U Boats in World War 1

U-Boats were military based submarines used by the German troops in World War I and World War II. U-Boats were meant to be used for wars against naval warships, but instead the Germans used it for land warfare and raiding. These U-Boats in World War 1 were also used to block off shipping boats and international shipments entering their region. Germany wanted to block off any sort of shipment that would come in from Canada and the United States. There weren’t just military equipment in these shipments, but survival goods as well. There were Austrian submarines used in the warfare against France, and these were known as U-boats as well.

Where Does the U Boat Term Come From?

U-boat sinking a troop transport ship, painting by Willy Stöwer

U-boat sinking a troop transport ship, painting by Willy Stöwer

The term U-boat is just another word for submarine, but in this context it refers to the military submarine used by the Germans in WWI and WWII. In the German language, the military submarine is referred to as U-boot. Germany built their first U-boat which held two people inside, and it was put to the test at the Kiel harbour. During its initial test, it sank to the bottom of the harbour. The Germany navy ordered the submarine, but had no idea on how to go about in building it. The first submarine built by the Germans which was called the Brandtaucher was lifted out of the water after sixteen years and is now at a museum in central Germany.

When was the First U Boat Built?

Years after, another U-boat was built and tested and it proved to work as the troops wanted. The military submarine was then sold to the Russians during the Russian and Japanese War that occurred in 1904. From this point on, Germany created several hundred U-boats over the course of the next fifty years. These U-boats were used in World War I and World War II. Since Germany had access to their large U-boat fleet, they had twenty-nine military submarines at the start of the war in 1914. In just a four month period, five British ships had been lost to the German U-boats. With the use of a self-propelled torpedo, a German submarine was used to sink a British ship.

How Effective Were German U Boats?

German submarine U-9 (1910).

German submarine U-9 (1910).

With the power German fleet of military U-boats, some British warships were sunk in an hour or less. As a result of the several sinking incidents caused by the German boats, nearly one and half million tons of goods were lose. To get back at this, both Canada and United States built ships that housed goods and powerful military equipment that would allow the ships to get by the German U-boats. As part of the official Paris Peace Treaty, it banned the Germans from building more U-boats for interwar reasons. However, before World War II, Germans started building more submarines and provided loads of training to troops and they called this research to get by without conflicting with the peace treaty.

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