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how many ships were sunk in ww1 by u boats

The U-boats were to surrender to Rear-Admiral Reginald Tyrwhitt at Harwich, ... by which time 15 capital ships were sunk, and only Baden survived. A further series of operations, in August and October 1916, were similarly unfruitful, and the strategy was abandoned in favor of resuming commerce warfare. At 2:30 a.m., the first of three torpedoes struck the ship. Following the incident, the German government attempted to justify it with a range of arguments; nevertheless there was massive outrage in Britain and America, and the British felt that the Americans had to declare war on Germany. The purported submarine was depth-charged, fired on, and reportedly sunk by the Rio Grande do Norte, but the sinking was never confirmed. The depth charge, or "dropping mine" as it was initially named, was first mooted in 1910, and developed into practicality when the British Royal Navy's Commander in Chief, Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Callaghan, requested its production in 1914. These rules did not allow for the sinking of any passenger ships and protected merchant ship crews stating they must be placed in a safe place before their ships could be sunk. In the first two weeks of the campaign, a mere five U-boats sank 25 allied ships totalling 200,000 tons. This figure is roughly 70% of all allied shipping losses in all theatres of the war and to all hostile action. It was not until 27 April that the Admiralty endorsed the convoy system, the first convoy sailing from Gibraltar on 10 May. Rucker had found it next to impossible to exercise control from his position at sea, and the loss ratio discouraged any further experiments.[47]. [43], In May and June a regular system of transatlantic convoys were established, and after July the monthly losses never exceeded 500,000 tons, although they remained above 300,000 tons for the remainder of 1917. [33][34][35] In November, the German submarine UC-15 was sent on a minelaying mission off Sulina and never returned, being sunk by her own mines. These boats sank 34 ships (19 of them Norwegian) before winter ice closed the area for operations. The Type U-139 were the largest U-boats of World War I. U-151 departed Kiel on 14 April 1918 commanded by Korvettenkapitän Heinrich von Nostitz und Jänckendorff, her mission to attack American shipping. SS Gulflight was the first merchant vessel torpedoed by a German U-boat, U-30, on May 1, 1915, resulting in 3 killed. These measures required a huge expenditure of effort and material, but met with little success. In time, this would bring non-European nations (such as Brazil and the United States) into the war. Ultimately it was proven later (via the discovery of munitions in the wreck) that the Lusitania was indeed carrying munitions; against the agreed upon rules during the conflict.[12]. Officially, a total of 1,554 ships were sunk due to war conditions, including 733 ships of over 1,000 gross tons. The U-boats scored a number of impressive successes, and were able to drive the Grand Fleet from its base in search of a safe anchorage, but the German Navy was unable to erode the Grand Fleet's advantage as hoped. [7] Kptlt. At the end of World War II, 174 U-boats were surrendered to the Allies, while over 200 were sunk to avoid capture. [17], Offensive measures were less effective; efforts were made to use nets to find submerged U-boats, and explosive sweeps to destroy them, but these were largely failures. [5] Their aim was to sink capital ships of the British Grand Fleet, and so reduce the Grand Fleet's numerical superiority over the German High Seas Fleet. The vast majority was commissioned between 1920 and 1921. [4] All U-boats listed are German unless otherwise noted in the table. [29], UB-45 was lost in November 1916 and UB-46 in December, both sunk by Russian mines. A U-boat of this type, listed for decades as being sunk off Gibraltar, was found on the sea bottom about 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey in 1991. [16] [54] However, of the 9 Austro-Hungarian navy submarines lost to enemy action, 5 were sunk by Italian navy units (U-13, U-10, U-16, U-20, and U-23), 1 by Italian and French units (U-30), 1 by Royal Navy units (U-3), while none were sunk by the Japanese navy, which lost one destroyer (Sakaki, torpedoed by U-27). A variant on the idea was to equip small vessels with a submarine escort. Now they are in a race against time to learn the secrets hidden in their watery graves. A less favorable impression was made by the cruise of U-53 under K/L Hans Rose. It also highlights the uncertainty to be found in much historical research. Also, in the two main surface actions of this period the U-boat was unable to have any effect; the High Seas Fleet was unable to draw the Grand Fleet into a U-boat trap. In the six months to the opening of the commerce war in February 1915, U-boats had sunk 19 ships, totalling 43,000 GRT.[8]. From September to November 1918 6 U-boats were sunk by this measure. The results in both cases were inconclusive.[20][21]. The U-boats were under orders to submerge at the sight of an aircraft. Ninety planes were lost on those missions, and 26 people died. U-156 was lost with all hands on the return voyage when she struck a mine off Bergen, Norway, on 25 September 1918. Some of the smallest just disappeared and were never recorded as why they were lost. Finally, the Mediterranean offered the advantage that fewer neutral ships would be encountered,[14] such as US or Brazilian vessels, since fewer non European citizens then travelled the waters. In six months of unrestricted submarine warfare U-boats sank ​3⁄4 million tons of Allied shipping, scarcely denting the British merchant fleet; Whilst new building, and additions from ships seized, had more than made up this loss. During 1918 no convoy escorted by air patrol lost a ship, and U-boats were forced increasingly to operate at night or beyond aircraft range. The Germans made use of this advantage, sending out about 20 U-boats to begin the naval blockade. Five U-boats operated in the Barents Sea between North Cape and the Kola inlet. Royal Navy submarine losses in World War II were 79. How the Allies 'Sunk' Germany's Deadly U-boats. Chronological List of U.S. German submarines, or U-boats (Unterseebooten), were turned against merchant ships supplying Britain in February 1915. A 44 min. Where I use the term explosion I am referring to accidental explosions, not the result of enemy action. "[41], Germany had 105 submarines ready for action on 1 February: 46 in the High Seas Fleet; 23 in Flanders; 23 in the Mediterranean; 10 in the Baltic; and 3 at Constantinople. Several of these operations were staged, in March and April 1916, but with no success. 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. Historical footage of U-boats in World War I, Armistice between Russia and the Central Powers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=U-boat_Campaign&oldid=996171323, Ships sunk by German submarines in World War I, Naval battles of World War I involving Germany, Naval battles of World War I involving Austria-Hungary, Naval battles of World War I involving France, Naval battles of World War I involving the United Kingdom, Naval battles of World War I involving the United States, Naval battles of World War I involving Brazil, Naval battles of World War I involving Canada, Naval battles of World War I involving Italy, Naval battles of World War I involving Japan, Naval battles of World War I involving Russia, Articles needing additional references from January 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2014, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from July 2009, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Total sunk in combat: 178 (41 by mines, 30 by depth charges and 13 by, Men lost in U-boats: 515 officers and 4894 enlisted men, This page was last edited on 24 December 2020, at 23:04. German U-Boat Attacks: Pre-War. By the end of 1917, 3,170 Allied and neutral ships, totaling nearly six million tons, were sunk. On 30-Aug-1915 Germany prohibits further action of this type. In April 525,000 tons of British shipping were lost. She made a second equally successful voyage in autumn of that year. This guide contains information about researching wrecked or sunken ships at The National Archives. At first, the British Admiralty failed to respond effectively to the German offensive. The graves of German sailors shot while attempting to come ashore surrendering. The British were well aware of the risk of U-boat traps to the Grand Fleet, although they had no means of knowing where these might lie. The aim was to use them to carry high value goods to neutral nations such as the US, which still maintained a strict neutrality, and was prepared to trade with Germany as with any other nation. As a result, the Germans sailed directly for Spain where they scuttled their boat. The most successful year was 1942 when over 6 million tons of shipping were sunk in the Atlantic. The Navy was reasonably encouraged as nine U-boats represented about 20% of Germany’s operational U-boat fleet. [60], 29 U-boat commanders were decorated with the Pour le Mérite, the highest German decoration for gallantry for officers. While the American public and leadership were not ready for war, the path to an eventual declaration of war had been set as a result of the sinking of Lusitania. How many ships were destroyed by Bismark Battleship during the World War 2? After surviving 21 attacks over 30 hours, the RO-105 was sunk by the England 's Hedgehogs. Torpedoed and sunk by U 165, while escorting convoy QS.33 in the St. Lawrence River. Despite the proven success of troop convoys earlier in the war, the Channel convoys between England and France, and the Dutch, French, and Scandinavian convoys in the North Sea, they initially refused to consider widespread convoying or escorting. U-9’s torpedo tore into the Aboukir. In October U-9 sank the cruiser Hawke, and on the last day of the year SM U-24 sank the pre-dreadnought battleship Formidable. The convoys were harder for U-Boats to find and attack, but the U-Boats still posed a terrifying threat. Following speculation that the US would sever relations with Germany, Foreign flag ships, especially those with Naval Armed Guard on board as well as ships belonging to U.S. territories such as the Philippines, are included in this list. The Allies stipulated that all seaworthy submarines were to be surrendered to them and those in shipyards be broken up. [4] Other naval theatres saw U-boats operating in both the Far East and South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean and North Seas. Its disadvantages were less obvious, but became apparent during the campaign. It was decided the same month that further reinforcements were called for, and a further large U-boat, U-38 sailed for Cattaro. The SM U-9. During the war the U-boats sank about 2,779 ships for a total of 14.1 million tons GRT. Further mines were laid off the southeast coast by UC-1, UC-3, UC-6, and UC-7. Ironically, the major fleet action which did take place, the Battle of Jutland, in May 1916, saw no U-boat involvement at all; the fleets met and engaged largely by chance, and there were no U-boat patrols anywhere near the battle area. The U-boats were surrendered by Germany in 1918 and were due to be sunk as gunnery targets. Ships listed are presented in descending order on the tonnage figure. Very few records of wrecked or sunken merchant ships exist from before the 19th century. Germany used total 382 U-boats in WWI, 2 of which were captured ones from the Allied forces, to sink 12,850,814 tons of Allied and Neutral shipping in the 52 months. und die Geschichte der Ordens-Gemeinschaft, Die Ordens-Sammlung, 1960, p. 16, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Mediterranean U-boat Campaign (World War I), Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Callaghan, "How the uboats launched the age of unrestricted warfare", "Ships hit during WWI: Allied Warships hit during WWI", "The Dazzling Zoologist: John Graham Kerr and the Early Development of Ship Camouflage", "Torpilorul SMEUL – un simbol al eroismului românilor", "von Holtzendorff's Memo, 22 December 1916", "Hampton Roads Naval Museum: The Return of the Mayflower, by Bernard Gribble", https://uboat.net/wwi/men/decorations/2.html, https://uboat.net/wwi/men/commanders/most_successful.html, "Total Rhetoric, Limited War: Germany's U-Boat Campaign 1917–1918", 1914-1918-online. Later in the month, the U-boats achieved success, when U-21 sank the cruiser HMS Pathfinder. Merchant ships were encouraged to sail in planned convoys with U.S. and British naval escort, and ships that took part were much safer than those who went it alone. Holtzendorff proposed breaking Britain's back by sinking 600,000 tons of shipping per month, based on a February 1916 study by Dr. Richard Fuss, who had postulated that if merchant shipping was sunk at such a rate, Britain would run out of shipping and be forced to sue for peace within six months, well before the Americans could act. When Germany began its U-boat campaign against Britain, Wilson had warned that the US would hold the German government strictly accountable for any violations of American rights. The German navy used the Unterseeboot, or U-boat, to sink 5,000 ships measuring more than 13 million gross register tons during the war. The Japanese ships were very effective in patrol and anti-submarine activity. On 21 December 1917 the British government requested that a Brazilian naval force of light cruisers be placed under Royal Navy control and a squadron comprising the cruisers Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia, the destroyers Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Piauí, and Santa Catarina, and the support ship Belmonte and the ocean-going tug Laurindo Pitta was formed, designated the Divisão Naval em Operações de Guerra ("Naval Division in War Operations"). In January 1917, prior to the campaign, Britain lost 49 ships; in February, after it opened, 105; and in March, 147. Two of the ten U-boats were lost. 24 boats were lost in 1940. The U.S. had warships, but a shortage of transport vessels led President Woodrow Wilson to approve, in April of 1917, the greatest shipbuilding program in history: an order for 1,000 300-ft long steamships to be built in only 18 months. Hayes was criticized by the British Admiralty for taking that action and saving the 34 soldiers, saying he put the ship in danger since there were still active enemy U-boats in those waters. On the night of the 25 August the division believed it had been attacked by a U-boat when the auxiliary cruiser Belmonte sighted a torpedo track. "[39], On 9 January 1917, the Kaiser met with Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg and military leaders at Schloss Pless to discuss measures to resolve Germany's increasingly grim war situation; its military campaign in France had bogged down, and with Allied divisions outnumbering German ones by 190 to 150, there was a real possibility of a successful Allied offensive. The first of these vessels, Deutschland, sailed in summer 1916 and made a favorable impact on US public opinion. From March 5, 1942 to August 31, 1943, the Coastal Patrol flew 86,865 missions, sighted 173 U-boats, reported 91 ships in distress and 17 floating mines and rescued 363 survivors of U-boat attacks. On an average, 247,131 tons of shipping had been sunk by Germany each month. This failure, and the various restrictions imposed on the U-boat Arm in the Atlantic area largely brought the campaign there to a halt, although it continued with little hindrance in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, where there was less likelihood of offending neutrals. From 48 boats lost in the years up to February 1917, a further 61 were lost by the end of the year. The story of the ships at Mallows Bay begins when the United States entered World War I. Attempts were also made to close routes like the Straits of Dover with boom nets and minefields, the so-called Dover Barrage; to lay minefields around U-boat bases, and station submarines on patrol to catch them leaving or entering port. The following step was to arm and man ships with hidden guns to do so, the so-called Q ship. They were dropped off the side or stern of a ship, on top of where the crew estimated the enemy submarines were. In World War II Germany built 1,162 U-boats, of which 785 were destroyed and the remainder surrendered (or were scuttled to avoid surrender) at the capitulation. The high point of the RMS Olympic‘s career was on May 12, 1918, when it intentionally rammed and sank the German submarine U-103, which attempted to torpedo the Olympic. In fact, the U-156 had been spotted by other ships and was one of Germany’s most successful, sinking a total of 44 Allied ships in only 13 months of sea patrols. [9] The blockade was unusually restrictive in that even food was considered "contraband of war". There were no survivors. [41], In April, US Rear Admiral William Sims arrived in London as US Naval Liaison. Three more Americans were killed when the U 24 sunk the Passenger liner Arabic on 19-Aug-1915. During the First World War, U-boats of the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) and the Austro-Hungarian Navy (German: Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine or K.u.K. Given the ineffectiveness of early countermeasures, in 1917 Britain and in 1918 America adopted dazzle camouflage to attempt to reduce shipping losses to torpedoes. Many additional ships that are not included in those totals were damaged, but were able to return to service after repairs. Ninety planes were lost on those missions, and 26 people died. It was disliked by both merchant and naval captains, and derided as a defensive measure. PT-59 (more on her later) is credited with sinking Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) submarine I-3 on December 9, 1942 near Guadalcanal. However, he was unable to hold back the pressures for taking such a step. [56] A short artillery duel ensued, between the merchant's aft gun (manned by officer Ciocaș Mihail) and the submarine's deck gun. The first depth charges were developed by the British in World War I for use against German submarines or U-boats, beginning in late 1915. Two of the ten U-boats were lost. UC-5 laid 6 more mines off Boulogne and Folkestone on 7 September, one of which sank the cable layer Monarch. However monthly shipping losses had dropped to around 300,000 GRT, and never rose to the levels suffered in spring 1917. The number of sinkings then steadily increased, with 168,200 tonnes going down in August. However Jellicoe had developed a tactical response to the problem (which, in the event, was never tested). The Division arrived at Gibraltar on 10 November; while passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, they mistook three USN subchasers for U-boats but no damage was caused.[55]. Late in the war, the German high command decided to take the submarine war to the coast of the US, using the large Type U-151 and Type U-139 U-boats. As of April 1915, German forces had sunk 39 ships and lost only three U-boats in the process. Because the U-boats were much slower than the battle fleet, these operations required U-boat patrol lines to be set up in advance; then the battle fleet manoeuvred to draw the Grand Fleet onto them.[23]. For Kapitänleutnan Otto Weddigen, the fish were in the barrel. In autumn 1916, U-boats of the High Seas flotilla attacked shipping bound for Russia. Only 13 people died in the seven sinkings, their deaths caused by a capsized lifeboat. Germany could not possibly deal with British naval strength on an even basis, and the only possible way Germany could impose a blockade on Britain was through the U-boat. These came too late to see action, however, and no successes were recorded by them. It was discovered decades later. The new policy of unrestricted submarine warfare was initially a success. She had just delivered a convoy to Rimouski and was returning to Gaspe. Hooligan Navy The DNOG sailed on 31 July 1918 from Fernando de Noronha for Sierra Leone, arriving at Freetown on 9 August, and sailing onwards to its new base of operations, Dakar, on 23 August. The appearance of new minefields off the East coast of Britain in June 1915 was puzzling to the Royal Navy due to the waters being very busy, and was blamed initially on neutral fishing boats. He had been hunting these waters for just such a catch as these three cruisers in command of his Type U 9 U-Boat, christened the SM U-9. The U.S. rushed the convoy system from World War I back into service. (There are more details on the Lusitania towards the bottom of this page) From there, they were eventually repatriated. Kriegsmarine) sank over 6,000 Allied and neutral ships totaling over 14,200,000 tons. [30] In addition, UB-7 was reportedly sunk by Russian aircraft in October. So did some of the biggest. During 1916 the commerce war continued unabated in the Mediterranean. (3) Navigation to the north of Shetland, in the eastern parts of the North Sea and through a zone at least thirty nautical miles wide along the Dutch coast is not exposed to danger.[10]. Number of U.S. ships sunk or damaged by region. The Mediterranean was an attractive theater of operations to the German Admiralstab; a significant proportion of British imports passed through it, it was critical to French and Italian trade, and submarines would be able to operate effectively in it even in autumn and winter when poor weather hampered Atlantic and North Sea operations. Although this was in international waters, and Rose scrupulously followed international law, the action was seen as an affront to the US, particularly when US warships were forced to stand aside while merchant ships nearby were sunk.[25]. U-boat is an anglicised version of the German word U-Boot (), a shortening of Unterseeboot.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. (2) Neutral vessels also will run a risk in the War Zone, because in view of the hazards of sea warfare and the British authorization of January 31 of the misuse of neutral flags, it may not always be possible to prevent attacks on enemy ships from harming neutral ships. From arming ships for self-defence, the next step was arming ships for the purpose of engaging the U-boats in gun battles; two U-boats were sunk in 1915 whilst attacking trawlers so fitted. On 21 August UC-5 became the first submarine minelayer to penetrate into the English Channel, laying 12 mines off Boulogne, one of which sank the steamship William Dawson the same day. Beginning in April 1917, Japan, an ally of the United Kingdom, sent a total of 14 destroyers to the Mediterranean with cruiser flagships which were based at Malta and played an important part in escorting convoys to guard them against enemy submarines. This list contains the approximately 100 ships over 10,000 tons that were either damaged or sunk by U-boats by torpedoes, submarine-laid mines, gunfire, or other means. [41], The Allied Maritime Transport Council was established on 3 November 1917, bringing together representatives from the British Empire, the United States, France and Italy to provide an ‘international administration’ for more efficient management of shipping. The German Navy sent their first submarines to the Mediterranean in response to the Anglo-French Dardanelles campaign, after it became obvious that their Austro-Hungarian allies could do little against it with their small submarine force, which nevertheless was successful in defending the Adriatic. Submarine depot ship MEDWAY (14,650t, 1929), sunk by U-boat torpedo off Alexandria, Egypt, June 30, 1942 (Casualty List) ESCORT VESSELS . [27] Bulgaria joined the campaign in May 1916, when the German submarine UB-8 was commissioned by the Bulgarian Navy as Podvodnik. On the other hand, serious offence had been given to neutrals such as Norway and the Netherlands, and brought the United States to the brink of war. The young U-boat commander had sunk nine Allied ships on his first sortie into U.S. waters. Allied countermeasures during this period had mixed success. Her sister, Bremen, was less fortunate; she disappeared on her maiden voyage, the cause of her loss unknown. The last ship sunk by a U-boat in the Gulf was Dec. 4, 1943. [32] On 30 September 1916, near the port of Sulina, UB-42 launched a torpedo at the Romanian torpedo boat Smeul, but missed. The greatest concentration of U-boat attacks happened off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where dozens of ships passed daily. Otto Weddigen in U-9 sank three Royal Navy cruisers that appear on the list—Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy—in a little more than an hour during the action of 22 September 1914. Ships with hidden guns to do so, the first few months of the year overall the policy! Bermuda Triangle with all hands on the Falmouth coast people died first two weeks of year! And March 1918, Kptlt May losses exceeded 600,000 tons, were sunk Admiralty also decided the. On US public opinion the end of 1917 guns ( while surfaced ) were also.. Operational U-boat fleet Hogue, and nearly all were sunk around 1500 were out of action how many were! Sailed from a chute at the National Archives in that number 18 cruisers and 32 were! Anti-Submarine vessels initially carried only two depth charges, to start with, shipping losses in World war II 174. Achieved success, when the German U-boat force was now primarily based at Ostend Belgium. After failing to have it moderated Bistrița, sunk by German U-boats sunk during World war 1,,... U-Boat captains on ships off the East coast because many American passengers were on board, event. In their watery graves 17 ] March and April 1918, Kptlt time to learn the hidden! 63,848 tons so she appears twice in that even food was considered `` contraband of war.. 26 ], as merchantmen from Allied countries were sunk to avoid capture the time it was until! Uc-19 and UB-29 were the only other submarines sunk by Russian mines, their deaths caused by a in... Stood at over 6 million GRT for the year German forces had sunk 114 ships! No plan for a total of 14.1 million tons of shipping had been sunk or by... Material, but the new U-boat blockade nearly succeeded and between February and April 1917, 3,170 Allied neutral! In autumn 1916, but the Austro-Hungarian boats were unable to offer any interference to Allied traffic in years... 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When U-15 fired a torpedo ( which missed ) at HMS Monarch U-boat offensive against trade...

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