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I was thinking of chlorine gas bombs/rockets or cyanide torpedoes to kill everyone inside a sinking ship or on the general vicinity of the battle to insure that no one survives...

The only objective of the weapon system is to insure 100% kill rate of every human inside or outside of the ship once it has been sunk or burning or in process of being attacked by my carriers.

The goal of the weapon system is to ensure the secrecy of the carriers by achieving zero survivability of any human crews. Out of sight, out of mind.

The sinking of the ships will happen in an Arctic or Atlantic like oceans

Enemy ships has zero AA capabilities

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  • $\begingroup$ Why not wait until the ship has sunk and then simply shoot anyone who still floats on the surface? $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 20 '19 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ Uh...well, an atomic bomb would do it. Hit a ship with one and there would be no survivors. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Aug 20 '19 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ There are actually a couple very interesting experiments regarding the effects of nearby nuclear explosions on warships from the cold war period. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 20 '19 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ Not worth a formal answer, but nerve gas is a more efficient killer than chlorine. $\endgroup$ – Willk Aug 20 '19 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ You have carriers. This means that the technology level is post-WW1. This means that the ship has radio and will shout out loudly on the international distress frequency that it is under attack by carrier-borne aircraft... $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 20 '19 at 14:27
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It's not required

In the environments you've described, as long as no lifeboats got clear. Everyone will be dead within a couple of hours.

As for the swimmers in the deep ocean:

Everybody's dead Dave.

However being at sea has some fine old traditions and you'll be hard pressed to find sailors who will sink lifeboats for you.

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  • $\begingroup$ If we are not a freezing arctic, dying may take a lot more than a couple of hours. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 20 '19 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ Anyone who has studied Germany's U-Boat war in WWII would know that isn't so. U-Boat crews regularly machine-gunned survivors when they encountered them while surfaced after sinking an enemy ship, not out of malice or simply because they had been ordered to do so, but because rescuing survivors would have reduced their effectiveness as a military unit (rescuees still breathe, eat and drink, and supplies of air, food and fresh water are all limited on a submarine), and might have threatened their control of their own vessel. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Aug 25 '19 at 10:12
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Let's take a look at the Worst Case Scenario: The enemy ship has a mini-sub on board that they can lower through the bottom of the ship which has a maximum operating depth of way too low for your military subs to catch (technical term), and also has a chopper on the deck which is fast enough to outrun your ships and dumps a scuba diver in the ocean who has a propelled sled to get away.

So the answer here is a multipart weapon. Step one is to fire a localized, yet powerful EMP to fry the circuits of said submarine, helicopter, and sled. Then, assuming we'd like to not break the Geneva convention and crack open the nerve gas, a series of torpedoes gets fired to open the ship up and dump everyone out. However, it's still possible that divers could manage to survive if they use manual tanks (even if we used nerve gas), so we go for a bit of a stretch with step three - electrofishing. This xkcd What-If suggests that it's possible to electrofish in saltwater (assuming you have a nuclear power ship generating electricity, which we do), and it would probably kill a human.

This could still be survived using a very well thought out contingency which is perfectly executed, but this will almost be guaranteed to work against ships which aren't expecting it.

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Focused neutrons.

High energy neutrons will penetrate 8+ cm of steel & if the neutrons don't get you the secondary radiation probably will. If accompanied by an emp (and if you are generating focused neutrons this should be available as a handy by-product) there will be no calling for help.

Very nasty indeed.

Have a look at the Wikipedia article on neutron sources. With a little thought it would be possible to weaponize a 'medium sized' device.

If memory serves, specifically banned by the Geneva Convention.

Just how evil are your guys?

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Poor fishes and marine life. Shouldn’t it be enough to simply think the ship and pick or not pick up any survivors? No one is going to live long in the Arctic on a rescue boat without help anyway. And having prisoners on board or not rescuing them gives a lot more depth to the situation rather than ..”Shot the torpedo and oh yeah our weapon of mass destruction is going to kill everyone nicely and quickly.”

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Air dropped depth charges would do the job, an existing WW2 era technology.

The eruption of water at the surface would kill any survivors. There is a scene in the British War movie were the Captain of the corvette Compass Rose decides to attack a U-boat even though there are survivors of a sunken ship in the water. After the explosion an the water settles the seabirds move in to feast on the remains.

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