Fighting submarines “against all” (and basically struggle with the poor merchant ships), turned around after only a few months after the outbreak of the First world war. For four years, “the human massacre” of German submarines tried several types of weapons, and almost all very good indeed. On truly fateful for the British cruising fleet the use of torpedoes we have already spoken. However, the number of deadly “fish” on Board “U-Baotou” was very small. Accordingly, if their commanders could only use this kind of weapon, the number sunk in one campaign ships could not exceed a torpedo ammo, then there are 8-10 pieces.
However, it is worth remembering, for example, the highest scoring submarine of those times, Lothar von Arnaud de La Perriere. This man with the beautiful French name, however, was German, born in German Posen (now Poznan, Poland) and served in the Kaiser’s Navy. And not just served. His score is number 194 of a merchant ship with a total capacity of more than 450 thousand tons (some sources indicate on one ship less) and two smaller warships with a total displacement of 2500 tons. The main area of action was the Mediterranean sea, where Perriere has become a real storm of navigation. As example, the fifth hike this modern “Corsair”, which became the fourteenth for his boat “U-35”. Less than four weeks, from July 26 to August 20 1916, he sank 54 ships with a total displacement of 90 540 tons! The submarine spent only four torpedoes, one of which passed.
The result was achieved mainly due to the 88 guns and, of course, talent commander and excellent training of the gunner, one of the best in the Navy, which Arnaud de La Perriere by hook or by crook lured to his underwater craft. Of course, even in the presence of overmasters this “magician” shells are not enough for nearly a hundred victims. Part small schooners sank Subversion packages, but the main work was performed that is a regular weapon.
In General, the solution set is quite powerful “artillery” of the submarine taken by German Admiral-staff before the war, was very successful. After a temporary failure in March, 1915, from the first attempts of novel unrestricted submarine warfare (mostly for fear of entering the war on the side of the allies), their commanders had to look it on his guns. After the conduct of a trade war, at least in some accordance with the international rules still had to surface and stop the ship before sinking. To expend precious in the campaign a few torpedoes were presented in this case, it is absolutely a waste of time. But to land on Board the prize, and to lay explosive charges without presenting a significant argument was a risky business. However, this argument could easily become a solid gun. It would help to talk some sense into “the obstinate”, trying to get away. It is the combination of fire and duress “merchant” to stop and let yourself sink subversive cartridge and operated de La Perriere. It should be noted that with such a huge amount was put to the bottom of the goals he managed not to dirty himself by truly superhuman things “famous”, some German submarine commanders. He always gave the team time to launch boats and leave the ship. Interestingly, the famous submariner and served from 1915 in the same rank of captain-Lieutenant throughout the war, however, was marked by high awards, including two grades of the Iron cross.
Shopping submarine “Deutschland”, Germany, 1916
Built at the shipyard in Flensburg. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement overwater/underwater – 1515/1830 T. Dimensions: length 65,0 m, width of 8.9 m, draught 5,3 m. hull Material – steel. Immersion depth up to 55 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine capacity of 800 HP and 2 electric motors with a power of 800 HP Speed overwater/underwater – 12,4/5,2 bonds. There was no weapons. Load capacity up to 800 tonnes, Crew – 29 people. In 1916 – 1917, built 3 units: “Deutschland”, “Oldenburg” and “Bremen”. Actually used only the first one. All 3 converted to submarine cruisers of the “U-151” in 1917
Submarine “U-140”, “Captain-Lieutenant Weddingen”, Germany, 1918
Built at the shipyard “Germaniawerft”. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement overwater/underwater – 1930/2485 T. Dimensions: length 92,0 m, width 9.1 m draught 5.3 metres case Material – steel. Immersion depth up to 75 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine capacity of 3300 HP and 2 electric motors with a power of 1700 HP Speed overwater/underwater – 15/7,5 ties. Armament: six 500 mm torpedo tubes (4 in nose, 2 in the stern, 19 torpedoes), two 150-mm guns. Armor the flow of shells – 25 mm cutting 30 mm Crew: 66 people plus 20 people from the composition of the prize-winning teams. In 1918 built 3 units: “U-139” – “U-141”. “U-139” transferred to France, where he served until 1935, under the name “Alban”, “U-140” was sunk as a target in the United States in 1921, “U-141” ceded to Britain and scrapped in 1923
Submarine “U-151” (the former trading boat “Oldenburg”). Germany, 1917
Built at the shipyard in Flensburg. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement overwater/ underwater – 1515/1875 T. Dimensions: length 65,0 m, width of 8.9 m, draught 5,3 m. hull Material – steel. Immersion depth up to 55 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine capacity of 800 HP and 2 electric motors with a power of 800 HP Speed overwater/underwater – 12/5,2 uz. Armament: two 500-mm torpedo tubes in the nose, 18 torpedoes), two 150-mm and two 88-mm guns. The crew of 56 persons and 20 persons from the composition of the prize-winning teams. In 1916 and 1918, built and rebuilt from trade 7 units; “U-151” – “U-157”. “U-155” (formerly “Deutschland”) after the war given to the British and scrapped, “U-154” and “U-156” sank during towing for scrapping; “U-151” and “U-157” handed France and also dismantled in 1921, the rest died in the war
His (and only his) example, of course, testified that the German concept of the submarine as “diving gun” in the early and mid-war it had the right to exist and gave excellent results. But the enemy was gradually taken steps against such methods. They were court-trap disguised as a harmless “merchants”, but equipped with masked guns and trained personnel from among the sailors. The boat rose to the surface, ready to plant “invaders” with disruptive patrons or to flush prey from their guns, when the cloaking shields suddenly dropped and the victim was transformed into a hunter. Although the success of the pitfalls of this kind was quite modest, from surfacing and using their own artillery commanders of the submarines began to abstain, or at least before this “second thoughts”. But more importantly, towards the end of the war the allies, primarily the British, began to establish gun polls on all vessels, more or less suitable for this purpose. Initially, the number of armed “traders” in the hundreds, then thousands. Although the training of gunners, of course, much inferior to the skill of the gunner prize de La Perriere, but the risk of getting a fatal projectile from the first vessel and, at best, to stop the military campaign deters many divers.
Solutions in addition to the transition to the traditional weapons – torpedoes – could be several. One of them was to increase the power of artillery “Corsair” so that it was not the teeth not only usually outdated the gun for transport, but the same “trap”. For respectable guns (especially two or more) was required and a very solid sub. But the submarine could be used not only in the British Isles (where, moreover, the British began to take the first anti-submarine measures, albeit sluggish), but also in more distant oceanic waters – there to organize resistance seemed scarcely possible. Moreover, that practice is long and extremely long hikes submarines the Germans had. Although initially, oddly enough, surprisingly, peaceful.
We are talking about “trading” the submarines “Deutschland”, which was specially built to break the British trade embargo. It was a large (around 1870 tons submerged), and, as it should be “merchants” more clumsy ships with a very wide (almost 9 m) casing that formed quite an extensive cargo bays. Surface speed approximately matches that of conventional vehicles, and underwater was quite small. It was assumed that most of the way, the sub-transport will take place on the surface, plunging only in the most dangerous situations.
Exactly the case and went. Parent “Deutschland”, hastily built and prepared to sail in the summer of 1916, went on a long journey to the United States from Bremen. The journey began with great tricks: boat stood off the island “Helgoland”, the whole nine days. The Germans feared that its exit from the port may notice the British. For further security the submarine rounded the British Isles from the North and then very calmly crossed the ocean, moving all the time on the surface. In the end, she arrived in Baltimore, breaking the 3800 miles in two weeks. (It is worth noting that this was only a small part of a huge maximum range without refueling is equal to 25 thousand miles!) Home “Deutschland” also returned quite well, bringing a whole heap of very scarce materials, including 350 tons of rubber, 340 tons of Nickel and 93 tons of tin. Successful was the second hike. However, “successful underwater trade” was broken. Of U.S. relations with Germany and threatened to enter the war on the allied side.
Whereas the civilian “merchants” immediately began to remake the warriors. “Deutschland” in February 1917 was rebuilt in the faceless numbered “U-155”, set on a wide deck six torpedo tubes and a pair of 150-mm guns, removed from the battleship “Zähringen”, but in addition a few 88-millimetrovogo – indeed, a whole battery. It was followed by ready-made “Bremen” and only started construction “Oldenburg”. In addition, the same project built four more units, from the beginning intended for combat work.
They all received the normal 500-mm torpedo tubes built into the hull, but a formidable pair of 150-millimetrovogo preserved. These guns, as well as a huge supply of torpedoes, and 18 pieces on 2 devices, plus virtually unlimited cruising range, and were the very advantages that the newly minted submarine was preparing to present to the enemy. Interestingly, part of an impressive team of 76 sailors included 20 people who were supposed to be used in the composition of teams a prize (captured) ships.
So, for the appearance on the scene of a mighty (and, of course, very expensive) submarines, everything was ready. Or almost everything: the only obstacle remained powerful engines, required to achieve high surface velocities (and need) for such raiders. However, in August 1916, when the “Deutschland” just returned from my first shopping trip, the corresponding “project 46” and issued the order for the first series of three units, “U-139” – “U-141”. However, because of this, it was necessary to defer the construction of eight from the “mobilization” of boats, so the reasonableness of this decision remained questionable even for the Germans themselves.
Although the cruising range submarines of special construction compared to the “mobilized merchants” “halved”, it still made up more than 12,000 miles. The submarine even had a slight reservation: the cabin and the supply of ammunition to the guns was covered by 25 – 30 mm sheets. Displacement has grown to almost 2500 tons submerged; depth of these “monsters” could dive to 75 m. it is not Surprising that such really large ships received, in addition to numbers, the names of their own – in honor of the legendary submarine – Weddigen and Swiger.
Underwater frontier “UC-1”, Germany, 1915
Built by “Vulkan” in Hamburg. Type of construction – single -. Displacement overwater/underwater – 168/183 T. Dimensions: length 34,0 m, case diameter of 3.21 m, draft 3.0 m hull Material – steel. Immersion depth up to 50 m Engine: 1 diesel engine capacity of 90 HP and 1 electric motor power 175 HP Speed overwater/underwater – 6,2/5,2 bonds. Armament – 12 min. Crew – 14 people In 1915 built 15 units: “UC-1” – “UC-15”
Underwater frontier type “IP II”, Germany, 1916
It was built by the firm “Blom und Voss” in Hamburg. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement overwater/underwater – 415/500 T. Dimensions: length of 49.4 m, width 5.2 m, draft 3,7 m Material of hull steel. Immersion depth up to 50 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine capacity of 500 HP and 2 electric motor power 460 HP Speed overwater/underwater – 11,5/7 uz. Armament: three 500-mm torpedo tubes (2 at bow and 1 at stern, 7 torpedoes), one 88-mm gun, 18 min. Crew – 26 persons, In 1916 – 1918 built 64 units: “EC-16” – “IP-79”
Underwater frontier “U-75” type “S”, Germany, 1916
Built by “Vulkan” in Hamburg. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement overwater/underwater – 755/830 T. Dimensions: length of 56.8 m, width 5.9 m, draft 4.9 m hull Material – steel. Immersion depth up to 50 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine capacity of 900 HP and 2 electric motors with a power of 800 HP Speed overwater/underwater – 10,5/7,5 bonds. Armament: two external 500-mm torpedo tubes (one in nose and one in the stern, 4 torpedoes), one 88-mm gun, 34 mines. The crew of 32 people. In 1915 – 1917 built 10 units: the “U-71” – “U-80”. Survived the war only 3 units, of which only “79”, renamed “Victor revel”, he served until 1933 in the French Navy; “U-71 and U-80” scrapped
On that the appetite of fans of the “submarine artillery” has not stopped. The development of the project 46 underwater armored steel (!) cruiser project 47, which the Germans had time only to design, but never managed to build. Their tonnage exceeds 4000 tons, armament was four 150-mm and two 88-mm guns. However, this “Goliath” was not a limit of dreams. One of the supporters of boats of large displacement, a University Professor Flamm has developed the project of the submarine to 7,000 tons, and also partially armored and armed with two 21 cm guns in the towers and four 88-mm guns, and ten machine – two on deck, four fore and four aft with the total reserve of torpedoes in 40K. The range of this “monster” was intended for 25,000 miles and a maximum surface speed of 22 KTS. Indeed, the pop-up out of the water “monster” could threaten not only the brave captain of a merchant ship, in the best case armed with pathetic pushonkoj, but to compete with the escort, up to the small cruiser. However, it is equally clear that such “monsters” could cost a lot of money and effort during project implementation. But their effectiveness is unlikely that would pay for the costs. This is evident in the results of the steps actually involved in the war submarines. On account of “the founder of a dynasty”, former “Deutschland” to the end of the war there were 42 of the sunken vessel. A lot, but very far from the records. And the rest of the submarines proved himself and is very modest, besides having suffered loss: “U-154” and “U-156” managed to go down soon after commissioning and the first one torpedoed by British submarine “E-35”.
A much more reasonable 12 units of the “big mobilization” of the project. With a submerged displacement of somewhat more than 1500 t they had six torpedo tubes and a pair of 105-mm guns, developing on the surface of about 17 knots. This type is largely equivalent to the cruising submarines for the Second world war, seemed very promising. But, fortunately for the allies, to put into operation the Germans failed.
So, it is highly controversial was the fate of the artillery submarines. However, guns as the main weapon of the submarine, besides traditional torpedoes, there was another contender. We are talking about the mines. Nothing new in this idea seems to be not there: many of the early boats of the nineteenth century still involved the use of various types of charges that put sometimes very tricky ways. But attempts to use the standard mines for raising the booms to belong to a later time. And clear priority in the implementation of the project of the underwater mintage belongs to Russia and is associated with the name of the constructor Naletova and his offspring, “Crab”, about which we still tell.
But the “Crab” was built a very long time, and actually the first ready for action underwater minelayer appeared in Germany. It was a definite impromptu, frankly, not all are successful. It should be noted, that his design solutions for a long time determined some features of the German submarines of this type. As the basis was chosen small boats of the type UB (project 34). Moreover, the project is based on their layers (project-35A) appeared almost simultaneously with the development of the “prototype”. Already in the autumn of 1914 was followed by an order for two units. Engineers and their leader, chief designer of the project, Werner, had too little time to study different ways of laying mines, so chose the simplest. In the bow of the hull up to the deckhouse placed aft six inclined shafts. Each of them was placed a pair of specially designed cylindrical mines UC/120. Directly from the mines they were staged, and the staging was carried out on the go. Mines just freed from the restraint of their retainers and under its own weight slipped from mine. When hitting the bottom was given an anchor and the mine floated at a set depth. This is the so-called method of production. At least the “mechanics”, no additional movements of hazardous goods, the independence of the “stuffing” of the mines from each other. Simple and effective, while at the same time very dangerous. It is clear that if a mine will be on cocked and begin not the time to float or just stuck in the mine at the time of exit, the boat could face the death. Plus, significant problems have arisen in connection with the provision of water leakage in the joints of the mine shafts and the hull. But such obstacles had to overcome, and very quickly. Boats like the admirals at the stage of drawings. Just a month after the first order the German shipyard has informed that they will receive an additional and very significant contracts. However,all of the shipyard, which had experience in building submarines, at that time were overloaded with work. The Ministry of the Navy had to seek the services of the shipyard Vulkan of Stettin, earlier submarines is not engaged. She got straight on 10 of the 15 units is I, as designated boat-frontier. The order for the remaining five received the “Weser”. Events unfolded with a “cosmic” speed. It was assumed that the construction and debugging of such a fundamentally new ship will take six months, but the first unit was commissioned within 5 months. Even a novice “Volcano” was able to withstand a very hard time.
Further, the fate of the first submarine of mensagem reminded that their torpedo “sisters” UB: disassembly into parts, transportation by rail to the ports of Belgium or the Austrian Floor Assembly and at sea. It is worth noting that at the time of entry into operation of submarine craft, no one could predict what role they will play in the war, and will play if they do. Even their own crews are highly skeptical of the capabilities of their submarines.
The first campaigns showed that all doubts in vain. “IP-1” in two outlets in July 1915 to the shores of Britain put 24 mines, which killed the destroyer, patrol boat and two merchant ships. A good “harvest”. Especially because hazard statement min submerged was limited only to March to the place of the fence from him. It was all a lot simpler than tracking down targets and sinking her carefully aimed torpedo or surfacing for firing from a gun Board.
It is clear that in the case of underwater minefields there is no question of “proper” conduct of war was not. The commanders of the submarines often could not accurately determine the place where they dumped their deadly cargo, even if I wanted to do it. And mine died the first court with a variety of goods, both military and purely peaceful. For example, in the mines of the same “is-1” in 1916, was blown up and sank the neutral Dutch steamer “Konigin Wilhelmina”, while in England one million pounds sterling in payment for goods.
Suffered and the Directors. “Is-2” back from your second campaign, and the British, attracted by the strong explosion found the remains of a submarine, obviously, become a victim of his own cargo. But success was much more. One of the first layers, “IP-4” made during the war, 73 military campaign, putting a total of 876 minutes they killed nearly 40 ships. And “IP-6” easily surpassed these figures by putting in 88 yields a more deadly 1050 cylinders. Her combat score reaches five dozen victims. Only an 89th hike was for the little chokes fatal; rather, it also exploded their mines.
After the type UB I “mine changes” and subjected to enhanced coastal type UB II that gave rise to its defensive counterpart – IS II. Larger sizes of these double-hulled boats made it possible to improve the durability, although, of course, the explosion of their own mines to make they could not. The number of mines has not changed, but a higher body allowed to place in each of them two, and three mines that brought the total number to 18 pieces each. In addition, a very important improvement was the installation on them torpedo tubes. Let their number was inferior to the pure torpedo boats (two in the nose and one in the stern, with a margin of seven torpedoes), but now the submarine-layers, “unloading” their deadly “toys”, instead of sad returning to base could do “normal” activities. Not only from the water: small boats began to install first 88-mm guns and even 105-mm. However, due to the four mines of 18. So the submarines type the IP II to become truly universal underwater hunters, the owners of all three types of weapons.
Although Mina, especially, put a blind in a submerged position, could not choose their prey, sometimes under her cob a very important production. As example is the tragic story of the armored cruiser “Hampshire” and field Marshal Lord Kitchener. British war Minister in the summer of 1916, decided to personally go to Russia to see the situation directly on site and to establish began to give the first cracks in the cooperation. With Kitchener and his small staff went to 10 million pounds in gold bars, neatly Packed in metal boxes. In any case, it was considered so far. Allocated for travel “Hampshire” went to sea in bad weather, so heinous that the accompanying destroyers behind. In addition, I had to change the original chosen route and go under the protection of the Islands. And there it was waiting for mine, put “U-75”, one of the representatives of rather rare and not particularly successful type minelayers type are compared. Lowered all boats were overturned waves, got to the shore just half a dozen people from about six and a half hundred. It is clear that the elderly field Marshal was not among them.
In the 30-ies of the last century, the cruiser found at the bottom of the North sea, but to raise his gold and failed. However, it’s not about the money, although the amount claimed was equal to the cost of 3 -4 of the latest battleships. Many historians consider this episode submarine war is one of the most important, the belief that Kitchener, who enjoyed great respect in all circles of Russian society, from the Royal court to the liberals, could have prevented the events at the front, which caused in the end a revolutionary ending of the Romanov Empire. This, of course, speculation, but the role of this event still should not be underestimated.
And in 1917 for all types of German submarines opened a completely new perspective, which in the beginning of the war no one, neither the allies nor the Germans themselves, not even thought. Success in the struggle with the navigation in a brief period of 1915, when commanders received permission to “drown”, the gradual loss of the war in General prompted the German leadership on the adoption of how important and cruel decision to begin unrestricted submarine campaign. This meant that the theater of war became the sea, and objectives -primarily, and almost exclusively commercial vessels. They were allowed to sink without warning, preferably torpedoes, not rising to the surface. If the prize trade war, the crucial role was played by the goods of the victim, now the main criterion was the tonnage. A specially created Committee under the leadership of von Holzendorf calculated that if the subs will drown the 600 thousand tons the first four months, and in the future even though “only” 500 thousand t in a month, then six months later the British Empire, the main ship owner and carrier, she is now a sworn enemy, will lose 40% of its merchant fleet. And after a couple of months England will not be able to feed its people and will be forced to curtail its military industry and to withdraw from the front of the army. The beginning of the campaign was assumed in February 1917, and by September the Germans hoped to win.
The first months of the campaign was truly devastating. German “U-Boote” was able to achieve the set objectives. In February 1917, was sunk by more than 500 thousand tons of British, allied and neutral tonnage, and in March of the loss of close to the required 600 thousand tons despite the fact that on 1 February, the first day of unrestricted submarine warfare on the Western approaches to England, there were only 5 units. So, in just two months at the bottom of the matter as much tonnage, as for the whole previous year! (It should be noted that casualty figures are markedly different in different sources, but the trend everywhere is preserved.) Paid for it the price was ridiculous: in each of the months, the Germans lost a total of four submarines.
Then – even worse for the allies. In March, according to some estimates, boats were sunk 885 thousand tons, in April, the loss of tonnage has reached an all-time high in more than a million tons. For a month of unlimited war as much as for the most successful (1916) the year before. In the course went all sorts of weapons; although the allies initially hoped that the transition to the torpedo attacks without warning and ascent (the most safe boat type of attack) will reduce losses, reliance on it was unreasonable. In January 1918 for every 30 ships sunk by torpedoes, had 80 ships destroyed by artillery in such a productive April, the picture changed: 60 vessels of a hundred were sunk by torpedoes. But still the final result looked overwhelming.
Underwater frontier IP-74 (is II) under the French flag
Submarine U-155 (ex-trading the submarine “Deutschland”)
Two 150-mm guns on the deck of submarine U-155
The allies, especially Britain, had to find the antidote really catastrophic “underwater attack”. It was found primarily in the system of convoys. Grouped ships under the protection of warships was quite difficult to attack with artillery, and with stealthy torpedo attack from the water only suffered first “the shopkeeper”. The rest had time to turn away, leaving to deal with her submarine escort. And this would be the best for the boat case. Particularly important convoys, made up of high-speed vessels, carried very small losses. As example we can cite the transportation of American troops to Europe. It was held in the crucial months of spring and summer of 1918, and the monthly transported about 300 thousand people. By early July, managed lossless transport across the ocean more than a million American soldiers, and the whole transportation of two-million army was accompanied by the loss of only two transports and the death of 738 people, a little over three-hundredths of a percent.
Failed “total underwater warfare” against the United States. The only attempt of the Germans to break there shipping was to send five submarines-cruisers to the coast of America, starting in may 1918. Here they seemed to be the full expanse, because the Americans had not even thought about the introduction of convoys, but for the most part the prey of the Germans became small coasting steamers and sailing vessels. Troop transports they are not found, and the only large ship that died as a result of their actions, turned out to be hopelessly outdated armored cruiser “San Diego”, hit a mine July 19.
Means of detecting enemy underwater anti-submarine weapons while they were still in their infancy, but slowly progressed. The first hydrophones and depth charges gradually did the business. The death toll of the submarines increased, and their tonnage sunk gradually decreased monthly. (Although in June appeared the next “million” surge of loss, but now it has become irregular.) However, England survived, and even without any casualties for the population, the army and industry. After all losses were recovered: now, all decided by the ratio of the speed of construction of new ships of the allies and the “Have-Baotou” – the Germans. Here the first managed to decisively turn the tide in their favor. First of all, due to the powerful shipbuilding industry of the United States, rivet a new potential victim, as pies. The production of ships increased, while the success of the Germans declined, falling in the last month of the war “only” to 300 thousand tons At the same time, in September 1918 was destroyed 10 submarines, that is, as much as went to the bottom in the previous two months.
Thus, all decided the most important factor that prevented the German submarines to win. The speed of their construction in an amount necessary to maintain the pace of total submarine war, were insufficient. In 1915, when was the first attempt to begin unrestricted submarine warfare, the calculations showed that Germany’s success requires to be in service not less than 220 units. However, to achieve this failed. The maximum that managed to achieve the Germans, is 170 boats who were formally in the Navy at the same time. Did not help even extremely rational methods of construction. With the outbreak of the First world war in August 1914 until the end of the fleet the Kaiser received a total of 340 units. The lion’s share of production accounted for private firms. Of these nearly three hundred and fifty submarines, more than 250 have put “the big three shipbuilding”: “Blom und Voss” from Hamburg, “A. G. Bezer” from Bremen and “Germaniawerft”, which over time have spread and were not only in Kiel, but also Bremerhaven and Flensburg. Another 59 units had at the expense stalinskogo “Volcano”. As you can notice, all this – “the traders”; the state enterprise in Danzig was able to issue only 25 submarines -only 7% of the total. Which is not surprising: the shipyards, the Navy had a lot of work on the construction of surface ships.
However, these seemingly impressive figures remained largely a “paper”. Boats formally joined the fleet, but the number of submarines ready (and participating) for fighting (the Germans called them “frontbottom”), was noticeably less. By the beginning of unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917, such had only 111 units. It was believed that at the same time at sea was only one of the three “frontbottom”; another boat made the trip to the place or back, and the third took inventory and conducted repairs. Thus, even in the midst of an overall campaign to combat positions at sea were just over 30 submarines. In fact, a powerful German industry was never able to meet the needs of the fleet. And long before the end of the war. After all, between the order and full combat readiness, anyway, took about a year and a half. None of the boats ordered after may 1916, in the fighting of participation did not accept. Even to finish them, the Germans in fact did not, for example, 12 ordered in the may boats (U-127 U – 138) in the system includes only two, in June and August 1918. Already completely useless was “shots after him.” Management of diving was succeeded in December, 1917, to place orders initially for 100 boats, and then another 200. But they are all combat service and have not seen. Meanwhile, from January 1 to August 1, 1918 from the Navy out of 60 submarines and were commissioned only 56. The firm promised to deliver for 16 boats monthly, and then in the near future is to increase this number to 20 to 30 a month, but it was too late. In the end, Germany ended up with a monstrous number ordered during the war submarines -810 pieces, of which less than half, only 372 were completed, armed and equipped. By the time the armistice 266 units were built, and in ports and the campaign were only 169 boats, and some of them were not exactly in “front-line” condition.
We can say that the first in the history of unlimited submarine war ended “in a stalemate”. For various reasons the Germans lost 203 boats and five thousand sailors. At first glance, a lot. However, just look at the losses and resources expended allies, to think that their victory was a Pyrrhic one. The tonnage sunk by German submarines during the war, more than 13 million (!) tons, approximately equal to the entire trading tonnage in existence in England before the war. We went to the bottom almost 6 thousand ships. And that’s not counting more than a “pendant” of warships. 10 battleships (the last of them was English, with the significant title “Britain”, put on bottom of 9 November 1918, the “UB-50”, and in the most protected area of the Mediterranean sea near Gibraltar, marching to the same under the protection of two destroyers) and 20 cruisers, 31 destroyers, 3 gunboats, 6 minelayers, 3 monitors, 10 submarines, 22 of the auxiliary cruiser, 34 minesweepers and a patrol vessel, 15 vessels-traps and 1 the submarine base – a total of 156 units have also become victims of the “Have-Baotou”.
No less impressive look and so-called “passive losses”. The ASW fight went all British trawlers, all auxiliary vessels, submarines and two thirds of the total number of destroyers. In the waters surrounding the island of great Britain, and in the Mediterranean sea were about 3000 support vessels and destroyers; therefore, each German submarine distracted the nearly 30 units from the fleet of the enemy. All in all, the convoy system and of continuous patrolling and trawling attracted about 5,000 auxiliary ships with the teams in a quarter of a million people. And arming of merchant ships took about 13 000 guns and 65,000 troops – their servants. And all this to counter the threat from the approximately 16 000 German submariners involved in the Kaiser’s Navy during the war. It must be noted that the submarine war turned out to be very economical and highly effective means of influencing the enemy. I dread to think what the loss would make this “a flock of steel predators” if military action was delayed for a long time. However, Germany was defeated not only on the battlefields but also in the economy. The impact and consequences of the British naval blockade, and exhausting struggle on two fronts.
So, the submarines, named for the first time “Wonder weapons” -Wunderwaffe, such weapons in the First world war it did not. But the fleets, and the world became fundamentally different: not to take into account the “threat from the depths”, which just four years ago nobody even thought became impossible.
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