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German U-boat WWI Blockade Runners

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Sep 2008 22:16    Onderwerp: German U-boat WWI Blockade Runners Reageer met quote









The Germans also investigated use of the submarine as a blockade runner, in the form of the U-boat Deutschland, which was developed with private funds, operated by a German shipping company and commanded by Paul KŲnig.

At 1,860 tons displacement the vessel was able to deliver 750 tons of dense cargo to the US, and return with vital supplies to Germany right through the British blockade. It repeated this performance on a voyage to Latin America before the General Staff decided to declare unrestricted submarine warfare, causing the US to become unfriendly to more visits.

The Deutschland was unarmed and had a wide beam to provide space for cargo. She managed to slip through the British blockade with a cargo of dyes, chemicals, and precious stones, arriving in Baltimore harbor in July 1916 after four weeks at sea. The voyage was a remarkable propaganda coup, and profitable as well, with the U-boat returning to Germany with a valuable cargo of nickel, tin, and crude rubber.

One interesting thing about the Deutschlandís voyages is that they were carried out, for the greater part, on the surface. It seems that the low visibility of the submarines themselves kept too many eyes from spotting them while surfaced, and the ability to submerge was rarely used.

Another mercantile submarine, Bremen, departed for America, but disappeared en route, apparently sunk by a mine north of the Orkneys. The Bremen had been escorted by the conventional submarine U-53. Some of U-53ís ballast tanks had been converted to carry extra fuel to allow it to make the trip. However, the commander of U-53, Lieutenant Hans Rose, decided to demonstrate just how fearsome Germanyís U-boats were by sinking three British, one Norwegian, and one Dutch merchantmen just outside US territorial waters. He apparently meant to intimidate the Americans, but instead largely succeeded in antagonising them.

The Deutschland made another merchant trip in the fall of 1916, making landfall in New London, Connecticut, but after that the merchant voyages were halted. Deutschland was given two torpedo tubes and a deck gun, and the remaining six in the class under construction were finished as warships. The seven were designated U-151 through U-157, with Deutschland being renamed U-155.

http://www.colorantshistory.org/SubmarineDeutschland.html
http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/u-boats.htm
http://warandgame.wordpress.com
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