U-boat

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U-995, a typical U-boat U995 2001 1.jpg
U-995, a typical U-boat

U-boat is an anglicised version of the German word U-Boot [ˈuːboːt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), a shortening of Unterseeboot, literally "underseaboat." While the German term refers to any submarine, the English one (in common with several other languages) refers specifically to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the First and Second World Wars. Although at times they were efficient fleet weapons against enemy naval warships, they were most effectively used in an economic warfare role (commerce raiding) and enforcing a naval blockade against enemy shipping. The primary targets of the U-boat campaigns in both wars were the merchant convoys bringing supplies from Canada and other parts of the British Empire, and from the United States to the United Kingdom and (during the Second World War) to the Soviet Union and the Allied territories in the Mediterranean. German submarines also destroyed Brazilian merchant ships during World War II, causing Brazil to declare war on the Axis powers in 1944.

Submarine Watercraft capable of independent operation underwater

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

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Austro-Hungarian Navy submarines were also known as U-boats.

Austro-Hungarian Navy navy

The Austro-Hungarian Navy or Imperial and Royal War Navy was the naval force of Austria-Hungary. Ships of the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff. Existing between 1867 and 1918, the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine came into being after the formation of Austria-Hungary in 1867, and ceased to exist upon the Empire's defeat and subsequent collapse at the end of World War I.

Early U-boats (1850–1914)

The first submarine built in Germany, the three-man Brandtaucher , sank to the bottom of Kiel harbor on 1 February 1851 during a test dive. [1] [2] The inventor and engineer Wilhelm Bauer had designed this vessel in 1850, and Schweffel & Howaldt constructed it in Kiel. Dredging operations in 1887 rediscovered Brandtaucher; it was later raised and put on historical display in Germany.

<i>Brandtaucher</i> 1850 human-powered submarine by Wilhelm Bauer

Brandtaucher was a submersible designed by the Bavarian inventor and engineer Wilhelm Bauer and built by Schweffel & Howaldt in Kiel for Schleswig-Holstein's Flotilla in 1850.

Kiel Place in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 249,023 (2016).

An inventor is a person who creates or discovers a new method, form, device or other useful means that becomes known as an invention. The word inventor comes from the Latin verb invenire, invent-, to find. The system of patents was established to encourage inventors by granting limited-term, limited monopoly on inventions determined to be sufficiently novel, non-obvious, and useful. Although inventing is closely associated with science and engineering, inventors are not necessarily engineers nor scientists.

There followed in 1890 the boats WW1 and WW2, built to a Nordenfelt design. In 1903 the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft dockyard in Kiel completed the first fully functional German-built submarine, Forelle , [3] which Krupp sold to Russia during the Russo-Japanese War in April 1904. [4] The SM U-1 was a completely redesigned Karp-class submarine and only one was built. The Imperial German Navy commissioned it on 14 December 1906. [5] It had a double hull, a Körting kerosene engine, and a single torpedo tube. The 50%-larger SM U-2 (commissioned in 1908) had two torpedo tubes. The U-19 class of 1912–13 saw the first diesel engine installed in a German navy boat. At the start of World War I in 1914, Germany had 48 submarines of 13 classes in service or under construction. During that war the Imperial German Navy used SM U-1 for training. Retired in 1919, it remains on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. [6]

Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft was a German shipbuilding company, located in the harbour at Kiel, and one of the largest and most important builders of U-boats for the Kaiserliche Marine in World War I and the Kriegsmarine in World War II. The original company was founded in 1867 but went bankrupt and was bought out by Friedrich Krupp. Krupp was very interested in building warships and in the time before the First World War built a number of battleships for the Kaiserliche Marine, including SMS Posen, SMS Prinzregent Luitpold, SMS Kronprinz, and SMS Sachsen. A total of 84 U-boats were built in the shipyard during the war. After the war it returned to the normal production of yachts and transports.

Russian submarine <i>Forel</i> 1902 U-boat with electric propulsion

Forel was a midget submarine designed by Raimondo Lorenzo D’Equevilley-Montjustin and built by Krupp in Kiel, Germany. The design was an experimental design built as a private venture by Krupp in hopes of attracting a contract from the Imperial German Navy. Although the design proved moderately successful, the submarine did not attract German naval attention. She was purchased by the Imperial Russian Navy in 1904 and served with the IRN until she was lost in a diving accident in 1910. She had the distinction of being the first submarine to have been built in Germany, preceding SM U-1. Forel was succeeded in service by the Krab class.

Krupp German family dynasty

The Krupp family, a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, is famous for their production of steel, artillery, ammunition and other armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, and was important to weapons development and production in both world wars. One of the most powerful dynasties in European history, Krupp flourished for 400 years as the premier weapons manufacturer of Germany. From the Thirty Years' War until the end of the Second World War, it produced battleships, U-boats, tanks, howitzers, guns, utilities, and hundreds of other commodities.

World War I (1914–1918)

On 5 September 1914, HMS Pathfinder was sunk by SM U-21, the first ship to have been sunk by a submarine using a self-propelled torpedo. On 22 September, U-9 under the command of Otto Weddigen sank the obsolete British warships HMS Aboukir, HMS Cressy and HMS Hogue (the "Live Bait Squadron") in a single hour.

HMS <i>Pathfinder</i> (1904) lead ship of the Pathfinder class of scout cruisers

HMS Pathfinder was the lead ship of the Pathfinder class of scout cruisers, and was the first ship ever to be sunk by a locomotive torpedo fired by submarine. She was built by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, launched on 16 July 1904, and commissioned on 18 July 1905. She was originally to have been named HMS Fastnet, but was renamed prior to construction.

SM <i>U-21</i> (Germany) submarine

SM U-21 was a U-boat built for the Imperial German Navy shortly before World War I. The third of four Type U-19-class submarines, these were the first U-boats in German service to be equipped with diesel engines. U-21 was built between 1910 and October 1913 at the Kaiserliche Werft in Danzig. She was armed with four torpedo tubes and a single deck gun; a second gun was added during her career.

Action of 22 September 1914

The Action of 22 September 1914 was a German U-boat ambush that took place during the First World War, in which three obsolete Royal Navy cruisers, manned mainly by reservists and sometimes referred to as the livebait squadron, were sunk by a German submarine while on patrol.

In the Gallipoli Campaign in early 1915 in the eastern Mediterranean, German U-boats, notably the U-21, prevented close support of allied troops by 18 pre-Dreadnought battleships by sinking two of them. [7]

Gallipoli Campaign military campaign during World War I

The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Entente powers, Britain and France, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia, the third member of the Entente. The invaders launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn. It was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Allies and for the sponsors, especially Winston Churchill.

For the first few months of the war, U-boat anticommerce actions observed the "prize rules" of the time, which governed the treatment of enemy civilian ships and their occupants. On 20 October 1914, SM U-17 sank the first merchant ship, the SS Glitra, off Norway. [8] Surface commerce raiders were proving to be ineffective, and on 4 February 1915, the Kaiser assented to the declaration of a war zone in the waters around the British Isles. This was cited as a retaliation for British minefields and shipping blockades. Under the instructions given to U-boat captains, they could sink merchant ships, even potentially neutral ones, without warning.

In February 1915, a submarine U-6 (Lepsius) was rammed and both periscopes were destroyed off Beachy Head by the collier SS Thordis commanded by Captain John Bell RNR after firing a torpedo. [9] On 7 May 1915, SM U-20 sank the liner RMS Lusitania. The sinking claimed 1,198 lives, 128 of them American civilians, and the attack of this unarmed civilian ship deeply shocked the Allies. According to the ship's manifest, Lusitania was carrying military cargo, though none of this information was relayed to the citizens of Britain and the United States who thought that the ship contained no ammunition or military weaponry whatsoever and it was an act of brutal murder. Munitions that it carried were thousands of crates full of ammunition for rifles, 3-inch artillery shells, and also various other standard ammunition used by infantry. The sinking of the Lusitania was widely used as propaganda against the German Empire and caused greater support for the war effort. A widespread reaction in the U.S was not seen until the sinking of the ferry SS Sussex. The sinking occurred in 1915 and the United States entered the war in 1917.

The initial U.S. response was to threaten to sever diplomatic ties, which persuaded the Germans to issue the Sussex pledge that reimposed restrictions on U-boat activity. The U.S. reiterated its objections to German submarine warfare whenever U.S. civilians died as a result of German attacks, which prompted the Germans to fully reapply prize rules. This, however, removed the effectiveness of the U-boat fleet, and the Germans consequently sought a decisive surface action, a strategy that culminated in the Battle of Jutland.

Although the Germans claimed victory at Jutland, the British Grand Fleet remained in control at sea. It was necessary to return to effective anticommerce warfare by U-boats. Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer, Commander in Chief of the High Seas Fleet, pressed for all-out U-boat war, convinced that a high rate of shipping losses would force Britain to seek an early peace before the United States could react effectively.

Sinking of the Linda Blanche out of Liverpool by SM U-21 (Willy Stower) Willy Stower - Sinking of the Linda Blanche out of Liverpool.jpg
Sinking of the Linda Blanche out of Liverpool by SM U-21 (Willy Stöwer)

The renewed German campaign was effective, sinking 1.4 million tons of shipping between October 1916 and January 1917. Despite this, the political situation demanded even greater pressure, and on 31 January 1917, Germany announced that its U-boats would engage in unrestricted submarine warfare beginning 1 February. On 17 March, German submarines sank three American merchant vessels, and the U.S. declared war on Germany in April 1917.

Unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917 was initially very successful, sinking a major part of Britain-bound shipping. With the introduction of escorted convoys, shipping losses declined and in the end the German strategy failed to destroy sufficient Allied shipping. An armistice became effective on 11 November 1918. Of the surviving German submarines 14 U-boats were scuttled and 122 surrendered. [10]

Of the 373 German submarines that had been built, 178 were lost by enemy action. Of these 41 were sunk by mines, 30 by depth charges and 13 by Q-ships. 515 officers and 4894 enlisted men were killed. They sank 10 battleships, 18 cruisers and several smaller naval vessels. They further destroyed 5,708 merchant and fishing vessels for a total of 11,108,865 tons and the loss of about 15,000 sailors. [11] The Pour le Mérite, the highest decoration for gallantry for officers, was awarded to 29 U-boat commanders. [12] 12 U-boat crewmen were decorated with the Goldene Militär-Verdienst-Kreuz, the highest bravery award for non-commissioned officers and enlisted men. [13] The most successful U-boat commanders of World War I were Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière (189 merchant vessels and two gunboats with 446,708 tons), followed by Walter Forstmann (149 ships with 391,607 tons), and Max Valentiner (144 ships with 299,482 tons). [14] Their records have never been surpassed by anyone in any later conflict so far.

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Surrender of the fleet

Under the terms of armistice, all U-boats were to immediately surrender. Those in home waters sailed to the British submarine base at Harwich. The entire process was done quickly and in the main without difficulty, after which the vessels were studied, then scrapped or given to Allied navies. Stephen King-Hall wrote a detailed eyewitness account of the surrender. [15]

Interwar years (1919–1939)

The Treaty of Versailles ending World War I signed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 restricted the total tonnage of the German surface fleet. The treaty also restricted the independent tonnage of ships and forbade the construction of submarines. However, a submarine design office was set up in the Netherlands and a torpedo research program was started in Sweden. Before the start of World War II, Germany started building U-boats and training crews, labeling these activities as "research" or concealing them using other covers. When this became known, the Anglo-German Naval Agreement limited Germany to parity with Britain in submarines. When World War II started, Germany already had 65 U-boats, with 21 of those at sea, ready for war.[ citation needed ]

World War II (1939–1945)

During World War II, U-boat warfare was the major component of the Battle of the Atlantic, which began in 1939 and ended with Germany's surrender in 1945. The Armistice of November 11th, 1918 ending World War I had scuttled most of the old Imperial German Navy and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles of 1919 limited the surface navy of Germany's new Weimar Republic to only six battleships (of less than 10,000 tons each), six cruisers, and 12 destroyers. To compensate, Germany's new navy, the Kriegsmarine, developed the largest submarine fleet going into World War II. [16] British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later wrote "The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril."

U-boat pens in Saint-Nazaire, France Base ssmarin stnazaire.jpg
U-boat pens in Saint-Nazaire, France

In the early stages of the war the U-boats were extremely effective in destroying Allied shipping due to the large gap in mid-Atlantic air cover. Cross-Atlantic trade in war supplies and food was extensive and critical for Britain's survival. The continuous action surrounding British shipping became known as the Battle of the Atlantic, as the British developed technical defences such as ASDIC and radar, and the German U-boats responded by hunting in what were called "wolfpacks" where multiple submarines would stay close together, making it easier for them to sink a specific target. Britain's vulnerable shipping situation existed until 1942, when the tides changed as the U.S. merchant marine and Navy entered the war, drastically increasing the amount of tonnage of supplies sent across the Atlantic. The combination of increased tonnage and increased naval protection of shipping convoys made it much more difficult for U-boats to make a significant dent in British shipping. Once the United States entered the war, U-boats ranged from the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Arctic to the west and southern African coasts and even as far east as Penang. The U.S. military engaged in various tactics against German incursions in the Americas; these included military surveillance of foreign nations in Latin America, particularly in the Caribbean, to deter any local governments from supplying German U-boats.

Because speed and range were severely limited underwater while running on battery power, U-boats were required to spend most of their time surfaced running on diesel engines, diving only when attacked or for rare daytime torpedo strikes. The more ship-like hull design reflects the fact that these were primarily surface vessels that could submerge when necessary. This contrasts with the cylindrical profile of modern nuclear submarines, which are more hydrodynamic underwater (where they spend the majority of their time), but less stable on the surface. While U-boats were faster on the surface than submerged, the opposite is generally true of modern submarines. The most common U-boat attack during the early years of the war was conducted on the surface and at night. This period, before the Allied forces developed truly effective antisubmarine warfare tactics, which included convoys, was referred to by German submariners as "die glückliche Zeit" or the First Happy Time. [17]

U-534, Birkenhead Docks, Merseyside, England U534.jpg
U-534, Birkenhead Docks, Merseyside, England

Torpedoes

The U-boats' main weapon was the torpedo, though mines and deck guns (while surfaced) were also used. By the end of the war, almost 3,000 Allied ships (175 warships; 2,825 merchant ships) were sunk by U-boat torpedoes. [18] Early German World War II torpedoes were straight runners, as opposed to the homing and pattern-running torpedoes that were fielded later in the war. They were fitted with one of two types of pistol triggers: impact, which detonated the warhead upon contact with a solid object, and magnetic, which detonated upon sensing a change in the magnetic field within a few meters.

One of the most effective uses of magnetic pistols would be to set the torpedo's depth to just beneath the keel of the target. The explosion under the target's keel would create a detonation shock wave, which could cause a ship's hull to rupture under the concussive water pressure. In this way, even large or heavily armored ships could be sunk or disabled with a single, well-placed hit.

Initially the depth-keeping equipment and magnetic and contact exploders were notoriously unreliable. During the first eight months of the war torpedoes often ran at an improper depth, detonated prematurely, or failed to explode altogether—sometimes bouncing harmlessly off the hull of the target ship. This was most evident in Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway, where various skilled U-boat commanders failed to inflict damage on British transports and warships because of faulty torpedoes. The faults were largely due to a lack of testing. The magnetic detonator was sensitive to mechanical oscillations during the torpedo run, and to fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field at high latitudes. These early magnetic detonators were eventually phased out, and the depth-keeping problem was solved by early 1942 with improved technology. [19] [ further explanation needed ]

Later in the war, Germany developed an acoustic homing torpedo, the G7/T5. It was primarily designed to combat convoy escorts. The acoustic torpedo was designed to run straight to an arming distance of 400 m and then turn toward the loudest noise detected. This sometimes ended up being the U-boat itself; at least two submarines may have been sunk by their own homing torpedoes. Additionally, these torpedoes were found to be only effective against ships moving at greater than 15 knots (28 km/h). The Allies countered acoustic torpedoes with noisemaker decoys such as Foxer , FXR, CAT and Fanfare. The Germans, in turn, countered this by introducing newer and upgraded versions of the acoustic torpedoes, like the late-war G7es, and the T11. However, the T11 did not see active service. [20]

U-boats also adopted several types of "pattern-running" torpedoes that ran straight out to a preset distance, then traveled in either a circular or ladder-like pattern. When fired at a convoy, this increased the probability of a hit if the weapon missed its primary target.

U-boat developments

During World War II, the Kriegsmarine produced many different types of U-boats as technology evolved. Most notable is the Type VII, known as the "workhorse" of the fleet, which was by far the most-produced type, and the Type IX boats, an enlarged VII designed for long-range patrols, some traveling as far as Japan and the east coast of the United States.

Oil painting of a Kriegsmarine U-boat, by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau U-boot by Ferrer-Dalmau.jpg
Oil painting of a Kriegsmarine U-boat, by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

With the increasing sophistication of Allied detection and subsequent losses, German designers began to fully realise the potential for a truly submerged boat. The Type XXI "Elektroboot" was designed to favor submerged performance, both for combat effectiveness and survival. It was the first true submersible. The Type XXI featured an evolutionary design that combined several different strands of the U-Boat development program, most notably from the Walter U-boats, the Type XVII, which featured an unsuccessful yet revolutionary hydrogen peroxide air-independent propellant system. These boats featured a streamlined hull design, which formed the basis of the later USS Nautilus nuclear submarine, and was adapted for use with more conventional propulsion systems. The larger hull design allowed for a greatly increased battery capacity, which enabled the XXI to cruise submerged for longer periods and reach unprecedented submerged speeds for the time.

Throughout the war, an arms race evolved between the Allies and the Kriegsmarine, especially in detection and counterdetection. Sonar (ASDIC in Britain) allowed Allied warships to detect submerged U-boats (and vice versa) beyond visual range, but was not effective against a surfaced vessel; thus, early in the war, a U-boat at night or in bad weather was actually safer on the surface. Advancements in radar became particularly deadly for the U-boat crews, especially once aircraft-mounted units were developed. As a countermeasure, U-boats were fitted with radar warning receivers, to give them ample time to dive before the enemy closed in, as well as more anti aircraft guns. However, by early to mid-1943, the Allies switched to centimetric radar (unknown to Germany), which rendered the radar detectors ineffective. U-boat radar systems were also developed, but many captains chose not to use them for fear of broadcasting their position to enemy patrols and lack of sufficient electronic countermeasures.

Early on, the Germans experimented with the idea of the Schnorchel (snorkel) from captured Dutch submarines, but saw no need for them until rather late in the war. The Schnorchel was a retractable pipe that supplied air to the diesel engines while submerged at periscope depth, allowing the boats to cruise and recharge their batteries while maintaining a degree of stealth. It was far from a perfect solution, however. Problems occurred with the device's valve sticking shut or closing as it dunked in rough weather; since the system used the entire pressure hull as a buffer, the diesels would instantaneously suck huge volumes of air from the boat's compartments, and the crew often suffered painful ear injuries. Waste disposal was a problem when the U-boats spent extended periods without surfacing, as it is today. Speed was limited to 8 knots (15 km/h), lest the device snap from stress. The Schnorchel also had the effect of making the boat essentially noisy and deaf in sonar terms. Finally, Allied radar eventually became sufficiently advanced that the Schnorchel mast could be detected beyond visual range.

Several other pioneering innovations included acoustic- and electro-absorbent coatings to make them less of an ASDIC or RADAR target. The Germans also developed active countermeasures such as facilities to release artificial chemical bubble-making decoys, known as Bold , after the mythical kobold.

Classes

Countermeasures

Advances in convoy tactics, high-frequency direction finding (referred to as "Huff-Duff"), radar, active sonar (called ASDIC in Britain), depth charges, ASW spigot mortars (also known as "hedgehog"), the intermittent cracking of the German Naval Enigma code, the introduction of the Leigh light, the range of escort aircraft (especially with the use of escort carriers), the use of mystery ships, and the full entry of the U.S. into the war with its enormous shipbuilding capacity, all turned the tide against the U-boats. In the end, the U-boat fleet suffered extremely heavy casualties, losing 793 U-boats and about 28,000 submariners (a 75% casualty rate, the highest of all German forces during the war).

Survivors from German submarine U-175 after being sunk by USCGC Spencer, 17 April 1943 Uboat sinking survivors.png
Survivors from German submarine U-175 after being sunk by USCGC Spencer, 17 April 1943

At the same time, the Allies targeted the U-boat shipyards and their bases with strategic bombing.

Enigma machine

The British had a major advantage in their ability to read some German naval Enigma codes. An understanding of the German coding methods had been brought to Britain via France from Polish code-breakers. Thereafter, code books and equipment were captured by raids on German weather ships and from captured U-boats. A team including Alan Turing used special purpose "Bombes" and early computers to break new German codes as they were introduced. The speedy decoding of messages was vital in directing convoys away from wolf packs and allowing interception and destruction of U-boats. This was demonstrated when the Naval Enigma machines were altered in February 1942 and wolf-pack effectiveness greatly increased until the new code was broken.

The German submarine U-110, a Type IXB, was captured in 1941 by the Royal Navy, and its Enigma machine and documents were removed. U-559 was also captured by the British in October 1942; three sailors boarded her as she was sinking, and desperately threw all the code books out of the submarine so as to salvage them. Two of them, Able Seaman Colin Grazier and Lieutenant Francis Anthony Blair Fasson, continued to throw code books out of the ship as it went under water, and went down with it. Further code books were captured by raids on weather ships. U-744 was boarded by crew from the Canadian ship HMCS Chilliwack on 6 March 1944, and codes were taken from her, but by this time in the war, most of the information was known. [22] The U-505, a Type IXC, was captured by the United States Navy in June 1944. It is now a museum ship in Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Battle of Bell Island

Two events in the battle took place in 1942 when German U-boats attacked four allied ore carriers at Bell Island, Newfoundland. The carriers SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona were sunk by U-513 on 5 September 1942, while the SS Rosecastle and PLM 27 were sunk by U-518 on 2 November with the loss of 69 lives. When the submarine launched a torpedo at the loading pier, Bell Island became the only location in North America to be subject to direct attack by German forces in World War II.

Operation Deadlight

"Operation Deadlight" was the code name for the scuttling of U-boats surrendered to the Allies after the defeat of Germany near the end of the war. Of the 154 U-boats surrendered, 121 were scuttled in deep water off Lisahally, Northern Ireland, or Loch Ryan, Scotland, in late 1945 and early 1946.

Memorial

Möltenort U-Boat Memorial

Post–World War II and Cold War (after 1945)

U-15, a Type 206 submarine, of the German Navy at the Kiel Week 2007 U15 Kieler Woche 2007 1.jpg
U-15, a Type 206 submarine, of the German Navy at the Kiel Week 2007
Type 212 submarine with air-independent propulsion of the German Navy in dock at HDW/Kiel U Boot 212 HDW 1.jpg
Type 212 submarine with air-independent propulsion of the German Navy in dock at HDW/Kiel

From 1955, the West German Bundesmarine was allowed to have a small navy. Initially two sunken Type XXIIIs and a Type XXI were raised and repaired. In the 1960s, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) re-entered the submarine business. Because West Germany was initially restricted to a 450 tonne displacement limit, the Bundesmarine focused on small coastal submarines to protect against the Soviet Union (Russian) threat in the Baltic Sea. The Germans sought to use advanced technologies to offset the small displacement, such as amagnetic steel to protect against naval mines and magnetic anomaly detectors.

The initial Type 201 was a failure because of hull cracking; the subsequent Type 205, first commissioned in 1967, was a success, and 12 were built for the German navy. To continue the U-boat tradition, the new boats received the classic U designation starting with the U-1.

With the Danish government's purchase of two Type 205 boats, the West German government realized the potential for the submarine as an export. Three of the improved Type 206 boats were later sold to the Israeli Navy, becoming the Gal-class. The German Type 209 diesel-electric submarine was the most popular export-sales submarine in the world from the late 1960s into the first years of the 21st century. With a larger 1,000–1,500 tonne displacement, the class was very customizable and has seen service with 14 navies with 51 examples being built as of 2006.

Germany has brought the U-boat name into the 21st century with the new Type 212. The 212 features an air-independent propulsion system using hydrogen fuel cells. This system is safer than previous closed-cycle diesel engines and steam turbines, cheaper than a nuclear reactor and quieter than either. While the Type 212 is also being purchased by Italy [23] and Norway [24] , the Type 214 has been designed as the follow-on export model and has been sold to Greece, South Korea and Turkey.

In July 2006, Germany commissioned its newest U-boat, the U-34, a Type 212.

See also

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Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track, and deter, damage, or destroy enemy submarines.

German submarine <i>U-75</i> (1940) German world war II submarine

German submarine U-75 was a Type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. U-75 was moderately successful in her early career in the Battle of the Atlantic, but in autumn 1941 she was dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea with poor results, leading to the eventual destruction of the boat and her crew.

German submarine U-961 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. U-961 was constructed at Hamburg during 1942 and 1943, completing her working-up cruises in the Baltic Sea in the spring of 1944. Due to extensive modifications and shortages of supplies during her construction and training, U-961 took nearly two years to be ready for active service, an exceptionally long time.

German submarine U-703 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine deployed during the Second World War against allied shipping in the Arctic Ocean. She was a successful boat, which had a far longer service life than most other U-boats, primarily due to the restricted zone of operations in which she fought. Her main mission during the war was to target the Arctic Convoys which carried supplies to the Soviet Union from Britain. At this she was quite successful in her three years of raiding until her presumed demise in 1944.

German submarine <i>U-125</i> (1940)

German submarine U-125 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser as yard number 988 on 10 May 1940, launched on 10 December and commissioned on 3 March 1941. In seven patrols, she sank 17 ships for a total of 82,873 gross register tons (GRT). The boat was a member of three wolfpacks. She was sunk on 6 May 1943. All 54 men on board died.

German submarine U-31 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down on 1 March 1936 as yard number 912, launched on 25 September and commissioned on 28 December 1936.

German submarine <i>U-185</i> German world war II submarine

German submarine U-185 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II.

German submarine <i>U-176</i> German world war II submarine

German submarine U-176 was a Type IXC U-boat in Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

German submarine <i>U-66</i> (1940) German world war II submarine

German submarine U-66 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 20 March 1940 at the AG Weser yard at Bremen, launched on 10 October and commissioned on 2 January 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Richard Zapp as part of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla.

German submarine <i>Deutschland</i> German merchant submarine

Deutschland was a blockade-breaking German merchant submarine used during World War I. It was developed with private funds and operated by the North German Lloyd Line. She was the first of seven U-151-class U-boats built and one of only two used as unarmed cargo submarines.

Deck gun naval artillery mounted on the deck of a submarine

A deck gun is a type of naval artillery mounted on the deck of a submarine. Most submarine deck guns were open; however, a few larger submarines placed these guns in a turret.

SM U-70 was a Type U 66 submarine or U-boat for the German Imperial Navy during the First World War. She had been laid down in February 1914 as U-11 the final boat of the U-7 class for the Austro-Hungarian Navy but was sold to Germany, along with the others in her class, in November 1914.

U-boat Campaign (World War I) World War I naval campaign fought by German U-boats against the trade routes of the Allies

The U-boat Campaign from 1914 to 1918 was the World War I naval campaign fought by German U-boats against the trade routes of the Allies. It took place largely in the seas around the British Isles and in the Mediterranean. The German Empire relied on imports for food and domestic food production and the United Kingdom relied heavily on imports to feed its population, and both required raw materials to supply their war industry; the powers aimed, therefore, to blockade one another. The British had the Royal Navy which was superior in numbers and could operate on most of the world's oceans because of the British Empire, whereas the Imperial German Navy surface fleet was mainly restricted to the German Bight, and used commerce raiders and unrestricted submarine warfare to operate elsewhere.

Atlantic U-boat campaign of World War I

The Atlantic U-boat campaign of World War I was the prolonged naval conflict between German submarines and the Allied navies in Atlantic waters—the seas around the British Isles, the North Sea and the coast of France.

References

  1. Showell, p. 23
  2. Compare: Chaffin, Tom (2010). The H. L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy. Macmillan. p. 53. ISBN   9781429990356 . Retrieved 14 July 2016. Bauer's boat made a promising start, diving in tests in the Baltic Sea's Bay of Kiel to depths of more than fifty feet. In 1855, during one of those tests, the boat malfunctioned. The Brandtaucher plunged fifty-four vertical feet and refused to ascend from the seafloor. Bauer and his crew – leaving their craft on the bottom – barely escaped with their lives.
  3. Showell, p. 201
  4. Showell, pp. 22, 23, 25, 29
  5. Showell, p. 30
  6. Showell, pp. 36 & 37
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  11. Micheal Clodfelter, Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015, 4th ed., McFarland, 2017, p. 428
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  13. Bruno Fischer, Ehrenbuch des Orden vom Militär-Verdienst-Kreuz e.V. und die Geschichte der Ordens-Gemeinschaft, Die Ordens-Sammlung, 1960, p. 16
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  19. Karl Dönitz. Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days. Naval Institute Press. p. 482. ISBN   0-87021-780-1.
  20. "The Torpedoes".
  21. Stern, Robert Cecil (1991). Type VII U-boats (First U.S. & Canada ed.). Annapolis, Maryland 21402: Naval Institute Press. p. 155. ISBN   1-55750-828-3 . Retrieved 1 January 2019.
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  23. "Naval Technology on the Todaro class" . Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  24. Berg Bentzrød, Sveinung (3 February 2017). "Forsvaret kjøper nye ubåter fra Tyskland" [The Armed Forces are purchasing new submarines from Germany]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aftenposten AS. Retrieved 9 March 2019.

Further reading