A class apart

The technical superiority of the U-boat in World war II described in your leader is an interesting product of the different approaches to war taken by the Germans and the British.


The technical superiority of the U-boat in World war II described in your leader (Comment, 27 February ) is an interesting product of the different approaches to war taken by the Germans and the British.


Convinced that the U-boat would win it the war, Germany threw huge resources into developing and building its fleet. it is not hard to see the logic in this as it was at war with an island nation which relied on shipping to bring it many of its essential supplies.


The Royal Navy, however, soon became highly efficient at anti-submarine warfare, and while the Atlantic convoys suffered terrible losses early in the war Germany never broke the supply lines.


By the stage of the war at which the U-boat you described was built I would suggest that the ability of the vessel to escape destruction rather than its own firepower would have been the main thing in the minds of the designers.


And of course the decisive superiority of the war came not underwater but in the air, where Germany must have wished for a plane superior to the Spitfire.


AD Charles
Chester, Cheshire




You are right to point out that submarines will always be built for utility rather than comfort. In fact, the idea of a comfortable submarine is a contradiction in terms, especially in a fighting vessel — in much the same way as it is hard to imagine a comfortable spaceship.


Both environments are so unnatural for Man that engineers will always be fighting a losing battle to make them pleasant.


D Rodgers
Harston, Cambridge