Another project stemming from the co-operation between the Walter facility and Versuchskommando 456 was the Untersee-Gleitflchen-Schnellboot Manta (USG submarine). The idea behind its construction was to bring together all the progressive ideas from the various miniature submarine designs in one new project, particularly the necessity to obviate the drag caused by external torpedoes and the need to launch the vehicles into the water easily and successfully.


The Manta had a catamaran-type hull comprising three torpedo-like cylinders linked by one wing surface. The central cylinder contained a diesel generator and a cabin for the two man crew; the rest of the craft, as well as the other two cylinders was given over principally to fuel (Ingolin) storage. In addition, there were trim tanks and compensating tanks.


The propulsion system was installed within two keels beneath the outer cylinders and consisted of one Schwertwal-I-like unit in each. As well as the diesel-electric propulsion system, a diesel-hydraulic transmission installation was also considered. At the sides were to have been located two large aircraft wheels, to enable the craft to hydroplane on the surface of the water.


The wing area between the two outer cylinders was to be filled with four launching tubes for torpedoes or mines. Navigation equipment was similar to that of the Schwertwal.


As with all the Versuchskommando 456 projects, the Manta designers paid close attention to crew survivability by providing, for example, a marker buoy with an antenna, a self-inflating dinghy and special diving suits. For an acute emergency there was the option of jettisoning the two electric batteries -which acted also as ballast- from beneath the side keels in order to give the craft added buoyancy and assist it to the surface.


The Kleinst-U-Bootwaffe (Miniature Submarine Command) gave its blessing to this project, not least because it fulfilled a determination to achieve the maximum concentration of weapons whilst employing the minimum number of men. However, Manta did not progress beyond the stage of a model, and at the end of the war all the design documents were destroyed.




Crew: Two

Diving Depth: 50-60 m

Length: 15 m

Beam: 6 m

Maximum hull diameter: 1.5 m

Displacement: 15 tons empty/ 50 tons loaded

Electric Motors: 2x 440 Kw

Diesel engine: 2x 600 hp

Or Walter engine: 2x 800 hp

Maximum surface speed: 50 kts

Maximum submerged speed: 30 kts

Surface range: 200 nm @ 50 kts/600 nm @ 20 kts

Submerged range: 120 nm @ 30 kts/500 nm @10 kts

Armament: 2 standard or 8 homing torpedoes; 8 TMA or 12 TMB mines; or 4 projectiles*


*possibly rockets


~ The Encyclopedia of U-boats




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