Boom Reply

One of the early posts from the Blog.

theleansubmariner

Submarines operate for extended periods of time under the ocean. This ability gives them the advantage of stealth in performing her missions. Since even the most modern submarine requires people to operate it, providing the basics of life while submerged has always been a challenge.

sub duty

Think about those World War 2 movies where the Destroyer had forced the U-boat to the bottom. The destroyer captain could be patient since all he had to do was ride around on top and wait for the air on the inside of the submarine to become so horrible it could no longer sustain life. At some point, the boat would have to come to the surface.

When the idea of using nuclear submarines as launching platforms became a reality, something different needed to be done. So the Treadwell corporation proposed building a new type of “Oxygen Generator” that would ensure a high rate of…

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If you want a Safe Space, here’s a thought Reply

SUBSAFE is a quality assurance program of the United States Navy designed to maintain the safety of the nuclear submarine fleet; specifically, to provide maximum reasonable assurance that subs’ hulls will stay watertight, and that they can recover from unanticipated flooding.

SUBSAFE covers all systems exposed to sea pressure or critical to flooding recovery. All work done and all materials used on those systems are tightly controlled to ensure the material used in their assembly as well as the methods of assembly, maintenance, and testing are correct. They require certification with traceable quality evidence. These measures increase the cost of submarine construction and maintenance.

SUBSAFE addresses only flooding; mission assurance is not a concern, simply a side benefit. Other safety programs and organizations regulate such things as fire safety, weapons systems safety, and nuclear reactor systems safety.

From 1915 to 1963, the United States Navy lost 16 submarines to non-combat related causes. Since SUBSAFE began in 1963, only one submarine, the non-SUBSAFE-certified USS Scorpion (SSN-589), has been lost.

History

On 10 April 1963, while on a deep test dive about 200 miles off the northeast coast of the United States, USS Thresher (SSN-593) was lost with all hands. The loss of the lead ship of a new, fast, quiet, deep-diving class of submarines led the Navy to re-evaluate the methods used to build its submarines. A “Thresher Design Appraisal Board” determined that, although the basic design of the Thresher class was sound, measures should be taken to improve the condition of the hull and the ability of submarines to control and recover from flooding casualties.

SUBSAFE certification is carried out in four areas; Design, Material, Fabrication, & Testing. The exact procedures are documented in the initial design & construction for new submarines, while undergoing routine maintenance in naval depots, and in the fleet maintenance manual for operating submarines. During each step, quality evidence is collected, reviewed, approved, and stored for the life of the submarine. This process is reinforced with external and internal audits.

ous Sub safe space

Failure is not an option Reply

failure is not an option

The nature of submarine warfare has always been filled with an equal mix of adventure, bravery and precision. The adventure starts the minute the boat becomes free from the pier. Gliding along on the surface of any of the rivers and bodies of waters they sail from is only the first part of the journey. In the early days, the noise of the gasoline or diesel engines coupled with the ever present smoke seemed to push the little craft towards her destiny. Later nuclear submarines were quieter but the wake of a passing sub was still enough of an indication that an adventure was about to begin.

As the submarine cleared the channel and reached the dive point, all hands felt the tension as the boat was rigged for its dive. Preliminary preparations were in place and the final actions just needed to be completed as the submarine transformed from a clumsy surface dweller to a steely eyed killer of the deep.  One thing that was the constant throughout the entire evolution though… failure is not an option. The equipment, the men, the boat itself must perform as flawlessly as possible in order for the mission to be complete. Failure in any one of these could be catastrophic for the crew.

The level of detail in planning and preparation before the boat even hits the water starts a life long journey of excellence that is the hallmark for a modern submarine. After all, this boat will be operating independently for most of its life with only the skills of the builders and the operators separating the crew from certain death. The qualification program is hard and the ongoing training is comprehensive. But it is the steel inside each and every qualified submariner that defines the toughness of the submarine service. They must train their minds to live in a confined space with others and think at least two steps ahead at all times. They anticipate the problems they hope will never come and even in their sleep they remain vigilant for the sounds that indicate a change… ventilation shifts, motors changing ion intensity, even the 400 cycle hum. All of these could indicate a problem that will need answering as quickly as possible.

Submariners of all generations share one thing in common whether they served on an old S boat, Fleet Boat, Guppy, Fast Attack or Boomer. They all understand that at any given moment, the only thing that stands between failure and success is a qualified submariner who has made the ultimate promise to themselves and their shipmates; Failure is not an option. Not on my watch.

Mister Mac

theleansubmariner

Ohio at Bangor 2

Submarines : Documentary on the Submarine Wars of the Cold War (Full Documentary) 1

1395190_10201730056564944_611884660_n If you ever lived on one, this will make you homesick. If you never lived on one, it might make you jealous. In the beginning scenes one of my colleagues Mark Keef is featured in a submarine missile launch. 1983 Debbie, Bob, Mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj6VaV6-d6Y   Enjoy

Mister Mac

Take ‘Er Down – Submarine Video from the 50’s Reply

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Some great shots of older submarine life.  Some awesome shots of a Regulus Missile shot from the Tunney.

From Wikipedia: Communist aggression in Korea placed new demands on the resources of the Navy and led to Tunny’s being placed in commission, in reserve, on 28 February 1952. She saw no service at this time, however, and was decommissioned in April 1952. On 6 March 1953, she was placed in commission for the third time. Converted to carry guided missiles, she was reclassified as SSG-282 and was armed with the Regulus I nuclear cruise missile for nearly 12 years. In this role, Tunny was equipped with a hangar housing two missiles and a launcher on the after deck. One of the limitations of Regulus was that the firing submarine had to surface, the missile then being rolled out onto the launcher and fired. Regulus I also required guidance from submarines or other platforms after firing. In 1955, a second World War II submarine, USS Barbero, was also converted to fire Regulus I.
For the first four of those years, she operated out of Port Hueneme, contributing to the development of the Regulus missile system. Except for a short period of type training, Tunny engaged entirely in the launching and guidance of Regulus missiles for purposes of missile evaluation in the development of the system. In 1957, she shifted her base of operations to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, bringing Regulus to initial operational capability, where she conducted the first submarine deterrent patrols and fired exercise missiles.

 

http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=7af3fd6dff8c

 

Mister Mac

Fringes of the Fleet 2

Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves

When your country is an island, it is only natural that you would come to rely on the ocean for commerce with others. When that island is vulnerable to attacks form others, it is even more natural that the ocean would serve as a means for your defense. To achieve both, you need ships and men who sail on them. England is such an island and from the 16th century through the 20th century, she relied primarily on the Royal Navy to make sure that her freedom was protected. As the world careened out of control towards World War 1 in 1914, the Royal Navy was second to none in the world.

http://www.worldwar-1.co.uk/the%20royal%20navy.html

As the storm clouds gathered, the warring nations took stock of the weapons in their arsenal. On the naval side, huge dreadnaughts (the precursors to battleships), armored cruisers, destroyers and auxiliaries of every type filled the anchorages surrounding the tiny island nation. Guns as large as 15 inches bristled on the monster ships and threatened to send everything in front of them to the bottom of the ocean.

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The Germans had spent much of their time leading up to the war trying to build a fleet that would allow them to join the big gun club. They also saw England as a natural threat to their desire for dominance and growth. Empires around the world were the goal and growing your empire required freedom of the seas to prosecute your goals and maintain the trade that would add money and power to the nation’s interests. The Germans had less effective weapons for their main guns but relied heavily on technology and innovation to overcome their perceived weakness. Their surface vessels had better optical and range finding capability and were easier to handle than Royal Navy fleets. But their secret weapon was their submarine fleet. Even with the exaggerations of the German Fleet Commanders, the technological differences in their submarine fleet made it a potent weapon that could interdict trade in all of the main sea lanes.

On both sides of the conflict, submarine technology advanced quickly leading up to the War and all through it. Diesel and electrical systems adapted and changed to meet the realities of the type of warfare that evolved. At the beginning of the war, the Germans followed the rule of “Prize Rules” which allowed the crews of their target ships to escape before the ships would be sunk by either torpedoes or gunfire. The later introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare destroyed any illusion of chivalry however and cast a dark shadow on submarine warfare in an age that had not quite adjusted to war on such a scale.

You fight the war with the weapons you have at hand.

The Royal Navy soon discovered that its assumptions about naval warfare were suitable for a war from the last century but limited in response to the new threats. If you really think about it, the first successful submarines had been developed in 1900 and it did not include the technology to help a submersible sustain itself for long ocean voyages. But the engineers on all continents were quick to develop the systems and weapons to build this new type of weapon. Improvements came one on top of another and all of this despite the prevailing attitude everywhere: submarines were just a fringe element of naval warfare. Gentlemen would fight in long lines of battle cruisers in the prescribed manner and the enemy would obligingly respond by doing the same.

In the first ten weeks of the war, the vaunted Royal fleet lost five cruisers to the German U boats. This despite the fact that the Germans only had 48 submarines total of which about 30 were functional after the war erupted in August of 1914. Admiral Tirpitz’s vision came quickly to bear fruit even as he sat in disgrace on the sidelines of the war.

The Fringes

The admiralty on the British side was completely invested in traditional naval warfare and weapons. For century’s larger and larger surface forces dominated naval thinking which meant that resources and support went to the surface fleet. The leadership and strategies were all built on the rock solid foundation of how to win a war and dominate the trade routes. Every officer in high command had waited his turn in line to reinforce the notions and concepts that would ensure that Britannia rules the waves forever.

The sad reality of modern warfare is that an enemy that can’t beat you on your own course will figure out technology to even the playing fields. The Germans have always managed to do the unexpected and they developed both the simple and the sublime to balance the scorecard. Mines laid from submarines were only one of those surprises and the combination of regular submarines and these special boats meant the Royal Navy would have to spend an inordinate amount of time protecting its fleets. The air ships that flew over London also created an entirely new threat that the 1914 fleet was woefully unprepared for.

U boat picture

The Zeppelin fleet and limited use of coastal air aero planes introduced a whole new element which would require a rethinking of the arms a ship would need to carry to protect itself. More importantly, the Zeppelins also increased the ability of their Navy to discover where ships were located and mine fields existed. This expansion of technology could not have been imagined no less planned for by traditionalists. While the bombing attacks on Britain were of limited value, their fear added to the concerns of the British public about the weapons of this horrible new war.

E1U3D00Z Zeppelin

The prejudice against alternative views hampered the British in two ways. First, the public’s view of the superiority of the battleships needed to be maintained so that the public would feel safe and secure. Reports from the front rapidly erased the illusions of a quick war. The death reports alone shook the nation to its core. Secondly, service in a professional fleet meant opportunity on the large vessels where glory and promotion reigned supreme.

It was against this background that another type of weapon was employed to gain support from both the public at large and the young men of the Navy who would be called to fill the ranks on both auxiliary ships and the fledgling submarine fleet. That weapon was propaganda from an unexpected source.

Changing Course

Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was an author who had been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature just a few short years before the war.

His books and short stories had gained him a special place in literary circles that extended from commoner to royalty. I remember reading The Jungle Book and Gunga Din as a young man and of course have practically memorized his poem about Tommy Adkins. His work appealed to people of all backgrounds and it was only natural that he would be called upon to help and extend the words and feelings needed to motivate a people to war.

TheFringesOfTheFleet

In 1916, he used his skills to pen a series of articles about the outliers of the fleet that he called the Fringes of the Fleet. These articles were about the auxiliary units that searched for the mines and hunted the dreaded U boats. They also covered the newest weapon of the Navy and the men who sailed them: submarines.

Kipling decided that the only way he could write about the tiny craft was to actually ride them and get to know the men involved. His writing is remarkable in that he captured the very essence of a submariner. What is remarkable is how little the genre has changed in the hundred years since the words were written.

From the chapter on submarines:

Kipling: “THE CHIEF business of the Trawler fleet is to attend to the traffic. The submarine in her sphere attends to the enemy. Like the destroyer, the submarine has created its own type of officer and man—with a language and traditions apart from the rest of the Service, and yet at heart unchangingly of the Service. Their business is to run monstrous risks from earth, air, and water, in what, to be of any use, must be the coldest of cold blood.

The commander’s is more a one-man job, as the crew’s is more team work, than any other employment afloat. That is why the relations between submarine officers and men are what they are. They play hourly for each other’s lives with Death the Umpire always at their elbow on tiptoe to give them “Out.””

My favorite part of the submarine stories comes from part 2.

Kipling: “I WAS honoured by a glimpse into this veiled life in a boat which was merely practising between trips. Submarines are like cats. They never tell “who they were with last night,” and they sleep as much as they can, If you board a submarine off duty you generally see a perspective of fore-shortened fattish men laid all along. The men say that except at certain times it is rather an easy life, with relaxed regulations about smoking, calculated to make a man put on flesh. One requires well-padded nerves. Many of the men do not appear on deck throughout the whole trip. After all, why should they if they don’t want to? They know that they are responsible in their department for their comrades” lives as their comrades are responsible for theirs. What’s the use of flapping about? Better lay in some magazines and cigarettes.”

I had the feeling that Kipling could see into the future and watch a submarine crew in a more modern era.

If you have time for a really good read, here is a link to all of his stories. It is remarkable how little some things have changed and yet how far we have come in the years since the First World War.

http://www.telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/prose/FringeFleet/index.html

I hope and pray that a new world war never comes to mankind again. I am sure that feeling is shared by many. But as I see nations all over the word continuing to build “defensive” fleets, I can’t help but feel we are marching once again to the next last Great War.

Mister Mac

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Welcome Aboard Undersea Warfare Magazine Reply

If you look to the right where I list my Blogroll, you will see some new additions. Some folks at the Magazine liked my latest blog (Grand Theft Submarine – Stealing the U-111) and asked for a salute on the page. I really like their Facebook Page and back in the day spent a lot of time with the magazine. I will certainly be spending more there in the future.

The leansubmariner is approaching 95,000 hits and over 415 Posts. I hope you have found it worth your time. I am working on a few new projects that will add to the story of submarines in a way that honors those that came before my generation.

Welcome aboard shipmates!

Mister Mac

Undersea Warfare

Grand Theft Submarine – Stealing the U-111 4

Note: This article is a result of some research I have been doing in the past few days about an amazing submarine story related to the technological development of American submarines. The story was researched and developed using two reference books: United States Submarines, Naval Submarine League, published in 2002 and United States Submarines by Robert Hatfield Barnes in 1944. Its a little longer than what I normally post, but if you love submarine history and adventure, it might be a nice read for a very cold winters day.

Mister Mac

In the aftermath of World War 1, reparations were demanded by the victorious members of the Allied Powers. 176 submarines were surrendered to the Allies in accordance with the treaties and terms of the peace. Before the war, submarines had been scoffed at by most of the world’s Admiralties. British Admirals dismissed the little craft as being too slow to affect the outcome of any traditional naval battle. American thinking too was clouded by too many unreliable submarines leading up to the early days of the war coupled with contempt from the leaders who had cut their teeth on battleships and surface ships bristling with guns.

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Even the mighty German fleet was crippled in the onset of hostilities by two major impacts.

In 1916, The Grand Fleet was unable to succeed in the surface engagements it had with the allies to an extent that the war at sea would swing their way. Plus, the vaunted German U boat fleet was exposed as a shadow of the fleet that had been promised. Grand Admiral Tirpitz and his Navy press bureau systematically had falsified the numbers of available submarines to the public. From German historical records:

 “[…] people think we have 60-200 submarines; in fact we have 15 ocean-going […] for the Atlantic […]” The German Government knew that he was systematically lying to the Army and the Government. In a hearing of the Upper Chamber of the Parliament (Bundesrat) in March 1916 Tirpitz saw himself pressed to present an exact number of submarines available: specifically 203.

“Tirpitz […] calculates boats which are momentarily under construction, even if it will take years to finish them. 203. But says nothing about the time of their completion.”

This virtual submarine fleet of 203 boats consisted in February 1916 of:

  • 27 submarines ordered, but not yet laid
  • 108 submarines on yard, to be finished within the next 12 months
  • 26 submarines in the Submarine School:
  • 15 outdated or unfit boats
  • 11 new boats in commissioning for active fleet service
  • 42 submarines in active fleet service:
  • 22 coastal submarines (750 – 2.000 sm range) and
  • 20 ocean-going submarines (7.000 – 11.000 sm range):
  • 15 stationed in North Sea bases, and
  • 5 stationed in Mediterranean Bases

There were 8 to 10 new U-boats expected to come from the yards each month from that time onwards, but even 12 months later, in February 1917, when finally the 3rd unrestricted submarine warfare had started, there were no more than 105 ocean-going submarines available, and a maximum of 124 ocean-going boats available was only reached in August of 1917.

The manipulation of the numbers was nothing new for the Grand Fleet that wanted to please the Kaiser at any cost. Submarine warfare was proving to be a major multiplier and in 1916 a rosy picture was needed to offset the stalemates occurring with the fleets on both sides. Sunken allied shipping was indeed a major weapon that was systematically shutting down the important sea lanes. But in the wors of one contemporary writer, this was one lie to many.

“This incident before the Bundesrat was taken as a pretext to force Grand Admiral Tirpitz, who had already fallen in eternal disgrace at the Kaiser, to resign a week later on 15 March 1916. Admiral von Capelle became his successor.” The last submarine of Tirpitz’s virtual submarine fleet from February 1916 to see service was U-92, which started its first patrol on 1 January 1918, 21 months after Tirpitz’s enforced resignation.

Despite the setback in 1916, the German shipbuilding industry rose to the occasion and provided many submarines to push the war effort.

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One of the submarines that was built successfully was the U 111.

U-l l l was laid down early in 1917 at Vegesack, Germany, by Bremer Vulcan under subcontract to the Germaniawerit in Kiel, launched on 5 September 1917; completed by Germaniawerft in Kiel, and commissioned in the Imperial German Navy on 30 December 1917, Kapitanleutnant Beyersdorff in command.

U 66-70 U boat

From Naval Historical Records:

“After completing her shakedown cruise on 17 March 1918, she was posted to the IV U-Flottille, Hochseeflotte (Fourth Submarine Flotilla, High Seas Fleet). She departed Heligoland, a fortified island and naval base located well inside the German Bight, on 25 March. After the outward voyage, which took her around the Orkney Islands, west of the Hebrides Islands, and south along the western coast of Ireland, she arrived in her patrol area near St. George’s Channel during the first week in April. On the 7th, she sighted her first target, the 2,346-ton British steamer SS Boscastle. The submarine made a surface torpedo attack and sank the ship with a single torpedo. Boscastle, however, proved to be her only victim during this first cruise. She operated in the vicinity of St. George’s Channel for another five days without encountering further shipping and then began the voyage home to Germany. After backtracking along the route she had taken on the outward voyage, U-lll returned to Germany at Emden on 24 April.

A month and three days later, the U-boat exited the Ems estuary to begin her second cruise to raid Allied merchantmen. From the Ems, she headed through the North Sea. On 28 May, her second day out, she came upon a small Danish steamer, the 393-ton SS Dronning Margrethe. Declining to waste a valuable torpedo on such small game, U-111 brought her deck guns to bear and sank the Dane with gunfire. From the North Sea, she followed substantially the same route as on her initial voyage, reaching St. George’s Channel early in June. After an unsuccessful patrol off the entrances to St. George’s and the English Channels, the U-boat retired from the area and again retraced her outward route. On 22 June just outside the Skaggerak, during the last leg of her homeward voyage, the submarine encountered a Norwegian sailing vessel laden with timber for English mines. Once again, she scorned the use of a torpedo in favor of her 4.1-inch and 3.4-inch deck guns and riddled the 272-ton SS Rana with gunfire. Leaving that ship sinking, U-111 headed south through the North Sea for Wilhelmshaven, where she arrived on 26 June.

U-111’s third and final combat cruise proved to be the least successful of all. She departed Wilhelmshaven on 25 August, transited the Kiel Canal, and headed north through the Baltic Sea around Denmark to debouch into the North Sea by way of the Skaggerak. Thence, she rounded the Orkneys and the Hebrides and headed south along the west coast of Ireland. The U-boat then transited St. George’s Channel and entered the Irish Sea. Stormy weather and heavy seas plagued her throughout the cruise, and she appears to have encountered no Allied shipping. She followed the same route back to Germany and concluded her last patrol at Emden on 30 September.

Apparently, U-l l l remained in port at Emden through the cessation of hostilities on 11 November. Nine days after the armistice, she was surrendered to the Allies and interned at Harwich, England.

It was while she lay in British Hands that the theft took place

Captain Thomas C. Hart was the US Navy’s first Director of Submarines and he saw the value in obtaining a sampling of the 176 interned submarines for learning and future submarine development. Despite the issues under Tirpitz in relations to the number of actual submarines the Germans had in 1916, their engineers had built some very sturdy machines with many innovations. If some could be obtained and studied, it would advance the cause of American submarining in the future. There was some sensitivity on the parts of many nations including our allies. The Europeans had borne the brunt of the fighting and were not all that interested in seeing advances in wartime technologies. There is even some evidence that the British who still ruled the seas were beginning to fully understand the threat of a submarine in an open ocean and were not overly excited about that evil spreading to potential future opponents.

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Hart came up with a plan to soften the transfer.

First, there would be a limited number of boats obtained. Second, they were to be used as post war fund raising ships that would help American to pay its war debts through bond selling trips up and down the coast during the Victory Loan Drive. Finally, he promised that the ships would be destroyed within a few years and not absorbed into the American fleet. Hart knew however that his submariners would be anxious to study why the German submarines were so successful and his ulterior motive was to spend the limited time reverse engineering the systems and equipment on board the enemy vessels that had sunk so much allied shipping.

Based on these agreements, the Allies authorized six boats-U 117, U-140, UB-148, UB-88 UC-97, and U-164—to the United States on condition that they be destroyed within a year of the transfer. In March 1919, 12 officers and 120 enlisted men arrived in England to ferry the six submarines back to the United States. The U-164 was one of the latest boats to be built so it was considered to be a treasure chest of technology and potential improvements for the Americans. The six officers assigned to bring the boats back were Lieutenant Commanders Aquilla G Dibrell, Harold T. Smith, Holbrook Gibson, Joseph L. Neilson, Charles A. Lockwood Jr, and Freeland A. Daubin.

Two of the submarines had participated in attacks along the eastern seaboard of the United States. After crossing the Atlantic, the U 117 and the U 140 had participated in the sinking of no less than 91 vessels totaling 167,000 gross tons, of which 45 were of American registry (about 65,000 gross tons). All of them represented the finest of German Technological developments in submarining that had been earned through the long years of wartime operations.

U 164

Twelve officers and 120 enlisted men arrived in England in March 1919 to bring the selected boats to America. All of the boats except for the 164 boat were prepared for the journey and left with the tender ship Bushnell. Lieutenant Commander Daubin arrived on the 164 to find that it had been gutted. Upon inspection, de discovered that his boat had been used for spare parts and souvenirs by the British, French, Italians and the Japanese naval personnel that had arrived before him. He was quoted as saying: “Had a depth charge been dropped down her hatch, it couldn’t have done greater damage.”

Estimates were that even if the parts could be found, it would take three to four more months to make the ship ready for the trans-Atlantic journey. That additional time would not allow her to arrive in time for the Victory Bond Drive that was scheduled to commence. Plus, the gains from studying the equipment on this boat had been nullified by the pilfering hands of the men before him. One can only wonder if the Japanese (who had entered the war very late in order to gain the spoils of it) gained insights that would benefit their very effective submarine force in years to come.

Daubin was undaunted by the task at hand however and asked permission to see another German submarine that was still in good shape and ready for operations. He felt that seeing an active boat would help him to understand the task ahead. This is how he came to the brow of the U 111 and his act of larceny came to be.

U 111

Grand Theft Submarine

The British Officer of the Deck also happened to be the Commanding Officer of the 111 boat. He had received this assignment probably at the end of the war but because of the way the Admiralty was operating, he was not receiving command pay. This unfortunate circumstance existed because the rules stated that you must be in command of a registered vessel in regular commission. The U-111 was certainly not in commission in the British Fleet so he was losing money every day he remained aboard.

Not knowing the Daubin had already been assigned another boat and being very anxious to be relived of this burden, his first words were: Are you going to take the 111?”

From the book “United States Submarines” (Robert Hatfield Barnes (1944)

With the British officer evidencing so much eagerness and offering this tip top submarine, the American’s heart began to beat faster. But if he inwardly yearned for this craft his outward demeanor was casualness itself. Taking a long gamble, he calmly said, “Yes, and I’ve come to inspect her.”

After realizing his luck, he also realized he had better make sure he was not arrested for piracy. He rushed to London and consulted with Admiral Sims who gave him his agreement and permission to consult with the Admiralty. Under the circumstances, it was only fair and right that the Americans should be able to have an operating submarines and fortunately all involved agreed with the swap of the two submarines.

From the Naval Historical Records:

Since she had been substituted for U-184 at the very last minute, U-lll did not put to sea on 3 April with the rest of the Ex-German Submarine Expeditionary Force. She remained in Harwich for an additional four days while her crew conducted a crash familiarization course and completed last-minute repairs Finally, on 7 April, she steamed out of Harwich and stood down the English Channel. Rather than follow the route taken by the other U-boats via the Azores and Bermuda, U-111’S commanding officer sought to make up the time he had lost by heading directly across the Atlantic via a great circle route. Fog, gales, and heavy seas harassed the U boat all the way across the ocean. On one occasion, she came near sinking when she began filling with water because of an open sea-cock. However, one of her crewmen crawled under her engines and into the slimy dark water to find and close the offending apparatus. In spite of adversity, U-11 l made her passage successfully and moored in New York on 19 April, in plenty of time to carry out her tasks in the Victory Bond campaign.

U 111 on the surface

At New York, swarms of tourists, reporters, and photographers roamed throughout the submarine.

SubU111b SubU111a U 111 in New London

Navy technicians and civilian shipbuilders also came to try to learn everything they could about German submarine construction in the brief time before U-l l l departed New York for visits to various ports on the Victory bond circuit.

For the bond drive, the coasts of the United States and the country’s major waterways were divided into five different regions, one for each of the captured U-boats except U-140. U-111 visited ports along the New England coast and received visitors in conjunction with the sales campaign. The submarine completed her assigned itinerary late in the summer of 1919. Following that, she and UB-148 were subjected to an extensive series of performance tests before being laid up at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. During the summer of 1921, she returned to sea for another series of tests, this time as a target for gunnery and aerial bombardment tests. As a result of those experiments, her battered hulk went to the bottom of the ocean sometime in July 1921.

Epilogue

The lessons learned from those six submarines enabled the US Navy to continue to make advances in the art and science of submarining. Many innovations would show up in the Fleet Boats that enable the submarine force to have such a significant outcome in World War 2.Lietenant Commander Daubin, the skipper who “captured” the U11 from the British later went on to be the Commander for Submarines in the Atlantic in World War 2.

Mister Mac

Freeland Daubin, RADM