Easy Model EM37318 German Kriegsmarine Type IXB U-Boat - U-124, 1943 (1:700 Scale)
"Our losses have reached an intolerable level. The enemy air force played a decisive role in inflicting these high losses."
- Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy, May 24th, 1943
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 Utof 105/45 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.
Pictured here is a 1:700 scale replica of a German Kriegsmarine Type IXB U-Boat known as U-124, during 1943.
Length: 4-1/4 inches
Historical Account: "Wolf Pack" - The term wolf pack refers to the mass-attack tactics against convoys used by U-boats of the Kriegsmarine during the Battle of the Atlantic and submarines of the United States Navy against Japanese shipping in the Pacific Ocean in World War II.
Karl Donitz used the term Rudel to describe his strategy of submarine warfare - Rudel translates best as "pack" of animals and has become known in English as "wolf pack" (
Wolfsrudel), a more accurate metaphoric, but not literal, translation.
U-boat movements were controlled by the
Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote (BdU; English translation: "Commander of Submarines") much more closely than American submarines, which were given tremendous independence once on patrol. Accordingly, U-boats usually patrolled separately, often strung out in co-ordinated lines across likely convoy routes, only being ordered to congregate after one located a convoy and alerted the BdU, so a Rudel consisted of as many U-boats as could reach the scene of the attack. With the exception of the orders given by the BdU, U-Boat commanders could attack as they saw fit. Often the U-Boat commanders were given a probable number of U-Boats that would show up, and then when they were in contact with the convoy, make call signs to see how many had arrived. If the number was sufficient, or if the threat of increased escorts was a possibility, they would attack. American wolf packs usually comprised three boats that patrolled in close company and organized before they left port under the command of the senior captain of the three. "Swede" Momsen devised the tactics and led the first American wolf pack to sea in October 1943.