Women In Royal Navy Submarines?

  Aitchbee 22:55 08 Dec 2011

.. . . . . : : : . . ....what are your views on this subject...


....up periscope!...........

  TopCat® 23:42 08 Dec 2011

I have to admit that women on surface ships and now submarines makes me feel uneasy. It's not that I don't think they can do the job but what concerns me is how they would perform under wartime conditions. The sight of mangled shipmates' bodies after, say, a direct hit by missile or shell would test even the strongest man aboard ship.

Their confinement undersea in submarines for long periods would in itself be a considerable test but, under sustained attack from hostile surface forces above, or perhaps a shadowing enemy sub below, could tip the balance at a critical moment. Being a submariner is not for the faint hearted and I believe it takes a special type of person to even consider being a submariner. I await some possible flak from the ladies on this. :o) TC.

  wee eddie 02:58 09 Dec 2011

If my Ex-Fiancée was to be believed.

It was the WRACs, in Belfast, that went out with the plastic bags to pick up the body parts, as the Blokes hadn't got the stomach to do the job!

It is quite possible that the WRENS are mentally stronger than the Matelots!

  Quickbeam 07:39 09 Dec 2011

No problem for me as I'll never go below in the claustrophobic confines of a submarine anyway... leave them to that environment if it's what they want!

  morddwyd 08:17 09 Dec 2011

I see no problem in women doing this job or any other if they are physically capable, but the practical difficulties are a different matter.

In particular the "No Touching" rule will be very difficult to enforce when squeezing past each other in the narrow companionways of a submarine.

Separate accommodation and ablutions mean less room for stores, always a problem in a sub.

  Aitchbee 08:58 09 Dec 2011

If Britain has enough submarines to go round, can't they make at least one of them a women-only ship?

As women are usually lighter than men, in weight, efficiencies could be made in food budget.

Have I gone overboard?

  Quickbeam 09:07 09 Dec 2011

The Russians ruled that idea out when the realised that an all female crew would need more food than an all male crew!

  interzone55 09:54 09 Dec 2011


My mum and former mother-in-law were both A&E nurses, they saw lots of blood and guts and body parts and did jobs most male nurses wouldn't be able to stomach.

My mum treated many of the Man Utd players caught up in the Munich disaster.

She said that woman have a greater capacity for pain and suffering, and can handle bits of bodies without flinching because they're the ones who give birth, and that's apparently a fairly messy job.

Victorian ladies only feinted a lot because their corsets wouldn't let them take more than shallow breaths...

  spuds 12:10 09 Dec 2011

Its another one of those subjects, of can they-can't they.

I suppose the only true way to found it, is to actually try it. It wouldn't be the first time women have been carried in submarines.

Many countries around the globe now have women doing tasks on a regular basis, that was once the domain of males only. As for being gruesome, how many Paramedics, SOCO, morgue staff and other similar jobs are female or mainly female reliant, perhaps far more that the public estimate or realise?.

Even Russia in WW2 had senior women officer's and lower ranks on the front lines, enduring the same difficulties that males were also experiencing. And many war zones since, especially with terrorist activities, have females been asked to do their part?.

But having said all that, I still get rather concerned,in seeing an 8 stone. 5'3" female police officer involved in riot or a regular boozy night incident.

  Strawballs 12:30 09 Dec 2011

morddwyd, The modern Nuclear Subs are anything but cramped they are enormous things, the only thing I can see being problem is the extra seperate facilities needed that take up valuable space, but this is more of a problem on small ships like mine sweepers.

  Woolwell 12:56 09 Dec 2011

During my time in the Navy I did not serve with women at sea although it was brought in whilst I was still serving. I worked with Wrens, many of whom were more capable than their male counterparts. I found that they coped very well with any emergency and distressing sights is a red herring. There are, of course, problems caused by the physical ability to do something. Lifting heavy shells would have been a problem and firefighting in full suit with breathing apparatus is very demanding although there are civilian female firefighters now. I came across some Wrens who were actually physically stronger than some of the male sailors. One who was just over 5 ft could run rings round some of the taller males. Some of the female air mechanics could kick start jumbo jets. On balance I don’t think that strength is a major issue.

The problem that I had was over the way women at sea was introduced. It was a “big bang” rather than gradual. The female senior rates were senior but had no experience of sea life and were expected to do the job. You need senior females around as it is quite difficult for a male to tell a women that her dress is inappropriate (too much cleavage, in one case a girl was inadvertently flashing her knickers) or the wrong make up. Vice versa it is also difficult for a woman to tell a man that his shaving could be better for example. If it had been brought in gradually I don’t think that some of the original problems would have arisen. I note that the introduction to submarines is going to be gradual so perhaps lessons were learnt.

There is a problem over accommodation. This is particularly true in a submarine. You cannot have one junior woman having a mess deck or cabin to herself when the male equivalent has to share with several others and perhaps sleep amongst the torpedoes. Therefore you have to have several to fill a mess deck. There is then the problem of heads and showers. Is one bathroom/toilet female only? The older ships had problems and in the case of just post war ships it would have been impossible to make separate arrangements. Nowadays in the modern ships it isn’t a problem. However I doubt that the older attack submarines could find the accommodation for several women. The bigger, newer boats (Vanguard, Astute) may be able to rearrange accommodation but it may not be easy. Hot bunking could become interesting.

BTW the smell after being submerged for some time has to be believed. The diesel subs were very bad but there is an unpleasant smell after being in a nuclear sub. You don’t notice it onboard but as soon as you get off you do!

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