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Remembered Today:

Allied Submarines?


Funebrero

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At risk of sounding daft, why did the allies not have submarines? (i am right in saying that they didnt? I have never read of any)

Did the naval blockade of germany totally negate any possible use of them by the allies? And when did the british navy first use subs?

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Thanks for the links RobL!

I'd never heard anyhting of them before (though i dont read much about the war at sea).

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The Royal Navy launched its submarine service in 1901 under Captain (later Admiral Sir) Reginald H. S. Bacon, D.S.O.

Simon

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From an Australian perspective let's not forget AE2, the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles in 1915 as part of the Gallipoli Campaign, on the very morning the ANZAC soldiers landed at Anzac Cove; and AE1, lost without trace 14 September 1914 off Rabaul, New Guinea.

After the war, Britain gifted six "J" Class submarines to Australia which spent most of their time in Australia tied up alongside Geelong and Williamstown, with four finally being scutted around Port Philip Bay, Victoria in 1926 and now excellent dive sites south of Point Londsdale. I was lucky enough to do a few dives on a couple in 2005. One was sunk in 1930 as part of the marina at Sandringham Yacht Club, near Melbourne and one ended up as a breakwater off Swan Island, near Queenscliff, Vic. J Class Submarines Dive Sites

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Hi

For information on British Submarines there are the following books that may be of interest:

'British Submarines in the Great War' by Edwyn Gray, published by Pen & Sword 2001 (originally publishedin 1971). Full details of RN submarine operations.

'Observer's Directory of Royal Naval Submarines 1901-1982' by M P Cocker, published by Frederick Warne in 1982. Lots of technical information including internal layouts of various classes.

'Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution' by Nicolas A Lambert, published by University of South Carolina 2002 (original HB 1999). This has good information on the early development of RN submarines and various classes.

'The Great War (1914-1918) at Sea' by Richard Hough, published by Oxford University Press 1986 (originally 1983). General view of sea war but contains info on British submarine operations.

I hope that is of use.

Mike

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  • 6 months later...

Add to this the books:

"We Dive at Dawn"

The Ottman Steam Navy 1828-1923 which tells what Turkish ships were really sunk or damaged by HM S/Ms during WW I

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As some of the previous posters have already mentioned The Dardanelles, then these two articles from The Naval Review may also be of interest

http://www.naval-review.co.uk/issues/1956-3.pdf#Page=13&View=Fit

http://www.naval-review.co.uk/issues/1956-4.pdf#Page=19&View=Fit

Sadly, there seems to be a problem with the first page (281) or it is missing, nevertheless the whole is very worthwhile reading

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I've come across quite a few WW1 sailors from Portsmouth who were lost in submarines. Probably not surprising given that Gosport was a submarine base.

Interestingly I've also found that the ratio of gallantry awards was higher for submariner casualties - it was the same in WW2.

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There were many senior naval officers who were very against the British having submarines, as being ungentlemanly form or warfare

Such as who?

Simon

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There were many senior naval officers who were very against the British having submarines, as being ungentlemanly form or warfare

An old old myth. It was nothing to do with ungentlemanly etc. As the country with the biggest fleet and the most merchantmen Britain had more to loose from the introduction of submarine warfare than anyone else and many saw no reason to encourage this by having submarines. Once it became obvious that practical submarines were going to be on offer and other countries would buy them anyway then the situation changed and the RN bought Holland boats and started designing and ordering British subs.

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At risk of sounding daft, why did the allies not have submarines? (i am right in saying that they didnt? I have never read of any)

Did the naval blockade of germany totally negate any possible use of them by the allies? And when did the british navy first use subs?

At the outbreak of war Britain had 64 submarines in the Navy List, Germany had 23 U boats

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British submarine sinkings of enemy warships

13/09/14 German Light Cruiser Hela off Heligoland torpedoed by E9

06/10/14 German Torpedo Boat T116 in the North Sea torpedoed by E9

13/12/14 Turkish Central Battery Battleship Mesudiye in Sea of Marmara torpedoed by B11

26/07/15 German Destroyer V138 in the North Sea torpedoed by E16

08/08/15 Turkish Pre-Dreadnought Battleship Barbaros Hayreddin in Sea of Marmara torpedoed by E11

07/11/15 German Light Cruiser Undine in the Baltic torpedoed by E19

03/12/15 Turkish Destroyer Yarhisar in the Gulf of Ismit torpedoed by E11

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British submarine sinkings of enemy warships

13/09/14 German Light Cruiser Hela off Heligoland torpedoed by E9

06/10/14 German Torpedo Boat T116 in the North Sea torpedoed by E9

13/12/14 Turkish Central Battery Battleship Mesudiye in Sea of Marmara torpedoed by B11

26/07/15 German Destroyer V138 in the North Sea torpedoed by E16

08/08/15 Turkish Pre-Dreadnought Battleship Barbaros Hayreddin in Sea of Marmara torpedoed by E11

07/11/15 German Light Cruiser Undine in the Baltic torpedoed by E19

03/12/15 Turkish Destroyer Yarhisar in the Gulf of Ismit torpedoed by E11

I missed one

17/09/14 German Submarine U-6 off Norway torpedoed by E16

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It's worth looking at the "submarine massacre" of 1915 when five E class subs managed to get through into the Baltic and played havoc with the German iron ore ships coming from Sweden. This was despite not applying unrestricted submarine warfare which meant not just torpedoing ships on sight but surfacing and stopping and checking them, ordering the crew into the boats and then sinking them.

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It's worth looking at the "submarine massacre" of 1915 when five E class subs managed to get through into the Baltic and played havoc with the German iron ore ships coming from Sweden. This was despite not applying unrestricted submarine warfare which meant not just torpedoing ships on sight but surfacing and stopping and checking them, ordering the crew into the boats and then sinking them.

Centurion, 2 E Class got through in October 1914, E1 & E9, , 1 in August 1915 E8, & 1 lost in August 1915, E13, then 2 more & in September 1915, E18 & E19. After this point no more E Class attempted the passage as Lt Cdr Halahan wrote after his breakthrough in E18 that is was too dangerous to attempt again.

Also missing is the greatest success by a British S/M in WW1, the sinking of the large cruiser Prinz Adalbert by E8 in 1915.

The German Fleet in the Baltic did in fact fear the British Submarines in the Baltic, but when they launched their offensive on the German merchant ships in the Baltic it was only a very short lived success in late 1915, as from this point the Germans, although caught with their pants down, soon turned the whole situation around, so in essence the campaign against these Merchant ships was a failure. At the end of 1915 the British submarines were iced in, but by the time they resumed operations in May 1916 the German countermeasures were effective, and also Russian command helped this situation. The Germans had introduced convoys, they placed armed merchant vessels with the convoys, they registered many Merchant vessels in Swedish colours, they used aircraft to bomb patrol areas that the British S/M’s used, they laid minefields with complete radio silence so for the first time the Russians could not listen in & mark the mines on their maps, thus sinking E18, and sinking a few Ruski subs in 1917. The Russians did not help this situation by declaring the British S/M’s only to go after warships, & the Russian S/M’s to go after the merchantmen. By this stage the Germans had wised up to the fact you did not need large ships to be patrolling the Baltic like Prinz Adalabert, so the British targets dried up.

The British Submarines were very successful, I have been reading through most of their logs lately, and one thing I can say, the reason they Interestingly also have a higher ratio of gallantry awards was simply because of their workload, which far exceeded anything of the GF. They were the only branch of the RN that took the fight to the HSF for the whole duration of the war, they were aggressive & bold, & were called on to perform so many varying roles that it a shame their exploits did not surpass the underperforming Grand Fleet. Two issues the WW1 RN S/m's had at the outbreak of war, they were surpassed in 2 areas by the Germans at least, persicope optics, Torpedos were not running true & totally unreliable.

The greatest threat the Royal Navy faced last century was the U-Boat, and with all Fisher’s insight into how he saw the future of Naval Warfare being transformed by S/M’s he was correct, but there was precious little done in Anti-Submarine Warfare in the 13 years of development of the RN S/M Service. But again, the British Submarine was called upon to perform the role of U-Boat killer, & again had many successes. I have always noted, with all the money spent on the GF made it not value for taxpayers money when fighting the U-Boats, but they old C Class S/M’s were in relation to fighting this menace.

But not all the conceptual use of RN submarines can be classed a success, the K Class would have been best served away from the clutches of the GF, many of their issues were solely based around their use, and the Royal Navy was playing with too many different types of Boats, V Class, F Class, W Class, M Class and so on, where as they got it right in the end with progression of H Class, then E Class to L Class, and that really is all they needed.

But with the passing of time the Royal Navy has stuck with the S/M while the battleships of the GF faded into history, which after the disappointment of Jutland showed the writing was well & truly on the wall. As some have suggested it was the small ships of the RN that did most of the work in WW1, but for some reason the focus was always pointed to the GF.

And as for others not happy with the S/M concept at the start, well there is a reason Max Horton flew the Jolley Roger wasn't there? After he claimed the first sinking fore the S/M Service in 1914? Why did he fly that flag?

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The only sub ever to sink another sub when both were submerged was an RN sub in WW2.

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Hi Funebrero,

not to slip into Britain being the only combatant in WW1 at Sea, your question was Allied Submarines, so Russia, France, Italy, Australia, Canada & the US all operated S/M's, even the US were operating from British ports later in the war.

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