µ-Blog – Too long to tweet, too short to call a real post
I'm sort of watching Ice Station Zebra, not a big favorite of mine. I have it on as background noise as much as really watching it. This got me to thinking about submarines and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Of course, this got me to thinking my favorite plot hole in any film ever, where Indiana Jones rides on top of a submarine that never submerges, and Indy doesn't die of exposure.
Since I wasn't paying attention to Ice Station Zebra, I decided to do a little research. It turns out WWII-era submarines traveled faster on the surface than they did submerged. A German U-boat could do 17.7 knots (20.4 mph) surfaced and only 7.6 knots (8.7 mph) submerged. If speed was imperative, which seems plausible in the plot, the submarine might not have submerged the entire trip. Looking at the map in the film, Indy boarded the submarine in the Mediterranean Sea south and slightly west of the toe in the boot of Italy and is taken to an island north of the eastern shore of the Greek island of Crete, a distance of about 500 miles. Assuming I'm off by say, 20%, and it's actually 600 miles, a German U-boat travelling on the surface at full speed could do that in about 30 hours.
You probably wouldn't die of exposure in 30 hours. Yes, it probably would suck. You might have a really bad sunburn and be pretty dehydrated, but I don't think you would die from it in 30 hours. I think I owe Steven Spielberg an apology. Maybe that's why he doesn't return my calls.