Have there been any incidents between large whales and [military submarines]

Military submarines. Has any whale taken on a military submarine ?

Not that I know of, but apparently it was risky to be a whale when U-boats were on the prowl.

Poking around on google, I found that the USS Tunny (a submarine that served in WWII and the Vietnam war) collided with a whale in 1959. The sub went to Pearl Harbor for repairs and found the sonar dome to be completely missing and the sonar head underneath was damaged beyond repair. There were no details about the condition of the whale.

I also found a reference to an incident in 2001 where a whale breached in front of a sub and came down and struck the sub’s bow. The whale was listed as possibly injured. Damage to the sub was not listed, and the sub was listed only as a Navy vessel and was not named.

Not just u-boats.
British Navy mistook whales for submarines and torpedoed them, killing three, during Falklands War

On a not 100% totally unrelated note, there is a tale in a book I have on the history of Edisto Island, South Carolina where someone is patrolling the beach at night during WWII looking for Nazis that are invading by submarine. Sure enough, he sees someone slowly crawling up the beach from the ocean and shoots him. The coming morning when it gets bright enough to see, the people go out and find the sea turtle that has been shot.

It can also depend on what type of sonar they are using. The Navy has been testing a powerful sonar in the Juan de Fuca Strait (near Vancouver Island). It has wreaked havoc among cetaceans.

Submarines rarely use active sonar. It’s like shining a flashlight in the dark; it helps you see, but it helps others see you for a much longer distance.

“Now I am become Death, destroyer of Whales.”

Title edited to better indicate subject. Please don’t post partial titles. It makes you look like a spammer.:wink:

Poor Wilbur! :frowning:

I have, as a 2nd class sonarman, made five (5) submarine patrols in the Med and every patrol we were surrounded by what we classify as biologic’s. They were whales, dolphins, schools of fish … you name it. We were mostly interested in enemy combat ships so we didn’t pay much attention to them, but more than once I would end a six (6) hour watch and come back twelve (12) hours later and the same bio’s were surrounding us. They must have thought we were their mother ship or something.

As a boomer (FBM) submarine we traveled slow and around 200’ and avoided shipping lanes … I also served on diesel boats and while in the Gulf of Alaska we would experience the same biological sounds and one time a school of killer whales showed up and all of the biological sounds disappered in a hurry.

I have of course heard sea stories from other submarine sailors about whales, but never trust a sea story that starts with “this ain’t no shit” :eek:

Give me a ping Vasily. One ping only, please.

Zombie thread, but I thought the active sonar use that had environmentalists in a tizzy wasn’t primarily from submarines (which as you note, are thought to not use their active sonar very often), but from surface vessels? Such as the USN’s SURTASS ships (like the USS Impeccable https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Impeccable_(T-AGOS-23) ) which have very powerful low frequency sonars, though AIUI, the low frequency emitter is on the ship, while the towed array listens for echoes from the emitter’s pulses.

Power output for some of these can be ridiculous. For the AN/SQS-26 hull mounted sonar set that was the predecessor to the current AN/SQS-53 used on ships like the Burkes, wiki lists the maximum output at 240 kW. I don’t know what output power the SQS-53 and its subtypes use, nor the low frequency emitters used by the UQQ-2 array on the SURTASS ships.

Advocacy paper from roughly 20 years ago about the purported effect on ocean mammals from the ~215-240 db sound intensity from the USN’s proposed low frequency active sonar system. http://www.oceanmammalinst.com/mgpaper.html
From it:

I do know that oceanic seismic surveying is widely done throughout the world, mainly to look for oil and gas. What are the effects on marine mammals from the repeated airgun sound pulses that are used in such surveying? And what is the intensity of those pulses compared to the sonar intensity that was so controversial twenty years ago? (Aside, if you’re ever in Houston, the Museum of Natural Science has, floating in a tube of water, a model of an airgun sonic emitter in their section devoted to the wonder of oil and gas exploration and production. It’s quite loud, and will startle you if you’re not expecting it.)

Not a submarine, but while poking around trying to find something for this question, I came across this account of a USN Knox-class frigate, U.S.S. Stein whose front sonar dome bore scars from an attack by a giant squid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Stein_(FF-1065)

Which the wiki attributes to the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings August 1978 issue, “Sea Creatures and the Problem of Equipment Damage,” pp.106-107, by C. Scott Johnson.

I wonder where Tom Clancy got the inspiration for the bit in Red October where he mentions that Captain Ramius rammed a whale with one of his first commands, brought the boat back, and a hunk of whale rib was then later displayed in the O. Club in Severomorsk?