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British submarine(s) in Constantinople Harbour


trajan
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A general query I'd like some help with please in a field I know very little about!

I am currently taking a party of UK and other archaeologists / historians around Istanbul, and I was going to mention the E-11 and its sinking of the "Stamboul" in Constantinople harbour in 1915 when we do the obligatory Bosporos cruise. Am I correct in thinking the ship was moored at the modern harbour front (where the cruise ships dock today)? Also, was the E-11 the only submarine to penetrate the harbour in wartime? I only know of this one from reading the book on its exploits...

Thanks in advance!

Trajan

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E-7, commanded by Lt Cdr. Cochrane, bombarded the Zeitum Powder Mills in the city in June 1915.

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You may like to add ;

E.15 Ran aground in Dardenelles 170415 Lt.Cdr T.S Brodie

AE.2 Scuttled in Sea of Marmora 300415 Lt.Cdr H.G.D Stoker

E.20 Torpedoed in Sea of Marmora by UB.14 061115 061115 Lt.Cdr C.H Warren

Sadsac

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Commodore Roger Keyes writing in his autobiography describes how


“...Nasmith dived unobserved into Constantinople, and fired a torpedo at a large vessel lying alongside the Arsenal; the torpedo ran in a circle owing to a gyroscope failure, and nearly hit E11; he then fired another. Two heavy explosions occurred, so the first torpedo must have hit something. …..............................


We now know that Nasmith's second torpedo blew a large hole in the Stambul.......”



Writing to his wife on 31st May 1915, Keyes says the torpedoed ship was 'off the Arsenal'



Other accounts mention “8 cargo vessels moored off Galata pier and 6 at Sirkeci” but fail to mention specifically where the Stambul was in all of this.



Most accounts say that the first torpedo ended up hitting a pier



The map below shows the Stambul quays and the Arsenal – you are probably better placed than most to say where Galata pier and Sirkeci were



7bacdcf9-42fe-44c7-81a6-e2b8a049325f_zps



Enjoy your trip around that fascinating water way



regards


Michael


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E-7, commanded by Lt Cdr. Cochrane, bombarded the Zeitum Powder Mills in the city in June 1915.

Thanks, but haven't found those Powder Mills yet...

... Writing to his wife on 31st May 1915, Keyes says the torpedoed ship was 'off the Arsenal'

Other accounts mention “8 cargo vessels moored off Galata pier and 6 at Sirkeci” but fail to mention specifically where the Stambul was in all of this...

Enjoy your trip around that fascinating water way

And thank you Michael - the arsenal has to be the Tophane ('Cannon [making] yard') district, the main arsenal for the Ottoman army since the conquest, and which is the Galata ('Galata pier') dock side, NW of the Golden Horn, and so where the cruise ships dock today. Sirkeci is the other (SE) side of the Golden Horn - and is the European terminus for the Orient Express and Berlin-Baghdad railway. The Galata pier makes sense: E11 would have had to go some distance 'upstream' to fire a torpedo towards anything at the Sirkeci pier.

Whatever, an impressive achievement - especially bearing in mind that bottom current in the Bosporos! And yes, a fun waterway to travel through these days, although more and more of the old buildings seem to suffer from 'fire' events...

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Award to E.11 ;

NASMITH Martin E N/E Lt.Cdr. RN 82O005 S/M E.11

Vice Admiral De Robeck 25.06.15 Gazetted

In Sea of Marmora end May start June, 1915 VC

Sank a large Turkish Gunboat, two Transports, an ammunition ship, and three store ships, in addition to chasing and driving ashore a small store ship. He entered Constantinople and discharged a torpedo at a transport alongside the arsenal. "Although "E.11" was not the pioneer amongst our submarines to enter the Sea of Marmora, I trust that Their Lordships' will be pleased to submit that the V.C., be bestowed on this valiant and skilful officer, and suitable decorations on the officers and men who have so ably assisted him to carry to a successful issue a cruise which will surely find a place in the annuls of the British Navy." - Vice Admiral De Robeck."The Vice Admiral's eulogy is well deserved". - (initialled) H.B.J.

Sadsac

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Award to E.11 ;

NASMITH Martin E N/E Lt.Cdr. RN 82O005 S/M E.11

Vice Admiral De Robeck 25.06.15 Gazetted

In Sea of Marmora end May start June, 1915 VC

And jolly well deserved, I'd say! The bottom current of the Bosporos, from south to north, has been known to drag fishing nets that way in opposition to the top current, north to south. And one can imagine the fury and anxiety the attack must have created!

Thanks,

Trajan

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Thanks, but haven't found those Powder Mills yet...

I can't be sure of this, but possibly Zeytinburnu Barat Fabrikas, Zeytinburnu, District 1, Istanbul.

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Hi,

well, E 7, that was on July 15th, 1915 actually, and she also searched Istanbul "harbour":

E 7 was in position west of Prenses Adalari when going to Istanbul

at 12:10h went aground off Kizkulesi but freed herself

at 15:00h observed Galata pier, but no steamers there

at 15:22h fired one torpedo against an group of sailing vessels off the Tophane magazine, this torpedo hit the pier

at 23:30h fired 10 shots against the ammunition plant at Zeytin Burnu, but no hits scored

As for E 11, two months earlier:

STAMBUL was at Galata pier, the torpedo hit and sank an lighter alongside, STAMBUL was damaged by that explosion.

The torpedo which run circle by the way missed the USS SCORPION :-)

Oliver

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I can't be sure of this, but possibly Zeytinburnu Barat Fabrikas, Zeytinburnu, District 1, Istanbul.

That would make sense - I can see how 'Zeytin' (olive) could be read / transcribed as Zaitum, from the late 19th century name of Zeïtoun-Bournu. It is the name of the region just outside the land walls on the north side of the Marmara, where many cargo ships anchor before entering the Bosporos. According to: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/indiaofficeselect/JointEnqList.asp?txtPhotographer=Imperial+School+of+Engineering%2C+%28Istanbul%29&strCat=1 there was a 'cartridge factory' there in 1890.

Thanks!

Hi,

well, E 7, that was on July 15th, 1915 actually, and she also searched Istanbul "harbour":

E 7 was in position west of Prenses Adalari when going to Istanbul

at 12:10h went aground off Kizkulesi but freed herself

at 15:00h observed Galata pier, but no steamers there

at 15:22h fired one torpedo against an group of sailing vessels off the Tophane magazine, this torpedo hit the pier

at 23:30h fired 10 shots against the ammunition plant at Zeytin Burnu, but no hits scored

As for E 11, two months earlier:

STAMBUL was at Galata pier, the torpedo hit and sank an lighter alongside, STAMBUL was damaged by that explosion.

The torpedo which run circle by the way missed the USS SCORPION :-)

Oliver

Vielen danke!

Trajan

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This is from the book "The Ottoman Steam Navy 1828-1923" which has a chapter on Allied submarine operations during the Gallipoli campaign:

The E11 did hit the Istanbul 3559grt/1904 with one torpedo which blew a 4 meter by 6 meter hole in the hull between the engine room and number 4 hold the ship remained afloat and was soon repaired. A steel barge along side the ship was also wrecked by the torpedo's explosion. The other torpedo hit the pier.

The E7 found the Galata peir empty. It did shell the munitions factories at Zeytinburnu and the railway lines from Istanbul to Izmit without causing serious damage. My notes have the crew of the AE2 on a train missed by the E7.

I hope this is of some use. The above book does list all Turkish ships sunk or damaged during WW I.

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This is from the book "The Ottoman Steam Navy 1828-1923" which has a chapter on Allied submarine operations during the Gallipoli campaign...

Thanks! I am beginning to feel well-enough informed for my guests now!

Trajan

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That would make sense - I can see how 'Zeytin' (olive) could be read / transcribed as Zaitum, from the late 19th century name of Zeïtoun-Bournu. It is the name of the region just outside the land walls on the north side of the Marmara, where many cargo ships anchor before entering the Bosporos. According to: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/indiaofficeselect/JointEnqList.asp?txtPhotographer=Imperial+School+of+Engineering%2C+%28Istanbul%29&strCat=1 there was a 'cartridge factory' there in 1890.

This may be the place seen on the map below as Zeitunlik (?)

MapeasthalfSeaofMarmaracrop_zpsa0158fb4.

The Handbook of the Turkish Army (eighth Provisional Ed.) Intelligence Section Cairo, Feb.10, 1916

has the following based upon 1911 output

"Zeitun Burnu on the Sea of Marmora outside Constantinople with:

aa] Small arms ammunition factory with complete and up-to-date machinery, American, British and German. Only Mauser ammunition was made there, the later stocks being fitted with the new pointed bullet which was cast in the factory, while the new sights used in conjunction therewith were likewise fitted.

bb] Foundry with several large furnaces where fairly big ingots were made. The largest casting was about 2,000 kilos, mostly mild steel, but some nickel steel was also produces.

cc] Shell factory turning out about 200 rounds of unfilled shrapnel up to 6-inch calibre a day."

The following changes are noted with respect to 1914-1915

"At Zeitun Burnu the output of shell is variously estimated at from 1,000 to 2,300 per diem. Small arms ammunition output 30,000 rounds per diem. Grenades are also turned out in large numbers. During August 1915 the total output of shell at Constantinople was 42,000, according to information from informed sources"

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Writing in his 'VCs of the First World War – Gallipoli' Stephen Snelling uses quotes from

'Some Recollections of Submarine Work in the Sea of Marmora in 1915, M. E. Nasmith (IWM)'

and 'Report of Proceedings of Submarine E11, May 19 – June 7, 1915 (IWM)'

It is not clear to me from which one he took this next

“12.35p.m. Fired Port Bow Tube. Torpedo failed to run. Fired Starboard Bow torpedo and observed track heading for larger vessel. Unable to observe the effect owing to being swept ashore by cross tide and the presence of what I took to be a Brennan torpedo. [it is now understood that no Brennan exists in Constantinople and it is probable that the torpedo sighted was the first one discharged which by now had blown out its tail plug and was running with a capsized Gyro.] Two explosions were heard, so it is probable that the stray torpedo found a mark as well as the one directed at the ship lying alongside the arsenal. Dived to 75 feet and turned to get out. Grounded heavily at 70 feet and bounced quickly up to 40 feet. Further rise was checked by going full speed astern and flooding internal tanks. The ship's head then swung from SSE through East and North to West. It was therefore concluded that the vessel was resting on a shoal under the Leander Tower, and being turned round by the current. Her head was then brought to South and the motors started ahead, the boat bumping gently down into 85 feet of water. After bumping for some time at this depth the boat was brought off the bottom. On bringing her to the surface about 20 minutes later she was found to be well clear of the entrance.”

Following this attack in the heart of Constantinople, the Ottomans virtually ceased the transportation of troops to Gallipoli by ship. 'Farewell' by Lieutenant Ibrahim Naci is the diary of an officer whose journey to the Gallipoli front by the German Rodosto Ferry was cancelled at short notice. The regiment now had to go by train to Uzunköprü and from there to march to Gallipoli. Only on day 10 (ten) of their journey did they reach the town of Gallipoli and on day 11 the port of Akbaş. So the submariners and Nasmith in particular had a marked effect on the Turks ability to reinforce their troops on the Gallipoli battlefield.

edit: Looking at the map provided at the end of the book, there was some toing and froing around the Istanbul area before the train was boarded, so it will be perhaps more correct to say that net the journey to Akbaş by train and march took 8 (eight) days. Nevertheless, a significant lengthening of the journey time.

.....................................................................................................................................................

The American guard ship has been mentioned previously - can someone explain what she (a neutral) was doing 'guarding' Istanbul?

Thanks

Michael

Edited by michaeldr
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This may be the place seen on the map below as Zeitunlik (?)

Zeitunlik, modern Turkish, means a place with olives, and so fits with Zeitenburnu, literally 'Olive Point' (well, 'Olive Nose' actually, but a also a headland or promontory, etc.).

Writing in his 'VCs of the First World War – Gallipoli' ...

... Two explosions were heard, so it is probable that the stray torpedo found a mark as well as the one directed at the ship lying alongside the arsenal. Dived to 75 feet and turned to get out. Grounded heavily at 70 feet and bounced quickly up to 40 feet. ... It was therefore concluded that the vessel was resting on a shoal under the Leander Tower, and being turned round by the current. Her head was then brought to South and the motors started ahead, the boat bumping gently down into 85 feet of water. After bumping for some time at this depth the boat was brought off the bottom. On bringing her to the surface about 20 minutes later she was found to be well clear of the entrance.”

Turned to get out and shoaling at the Leander Tower / Princess Island ties in with firing at a ship at the Galata / Arsenal dock side.

Many thanks Michael and all others! And also a Merry Xmas!

Trajan

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Trajan;

Merry Christmas!

Bob

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Trajan;

Merry Christmas!

Bob

Bob, Good to hear from you - Merry Christmas also! Looking forward to more on your artillery research!

Julian

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  • 1 month later...

Also perhaps of interest, another British submarine in Istanbul: a little larger and a little later (post armistice)

see http://www.illustratedfirstworldwar.com/item/the-craze-for-dancing-iln0-1919-0301-0021-001/#

for a photograph of the M1 and her 12-inch gun, seen next to the Galata Bridge

from the Illustrated London News of 1st March 1919

Some size to that! Wonder what happened when they fired it?

Thanks for the link!

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what happened when they fired it?

A one-shot-wonder it seems

See http://web.archive.org/web/20071119122359/http://www.submariners.co.uk/Boats/Barrowbuilt/M_Class/index.htm

quote:

Although their 12-inch guns were ideally suited for bombarding coastal defences, their method of attack at sea was rather primitive.

The attack procedure was to cruise at periscope depth until the target was lined up'. The submarine was then brought-up until about six feet of the gun barrel protruded from the water.

A round was fired and the submarine would then make a rapid dive - unable to fire again as the gun could not be reloaded under water. Known as the 'dip-chick' method, this attack procedure took about 30 seconds to complete.

regards

Michael

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A one-shot-wonder it seems...

I wonder how they handled the recoil...!

Trajan

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I recall having seen a photograph taken through the periscope of Constantinople harbor/wharf with one of E-11's torpedos detonating in the image. I always thought that was the first photograph of an attack taken through the periscope.  

Edited by Felix C
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  • 2 years later...

Thought to place this question here as it is a Dardanelles submarine related.

Do we know which BCE submarine sank this ship? Or the name of the ship?

24sized.jpg

Edited by Felix C
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