The Enemy Below is a study of submarine warfare from the vantage point of both sides. Robert Mitchum plays the captain of an American destroyer, who despite having lost his family in the war endeavors to let his head rule his heart in combat. Curt Jurgens co-stars as a German U-boat commander, depicted as being as honorable and compassionate as Mitchum. The two men develop a grudging mutual respect as they pursue one another throughout the North Atlantic. Based on a novel by D. A. Rayner.
This is my favorite World War 2 submarine movie. It shows both sides, and the plot is plausible and realistic. Normally, a single destroyer would be at a disadvantage pursing a lone submarine. But this submarine is committed to a single course and keeps coming back to it, and the destroyer has a faster surface speed and better surface armament, which means it can outrun the sub if it knows (or can guess) where the sub is going.
This movie is based on a true story battle between the USS Buckley (Buckley class escort destroyer) and the U-66 (Type IXC U-boat). The Buckley class destroyer escort is designed to conduct anti-submarine warfare in teams, and is definitely the underdog in this one-on-one fight.
I really recommend this movie! Great actors, very realistic, lots of action.
DE Buckley class destroyer escort
Length: “Long hull” 306′ 0″ x 300′ 0″
Displacement: 1,400 long tons standard; 1,740 full load.
Crew: Officers, 15; Enlisted, 198.
Speed: 23.5 knots.
Gun battery: 3 x 3-inch/50 caliber dual purpose guns.
Initial: 1 x twin 40mm Bofors.
Later: 3 x twin 40mm Bofors.
Short range: 9 x single 20mm Oerlikon.
Anti-submarine battery: 2 x depth charge tracks, 8 x depth charge projectors, 1 x Hedgehog.
Germany has agreed to sell Israel two destroyers in exchange for one billion euros, AFP reported on Saturday, citing a report in German daily Bild.
According to the report, the torpedo-laden destroyers are intended to provide protection for Israel’s natural gas installations.
I suspect that the primary role of these vessels will be to intercept surface-to-surface missiles and air-to-surface missiles. Israel’s submarine force does not have this capability – they are primarily built for missile strike capability. Now why do you think that Israel is choosing to equip naval vessels with these capabilities? It’s to convey a clear message to her enemies: “even if you are able to strike our mainland and destroy our land-based missile defense system (Iron Dome) we will still have a naval-based air defense capability”.
This is a great deterrent against Israel’s enemies. It’s a second layer of defense to Israel’s Iron Dome system, which is tested and ready to shoot down incoming missiles. In addition to this missile-defense capability, these DDGs also offer surface-to-surface strike capability, but I can’t say what that would be without knowing what model they got. My suspicion is that they are older FFG Bremen class, which are being decommissioned and replaced by newer models. But they could also be FFG Brandenburg class, which are newer, but also scheduled for upgrades already. I wouldn’t call either of those “destroyers” though – they displace only about 3,600 tonnes each.
So could they be these 5,800 tonne vessels?
Germany doesn’t have any real destroyers, although their new FFG Saschen class are as big as destroyers. If Israel somehow managed to get Saschen class FFGs, then I would really be thrilled and impressed. Those things are awesome and they excel at the air defense role. I noticed that the “file photos” being used in news releases were of FFG Saschen class vessels. But I just can’t believe that, it would be so awesome. That would explain why they are being called “destroyers” in the press stories. One can hope! If anyone knows, please tell me.
UPDATE: I did get some feedback through a friend of a friend who is an expert in missile defense, and here is his response:
Good for Israel. The article is mainly correct. I would say it is wrong on three points. One, Iron Dome will not assist in defending against TBMs or longer range missiles…Israel has other systems for that. Two, the DDGs are not meant to provide BMD if Iron Dome is destroyed. Sea based BMD can allow layered defense against ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles require multiple interceptors to give a high probability of kill. Three, that being said, none of the Frigates mentioned possess a BMD cape. The Netherlands is working on a BMD cape for a ship they use that is similar to the Saschen class. The Dutch however, have a seafaring history and a navy that is more advanced than the Deutsch.
BMD means Ballistic Missile Defense, and TBM means Tactical Ballistic Missile.
Earlier this year, a significant deal between Germany and the Israeli security establishment was completed, as the Germans handed a fifth Dolphin-class submarine to Israel. The handover was marked in an official ceremony in Germany’s city of Kiel.
The vessel is considered one of the most advanced submarines in the world and is the most expensive war vessel the Defense Ministry has procured for the IDF. The diesel-powered submarines are widely regarded as an Israeli vanguard against foes like Iran. In total, Israel has purchased six Dolphin submarines from Germany.
There are two kinds of submarines that are used today: attack submarines, which are armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, and ballistic missile submarines, which are armed with heavier missiles that can travel further. Although the SSK Dolphin class is an attack submarine on paper, my suspicion is that Israel will refit them to have long-range missile strike capability, including nuclear guided missiles. And in fact after doing a search, I found an article that confirmed my hopes.
Take a look at this article from NTI, a global security think tank based in Washington.
As previous conflicts involving Israel began with naval blockades, Israel views its submarine force as critical to national security. Israel’s submarines are also intended to exercise sea control over the Eastern Mediterranean and secure sea lines of communication; Israel is dependent on imports of grain, crude oil, and raw materials.  There has been consistent speculation that Israel’s submarines could be refitted to carry missiles armed with nuclear weapons in order for the country to maintain a survivable second-strike option. Acknowledging Israel’s lack of strategic depth, officials have asserted that only submarines can provide a secure weapons platform in the future. 
The arming of Israel’s submarines has received a great deal of attention. While HDW has stated that Israel’s Dolphin-class submarines were equipped with weapon systems similar to those installed on other diesel-electric submarines, various sources have alleged that upon their arrival in Israel, the submarines were modified, and fitted with cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads.  The three initial Dolphin-class submarines were designed in accordance with Israeli demands, and include a “wet and dry” compartment for special operations, as well as four 650mm torpedo tubes, which could be used for Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs).  The German Defense Ministry has stated that these larger tubes were intended to fire Harpoons; upon delivery to Israel, liners were to be fitted to decrease the diameter of the tubes to accommodate the 533mm Harpoon containers. However, the Dolphin-class is equipped with six 533mm torpedo tubes as well, which are capable of launching Harpoons.  It seems possible, therefore, that the 650mm tubes might have been designed to accommodate indigenously built, long-range SLCMs.The German government has stated that it does not have information on whether Israel installed different equipment on the submarines after delivery, although former German officials have acknowledged that they assumed that Israel intended to equip the submarines with nuclear weapons. 
Some reports suggest that Israel has adapted Harpoon cruise missiles, which have a range of 130 kilometers, to carry an indigenously developed nuclear warhead and guidance system, though other experts argue that such modifications to a Harpoon missile are not feasible.  Others believe that Israel has developed an indigenous cruise missile with a range of 320 kilometers that could be a version of Rafael Armament Development Authority’s Popeye turbo cruise missile.  Still others believe that the missile may be a version of the Gabriel 4LR produced by Israel Aircraft Industries, which could be launched in 533mm torpedo tubes similar to the Harpoon.  Such speculation was further fueled by an unconfirmed test of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) in the Indian Ocean in 2000. Some reports claimed targets 1,500 kilometers away were hit.  Such a range, however, implies an entirely new type of missile.  In June 2002, former State Department and Pentagon officials confirmed that the U.S. Navy observed Israeli missile tests in the Indian Ocean in 2000, and that the Dolphin-class vessels have been fitted with nuclear-capable cruise missiles of a new design.  However, the Israeli Defense Forces have consistently denied any such missile tests. 
[…]The new boats will be equipped with 650mm torpedo tubes—again leading to much speculation that the Israelis intend to outfit the submarines with nuclear-armed cruise missiles.
These submarines are designed to protect Israel’s supply lines in the Mediterranean Sea, and also to give them retaliation capabilities in the event of a large-scale missile strike. Iran and her allies will have a tough time detecting these submarines and destroying them – the subs have an extremely quiet propulsion system and can operate submerged for up to a week. These six submarines are a deterrent against any nation that would try to attack Israel, because they know that there is no hope for them to destroy all of their strike capability in the initial strike against Israel’s land-based assets. Israel could also depend on ground-based missile launchers,some of which might be mobile, and their airborne strike platform.
This is an application of the principal of peace through strength – the stronger a nation’s military, the less likely they are to be attacked, and the more capable they are of protecting their allies. The article above notes that the Clinton administration (Democrats) refused to sell Israel Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a very long range. That’s too bad. If I were in charge, I would sell those to Israel in a split-second.
It really is a terrible thing for the United States to be disarming thanks to Democrat policies, because all this does is encourage our enemies to strike us, and encourage our allies to abandon our alliances and ally with stronger nations. I hope that we are able to elect a Republican soon who will restore our lost military strength.
Romney also repeated his claim that Obama had gone on an “apology tour” to the Arab world when he took office, saying foreign leaders saw it as an act of weakness.
“Nothing Gov. Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing,” Obama said, calling Romney’s claim “the biggest whopper of the campaign.”
Romney stood by his assertion.
“Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region but you went to the other nations,” Romney said.
“And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”
Romney: “Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285…We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.”
Obama: “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
Here’s the clip of that speech:
I don’t think that this arrogant tone he adopted is going to work on women and independents.
Moderate Chris Wallace’s opinion of the debate:
I don’t have much to say about this debate. To me, if Romney wanted to win, he would have gone after Obama on Benghazi, hammer and tongs. I’m disappointed with Romney’s weakness, but I think that there was enough there for Romney to eke out a narrow victory. I think that Romney thinks that he has it in the bag, and just doesn’t want to come off as patronizing like Obama did.