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Home » Midget Submarines » Molch (Salamander)

Molch (Salamander) Midget Submarine

Designed by Dr. Heinrich Drager, the Molch was a one man midget submarine driven exclusively by electric motors. Shaped like a long cigar, it carried two underslung G7e torpedoes and had a limited range of 50nm at 2.9 knots. For vision, it was equipped with a plexiglass cupola and had a periscope which could be rotated 30 degrees on either side. The controls were simple and rudimentary and most were equipped with a compass and a simple hydrophone for detecting distant sounds.

As the Molch did not have an engine for surface running, this meant that it suffered from very limited endurance. To compensate for this, a large proportion of the hull was allocated for battery storage. This resulted in a positive buoyancy which made the submarine almost impossible to dive. As a result, the submarine was robbed of a vital asset concealment.

First delivered in June 1944, the Molch saw action at Anzio, Norway, the Mediterranean, and Denmark and was mostly used for coastal defense. Although there were some successes, the losses incurred were greatly out of proportion to the sinkings they afflicted. The Molch was used mostly in reserve to the Biber, as that was considered to be a more advanced submarine. A total of 393 were built, mainly by AG Wesser in Bremen.

Molch, midget submarine
An Allied soldier inspects a captured Molch, 1945. The transport rail and torpedoes is clearly visible in this photo.

Molch Specification
Displacement 11.01 tons

35.4ft (10.78m)
6ft (1.82m)
3.8ft (1.16m)
Top speed

4.3 knots
Maximum range 50nm at 2.9 knots
Motor output 10kW
Diving depth -
Torpedoes Two 21 inch
Crew 1
Number built 393

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