SM U-30 (Germany)

SM U-30[Note 1] was one of 329 U-boat submarines serving in the Imperial German Navy in World War I. She engaged in commerce warfare as part of the First Battle of the Atlantic. U-30 is significant for the torpedoing of the US tanker Gulflight on 1 May 1915 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi) west of Scilly.[3]

History
German Empire
Name: U-30
Ordered: 19 February 1912
Builder: Kaiserliche Werft Danzig
Launched: 15 November 1913
Commissioned: 26 August 1914
Fate: Surrendered 22 November 1918. Broken up at Blyth in 1919-20.
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: German Type U 27 submarine
Displacement:
  • 675 t (664 long tons) surfaced
  • 878 t (864 long tons) submerged
Length: 64.70 m (212 ft 3 in) (o/a)
Beam: 6.32 m (20 ft 9 in)
Draught: 3.48 m (11 ft 5 in)
Speed:
  • 16.7 knots (30.9 km/h; 19.2 mph) surfaced
  • 9.8 knots (18.1 km/h; 11.3 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 9,770 nmi (18,090 km; 11,240 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced
  • 85 nmi (157 km; 98 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Test depth: 50 m (164 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 31 enlisted
Armament:
Service record
Part of:
  • Kaiserliche Marine:
  • IV Flotilla
  • unknown start – 19 November 1917
  • Training Flotilla
  • 19 November 1917 – 11 November 1918
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Erich von Rosenberg-Grusczyski
  • 25 September 1914 – 22 June 1915
  • Kptlt. Franz Grünert
  • 1 May 1916 – 20 November 1917
Operations: 6 patrols
Victories:
  • 27 merchant ships sunk (48,060 GRT)
  • 1 merchant ship damaged (5,189 GRT)[2]

Torpedoing of Gulflight

The particular mission when Gulflight was attacked commenced 24 April 1915. On 28 April U-30 intercepted the 1,950 GRT collier Mobile which she sank by gunfire after allowing the crew to escape. On 29 April she similarly sank the 3,200 GRT Cherbourg. 30 April she ordered the steamer Fulgent to halt, but when the ship failed to do so fired a shot into the ship's bridge, which killed the captain and quartermaster. The ship stopped and the rest of the crew were allowed to escape before the ship was sunk by explosive charges placed inside. That afternoon, the 3,100 GRT Svorno was stopped and sunk. On 1 May the grain carrier Edale and French ship Europe were sunk. A Dutch ship was stopped and, as a neutral, permitted to continue at a point some 45 nautical miles (83 km; 52 mi) north west of the Scilly Isles, but the submarine was spotted at this point by a steam drifter, Clara Alice which reported her position to a naval patrol.[4]

The patrol ships HMS Iago and Filey started to hunt for the submarine, but succeeded only in intercepting the US-flagged Gulflight, which they took under escort. The escort proved something of a disadvantage to Gulflight because she was obliged to slow down for the patrol and then, under international law, as a ship escorted by armed vessels became a legitimate target for attack. U-30 spotted the convoy and fired one torpedo at Gulflight, before noticing that she was flying an American flag. The submarine then broke off the attack in accordance with her instructions not to attack neutral vessels.

Gulflight survived the attack, although two members of the crew drowned while evacuating the ship and the master Captain Gunter died later that night from a heart attack. The ship was towed to Crow Bay and later repaired. News of the event would be overshadowed a few days later by the sinking of RMS Lusitania but the incident, together with the attack on Lusitania and another ship, Cushing, formed the basis of a formal complaint from the US government to Germany. Although the United States remained officially neutral in the ongoing hostilities, it reached agreement with the German government that further attacks by submarine would be strictly in accordance with "cruiser Rules" as defined by international law.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 2] Fate[5]
20 February 1915 Cambank  United Kingdom 3,112 Sunk
20 February 1915 Downshire  United Kingdom 337 Sunk
28 April 1915 Mobile  United Kingdom 1,905 Sunk
29 April 1915 Cherbury  United Kingdom 3,220 Sunk
30 April 1915 Fulgent  United Kingdom 2,008 Sunk
30 April 1915 Svorono  Russian Empire 3,102 Sunk
1 May 1915 Edale  United Kingdom 3,110 Sunk
1 May 1915 Europe  France 1,887 Sunk
1 May 1915 Gulflight  United States 5,189 Damaged
3 May 1915 Minterne  United Kingdom 3,018 Sunk
26 October 1916 Lysland  Norway 1,745 Sunk
1 November 1916 Brierley Hill  United Kingdom 1,168 Sunk
11 April 1917 Saxo  Denmark 711 Sunk
11 April 1917 Nancy  Denmark 1,325 Sunk
11 April 1917 Star  Norway 818 Sunk
11 April 1917 Sylfiden  Norway 796 Sunk
12 April 1917 Kolaastind  Norway 2,368 Sunk
13 April 1917 Bokn  Norway 336 Sunk
13 April 1917 Frixos  Finland 2,471 Sunk
13 April 1917 Gama  Norway 107 Sunk
13 April 1917 Glenlora  Norway 805 Sunk
13 April 1917 Zara  United Kingdom 1,331 Sunk
14 April 1917 Fjeldli  Norway 954 Sunk
15 April 1917 Paris  Norway 1,634 Sunk
16 May 1917 Middlesex  United Kingdom 7,265 Sunk
23 May 1917 Freden  Denmark 166 Sunk
16 July 1917 Cyrus  Russian Empire 293 Sunk
28 July 1917 Atlas  France 2,068 Sunk

References

Notes

  1. "SM" stands for "Seiner Majestät" (English: His Majesty's) and combined with the U for Unterseeboot would be translated as His Majesty's Submarine.
  2. Tonnages are in gross register tons

Citations

  1. Gröner 1991, pp. 6-7.
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: U 30". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net.
  3. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Gulfight". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net.
  4. Simpson, Colin (1972). Lusitania. Book club associates.
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U 30". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 22 December 2014.

Bibliography

  • Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.

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