A submarine snorkel is a device that allows a submarine to operate submerged while still taking in air from above the surface. It was invented by the Dutch shortly before World War II. One such device was captured and copied by the Germans during in 1940, and was adapted for use by the Kriegsmarine's U-Boats in 1943.
Submarine snorkel in The War That Came EarlyEdit
The Submarine snorkel was adopted by the German Kriegsmarine in 1939, still in the early days of World War II. The device was originally a Dutch invention, and had been captured by Germany after it had overrun the Netherlands in the closing months of 1938. The device was first tested on the U-30, much to the horror of the U-boat's commander, Leutnant Julius Lemp. Lemp, who thought the snorkel looked like an erect penis, complained bitterly to the engineers who installed it. However, Lemp relented when he learned that Admiral Karl Dönitz had specifically ordered it installed on the U-30 first, and was actually glad to have it a few days later when the U-30 sank an Allied vessel.
The first snorkel proved to extend the battery life of the sub and provide more opportunities to recharge the battery, to allow the sub to dive deeper faster, to make detection of its approach by enemy spotters harder, and to travel twice as fast while submerged as it could running on battery power (though still much slower than a surfaced U-boat). Despite all these advantages, the snorkel was prone to malfunction, and had not won Lemp's full confidence as of early 1939.