarded at the start of the Age of Steam. Although convoys were used by the Royal Navy in 1914 to escort troopships from the Dominions, and in 1915 by both it and the French Navy to cover their own troop movements for overseas service, they were not systematically employed by any belligerent navy until 1916. The Royal Navy was the major user and developer of the modern convoy system, and regular transoceanic convoying began in June 1917. They made heavy use of aircraft for escorts, especially in coastal waters, an obvious departure from the convoy practices of the Age of Sail.
A cruiser submarine was a very large submarine designed to remain at sea for extended periods in areas distant from base facilities. Their role was analogous to surface cruisers, ie. cruising distant waters, commerce raiding, and scouting for the battle fleet. Cruiser submarines were successful for a brief period of World War I, but were less successful than smaller submarines during World War II. Large submarines remained vulnerable to damage from defensively equipped merchant ships (DEMS), were slow to dive if found by aircraft, offered a large sonar echo surface, and were less able to defensively maneuver during depth charge attacks.
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