Blimp vs submarine

So I heard this story of how in ww2, a german submarine was engaged in a battle with an anti sub blimp. The sub came out victorious, shooting down the blimp. As bizarre as this type of matchup was, I’m guessing that in 6 years of war with so many nations involved stuff like this wasn’t THAT rate. Any other bizarro matchups in wars that happened?

Have we gotten to the point where done air craft are shooting down other drone aircraft?

At one point, wolf pack tactics were to stay on the surface and mass their AA against aircraft. Was there just one sub involved?

When one side has a large force of blimbs designed & trained solely as anti-submarine attack platforms and the other side has a large force of submarines, why do you think a battle between them is “bizarro”? More like totally routine.

If what you really mean is that such battles are uncommon today, then I suggest you ought to consider how bizarro it was that in the 1600s large masses of men fought using sharp sticks!. Some were wood, some were iron, but all were sharp sticks.

To answer your drone question, there are not yet air-to-air unmanned combat aircraft. But development of unmanned ground attack aircraft are well underway, and air-to-air will only be a couple decades behind. Google [UCAS] or [UCLASS] or [UCAV] for more.

Depending on your definitions, a missile is a flying machine without a pilot. And missiles which attack other missiles in flight date back 20 or more years now.

My initial thought to the title was “Sammiches”

I know blimps were used for spotting subs, but never heard they were armed. Did they drop depth charges? Wouldn’t shooting a blimp down be fairly easy?

As for drone to drone fighting, we are mostly using them against the AlQaida and Taliban. I doubt they will field fighter drones soon. I am sure some countries have them under development.

USN K class blimps were the mainstay of USN non-rigid airships used in anti-submarine warfare. Late in the war, a small number of M-class blimps were placed in service. While the main value of both in ASW was in their ability to stay in the air a long time searching for U-Boats, they both carried depth charges; 4 on the K-class and 8 on the M-class. Apparently, only 1 blimp (K-74) was lost to a U-boat’s AA fire. Apparently, some-one’s making a movie about that encounter.

I am only relying on my memory so if I’m wrong feel free to correct me.

The blimps though armed were intended only to operate as observation reporting platforms, so yes it was a one off.

The O.C. of the blimp was courtmartialled for getting into a fight with the sub.

More on the K-74’s attack:

The first successful missile - missile intercept was in the late 1950s so that combat dates back more than 50 years.

The Reaper (UAV) is capable of firing an anti-aircraft missile; I believe its been tested with an ATAS (air-to-air-stinger) though that would only be for self-defense rather than going out looking for fighters.

Yes. The only nitpick I’d have would be to say, “…intended primarily to operate as observation/reporting platforms…” The depth charges were there for a reason: you never knew what would happen and the blimp needed a way to defend itself. That said, you are correct that they weren’t intended to act as active U-Boat hunter/killer platforms.

It would seem a blimp would need to act fast. Once a sub was surfaced and its guns manned, it would hardly have a chance would it? Was there just the one shot down?

Yes, just K-74 was lost to a sub’s AA guns.

The sub mentioned, the U134, was a type VIIc. According to the article, the AA gun was a 20mm.

Wiki mentions that the 20mm (C30) ( based on , & ) had an effective range of 2200 meters (roughly 7200 feet).

I suppose a blimp could hang at 10,000ft to stay safe from the 20mm fire (although I doubt that a depth charge could be successfully dropped from that height). Unfortunately, wiki does not say what the operational ceiling on the K-class blimp was.

Sorry, but the thread title just sounds like a very early Sci-Fi Channel movie.

Nah, then it would be* Octo-Blimp Vs. Sharkmarine*.

hey Euty, long time no see. I’m glad to see you around.

Be Well & Happy…
Gus ( CatBiker from the old AOL days… )

I have read that they were very effective at this, because they could stay up for a very long time, and moved at about the same speed as ships. So they could stay with a convoy as an observer overhead; when they sighted a sub they radioed the info to the convoy escort vessels, which went after the sub and sank it or chased it away.

If fact, I once read that no cargo ship was ever lost to a submarine in a convoy with a blimp escort. Does anyone else recall reading this? Anybody know if it is accurate?

I love the way you allow for the possibility somebody else may have heard it, but it isn’t accurate. So much of what we know isn’t true.

The Wallace Beery movie “This Man’s Navy”, which comes around on TCM every so often, includes a fictionalized (but well-filmed) depiction of a K-ship attacking a U-boat. Except it’s off New Jersey, and the blimp’s bombs sink the sub before crashing into the sea.

At an industry conference some time ago, I spoke with a former WWII blimp pilot, and he repeated this claim with some pride. I’d say it was true.