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Open Access Articles- Top Results for SM U-20 (Germany)

SM U-20 (Germany)

For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-20.
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Postcard depicting U-20 sinking RMS Lusitania.

<tr> <th height="30" style="background-color:#B0C4DE;text-align:center;vertical-align:middle;font-size:110%;">Career (German Empire)</th> <th style="background-color:#B0C4DE;text-align:center;vertical-align:middle;font-size:110%;">100x35px</th> </tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Name:</td><td> U-20</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Ordered:</td><td> 25 November 1910</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Builder:</td><td> Kaiserliche Werft Danzig</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Cost:</td><td> 2,450,000 Goldmark</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Yard number:</td><td> 14</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Laid down:</td><td> 7 November 1911</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Launched:</td><td> 18 December 1912</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Commissioned:</td><td> 5 August 1913</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Fate:</td><td> Grounded 4 November 1916 and destroyed by her crew the next day.</td></tr> <tr> <th colspan="2" height="30" style="background-color:#B0C4DE;text-align:center;vertical-align:middle;font-size:110%;">General characteristics </th></tr>Template:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramline

Service record
Part of: Imperial German Navy:
III Flottilla
1 Aug 1914 - 4 Nov 1916
Commanders: Kptlt Otto Dröscher[1]
1 Aug 1914 – 15 Dec 1914
Kptlt Walther Schwieger[2]
16 Dec 1914 – 5 Nov 1916[3]
Operations: 7 patrols
Victories: 36 merchant ships sunk (144,300 [[Gross register tonnage#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.GRT]]), including RMS Lusitania.

SM U-20 was a German Type U 19 U-boat built for service in the Imperial German Navy. She was launched on 18 December 1912, and commissioned on 5 August 1913. During World War I, she took part in operations around the British Isles. The U-20 became infamous following her sinking of the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915, an act that dramatically reshaped the course of World War I.

Career

On 7 May 1915, U-20 was patrolling off the southern coast of Ireland under the command of Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger. Three months earlier, on 4 February, the Germans had established a U-boat blockade around Great Britain and Ireland and had declared any vessel in it a legitimate target.

At about 13:40 Schwieger saw a vessel approaching through his periscope. From a distance of about Script error: No such module "convert". Schwieger noted she had four funnels and two masts making her a liner of some sort. He recognised her as the Lusitania, a vessel in the British Fleet Reserve, and fired a single torpedo. It hit on the starboard side, almost directly below the bridge. Following the torpedo's explosion, the liner was shattered by a second explosion, possibly caused by either coal dust or a boiler explosion, so large Schwieger himself was surprised. In 18 minutes, Lusitania had sunk to the bottom, where she lies today in Script error: No such module "convert". of water, with 1,198 casualties.

Fifteen minutes after he had fired his torpedo, Schwieger noted in his war diary:

"It looks as if the ship will stay afloat only for a very short time. [I gave order to] dive to Script error: No such module "convert". and leave the area seawards. I couldn't have fired another torpedo into this mass of humans desperately trying to save themselves."

There was at the time and remains now a great controversy about the sinking, over whether Lusitania was smuggling contraband war material to England and over the number of torpedoes Schwieger fired.

Before he got back to the docks at Wilhelmshaven for refuelling and resupply, the United States had formally protested to Berlin against the brutality of his action.

Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote in the margins of the American note, "Utterly impertinent", "outrageous", and "this is the most insolent thing in tone and bearing that I have had to read since the Japanese note last August." Nevertheless, to keep America out of the war, in June the Kaiser was compelled to rescind unrestricted submarine warfare and require all passenger liners be left unmolested.

File:U-Boote Kiel 1914.jpg
U-20 and her fleetmates in Kiel harbour, 1914

On 4 September 1915 Schwieger was back at sea with U-20, Script error: No such module "convert". off the Fastnet Rock in the south Irish Sea. This rock held one of the key navigational markers in the western ocean, the Fastnet Lighthouse, and any ships passing in and out of the Irish Sea would be within visual contact of it.

RMS Hesperian was now beginning a new run outward bound from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal, with a general cargo, also doubling as a hospital ship, and carrying about 800 passengers. She was attacked off the Fastnet, a landmark islet in the north Atlantic, off the south-west coast of Ireland. The "History of the Great War: The Merchant Navy, Vol. II", by Hurd, reads:

"Only a few days before, Count Bernsdorff, the German Ambassador, had assured the United States government that passenger liners will not be sunk without warning and without ensuring the safety of the non combatants aboard providing that the liners do not try to escape or offer resistance."

This time, Schwieger was received with official disgust upon his return to Wilhelmshaven. Ordered to report to Berlin to explain himself, he was required to apologise for having sunk another passenger liner in defiance of a direct order not to do so again. He complained about his treatment in Berlin thereafter.

After his death in 1917, Schwieger was forgiven in Berlin. He received Germany's highest decoration, the Pour le Mérite, having sunk 190,000 tons of shipping.

Fate and legacy

File:U 20 grounded Denmark 1916.JPG
U-20 grounded on the Danish coast in 1916. Torpedoes had been exploded in the bow to destroy the ship

On 4 November 1916, U-20 grounded on the Danish coast south of Vrist, a little north of Thorsminde after suffering damage to its engines. Her crew attempted to destroy her with explosives the following day, however succeed only on damaging the boat's bow (see picture) but making it effectively inoperative as a war ship.[4] The boat remained on the beach until 1925 when the Danish government blew it up in a "spectacular explosion".[5] The Danish navy removed the deck gun and made it unserviceable by cutting holes in vital parts. The gun was kept in the naval stores at Holmen in Copenhagen for almost 80 years.[citation needed] The conning tower was removed and placed on the front lawn of the local museum Strandingsmuseum St. George Thorsminde where it remains today.[5][6]

Novelist Clive Cussler claims his National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) located the remains of U-20 in 1984, about 400 yards from shore.[7]

Original documents from Room 40

The following is a verbatim transcription of the recorded activities of SM U-20 known to British Naval Intelligence, Room 40 O.B.:[8]


"SM U-20.

Kaptlt. Dröscher, October 1914, later to U-78; Kaptlt. Schwieger in April 1915, later to U-88. Completed at Danzig before the war and subsequently joined the 3rd Half Flotilla.

  • September 1914. Cruising.
  • October 1914. Cruising.
  • 25th – 26 December 1914. Patrolling in Bight.
  • 26 January – 7 February 1915. Cruise to Channel. Sank 3 S.S.
  • 25 February – 19 March 1915. Cruise to Bristol Channel putting into Zeebrugge on outward and into Ostend on homeward passage. Sank 1 S.S.
  • 30 April – 13 May 1915. Northabout to south of Ireland. Sank RMS LUSITANIA, 2 other S.S., and 1 sailing vessel.
  • 3–16 July 1915. Northabout to south of Ireland. Sank 4 S.S., 1 sailing vessel.
  • 29 August – 15 September 1915. Northabout of Bay of Biscay. 9 S.S. and 2 sailing vessels sunk.
  • 17–23 November 1915. North Sea, special task.
  • 17–23 December 1915 ? Bight patrol.
  • 7–10 April 1916. North Sea, ordered 8 April to return.
  • 11–15 April 1916. North Sea, returned with defective torpedo tubes.
  • 24 April to 14 May 1916. Northabout to south of Ireland. Sank 2 S.S., 3 sailing vessels.
  • 16 June to 20 June 1916. Bight patrol.
  • ? 3 July to 13 July 1916. North Sea patrol.
  • 21 to 24 July 1916. North Sea patrol.
  • 26 July to 2 August 1916. North Sea patrol.
  • 21 September to 28 September 1916. North Sea patrol. Sank 1 steamer ship.
  • 13 October to 5 November 1916. Northabout to south of Ireland. Sank 3 S.S., 1 sailing vessel. Ran ashore on Danish coast 5 November 1916 and was blown up by crew."

Note: S.S. = Steam Ship; S.V. = Sailing Vessel; northabout, Muckle Flugga, Fair I. = around Scotland; Sound, Belts, Kattegat = via North of Denmark to/from German Baltic ports; Bight = to/from German North Sea ports; success = sinking of ships

Summary of Raiding Career

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[9]
30 January 1915 Ikaria 23x15px United Kingdom 4,335 Sunk
30 January 1915 Oriole 23x15px United Kingdom 1,489 Sunk
30 January 1915 Tokomaru 23x15px United Kingdom 6,084 Sunk
7 March 1915 Bengrove 23x15px United Kingdom 3,840 Sunk
9 March 1915 Princess Victoria 23x15px United Kingdom 1,108 Sunk
11 March 1915 Florazan 23x15px United Kingdom 4,658 Sunk
5 May 1915 Earl of Lathom 23x15px United Kingdom 132 Sunk
6 May 1915 Candidate 23x15px United Kingdom 5,858 Sunk
6 May 1915 Centurion 23x15px United Kingdom 5,495 Sunk
7 May 1915 Lusitania 23x15px United Kingdom 30,396 Sunk
8 July 1915 Marion Lightbody 23x15px Russian Empire 2,176 Sunk
9 July 1915 Ellesmere 23x15px United Kingdom 1,170 Sunk
9 July 1915 Leo 23x15px Russian Empire 2,224 Sunk
9 July 1915 Meadowfield 23x15px United Kingdom 2,750 Sunk
13 July 1915 Lennok 23x15px Russian Empire 1,142 Sunk
2 September 1915 Roumanie 23x15px United Kingdom 2,599 Sunk
3 September 1915 Frode 23x15px Denmark 1,875 Sunk
4 September 1915 Hesperian 23x15px United Kingdom 10,920 Sunk
5 September 1915 Dictator 23x15px United Kingdom 4,116 Sunk
5 September 1915 Douro 23x15px United Kingdom 1,604 Sunk
5 September 1915 Rhea 23x15px Russian Empire 1,145 Sunk
6 September 1915 Guatemala 23x15px France 5,913 Sunk
7 September 1915 Bordeaux 23x15px France 4,604 Sunk
7 September 1915 Caroni 23x15px United Kingdom 2,652 Sunk
8 September 1915 Mora 23x15px United Kingdom 3,047 Sunk
30 April 1916 Bakio 23x15px Spain 1,906 Sunk
1 May 1916 Bernadette 23x15px France 486 Sunk
2 May 1916 Ruabon 23x15px United Kingdom 2,004 Sunk
3 May 1916 Marie Molinos 23x15px France 1,946 Sunk
6 May 1916 Galgate 23x15px United Kingdom 2,356 Sunk
8 May 1916 Cymric 23x15px United Kingdom 13,370 Sunk
1 August 1916 Aaro 23x15px United Kingdom 2,603 Sunk
29 August 1916 Ibo 23x15px Portugal 397 Damaged
26 September 1916 Thelma 23x15px United Kingdom 1,002 Sunk
18 October 1916 Ethel Duncan 23x15px United Kingdom 2,510 Sunk
23 October 1916 Arromanches 23x15px France 1,640 Sunk
23 October 1916 Chieri 23x15px Kingdom of Italy 4,400 Sunk
23 October 1916 Felix Louis 23x15px France 275 Sunk
26 October 1916 Fabian 23x15px United Kingdom 2,246 Damaged

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Otto Dröscher (Royal House Order of Hohenzollern)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Walther Schwieger (Pour le Mérite)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=20
  4. ^ "Major themes of the exhibition", 'World War I'. Royal Danish Naval Museum (Archived from the original on 8 October 2007)
  5. ^ a b Erik Larson (2015). "Epilogue: Person Effects". Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Crown. p. 349. 
  6. ^ "Strandingsmuseum St. George Thorsminde". Strandingsmuseum St. George Thorsminde. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ North Sea and English Channel Hunt
  8. ^ National Archives, Kew: HW 7/3, Room 40, History of German Naval Warfare 1914–1918 (Published in Koerver, 'Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914–1918')
  9. ^ "SM U-20 successes". UBoat.net. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 

References

  • Spindler, Arno (1932,1933,1934,1941/1964,1966). Der Handelskrieg mit U-Booten. 5 Vols. Berlin: Mittler & Sohn. Vols. 4+5, dealing with 1917+18, are very hard to find: Guildhall Library, London, has them all, also Vol. 1–3 in an English translation: The submarine war against commerce.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Beesly, Patrick (1982). Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914–1918. London: H Hamilton. ISBN 978-0241108642. 
  • Halpern, Paul G. (1920). A Naval History of World War I. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1857284980. 
  • Roessler, Eberhard (1997). Die Unterseeboote der Kaiserlichen Marine. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3763759637. 
  • Schroeder, Joachim (2002). Die U-Boote des Kaisers. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3763762354. 
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2008). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914–1918. Vol I., The Fleet in Action. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-76-3. 
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2009). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914–1918. Vol II., The Fleet in Being. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-77-0. 

External links



Coordinates: 56°35′00″N 08°07′50″E / 56.58333°N 8.13056°E / 56.58333; 8.13056{{#coordinates:56|35|00|N|08|07|50|E|type:landmark_region:DK |primary |name= }}