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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Eyewitness: Through the Periscope: RMS Lusitania

Clear bow-shot from 700 meters. . . Torpedo hits starboard side close abaft the bridge, followed by a very unusually large explosion with a violent emission of smoke (far above the foremost funnel). In addition to the explosion of the torpedo there must have been a second one (boiler or coal or powder).

The superstructure above the point of impact and the bridge are torn apart, fire breaks out, a thick cloud of smoke envelops the upper bridge. The ship stops at once and very quickly takes on a heavy list to starboard, at the same time starting to sink by the bow. She looks like she will quickly capsize.

Much confusion on board; boats are cleared away and some of them lowered to the water. Apparently considerable panic; several boats, fully laden, are hurriedly lowered, bow or stern first and at once fill with water. . .

Kapitänleutnant Walter Schwieger's War Diary, 7 May 2015


  1. Good detail.

    Nice pairing with this week's discovery of a sunken U-boat.

  2. Now we know why there was a secondary explosion.

    1. The knew then, they just weren't saying.

    2. No mystery, the cargo manifest clearly showed small arms ammunition. Not adequate justification for a snot nose 27 year old U-boat skipper to sink a majestic passenger liner of Lusitania's stature with great loss of civilian life in my opinion. But then it was an easy target and an easy shot so why not and return to Germany a big hero.

  3. Oh, pleazzze. Of course it was completely justified. The British and American governments completely ignored the rules which allowed civilian ships immunity, so the German unrestricted warfare was the result.

  4. To borrow from the Manchurian Candidate..."the Germans are the kindest, most magnanimous, fairest, in sum, the best people in all the world".