Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate



As a professor here, teaching our Maritime and Soviet Naval Strategy, I have quite a quota of submariners which, I understand, is an improvement over not too many years ago. I don’t understand the oft~heard criticism that the modem submariner is an “engineer” and a “technician,” who neither understands nor is interested in the strate2.}’ of underwater warfare. My experience so far has been quite different ~~ most of my brightest and most thoughtful “Strategists” have been submariners. Naturally, they are all convinced that the submarine is the naval weapon~f~hoice today and into the future, but that’s fine; I happen to agree. Two of my favorite lectures/class discussions (and always a cause for considerable excitement) are (1) why not convert to an “all¬∑submarine” fleet, and (2) why cannot (should not) submarines be used for “naval diplomacy?”

I have experienced the hardware~riented bent most pronouncedly, in the course of my participation as the “token” social science representative on the NPG’s Submarine Technology Group (STG). We were created as one of the CNO’s “centers of excellence” that have been tasked to come up with new ideas for “pushing” the submarine fleet into the 21st century. I have found it extremely difficult to convince the Group’s “technologists” that we ought to perhaps have some idea of what we want the submarine navy to do and accomplish before we foist a new or improved pet gadget upon the service!

Jan S. Breemer
[Editor’s Note: See his anicle in this issue.]


In the January 1989 SUBMARINE REVIEW, I read with interest the article by Henry E. Payne III. In 1970 I had a two week training duty at NA VSEA in Silver Spring,. Maryland. There I worked for a Naval Officer (1400) naval architect (submarine qualified) who was in charge of a submarine preliminary design group which sat near the “ULMS” design group that I think eventually became TRIDENT. One of his major concerns was the problem of high speed submarine “flight.” My first observation was that they were trying to invent everything from scratch instead of using lessons learned from aircraft design.

The project I was given was to design a “retractable fin keel” that would extend in some manner when the rudder was put over. The intent was to balance the side forces which cause the adverse roll at high speeds. I did this for him but in the process of studying the hydrodynamics of high speed turns I proposed what I thought was a better solution. That was to put a “flap” on the trailing edge of the sail actuated by hydraulic actuators which controlled flap angle as a function of rudder angle and ship speed. A keel can be made with a high aspect ratio compared to the sail and thus have a higher lift coefficient than the sailt however it still must be large to be effective and also the loads are too high to be practical. A flap on the sail can work on the pressure distribution of the sail itself and significantly reduce sail side force in turns with flap load.; being distributed over the length of the sail.

My naval architect felt my proposal was not practical because the increase in submarine wetted area due to adding the flap was too significant since the power required for normal cruising was a function of drag to the fourth power. At the time I did not do any drag calculationst however, I suspected that the increase in wetted area drag was probably cancelled out by the decrease in form drag due to the increase in sail chord.

It only makes good sense to make our submarines more maneuverable.

B. F. Dotson


We are grateful to all of you who generously responded to our call for assistance for Aaron (SUBMARINE REVIEW January ’89). Aaron is now in remission thanks to your response. Fifty-eight persons offered to donate blood. FI’BCS(SS) Thomas and Mrs. Thomas have asked us to express their deep gratitude for your assistance.

Our contact at the National Naval Medical Center, Chief Spatz, is assisting in our development of a letter to explain to each volunteer how we will schedule appointments for your blood donations.

Those who have not yet volunteered, but who wish to do so, are asked to notify us at the address below.

Ross and Helen W’dliams
13704 Turkey Foot Road
Arlington, VA 20878-3983


My interest is subs was aroused in 1988 when our Canadian Defence Minister gave a speech at the annual meeting of the Canadian Nuclear Association in June. The minister told delegates to the conference that 10 or 12 nuclear submarines deployed by Canada could prevent NATO from having to use atomic weapons to save Europe in the event of war. The vessels could prevent Soviet submarines from entering the Atlantic and cutting off supply lines, an action which would leave NATO with the choice of abandoning Europe or using nuclear weapons. “In times of conflict, diplomatic protests are not good enough,” he said. “You must have the ability to defend yourself as well.”

Even with the nuclear standoff, there is no reason why the development of submarines should not continue. If, in a future war, surface ships would be sitting ducks, surely there will be more need for submarine craft than ever before to fill as yet unspecified roles.

John Crabtree 

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League