S.M Unterseeboot U9 Query

I have Das Werk’s 1/72-scale kit of ‘SM-U9’ WWI submarine.
While the kit allows you to build a full-hull model (complete with
display stand), I plan to present it as a waterline model. With that
in mind, I need to establish whether the demarcation line along the
hull side (separating the dark and light grey paint scheme) would be
the actual waterline. In other words, if the boat was in calm water (such
as a harbour), would the lower dark grey section be visible?



I would say if its fully laden it will sit lower, so probably not seen … if its just returned from a sail and is running on fumes, crew have disembarked, and all ammo is spent, rations gone etc etc … it would probably sit a fair bit higher and may be exposed ???

It is my understanding that since diesel oil is lighter than water , diesel electric submarines had their fuel tanks open to seawater so as to minimize the change in trim as fuel was burned. This seems odd I know ( at least to the layman) but the fuel oil simply floated on top of the seawater . Presumably the fuel pickup was at the top of the tanks rather than the bottom. With this in mind there would not be as large a change in displacement/ draft due to changes in fuel load . Provisions / weapons would be another matter but remember ballast tanks would allow the crew to trim the vessel in any manner they chose so I don’t think you can go far wrong with what you choose to show .
Surely there must be some images that show one of these boats on the surface …
calling on Frenchy .

There is a side view drawing in the book ‘Geschichte des deutschen U-Bootbaus’ by Eberhard Rössler (volume one of two volumes).
The waterline at the stern in that drawing is just at the lower corner, i.e. a bit lower than in the drawing from Das Werk.
The waterline at the bow is shown halfway down on the vertical/straight edge of the bow.


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You can display a “light weight” condition of the boat and show a couple of mm of the dark grey area if you want. The displacement of the ship in total is small enough that, if, for example, it sails without torps and half the fuel the lower dark grey area would be visible.

Thanks to you all for your very helpful responses.
On the same subject, I plan to depict my submarine leaving Wilhelmshaven harbour.
I intend to incorporate a section of the harbour wall with (amongst other items) a harbour light.
Archive photos show this to have been of metal lattice construction (rather than a solid structure).
Can anyone suggest a kit in 1/72 or 1/76 scale that would be suitable for this? Alternatively, are
there any reliable reference images that would allow me to scratch-build it?


Wilhelmshaven Harbour


Looks like a fairly standard design
Angle irons in the corners, angle irons for the lattice stucture.
The lower part has the irons slanting low right to high left doubled in the photo >
both sides of the mast have the same pattern. Angle irons for the horizontals.
Check how bridges are built.

Sensible answer.
I’m more concerned with the platform and lantern appearance.
Unfortunately, I can’t find any similar photos.


If I were to build the platform I would use some kind of mesh or if mesh isn’t available it has to be sheet metal with some kind of ribs.
I suspect that the thing leaning against the tower from the left is a ladder up to the cutout in the platform. The mast extends up through the platform. The lantern can’t be a big affair, it just marks the end of the mole.
The joints would be riveted and it looks as if the mast is assmbled from two sections so there would be joint plates to tie the two sections together.

That mole was the one just belown the thick red arrow

The current mast and light

I would presume that the lantern during WW I wasn’t significantly bigger than the current one.

U-boats were usually moored in rows next to decked platforms rather than piers.

You can go for that option

If you want to do a pier, their sides have a brick pattern at Wilhelmshaven

This photo is in Kiel