Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, November 22, 2015

First U-boat Sunk?

The British 5,400-ton light cruiser HMS Birmingham was responsible for sinking the first German submarine of the First World War.  Commanded by Captain Arthur Duff, HMS Birmingham — of the Chatham class — knocked out both the periscope and conning tower of German U-15 on 9 August 1914 with a salvo of six shots from the light cruiser's guns east of the Orkneys while the submarine was attempting to move in for an attack.

A Striking, but Probably Inaccurate, Depiction of the Encounter

Having done so, Duff issued instructions that the cruiser be directed at the U-boat at full speed. Turning Birmingham's helm the captain brought the cruiser around in order that her bows faced the crippled submarine. Thus Duff rammed the German submarine at 25 mph (40 kph), which quickly rolled over and sank, killing its crew of 23.

HMS Birmingham subsequently took part at both the Battle of Heligoland Bight and the Battle of Jutland.

Sources: and Tony Langley Collection

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the RMS Olympic ramming and sinking the u-103.