SM UC-5 was a German Type UC I minelayer submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. The U-boat had been ordered by November 1914 and was launched on 13 June 1915. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 19 June 1915 as SM UC-5.[Note 1] She served in World War I under the command of Herbert Pustkuchen (June - December 1915) and Ulrich Mohrbutter (December 1915 - April 1916).

UC-5 displayed in Central Park, New York City
German Empire
Name: UC-5
Ordered: by November 1914[1]
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen[2]
Yard number: 49[1]
Launched: 13 June 1915[1]
Commissioned: 19 June 1915[1]
Fate: grounded, 27 April 1916; captured by the British[1]
General characteristics [3]
Class and type: German Type UC I submarine
  • 168 t (165 long tons), surfaced
  • 182 t (179 long tons), submerged
Beam: 3.15 m (10 ft 4 in)
Draft: 3.04 m (10 ft)
  • 6.49 knots (12.02 km/h; 7.47 mph), surfaced
  • 5.67 knots (10.50 km/h; 6.52 mph), submerged
  • 910 nmi (1,690 km; 1,050 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) surfaced
  • 50 nmi (93 km; 58 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 50 m (160 ft)
Complement: 14
  • 6 × 100 cm (39 in) mine tubes
  • 12 × UC 120 mines
  • 1 × 8 mm (0.31 in) machine gun
Service record
Part of:
  • Oblt.z.S. Herbert Pustkuchen
  • 19 June – 18 December 1915
  • Oblt.z.S. Ulrich Mohrbutter
  • 19 December 1915 – 27 April 1916
Operations: 29 patrols
  • 29 merchant ships sunk (36,851 GRT)
  • 7 merchant ships damaged (20,262 GRT)
  • 1 warship sunk (380 tons)

She ran aground and was abandoned but recovered by the Allies and displayed for propaganda purposes.


A German Type UC I submarine, UC-5 had a displacement of 168 tonnes (165 long tons) when at the surface and 183 tonnes (180 long tons) while submerged. She had a length overall of 33.99 m (111 ft 6 in), a beam of 3.15 m (10 ft 4 in), and a draught of 3.04 m (10 ft). The submarine was powered by one Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft six-cylinder, four-stroke diesel engine producing 90 metric horsepower (66 kW; 89 shp), an electric motor producing 175 metric horsepower (129 kW; 173 shp), and one propeller shaft. She was capable of operating at a depth of 50 metres (160 ft).[3]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 6.20 knots (11.48 km/h; 7.13 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 5.22 knots (9.67 km/h; 6.01 mph). When submerged, she could operate for 50 nautical miles (93 km; 58 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 780 nautical miles (1,440 km; 900 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph). UC-5 was fitted with six 100 centimetres (39 in) mine tubes, twelve UC 120 mines, and one 8 millimetres (0.31 in) machine gun. She was built by AG Vulcan Stettin and her complement was fourteen crew members.[3]


UC-5 had an impressive career, with 29 ships sunk for a total of 36,288 tons on 29 patrols. On August 21, 1915 UC-5 became the first submarine minelayer to penetrate into the English Channel, laying 12 mines off Boulogne, one of which sank the steamship William Dawson the same day. UC-5 went on to lay 6 more mines off Boulogne and Folkestone on 7 September, one of which sank the cable layer Monarch.[4]


UC-5 ran aground while on patrol 27 April 1916 at 51°59′N 1°38′E and was scuttled. Her crew were captured by HMS Firedrake. The U-boat was salvaged and put into a floating dock by teams from Harwich and Chatham, led by Captain Young and Lt Paterson--a dangerous procedure because of the two mines still on board. Her captain had also rigged up explosive charges to wreck his ship in the event of abandoning, which the British press rather unfairly described as an attempt to kill the RN personnel who rescued his crew. Paterson was able to find and disable them after being warned by one of the prisoners. The U-Boat was towed first to Harwich, then on to Sheerness, where an approved party of journalists and even two war artists were taken to inspect it. (Refs: Nore Command Records ADM 151/83 at UK National Archives, E F Knight "The Harwich Force", contemporary editions of Daily Telegraph & Daily Mail).

Later it was towed up and displayed to the London public at Temple Pier on the Thames river and, the following year, in New York for propaganda purposes.[5]


  • Bendert, Harald (2001). Die UC-Boote der Kaiserlichen Marine 1914-1918. Minenkrieg mit U-Booten (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0758-7.
  • 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.
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-907-8. OCLC 12119866.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Stern, Robert C. (2002). Battle Beneath the Waves: U-boats at War. Cassell Military Paperbacks. ISBN 0-304-36228-X.
  • Tarrant, V. E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive: 1914–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-764-7. OCLC 20338385.


  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".


  1. Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: UC 5". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  2. Tarrant, p. 173.
  3. Gröner 1991, pp. 30-31.
  4. Gibson, R.H.; Maurice Prendergast (2002). The German Submarine War 1914-1918. Periscope Publishing Ltd. p. 51. ISBN 1-904381-08-1.
  5. "The Flandern U-boat bases and U-Bootflottille Flandern by Johan Ryheul at". Retrieved 25 August 2008.
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