Home > Uncle Biek > Subsim Meet – Day 2

Subsim Meet – Day 2

In the morning John took us into Copenhagen to see the some of the highlights of the city. Guiding us passed a number of great old buildings and the famous little mermaid statue, we then came upon the landing spot of the ferry bus which would take us across the canal.

Copenhagen’s public transportation system, by the way, works really well. You simply by a ticket that allows you to start 10 travels and upon beginning your travel you stamp it. From that time on, you can travel the city using any means of public transportation, bus, metro, train and the ferry busses, for two hours before having to stamp off another ride. They declared zones in which you can travel for these 2 hours but they are so large that we could freely move around the part of the city we needed on our 2 zone card.

There is a metro train coming every 2 minutes so, if it’s doors actually open up, you’re not stuck on the platform for too long. It’s pretty easy to move around the various parts of the city, once you get the hang of it. Jonathan’s explanations were invaluable for this as well, since, especially for the non-Danish speaking crowds, the machines that provided the tickets were clouded in somewhat of a mystery in regards to how to get the ticket that’s best for you. Neal, for example, can tell you all there is to know about the ticket receipt that comes out and what to do with it … ;-) Oh, and don’t forget to ask him about ‘Udgang’ … ;-)

So we took that ferry buss across the water, looked around a bit and listened to the Ubi guys’ outrage. They were absolutely amazed that they had been to that exact spot the day before, but somehow missed the real size submarine laying on shore. They just couldn’t believe it and Mike was convinced the Danish put the sub there over night, because there was no chance on them missing it had it been there. You can only appreciate a good sense of humour like that. :-)

Our goal of today’s trip was to visit the submarine Sælen, which the Danish apparently, according to a reliable source on our ferry, had put there on display the day before, and the torpedo missile boat Sehested, a first line of defence craft.

Docked next to Sehested was the frigate Peder Skram which was just lying there being impressive and all. And let’s face it, there is not much else to do when you are a retired warship, now is there?

The group was split into two smaller ones and ours first went on board the torpedo missile boat. Our guide had served 4 years on the vessel himself and we could hear that throughout everything he told us. Two words were mentioned very frequently though: extremely good. :-) He also stated that he actually had to mention that terms at least a few times because he had been on that boat himself. A great guy and a blessing to have as our guide.

The boat itself was simply awesome. Three 4250hp GT Rolls Royce Marine Proteus engines propelled it to a maximum speed of 40 knots which it could maintain for 400 nautical miles before running empty. As backup engines the boat has two 8V71 General Motors diesel engines with 800hp each. The Sehested weighs in 260 tons so when you accidentally step over something and give the throttle a nudge, everything you’re missing will be in the back of the boat. If it weren’t built for such a serious task, it would make a mean waterskiing boat. :-)

Speaking of serious, apparently, in times of war, they basically were supposed to go out on this boat, empty all their ammo onto the enemy, get back in for resupply and go out again. The second time though, they were not necessarily thought to make it back or at least no one would think they would.

Next up was the submarine Sælen, or Seal in English, and when we left the torpedo boat, I noticed that the other group was already on it, so their tour had clearly been somewhat shorter than ours had been. We probably spend a little too much time in Sehested’s engine room, but boy was it worth it. It’s not every day that you get to see over 12.000hp crammed into a room the size of a bicycle shed.

We entered the sub at the front where our guide told us how they used the torpedo tubes for a lot of other things than just torpedo’s; they loaded frogmen to get them ashore, kept drinking water in them to keep it cool, the cook would store food in them, etc. A clever way of making use of the space these tubes provide when there are no fishes left. The tubes were actually halfway inside and halfway outside the pressure hull, so they would get pretty cold and that made them excellent places for storing stuff.

Then we went through the various departments and although this was a much younger vessel than U-995, the instruments looked very much the same and absolutely marvellous. I just love a room full of dials, tubes, vents and other gizmos. You can only admire the skill to think up stuff like that, build it and actually make it work. It’s amazing stuff.

And guess what? We could get into the conning tower of this sub as well. Special treat again! So I went up there and the first one I saw was Dan. A bit perplexed, and realizing that he wasn’t with our group when we started out, I asked him if he was still up there or again. He told me that their guide hadn’t even opened up the hatch, so when he noticed that our group was still on the other boat when we entered he figured our guide was better and he took his chance and returned to our sub. When he saw the opened hatch, he asked if he could get up and did so. Clever guy.

We went back to the other side of the canal and walked through the city some more, looking for our restaurant in a bit of a hurry because our tour had (again surprisingly) taken a little longer than planned. The food was great, I mean spare ribs are always nice, and over diner Bas and I got to talk to Neal’s dad a lot. You’ve got to admire the man for coming all the way over, walking around for days and managing to hang around with us kids. He is a truly nice person and a pleasure to have around. Hope to see you more often Abe!

Then we head back to the hotel, made a pit stop at a coffee bar and talked for hours with the Ubi guys in the lobby. It’s very special to hear them talk about how they are making this game and what they sometimes go through in order to get things right. But also that they are listening to us, making notes and will probably use an idea or two before the game is finished.

Awesome stuff, I wish I could do this more often.

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