Type XXVII file photo [31322]

Type XXVII-class Midget Submarine

CountryGermany
Displacement17 tons full
Length39 feet
Beam5 feet
MachineryOne Büssing diesel engine (60bhp), one AEG electric motor (25bhp)
Speed7 knots
Range270nm at 7 knots surfaced, 63nm at 4 knots submerged
Crew2
Armament2x G7e torpedoes
Submerged Speed3 knots

Contributor:

This article refers to the entire Type XXVII; it is not about an individual vessel.

ww2dbaseAfter the British were able to damage German battleship Tirpitz by employing midget submarines in 1943, the German Navy embarked on an effort to create a similar weapon. Captured British midget submarines were studied for strengths and weaknesses.

ww2dbaseThe first variant was the Type XXVIIA Hecht, which carried explosive charges to be laid beneath enemy ships. These two-man ships were very small and were powered via a 12-brake-horsepower torpedo motor. These boats had no hydroplanes nor fins so they could pass through anti-submarine nets, relying purely on adjustable weights within the pressure hulls for navigation, which was proven to be difficult. The order to build 53 Hecht submarines (1 prototype, 52 production) was issued to Germaniawerft of Kiel, Germany in Mar 1944. None of them would see front line service; instead, they were used to train sailors for Type XXVIIB boats.

ww2dbaseThe Type XXVIIB variant boats featured a greater range due to the inclusion of both a 60-brake-horsepower diesel engine as well as a 25-brake-horsepower electric motor. Each boat carried two G7e torpedoes. The design was completed in late Jun 1944. Order for producing 1,000 units was placed in Jul 1944, and ultimately 285 Type XXVIIB5 submarines, also known as Seehund or Type 127, were built by Germaniawerft. 138 of them would be assigned to front line units. Seehund submarines saw their first operation on 31 Dec 1944, when 18 of them set sail from IJmuiden, Netherlands; bad weather caused the loss of 16 of them. A Seehund submarine scored the first sinking for its class in Feb 1945 when they destroyed a freighter off Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. These submarines continued to patrol the North Sea and the English Channel. Through the end of the war, they sank 9 merchant vessels and damaged an additional 3 ships. The Allies had trouble detecting these submarines due to their small size and quiet motors. 35 boats were lost to various reasons.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, France received 4 Seehund midget submarines as reparations. They were commissioned into active service as S 621, S 622, S 623 and S624. They remained in service until Aug 1953.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Type XXVII-class Midget Submarine Interactive Map

Type XXVII-class Midget Submarine Operational Timeline

18 Jan 1944 Karl Dönitz secured Adolf Hitler's approval for building Type XXVIIA midget submarines.
9 Mar 1944 The order to build the prototype of Type XXVIIA midget submarines was issued to Germaniawerft of Kiel, Germany.
28 Mar 1944 The order to build 52 Type XXVIIA Hecht midget submarines was issued to Germaniawerft of Kiel, Germany.
30 Jul 1944 The order to build 1,000 Type XXVIIB5 Seehund submarines was issued was issued to Germaniawerft of Kiel, Germany.
31 Dec 1944 18 Type XXVIIB5 Seehund submarines set sail from IJmuiden, Netherlands on their first mission, but an unexpected storm would destroy 16 of them before they reached their targets.
15 Feb 1945 The 2,628-ton Dutch tanker Liseta (Captain P. Buisman) was lost while searching for an anchoring place at Margate on the coast of Kent, England, United Kingdom. Most of the crew were saved by the destroyer HMS Holderness (L 48), but 16 were killed in the engine room where the torpedo struck. Later, part of the wreck was blown off during salvage in order to lift her. When the Liseta was lifted, she was repaired and put back into service. She was sold for scrap in Hong Kong in 1957. The tanker was reported as sunk by the German Seehund-type midget submarine U-5332, but the submarine did not report any attacks on this date.
13 Mar 1945 The 2,878-ton Canadian steamship Taber Park, on a voyage from the Tyne to London in England, United Kingdom with convoy FS-1753 with coal, was sunk by mine or by a German Seehund midget submarine, off Aldeburgh, Suffolk coast. Twenty-four of her crew and four gunners were lost; the captain and three others were saved.
28 Apr 1945 Type XXVIIB5 Seehund submarines were used to supply food to the German garrison at Dunkerque, France.
2 May 1945 Type XXVIIB5 Seehund submarines were used to supply food to the German garrison at Dunkerque, France.

Photographs

Captured Type XVIIB5 Seehund midget submarines, Germany, 1945Recovering a Type XVIIB midget submarine, IJmuiden, Netherlands, 1951Beached Type XXVIIB5 submarine, Castricum, Netherlands, 2 Dec 1952, photo 1 of 5Beached Type XXVIIB5 submarine, Castricum, Netherlands, 2 Dec 1952, photo 2 of 5
See all 8 photographs of Type XXVII-class Midget Submarine



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Type XXVII-class Midget Submarine Photo Gallery
Captured Type XVIIB5 Seehund midget submarines, Germany, 1945
See all 8 photographs of Type XXVII-class Midget Submarine


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