Friday, September 28, 2007 - 02:31 PM GMT+7
Set sail from your base in occupied France to hunt merchant ships in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico with these new 1/700 Type VII and Type IX u-boats from Hobby Boss. That’s right. Hobby Boss is proud to announce the release of four of the Kreigsmarine’s heavy hitters, the Type VII B and C and the Type IX B and C. Featuring a full hull or waterline option, these little gems will retail for $6.07 each. Start your planning now for that sub pen or Wolf pack attack diorama.
Type VII U-boats were the workhorses of the German World War II U-boat fleet. Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag. These designs led to the Type VII along with Type I. The production of Type I was cut down only after two boats, the reasons for this are not certain and range from political decisions to faults of the type. The design of the Type I was however further used in the development of the Type VII and Type IX. Submarines of the Type VII were the most widely used boats of the war and were the most produced submarine class in history, with over 700 built. The type had several modifications.
The only significant drawback of the VIIA was the limited fuel capacity, so 24 Type VIIB boats were built between 1936 and 1940 with an additional 33 tons of fuel in external saddle tanks which added another 2500 miles of range at 10 knots surfaced. They were slightly faster than the VIIA, and had two rudders for even greater agility. The torpedo armament was improved as well by moving the aft tube to the inside of the boat. Now an additional aft torpedo could be carried below the deck plating of the aft torpedo room (which also served as the electric motor room) and two watertight compartments under the upper deck could hold two additional torpedoes giving it a total loadout of 14 torpedoes. The only exception was U-83, which lacked a stern tube and only carried 12 torpedoes. Type VIIB included many of the most famous U-boats of World War II, including U-48 (the most successful), Prien's U-47, Kretschmer's U-99, and Schepke's U-100.
The Type VIIC was the workhorse of the German U-boat force, with 568 commissioned from 1940 to 1945. The Type VIIC was an effective fighting machine and was seen almost everywhere U-boats operated, although their range was not as great as that of the larger Type IX. The VIIC came into service as the "Happy Time" at the beginning of World War II was almost over, and it was this boat that saw the final defeat by the Allied anti-submarine campaign in late 1943 and 1944.
Type VIIC was a slightly modified version of the successful VIIB. They had very similar engines and power, but were larger and heavier which made them slightly slower than the VIIB. Many of these boats were fitted with the Schnorchel in 1944 and 1945.
They had the same torpedo tube arrangement as their predecessors, except for U-72, U-78, U-80, U-554, and U-555, which had only two bow tubes, and for U-203, U-331, U-351, U-401, U-431, and U-651, which had no stern tube.
Perhaps the most famous VIIC boat was U-96, featured in the movie "Das Boot".
The Type IX U-boat was designed by Germany in 1935 and 1936 as a large ocean-going submarine for sustained operations far from the home support facilities. Type IX boats were briefly used for patrols off the eastern United States, in an attempt to disrupt the stream of troops and supplies bound for Europe. The extended range came at the cost of longer dive times and decreased maneuverability, which is why the smaller Type VII was produced in greater numbers and used for the bulk of operations. It was derived from the Type IA, and appeared in various sub-types.
Type IXs had six torpedo tubes, four at the bow and two at the stern. They carried six reloads internally and had five external torpedo containers (three at the stern and two at the bow) which stored ten additional torpedoes. The total of 22 torpedoes allowed U-boat commanders to follow a convoy and strike night after night. As mine-layers they could carry 44 TMA or 66 TMB mines, but many of the IXC boats were not fitted for mine operations.
Secondary armament was provided by one large 10.5/45 gun with about 110 rounds. Antiaircraft armament differed throughout the war. They had two periscopes in the tower. Types IXA and IXB had an additional periscope in the control room, which was removed in Type IXC and afterward.
Type IXB was an improved model with an increased range. It was the most successful version overall with each boat averaging a total of over 100,000 t sunk.
Famous IXB boats included U-123 under the command of Reinhard Hardegen, which opened up the attack in the US waters in early 1942 known as Operation Drumbeat, and U-107 out of Freetown, Africa under the command of Hessler, which had the most successful single mission of the war over with close to 100,000 t sunk.
Fourteen Type IXB U-boats were built by AG Weser of Bremen.
Type IXC was a further refinement of the class with storage for an additional 43 t of fuel, increasing the boat's range. This series omitted the control room periscope leaving the boats with two tower scopes.
As mine-layers they could carry 44 TMA or 66 TMB mines, though U-162 through U-170 and U-505 through U-550 (35 boats), were not fitted for mine operations.
One IXC carries the distinction of being the only U-boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, U-166.
U-505 survives at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and as of 2005 has been completely renovated.
Fifty four of this type were built by AG Weser and Seebeckwerft of Bremen, and Deutsche Werft of Hamburg.
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