K XV as floatplane carrier
Photos from the collection of R.M. Zillig, J. Klootwijk and Avion.
These photos are taken in the Dutch East Indies, probably late 1930's, and show a Fokker C-VII-W floatplane being loaded on board the Dutch Submarine K XV. There where 12 of these planes active in the Netherlands East Indies. Their serials where V-1 to V-12. V 1 was delivered on Oct 1 1928 the other 11 planes followed in 1929. The plane was used as light recce (Air reconnaissance) and advanced training floatplane.
My best guess is that this was an exercise (or maybe even the real thing) on how to bring a floatplane in trouble back home. The men seem able to stand in the water, so it must be very shallow. I think it is impossible for a submarine to be afloat in such shallow waters. On the other hand it could be low tide and the submarine might just be 'sitting' on the seabed. Waiting for the plane being manoeuvred above the sub during high tide. After the sub has blown ballast the floatplane is lifted by the rising submarine.
On 4 Apr 2002 Mohd Fuaad writes: ". . .really make me wonder at first on how the men could walk on water and fetch the floatplane with the submarine so close by! I agree with you as it was impossible for the sub to float in such a shallow water. I also keep thinking about how they could put the plane on the sub without using any lifting equipment! After thinking about it, I guess this was really what happened. First, they towed the plane to be next to the sub. Then, the sub fill it ballast ( a little) so that the bow was under water of several feet, thus, allowing the men to walked to the plane. Next, they pushed the plane onto the bow and straight the plane up facing the front of the sub. Finally the sub was raise by blowing its ballast and ...there you have it, the plane was now on the sub. . . "
Note from the webmaster: Of course Mohd is right. I always thought the men were in the water, but they are actually walking on the deck. It is quite surprising that until now everybody missed that little fact ;-))
On 28 Sep 2001 Bill Devins, Leader of the Seaplane Special Interest Group, writes: " . . . .I suspect it was a trial mating of seaplane and submarine. A number of countries experimented with this mélange during and after WW I. In 1915 the German submarine U 12 carried a Friedrichshafen FF 29 seaplane lashed athwartships which it launched by submerging by the bow, leaving the aircraft to attack the English coast. A number of attacks, reaching as far as London, were accomplished. The English E-22 once carried a couple of Schneider seaplanes out into the Channel to give them a leg up on intercepting Zeppelin attacks. [Days later, when the E-22 was sunk, the survivors were found clinging to the wooden aircraft launch rails.] As recovering a launched aircraft, especially one of these relatively flimsy biplanes, was an almost impossible task on the high seas, recovery options were limited. U 12's and E-22's charges were to return to a seaplane base. I suspect that the K XV / C VII W erection depicted was done under controlled conditions. The Dutch were likely trying to determine the feasibility of carrying and subsequently launching the seaplane from the sub. Although I've done a lot of research into this subject, this is the first I've heard of Dutch experiments in this area..."
Some questions are answered, but these photos still raise a lot of questions: Why was the plane transported on a sub ? Was this done regularly ? When ? etc etc . . . . If anyone has more info please email one of the webmasters at email@example.com
Click on the pictures to see the larger version.
|K XV related pages|
|K XIV class specifications|
|K XV boat history|
|K XV as seaplane carrier|
|K boats in the 1930's|
|K XV in WWII|
|K XV in the 1940's|
|K XV related books|
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