The Kriegsmarine Type XXIII were developed as smallish coastal submarines to operate in the shallow waters between England and France and the Mediterranean Sea. These boats were part of the all-new electric boat designs pioneered by the Germans in the latter stages of the war. These vessels were purposely designed to operate almost exclusively underwater without a detrimental need to surface. This was accomplished through the extensive use of high capacity battery cells and a snorkel to feed air to the diesel engines when the craft was submerged. The Type XXIII was developed alongside the larger Type XXI electric boats and intended to operate where the bigger Type XXI could not.
Small by design, the Type XXIII was fielded with a crew of 14 to 18 personnel and only two torpedoes. Sharing development with the Type XXI, the two systems had commonality in parts and operating philosophy. 2 x bow-facing 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes were a required part of the design and no surface deck gun was included. The Type XXIII was in design by 1942 and in construction by 1943, with the first launching in 1944. Another similarity to the XXI was that the XXIII was constructed as major sections(four for the XXIII while eight for the XXI) at separate locations only to be assembled altogether at a main yard.
Once in the water, the Type XXIII proved to be of sound design and exhibited responsive handling in all quarters of submarine activity. A low reserve buoyancy and lack of most of its outer casing meant that the system could submerge itself in a matter of seconds, as fast as 9 or 10 seconds according to some sources. Its size, power and limited operating depth forced the craft to attack targets within close range. Conversely, its size and operational abilities allowed the vessel to utilize stealth practices to ensure it was unseen before firing its payload.
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Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
112.0 feet (34.14 meters) Length
9.9 feet (3.02 meters) Beam
12.2 feet (3.72 meters) Draught
232 tons Displacement
256 tons Displacement (Submerged)
1 x MWM RS134S 6-cylinder diesel engine developing 575 horsepower; 1 x AEG GU4463-8 double-acting electric motor generating 572 horsepower; 1 x BBC CCR188 electric creeping motor generating 35 horsepower; 1 x shaft. Propulsion
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