"Ramming speed"

a WW2 movie for sure, The helm is ordered “Ramming speed”. I don’t recall any warning to the foc’sle (if anyone was left up there) but is there such a thing?

For breaking ice, yes. I’m sure it’s different for each icebreaker & probably written somewhere on the class certificate.

yea, that makes sense … in this movie i think they were ramming another surface ship … possibly a sub but a ‘jap’ sub was not that common a close encounter.

I recall a few movies using that term. It was to take out Jap subs. Agree, likelyhood of that happening for real is slight. May have happened somewhere, I don’t know.

“Based on a true story” (Yes, there was a Second World War)

Based on the writers interpetation. I do believe it happened, just don’t know where, and how often.

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On the 23rd of of January 1943 HMNZS KIWI rammed and sunk the Japanese submarine l-1. The minesweeper was smaller and less well armed than the sub. The CO was awarded the DSO ( the second highest award for gallantry in the British commonwealth) and the Navy Cross by the US government.


But where does Ramming fall on the scale between Dead Slow and Flank? Surely there is an optimal speed to ram another vessel without debilitating damage to your own?

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I think ramming speed was a sprint pace that the rowers couldn’t maintain for more than a few minutes.

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As far as I know there is no such thing as a ramming speed. Subs are much smaller than merchant ships and in a war time situation you use your mass and maximum speed to ram the bastards with little chance of large damage to your own vessel except when a torpedo should explode. Chances are that when a sub is hit it will roll under the keel of the ramming vessel as occurred in the case of the tanker Mijdrecht as described below.

The amount of damage to the hull caused by the torpedo fired by the German sub U-70 was, as can been see from this photo, quite extensive. It is surprising that the Mijdrecht attacked the U-boat after being torpedoed and with that kind of damage.

The wartime ms Mijdrecht was under the command of Capt J. Swart, was attacked by the U-70, commanded by lieutenant Joachim Matz, one of the subs in the pack. It was a clear night and the attack occurred at 05.50 AM on the 7th of March 1941. A torpedo slammed into the Mijdrecht which was lying still in the water to pick up survivors from the British tanker “Delilian” which has previously been torpedoed by the U-70. A sitting duck situation. The torpedo hit the Mijdrecht just in front of the engine room and in the cofferdam, causing great damage. Bunker oil leaked into the engine room which however could still be used. The stern of the ship sank a couple of meters, but the ship got under way again.

Captain Swart was at that moment on deck with the survivors of the Delilian. The Chief Officer on the bridge suddenly sighted the U-70 to the starboard side of the ship getting ready to take a repeat shot at the Mijdrecht to finish it off. However, the Chief Officer after sighting the submarine immediately planned to ram the U-boat. The Radio Officer was at the wheel at that moment and was given the order ‘Hard to starboard’ and ‘We are going to ram the motherfucker’, which they did shortly afterwards when the ship was doing 7 miles again.

The attack from a defenceless, already torpedoed tanker was for the sub totally unexpected and to the horror and surprise of the crew hit the U-70. The sub lost both periscopes and the command tower was damaged. Water poured into the ship from a hole were once the radio direction finder was protruding through the hull. The sub rolled over and disappeared under the keel of the ship. It was seen shortly after at the portside with the stern raised about 4 meters above the sea after which the sub marine disappeared. Later the sub reappeared on the surface and when the hatch was opened 6 crew members were blown out of the ship by the tremendous air pressure which existed inside the hull. Half an hour later the U-70 sank taking 20 crew members down with it. Lieutenant Matz and 25 survivors were picked up by one of the ships of the convoy and taken prisoner. Don’t mess with the Dutch!


I knew you guys would find an example.Nice job!

This a photo of the ram ship HMS Buffel which is a museum ship now. Two ram ships were built in 1868, the HMS Buffel and HMS Schorpioen. They were intended for coastal water defense.

Officer’s mess and lounge.


These are the ships with ramming speed on the speedometer.


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It was a formidale weapon way back when.

Ask Fitzgerald and McCain if it isn’t still. :wink:

Don’t think that was intentional sir. Bad effing day for all involved. Even if it was intentional ( Which it wasn’t) not successful. Bad reference my friend. Was thinking about the wars/battles a few centuries ago. Those young men died because of very bad navigation and lack of communication on the bridge. Last thing they wanted to do was ram someone during peacetime.

well … I KNOW this wasn’t the movie !!! ha ha

I’d think shipeng has it: there is a optimal speed to ram based on the targets mass, course, speed etc. and in the event of a successful “ram” would ensure a large degree of survivability/mission capable result for the ramming ship. It’d be interesting to know if it is in the ‘modern’ books.