Sometimes when people are in their own little place, you just have to meet them where they are. Sergeant Skeeves has a sense of fascination and even romanticism for the World War Two German military forces, or “Wehrmacht”.
While it is true that in many areas the forces of the Third Reich did show some amazing technical prowess, the image of an overall military force that technologically outmatched all its rivals –only to be brought down by sheer numbers– does not bear up to serious scrutiny. Nearly all of the combatant forces of the Second World War had their technological peaks and valleys, the German forces being no different in this regard.
That said, the diesel-electric propulsion systems on the German boats were probably the best of any of the forces at work during the conflict. Of course, the main propulsion was actually the diesel engines; the diesels kept the batteries charged so that the subs could operate underwater for a couple of hours. It wasn’t a true hybrid system, but rather two different engines used for different purposes.
Modern hybrids kind of go in the other direction; vehicles are driven primarily by their electric drives with the liquid fuel engines (diesel, gasoline, or whatever) on backup to make sure the batteries stay charged. But nowadays it is more likely to be the electric motors that are directly connected to the drive train.
Still, the advantages are real: running primarily on electric motors, vehicles can save a lot of fuel, making supply less of an issue. A lot of casualties in Iraq were from supply convoys getting ambushed. Electric motors can be operated relatively silently, with obvious advantages on the battlefield. And if vehicles and equipment can be kept charged with field-deployable solar panels, this makes small units even more mobile and agile.
Besides, relying on less petroleum has the advantage of not having to dance to OPEC’s tune. Even if we don’t buy oil directly from OPEC, they are still the cartel that sets the international prices per barrel, regardless of where the oil actually comes from.
Regardless, some people just don’t like change, especially if they are suspicious of where an idea came from. Reframing the parameters of the idea can provide a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Now that Skeeves is fixated on U-Boats, he needs a bit of private time to try to calm down.
So spin up those electric motors and enjoy your day.