World War One: The Kaiser’s Wolves – Germany’s U-Boat Menace

U-Boat is the English version of the German word U-Boot or Unterseeboot, and refers to naval submarines operated by Germany in both World Wars.

Theoretically Germanys’ U-Boats could not have been effectively used against capital ships i.e. battleships of an enemy nation but against the economy of an enemy state. The primary targets of Germany’s submarines were the merchant convoys bringing food, material goods and war supplies to Great Britain.

The difference between U-Boat and Submarine in the English language is well known, whereas in Germany it is unknown as U-Boat refers to any type of submarine.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, all major navies included submarines in their fleets. Despite this,Transport Deutschland the roles of these primitive craft were questioned by leading political and military figures. Therefore the full potential of the submarine was not encouraged to grow and the submarine services were resigned to coastal duties. The German exception to the submarine relegation was the Deutschland Class of Merchant U-Boats. These submarines were each 315 feet long and had two large cargo compartments. In addition, these submarines could carry 700 tons of cargo, travel at 12-13 knots on the surface and 7 knots submerged. The Deutschland inevitably became the U-155 when fitted with torpedoes and deck guns, and with seven similar submarines, served in a combat capacity in the latter part of World War One. To compare, the standard submarine of World War One measured just over 200 feet in length and displaced less than 1,000 tons on the surface.

 

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