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Some discussions of Laser communications systems to submarines, while describing blue-green beams down to the submarine from satellite o~ ai~craft with a footprint large enough to cover the uncertainty of position of the submarine, also provide the submarine with the same lase~ for UP-link from the deep submarine.

It is probably incorrect to think that the security of the submarine is better preserved by his beaming up from the deep than coming to shallow depth. Tyndal scattering will cause the laser beam to bloom to a large and highly visible area of illumination on the surface easily detectable by satellites or aircraft. In early VP-SS barrier exercises we used up-aimed diver’s lights on the decks of SSK 1 s to call the attention of VP’s.

The great value of Lase~ communications from high altitudes will be to get the SSN at any time. In many cases no reply will be needed; in others the reply will be a response and can be done at the discretion of the SSN’s CO, depending in part on his willingness to come shallow. When it is made, it should be as undetectable as possible and the transmission as short as possible. It will probably be best made by a laser tuned for best atmospheric penetration and sent from a mast-mounted device with beam as narrow as feasible. Since a signal sent from a deep laser would travel through paths of different lengths, some coherence would be lost and the signal have to be longer to keep bits apart. The increased time of trans-mission required could be significant.

Dick Laning


I have to respond to Joe Pursel’s “Bit or History” (July 1988 issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW) on the subject or oalling submarines “boats” with some or my own. Early 1960, DEPCOMSUBLANT had put out a directive mandating that the word “boat” was verboten henceforth and the XO read it to us at morning quarters with a stern follow-up, “If I hear anyone referring to this ship as a “boat,” you will be turned over to tbe Chier or the  boat for indoctrination.”

YNCM(SS) C. Tompkins,  USN(Ret.)


The author might be interested to know that according to the German U-boat scholar Jurgen Rohwer (Axis Submarine Successes, USNI Press, 1983, p. 105), the American tanker s.s. RAWLEIGH WARNER, commanded by his best friend, was sunk on 23 June 1942   (at 28.53N, 89.15W) by U-67, commanded by Gunther Mueller-Stockbeim, an experienced skipper from the crew (or class) or 1934. The U-67 was a Type IX c, or “large” U-boat with a surface displacement of about 1100 tons. She was on her fifth war patrol, during which she claimed sinking 8 ships for 48,000 tons, confirmed in postwar records as 8 ships for 44,846 tons. This success earned Mueller-Stockheim a coveted Iron Cross.

The U-67,    in  turn,    was  sunk  on 16  July  1943, by aircraft from the CVE, USS CORE. Mueller-Stockheim was killed but three U-67 crewmen were rescued  (to become  POWs)  and are possibly reachable in Germany. They were: the 1st Watch Officer (or Exec) Walter Otto, who was born in Claw in 1920; Johann Burck, a native or Frankfurt; and Walter Janek, a native or Festenberg.

I am able to provide these guidelines for Overton because for the past year I have been conducting research for an operational history of German U-boats in World War II, designed to be similar in size and scope to my Silent victory;

The u.s. Submarine War Against Jaoan. In this connection I, in turn, would appreciate bearing from anyone who had significant wartime or postwar experiences with U-boats or U-boat personnel which would be helpful to an operational history.

Clay Blair

Naval Submarine League

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