Deck guns to sink submarines

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D47niner
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Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby D47niner » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:29 pm

I'm not sure where this should go so moderators feel free to move this or advise.

Has there been any documentation of a surface ship using deck guns to sink a submarine submerged? I know physics plays a part in projectiles going into the water but giving the size and power of some cruisers and battleships guns is it possible? I know some ships -might have- hit subs at periscope depth and partially surfaced and struck the conning tower but what about subs close to the surface submerged?

Any documentation of who, what when and where is greatly appreciated!

Be safe and well!

Steve Crandell
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Re: Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby Steve Crandell » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:14 pm

D47niner wrote:I'm not sure where this should go so moderators feel free to move this or advise.

Has there been any documentation of a surface ship using deck guns to sink a submarine submerged? I know physics plays a part in projectiles going into the water but giving the size and power of some cruisers and battleships guns is it possible? I know some ships -might have- hit subs at periscope depth and partially surfaced and struck the conning tower but what about subs close to the surface submerged?

Any documentation of who, what when and where is greatly appreciated!

Be safe and well!


I am not aware of any case where that happened, but the Japanese 8" and up shells were designed to perform well underwater, so they might have the best theoretical chance of sinking a submerged submarine.

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tommy303
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Re: Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby tommy303 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:39 pm

I should think, at the close ranges necessary for a surface ship to spot and engage such a small target as a submarine, the guns would be close to maximum depression for a battleship or cruiser, and in any event the shells would arrive at such a shallow angle of fall, that they would be more likely to ricochet off the water rather than dig in and follow an underwater trajectory. At least in the USN, destroyer and escort 3-in and 4-in guns had been provided with an anti-submarine projectile to be used when a sub was starting to dive. It was designed to follow a short underwater trajectory and was essentially a CP type shell with a sharply stepped shoulder. I believe the shells were introduced in WW1, but may have been obsolete by WW2.

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Re: Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby RF » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:01 am

In considering this question how would a large calibre gun vessel be able to locate a submerged target at long range? Sonar tended to be on smaller calibre gun vessels who invariably used depth charges not gunfire against submerged submarines.

Submerged submarines have been sunk by torpedo hits from aerial torpedoes, where dropped sonar buoys were used to detect the position and depth of the target - one case in point being a Japanese submarine being sunk in the Atlantic on its way to the Biscay ports.
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Re: Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby RF » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:04 am

Thinking further deck guns have been used against submerged targets such as mines and approaching torpedoes to detonate the ordnance at a safe distance but these are extremely shallow and visible targets on the surface.
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Re: Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby Steve Crandell » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:53 am

RF wrote:Thinking further deck guns have been used against submerged targets such as mines and approaching torpedoes to detonate the ordnance at a safe distance but these are extremely shallow and visible targets on the surface.


A surface ship could and probably would take a periscope under fire and might hit the submarine in the process.

I'm not aware of any documented case where naval gunfire hit a torpedo or underwater mine. Maybe you know of one.

Gunfire is often used to destroy a moored mine after the cable is cut and it floats to the surface.

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Deck guns to sink submarines

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:49 am

We now know that the USN DD put a 5" hole through the conning tower of a Japanese midget sub outside Pearl Harbor before the Dec 7th attack. It was fatal blow and the sub sank to the bottom. The sub was not completely submerged but was trying to follow the DD through the gates with just the very top of its conning tower, and of course its periscope, above the surface.
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