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Seamen on the deck

Those who go to sea in submarines. The underwater airborne, if you want to piss off airborne forces.

The general perception of submariners falls in to several categories:


German Submariners suffered more than 70% casualties during WW2 which shows these guys were totally nails... or had a serious screw loose. U-Boat crews were immortalised forever in the rather superb Das Boot - a television dramatisation about a crew on Atlantic patrol and the perils they faced from both the weather an Allied planes and convoy escorts. Thus, the public see German submariners as nothing but murderous, beardy, sweaty Nazis who machine gunned drowning survivors after they'd torpedoed their quarry.


The British, of course, never quite stooped to such depths - and unlike their Teutonic counterparts served in all theatres. The image of the British submariner is one of chiseled jaw and steely resolve: basically John Mills or Dirk Bogarde.


The US Navy spent most (or rather what was left) of WW2 tossing it off around the Pacific in pink submarines full of women. It was one big party and the spam submariner is characterised by either Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin - basically Vegas with a periscope.

The Cold War saw the USN discard the camp showbiz-themed life under the briny and got serious: they enlisted Gene Hackman. It was all Red Buttons and Armageddon and it all became quite glamorous - if spending four months in a pressurised metal tube under the icecap can be described as such.


Despite a noble attempt by Sean Connery to inject some gravitas and style in the the Soviet submariner corps, the Russians are perceived as nothing more than conscripted alcoholics sent to sea in rusting, glow-in-the-dark deathtraps that are more a danger to the crew and environment than to the 'enemy'.


If people think that the Kriegsmarine U-Boat arm of WW2 were murderous, then they need to catch up with some reading, as this bunch took the biscuit - if not the entire tin. Beheading torpedoed survivors on deck is not fucking cricket. And neither is lopping limbs off and towing them behind the boat through shark-infested waters. Cnuts.