Nuclear powered U-boat?

Started by Libelula, March 08, 2004, 12:26:21 AM

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I have heard about a Nazi nuclear powered U-boat Project. Can anyone provide details about this project?. Was it true?. I think that from the very best investigations about nuclear power it was realized that it was possible to aply it to power ships but what is the very first project to do that?

Thanx for the help

Antonio :)  


This is the first I ever heard of it.  I don't have a copy right to hand, but I believe that was one possibility discussed in the 1940 "Smythe Report".  As far as I know, the effort shephered by Adm. Rickover was the first one.
"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it."
--Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin


Dear Elmayerle,

I have been researching my books and it seems that Captain Rickover from the USN was the father of the SSN idea. USS Nautilus sailed in nuclear power on 17-January-1955. The powerplant prototype was assembled by August 1950. Rickover had to expose seriously its idea by 1946 because I have read he was fighting 4 years with the administration before the project won “green light”. So I think it started maturing the concept by 1945.

Nuclear power was know well before World War Two so I think a nuclear powered U-boat it is not a pure fantasy. It is an impressive subject for “what ifs”.

A good friend of mine sent me a couple of photocopies from “Hitlers Siegeswaffen. Band 1: Lufwaffe und Marine”. Geheime Nuklearwaffen des Dritten Reiches und ihre Tr√§gersysteme” by Friedich Georg. The book has an English text edition and looks promising. I want to buy it. Here is were I have found this drawing from Igor Shestakov. It has no more text than “Atom-U-Boot Typ XXVI, Projekt (1945)”. I seriously doubt to consider it a real project but I have not information enough.

Maybe I can contact Igor Shestakov I think he is friend of Tophe.


Thanx a lot Geoff, a nuclear powered I-400 sounds amazing! :wub:  


Yes they were.

Check this page out of Uboat.net.

Walter Boats



Remember, stories about the axis nuclear programs tend to an unusally high quotient of twaddle. Most drawings of the atomic type XXVI are of the postwar Abelson sketches. Abelson was not a submarine designer so he took the most advanced design available to him and stuffed the nuke hardware into it. The XXVI was tightly designed around a H2O2 plant and its propellants. If there were to be a nuke u-boat, likely its hull would have been different. Think a cross between Nautilus (or, actually Le Redoubtable) and a XXI.
The I-400s have a crude snorkel not because they were designed to be air independant, but because design/Construction started in early 1942, when no one was really thinking about snorkels much. Most subs use the interior of the pressure hull for air storage, to keep the engines running for a brief time when waves wash over the head, cutting off air. I doubt that the snorkel trunking in Japanese subs connected directly to any engine.
Still, if you got a good idea, build it!