Many historians have regarded the Second World War as an ongoing battle of lethal weapons between the Allied forces and Kriegsmarine, the German submarine manufacturing company that revolutionized the concept of submarine building by introducing a number of master-class submarines, which are considered the best in warfare even to date.
With each new submarine design and model that they introduced in the wake of the growing demand during World War II, Kriegsmarine kept improving the design by working on the flaws found in the one previously made. As a result, most of the submarines in the U-Boat fleet came to be recognized as the best in the business and are thought to be so even to this day.
Among the masterpieces produced by Kriegsmarine, the one that has been declared the best unanimously by naval experts around the globe is the Type VII U-Boat, which was more popularly known as the Elektroboote. This submarine is accredited to be the first of its kind as it could function even while completely underwater, which made it less susceptible than other submarines that used to operate primarily on the surface and would dive underwater only to save themselves from being detected or to attack.
Nearly every feature of the Type XXI set it apart as a revolutionary submarine and it had the potential to perform to extents that were unreachable by any other submarine functioning or being built at the time. Its design consisted of a completely streamlined exterior hull and a neat deck without cluttering of any sort. Its front hydroplane could retract while not being used while all the devices attached to its exterior could also retract back into the main body of the submarine. Much ahead of its time, the submarine had been provided with an air conditioning unit as well as a freezer for the storage of food items.
One of the major improvements in its design, compared to its predecessors, was the provision of a battery with greater capacity that amounted to almost three times the Type VII C. Moreover, with its newly installed creep motor, it was very silent in comparison to the Type VII C, which made it harder to be detected while underwater. The Type XXI also boasted of an echo chamber which was a symbol of sophistication and could detect, follow and aim at a number of vessels by firing up from as deep as 160 feet underwater. With a much faster speed while submerged, it became a difficult for the enemy vessels to detect the Type XXI U-Boat.
Equipped with an advanced hydraulic system that could reload rapidly, the Type XXI could launch three missiles at a time in its six torpedo tubes, hence having the capability to fire eighteen torpedoes in less than twenty minutes’ time. Carrying a much advanced sonar system, this U-Boat had no competition at the time.
Many experts believe that the Type XXI’s launch could not affect the warfront greatly because it was launched at a time when it was too late for it to make a deeper impact. However, there is no denying that it was a revolutionary warrior vessel and could have made a huge difference by causing difficulties for the Allied forces when the Battle of Atlantic was going on.