"Patchwork" submarines in the war




By the beginning of World War I, all naval powers could be fairly easily divided into main, having significant naval forces with diverse and numerous ships of all classes, and secondary, possessing only purely local fleetsincluding, at best, a few dozen small units and only a few large battle ships. The first, of course, include Britain, the USA, Germany, Russia and France; with some doubt Italy can also be added to them. The vast majority of the latter includes most of the rest of Europe and the most developed countries of Latin America. Well, and in the third category - countries whose Navy can be viewed only through a magnifying glass, belonged to other countries of the world, owners of perhaps a couple or two very small gunboats (sometimes proudly referred to as "cruisers") and other ships that no longer had combat value .


The submarine U-6 goes at full speed - around 10 nodes. 1909


Sub-U-6 during one of the training exits in the first months of the war

In this almost harmonious system, it is problematic to include only one imperial power, Austria-Hungary. On the one hand, the dual monarchy (often contemptuously referred to as “patchwork” because of the presence in its composition of the masses of different peoples according to traditions and religion) obviously claimed the role of one of the leading countries of Europe, relying mainly on a very large number (although in fact, it turned out that the army was not too efficient, but not forgetting the fleet, although there were very few funds left for it. Austrian engineers (in fact, representatives of different nations) turned out to be very resourceful and managed to create quite decent, very rational, and in some places simply outstanding ships. On the other hand, this fleet can in no way be called either “world” or even fully Mediterranean, since its intended scope of operation remained quite a small Adriatic Sea, where, in fact, the entire coast of the empire went.
Nevertheless, the last Habsburgs sought to maintain their navy at the proper level. And when the submarines of the leading maritime powers began to "make forays" from their bases, they also wished to have them in the fleet. Recall that in the beginning of the 20th century, the Austro-Hungarian delegation visited the United States on this subject, and after long inspections and negotiations purchased the project from the company Simon Lake, known to us as the creator of "underwater chariots."

He had to remove from the custom project a perfect exotic in the face of the use of divers as a "means of destruction", replacing them with the already traditional torpedo tube. But his favorite "rudiment" - wheels for crawling along the bottom - remained.

The contract signed at the end of 1906 of the year stipulated that two boats would be built in Austria itself, at the arsenal plant at the main base in Pole: the empire’s engineers quite reasonably wanted to get not only the “products” themselves, but also the technologies and skills in their construction. In the end, as we remember, the truly great maritime powers began with this. The boats were laid in the summer of the following year and safely, although slowly, for three years, were completed, tested and commissioned. Instead of names, they received the same designation as the Germanic ones, Unterseeboote, or abbreviated, “U” with the number, good, the official state language of the empire was the same German.

It is, of course, difficult to call a result a masterpiece, like most of Lake's products. Small, low-speed submarines with a gasoline internal combustion engine, a steering wheel installed on the bridge only after the ascent, and ballast tanks over a solid hull, filled with pumps, can hardly be considered combat. It’s easy to imagine how unstable they were when they dive, which also took 8-10 minutes! Nevertheless, the poor Austrian fleet treated them very reverently. While in other countries such first ships with the outbreak of hostilities ruthlessly incapacitated and sent to the metal, the U-1 and U-2 carefully replaced the gasoline engines with diesel engines and installed new batteries. And they were used very intensively, before the start of the war - for training (both boats made up to a dozen sailing a month!), And in the 1915 year, after Italy joined the Entente, they were used to defend their “nest” - the base in Pol . And so on until the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918. In the form of a kind of bullying "wheeled" submarines in the division of the fleet of the vanquished fell to the eternal rivals, the Italians, who a few years later let this "honorable trophy" on the metal.

"Patchwork" submarines in the war

Submarine "U-4"


U-4-Type Submarine - Side View

Submarine "U-4" Austria-Hungary, 1909

Built by Deutschewerft in Kiel. Type of construction - two-hull. Displacement overhead / underwater - 240 / 300 t. Dimensions: length 43,2 m, width 3,8 m, draft 2,95 m. Body material - steel. Immersion depth - up to 40 m. Engine: 2 gasoline engine with power 1200 hp. and 2 electric motor power 400 hp Surface / submarine speed - 12 / 8,5 knots. Armament: two 450-mm torpedo tubes in the nose, one 37-mm gun was installed during the war, subsequently replaced by 66-mm. Crew - 21 people. 1909 units are built in 2 - “U-3” and “U-4”. “U-3” died in 1915. “U-4” after the war was transferred to France and scrapped there.


The second purchase turned out to be much more successful, this time with its closest ally. We are talking about "U-3" and "U-4", who made a "hole" in the harmonious numbering of the German submarines. Germany preferred to sell these boats from among the very first, having received money and construction experience. Without stopping the attempt to deceive "brothers by race": sellers really wanted to save on the order, replacing some successful, but expensive technical solutions with more "budget" ones, finding that inexperienced Austrians would not pay attention to it. It was not the case: the buyers had already gotten a little used up in business, bargaining with Lake. As a result, two years later, the “dual monarchy” received its first German submarine “flap”, I must say, very successful. The boats made a cruise around half of Europe, however, in tow. Having reached the base in the Field, they quickly gained full recognition from the new owners, as well as their predecessors, having begun active training activities. Although by the beginning of the war these small submarines could not be called modern, as we shall see, used them in combat to the fullest.

At the same time with the order of this pair from the Germans, the Austrians stubbornly sewed another “patch” to their colorful “underwater blanket”. There were few sources of new technology in this area, while France, located in the opposite military-political camp, was completely excluded. Like Russia, remaining almost the first possible enemy. In fact, in addition to Germany, which was heavily engaged in the development of its own submarine forces (we recall, by this time there were only 2 (!) Submarines), only the United States remained. Lake's products were highly doubtful, so the direct route led to the Electric Boat Company, which still riveted submarines under the name of Holland.

Austria-Hungary at that time occupied a peculiar position in the world. In particular, she had very long-standing ties with Britain in the production of naval armament. The main role in this was played by the firm of the Englishman Whitehead, which had long been settled in the then Austrian port of Fiume near Trieste (now the Slovenian Rijeka). It was there that experiments were carried out with the first self-propelled torpedoes; production of deadly "fishes", which became the main weapons submarines. And in the 1908 year, Whitehead decided to get involved in the construction of the submarines themselves. It is not surprising if we recall the financial conditions on which the first combat submarines were created in different countries: the profit could reach tens of percent. (Although the risk was very large: remember the long line of bankrupt companies.) In the meantime, complete “patchwork” triumphed: an Austrian company with a British owner purchased a license to manufacture a pair of boats from the Electric Boat of the American Octopus. More precisely, not on the production, but on the assembly - in the same way as Russia. Submarines were built at the shipyard in Newport, then they were dismantled, transported across the ocean in transport and got to Whitehead for final assembly at Fiume.

As for the boats themselves, much has already been said about the American products of the first generation. "Cucumbers" had poor seaworthiness; however, by default it was believed that the Austrians would not let them go far from the base, which is indicated, in particular, by more than a peculiar feature: the presence of a removable bridge from which the boats could make trips only on the surface. If a dive was planned during a hike, the bridge should be left in the port! In this case, when moving on the surface, the watchman had to show acrobatic abilities, balancing on the hatch cover. The traditional problems associated with the use of a gasoline engine have not gone anywhere.


Submarine "U-5"


U-5-Type Submarine - Side View

Submarine "U-5" Austria-Hungary, 1910

Built by the company "Electric Boat" in the United States, going to state shipyards in the field. Type of construction - single body. Displacement overhead / underwater - 240 / 275 t. Dimensions: length 32,1 m, width 4,2 m, draft 3,9 m. Body material - steel. Immersion depth - up to 30 m. Engine: 2 gasoline engine with horsepower 1000. and 2 electric motor power 460 hp Surface / submarine speed - 10,75 / 8,5 knots. Armament: two 450-mm torpedo tubes in the nose; during the war, one 37-mm cannon was installed, subsequently replaced by an 66-mm. Crew - 19 people. In 1909 – 1910 built 2 units - "U-5" and "U-6". "U-12" was completed on the private initiative of the company, purchased by the fleet in 1914.
U-6 was flooded by the crew in May of 1916, U-12 was killed by mines in August of the same year. “U-5” after the war was transferred to Italy and scrapped there.


However, while both boats, U-5 and U-6, which were already accepted as members of the imperial fleet by agreement, were assembled at its factory, Whitehead decided to build a third one, at his own peril and risk. Although the project made some improvements, the representatives of the Navy completely refused to accept, citing the absence of any contract. So Whitehead got his “fear and risk” to the full: the already built boat now had to be attached somewhere. The Englishman went into all grave, offering an "orphan" to the governments of various countries, from prosperous Holland to extremely doubtful about the fleet of Bulgaria, including overseas exotic in Brazil and distant Peru. Pretty unsuccessful.

Whitehead was saved by a war in which his native country participated on the opposite side! With the outbreak of hostilities, the Austrian fleet became much less discriminating and bought from him the third “Holland”. The boat was part of the fleet as “U-7”, but it did not have to sail under this number: at the end of August 1914, the designation was changed to “U-12”. Permanent bridges and diesel engines were installed for the whole three, and then released into the sea. And for good reason: it is with these very primitive submarines that the loudest victories of the Austrian submariners and the entire imperial fleet are connected.

The reasons for making the fleet long negated by him before and already obsolete submarine are understandable. By the beginning of the First World War, the submarine forces of Austria-Hungary were in a deplorable state - only five boats capable of going to sea. And they didn’t have to wait for replenishment, because they could not adjust their own production. Suspended from the “trough”, Whitehead continued his collaboration with the Americans and became the contractor for the Electric Boat for export construction. The plant in Fiume managed to deliver three licensed “holland” to Denmark. The process was closely watched by Austrian officers and officials who testified to the excellent quality of the building. Therefore, with the beginning of the war, the fleet not only accepted the long-suffering U-7, but also offered the British manufacturer to build four more units for the same project from the Electric Boat. Whitehead, whose financial situation was shaken as a result of all these events, agreed with relief. However, there was a problem with those components that were manufactured in the United States. Overseas, they did not want to violate neutrality in favor of a potential adversary and imposed a ban on delivery.

As a result, has been described more than once история. Whitehead's “Suspicious Foreigner” was removed from the business he had just started and just rose from his knees. The Austrians created a dummy firm, Hungarian Submarines Joint Stock Company, in fact completely subordinate to the fleet, to which they transferred equipment and personnel from the Whitehead factory. As if in punishment for unjust oppression, internal disassemblies followed. The “second component” of the dual monarchy, the Hungarians, seriously wanted to build those very submarines. Government order of just four units began to tear apart. As a result, according to a compromise, one pair went to the firm “Stabilimento Technique Triestino”, which had an extremely negative impact on the timing and quality of construction. The entire series, "U-20" - "U-23", could only be delivered by the beginning of 1918, when the fleets of all self-respecting countries had already gotten rid of such hopelessly outdated samples of the first production "hollands" in their composition.


Submarine "U-21" - side projection

Submarine "U-21" Austria-Hungary, 1917

Was built on gosverfi in the field. Type of construction - single body. Displacement above-water / submerged - 173 / 210 t. Dimensions: length 38,76 m, width 3,64 m, draft 2,75 m. Body material - steel. Immersion depth - to 30 m. Engine: 1 diesel 450 horsepower hp and 1 electric motor with power 160 hp Surface / submarine speed 12 / 9 knots Armament: two 450-mm torpedo tubes in the nose, one 66-mm gun. Crew -18 people. In 1917, the 4 units were built: "U-20" - "U-23". “U-20” was sunk by an Italian submarine in 1918, partially lifted in 1962, felling sent to the museum. "U-23" sunk in the same year. Two others after the war handed over to the Allies and scrapped.


Thus, Austria-Hungary, torn apart by internal contradictions, once again demonstrated that it is not the leading maritime power. True, the Austrians, a year and a half before the start of the war, managed to hold a competition for a new project, predictably won by the Germans. As a result, Deutscheverft received an order for five units with characteristics, in fact, very close to standard German submarines. Large (635 t on the surface) and well-armed U-7 - U-11 (this is where the “missing” 7 number went) could undoubtedly be a very valuable acquisition. But they did not: with the outbreak of hostilities, their distillation around Europe through the now enemy waters of Britain and France seemed completely impossible. On this basis, the Germans confiscated the Austrian order, finalized the project in accordance with the first experience and completed it for themselves.

So the monarchy of Franz Joseph "remained on the beans." The persistent calls for an ally led Germany to send its boats to the Mediterranean. Naturally, having in mind first of all own interests. It was there that the completely unprotected communications of the Allies, promising "fat fields" to submariners, took place. And so it turned out: just in the Mediterranean, Lothar Arnaud de la Perrier set up his stunning records and other "champions" in the destruction of merchant ships. They could be based, of course, only in Austrian ports. The U-21, commanded by the famous Otto Herzing, made its way to the Mediterranean, safely reached Qatarro, proving the possibility of moving the boats over such great distances around Europe ... soon after the confiscation of the Austrian order.

For the "U-21" pulled the other "Germans". In total, 1914 units arrived in the Adriatic for the 1916 – 66 years, large - under their own power (those were 12 units), collapsible coastal UB and DC - by rail. It is quite ironic that they all became ... as if Austrian! True, purely formal; the reason was a kind of diplomatic-legal cunning. The fact is that Italy for a long time, until the end of May 1915, remained neutral, and then entered the war only with Austria-Hungary. But not with Germany, before the declaration of war which passed a whole year. And for this period the German submarines received Austrian designations and raised the flag of the Habsburg Empire, which allowed them to carry out attacks, regardless of the neutrality of Italy. Moreover, German crews remained on the submarines, and they were commanded by the recognized aces of the underwater war of the mighty northern neighbor. It was only in November, 1916, that the continuation of this masking with white threads became unnecessary. The Germans raised their flags and finally came out of the shadows.


Submarine "U-17"


U-15-Type Submarine - Side View

Submarine "U-15" Austria-Hungary, 1915

It was built by Deutschewerft in Germany. Type of construction - single body. Displacement overhead / underwater - 127 / 142 t. Dimensions: length 28,1 m, width 3,15 m, draft 3,0 m. Body material - steel. Immersion depth - to 40 m. Engine: 1 diesel 60 horsepower hp and 1 electric motor with power 120 hp Surface / submarine speed - 6 / 5 knots. Armament: two 450-mm torpedo tubes in the nose. Crew - 15 people. 1915 delivered to the Floor and collected 5 units: "U-10", "U-11", "U-15" - "U-17". “U-16” was sunk in May 1917, the rest after the war transferred to Italy and scrapped at 1920.


The Austrians understood perfectly well that they were being used in the humiliating role of a screen. Tearful requests to an ally followed to replace confiscated submarines with something. And the Germans met, passing the spring of 1914, a couple of UB-I type crumbs: “UB-1” and “UB-15”, then transported unassembled by rail to Paul, where they quickly assembled. The new owners renamed them U-10 and U-11. The fleet leaders of Austria-Hungary likewise liked the boats themselves, and especially the speed with which they were able to get them. The result of the new requests was the delivery of three more "babies": "U-15", "U-16" and "U-17". So the Germans got off with five small and primitive boats instead of the same number of large confiscated ones. And the “patchwork empire” again remained with the defective coastal submarine fleet.

True, Germany was not going to leave its ally quite a "horseless". But - for the money. In the summer of 1915, a private firm, Weser, a recognized submarine builder, concluded a contract to build under the license of improved “babies” of the type UB-II with Austrian colleagues from Trieste, Kantiere Navale. Since the fleet would have to pay all the same, the building promised profit and, naturally, the traditional squabble between the two “heads” of the empire began. This time the Hungarians grabbed half, the future “U-29” - “U-32”. They undertook to put the company "Ganz und Danubius", the main enterprises of which were located ... in Budapest. Pretty far from the sea coast! Therefore, the assembly still had to be carried out at the Ganz branch in Fiume.

Not only the Hungarians had enough problems. The Austrian Kantieri Navale also suffered from a lack of skilled workers and the necessary equipment. Attempt to create a chain of suppliers on the model of German in the conditions of the empire led only to a parody. Counterparties constantly detained parts and equipment, and small boats were built unacceptably long, several times longer than in Germany. They began to enter service only in the 1917 year, and the latter was just the "Austrian" "U-41". She also has the dubious honor of being the last submarine that became part of the "patchwork" fleet.


Submarine "U-52" - side projection

Submarine "U-52" Austria-Hungary, project 1916

It was built at the shipyard "Stabilimento Technicot Triestino" in Trieste. Type of construction - dvukhkor-pusny. Displacement overhead / underwater - 848 / 1136 t. Dimensions: length 76 m, width 6,79 m, draft 3,47 m. Body material - steel. Immersion depth - up to 45 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine with power 2480 hp and 2 electric motor power 1200 hp Surface / submarine speed -15,5 / 9 knots Armament: four 450-mm torpedo tubes (2 in the bow and stern), two 100-mm guns. Crew - 40 people. 4 units were ordered, “U-52” - “U-55”, only two were actually laid.


If such a sad story happened to small boats, then it is clear what happened to a more ambitious licensing project. Then, in the summer of 1915, the leader of submarine shipbuilding, Deutscheft, agreed to hand over drawings of a completely modern submarine with an overhead displacement of 700 tons to Austria-Hungary. And again in the "dual" followed by long political maneuvers, the result of which was overwhelming: both units went to the Hungarian "Ganz und Danubius". The result is obvious. By the time of surrender, in November 1918, the head company U-50 was reportedly almost ready for the firm’s reports, but it was no longer possible to verify this. She, along with a completely unprepared partner behind the 51 number, was sent to the new owners, allies. Interestingly, a month before that, the fleet issued an order for the construction of two more units of the same type, by the way, which received numbers 56 and 57, but they did not even have time to lay them out.

The number “hole” from 52-th to 55-th was intended for another attempt to expand the production of submarines. This time, formally purely domestic. Although in the A6 project of the Stabiliento Technique of Triestino, German ideas and technical solutions are quite clearly visible, as it is easy to guess. Attention is drawn to the powerful artillery armament - two 100-graph paper. However, the advantages and disadvantages of these submarines can only be assumed. By the end of the war, they were almost in the same position as at the time of the order: there were only parts of the keel and a stack of sheeting on the stocks. As in the case of 700-ton boats, an order for two more units, “U-54” and “U-55”, was issued in September 1918, a mockery of themselves and common sense.

Unfortunately, not the last. Although the construction of licensed UB-II from Kantier Navale was not shaky or shaky, a year after receiving the order, the company wanted to build a much larger and more complex technically UB-III. The same "Weser" willingly sold all the necessary papers on his version of the project. Needless to say, the parliaments and governments of Austria and Hungary (and there were a complete double set in the twin monarchy) entered into the usual "close combat" for orders. Having spent valuable time on useless debates and negotiations, the parties “hung on the ropes”. A dubious victory on points went to the Austrians, who snatched six boats of the order; Hungarians got another four. And although, unlike our own developments, there was a complete set of working drawings and all the documentation, these boats never touched the surface of the water. At the time of the surrender, the readiness of even the most advanced in the construction of the head-end U-101 did not even reach half. Four pledged "martyrs" were dismantled, and the rest, in fact, appeared only on paper. And here the last order for the additional three units, “U-118” - “U-120”, was issued in the same September 1918 of the year.

Meanwhile, the wounded “shortage” of two units, the Hungarians demanded their share. Not wanting to be bound by the agreement concluded by the rivals with Weser, the notorious Ganz und Danubius turned to Deutscheverft. The competitors had, in fact, to buy the same UB-III project twice, in slightly different proprietary development - the “dualism” appeared in all its glory here. The result was about the same: the Hungarian company laid six units, but their readiness on the fatal November 1918 was even lower than that of the “Kantiere Navale”.


U-43 submarine (former German UB-43). In 1915-16 with the German crew sank a little less than 100.000 tonnage in the Mediterranean. In the Austrian fleet only one ship was damaged.


Submarine U-30 (near German U-35 and U-65) in the Austrian base. Missing March 1917


Submarine U-3 goes to surf. By the beginning of the war was intensively used as a training. In August, 1915 was sunk by an assault by the French destroyer Bisson.


Submarines U-3 and U-4 in the field Raid. U-4 served the entire war, sinking the Italian armored cruiser "Giuseppe Garibaldi" and damaging the British cruiser "Dublin", sank several large merchant ships


The U-15 submarine survived the entire war. 5 sank the merchant ships and the French destroyer "Furs"


U-10 submarine (former German UB-1) at the time of launching. It sank the Italian torpedo boat, but in 1918, it exploded a mine

Despite the apparent inability of their pseudo-producers, at the end of the war, the government of the empire generously distributed orders. So that the Hungarians would not be bitter, they were ordered to build a submarine with numbers from 111 to 114 in September. And so that the Austrians were not offended, their newly established company Austriyaverft was pleased with the order for another three UB-III under the numbers 115, 116 and 117. Of all these bounty left only the rooms themselves; none of the boats in the remaining one and a half to two months before the end of the war had even time to lay. At that, the history of the Austro-Hungarian submarines, as can be seen, is mostly incomplete or purely virtual. Apparently, forever.

Watching helpless attempts and senseless squabbles in the camp of its main ally, Germany tried to somehow brighten up the situation. But not without benefit to themselves. At the end of 1916, the Germans offered to buy a pair of units of the same type of UB-II from among those already on the Adriatic - for cash in gold. There was a draft in the treasury of the empire, but money was found on the boats. The purchase of "UB-43" and "UB-47" took place, although the Germans honestly and with some contempt for the "beggars" admitted that they were getting rid of outdated equipment. The Austrians received heavily worn-out ships, and this with a weak repair and technical base.

Combat application


Submarine U-5 in the Bay of Kotor. Distinguished by the fact that she sank the French armored cruiser "Leon Gambetta", the Italian submarine "Nereid", the Italian military transport "Prince Umberto" (about two thousand people were killed)

It is worth noting that with all these troubles, to put it mildly, the small Austro-Hungarian submarine fleet fought stubbornly, achieving notable success, but also suffering losses, however, which were dozens of times inferior to the damage caused by the allies. For the reasons described above, any unit was of great value, and the boats, if possible, were carefully repaired and modernized.

The first measure at the beginning of 1915 was the installation of guns. It is clear that on anything not large submarines it was extremely difficult to place anything serious. And initially limited to 37-graphs. Moreover, even in this case, difficulties arose. So, on the oldest (of the existing) “Germans” “U-3” and “U-4”, this “artillery” was placed on some stub of the bollard directly on a small superstructure not adapted to that, so that the guns were either standing on the side of the deck, stretched out to their full height, or lying on a superstructure protrusion and only along the course. However, both boats bravely entered the fighting.


U-11 submarine (former German UB-15) at periscope depth. With the German crew sunk the Italian submarine "Medusa"

They waited for a fundamentally different fate. “U-4” already in November 1914 of the year launched its first victim, a small sailboat. In February of the following year, three more were added to it, this time captured and sent to their port. And then the real hunt of the U-4 for the cruisers began. In May, her goal was a small Italian "Puglia", who was lucky to dodge a torpedo. The following month, the British new and valuable cruiser Dublin, which was also guarded by several destroyers, came under its shot from under the water. This very valuable ship for the Allies in the Mediterranean was barely able to save. And the next month, the loudest victory awaited him: near Pelagosa, U-4, under the command of Rudolph Zingule, Italian armored cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi was hijacked and let it sink to the bottom with two torpedoes. Then her victim was ... the Pantelleria trap ship, which failed to cope with its mission and successfully torpedoed. Toward the end of the year, the boat again switched to the "British", with whom they were somewhat less fortunate: both the outdated armored deck "Diamond" and the new light cruiser "Birmingham" safely escaped hits.


Submarine U-16. October 17 1916 drowned the Italian destroyer Nemba, but she herself died.

At the end of 1915, the submarine was re-strengthened by installing an 66-mm gun in addition to a low-value 37-graph paper, and it switched to merchant ships. There was only one “cruising relapse”: an attempt to attack the Italian light cruiser “Nino Bixio”, with the same result as the British. But the merchant ships followed one after the other. Interestingly, without the participation of the new gun: its victims "U-4" stubbornly drowned torpedoes. She successfully served until the end of the war, becoming the most "long-lived" submarine of the Austro-Hungarian fleet. After the war, she suffered a common fate for the boats defeated. According to the results of this section, it was transferred to France, where she went to the metal.


Submarine U-32. She survived the entire war, sank two British ships

Quite a different fate fell on U-3, which ended its short combat career as early as August 1915. Trying to attack the Italian auxiliary cruiser Chita di Catania, she herself fell under the ram of her target, bending her periscope. It was necessary to float, but on the surface the French destroyer “Bizon” was already waiting, awarding “U-3” another pair of “scars”. The submarine again plunged and lay down on the ground, where the crew repaired the damage, and the commander, Karl Strand, waited. Almost a day passed, Strand thought that the “Frenchman” would not wait so long, and early in the morning surfaced. However, the commander of "Buffalo" was no less stubborn, the destroyer was right there and opened fire. "U-3" sank along with the third part of the crew, and the survivors were captured.


Submarine U-6. 18 March 1916 drowned the French destroyer Renadin

The fate of the Austrian "Holland" turned out to be just as different. “U-5” began just as famously, leaving at the beginning of November in the area of ​​Cape Stilo for the whole squadron of French battleships, but missed. But in April of the following year, she repeated the success of her German colleagues in the hunt for patrol cruisers. And about the same conditions: having learned nothing from the experience of their allies, the French kept an equally senseless and vulnerable watch from the big cruisers, neglecting precautionary measures. And under the torpedo "U-5" he himself came armored cruiser "Leon Gambetta", sunk with the admiral and most of the crew. And in August, near the "favorite" point of use of the fleets of both sides, Pelagosa Island, she sank the Italian submarine Nereid. The following summer, the victim was the Italian auxiliary cruiser Principe Umberto, carrying troops. About 1800 people died on it. And all this is not counting merchant ships.


Submarine U-6 in the dock during the repair. 12 May 1916, entangled in the networks Otrantskogo barrage, after an unsuccessful attempt to get out the team flooded the ship and was captured

On the submarine twice changed "artillery." First, 37-graph paper gave way to 47-mm, and then 66-mm cannon. However, the last improvement was no longer necessary. In May, 1917 of the year luck changed “U-5”. During a routine academic exit, she exploded in a mine literally in plain sight of her own base. The boat was raised, but repaired for a long time, more than a year. At that her military service and ended. The grievous Italians after the war showed a trophy at their Victory Parade, and then just scrapped.

The U-6 turned out to be much less fortunate, although the French destroyer Renoden, sunk in March 1916, is on its account. In May of the same month, the boat entangled itself in the nets of the anti-submarine barrier created by the allies, blocking the exit from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean Sea, known as the Otranto barrage. The crew suffered for a long time, but in the end he had to sink his ship and surrender.
The “homeless” Whitehead “U-12” had a louder and more tragic fate. Her only commander, brave man and secular handsome Egon Lerch (he was credited with an affair with the emperor's granddaughter) at the end of 1914, made perhaps the most important attack of the Austrian fleet. His goal was the French newest battleship "Jean Bar". Of the two torpedoes fired, only one hit, besides in the bow of a huge ship. There was simply nothing to repeat the salvo from the primitive boat, and the padded giant safely retreated. But until the end of the war, no other French battleship entered the “Austrian Sea” and did not even approach the Adriatic.

So one torpedo shot of a submarine solved the question of supremacy on the sea: otherwise the Austrians would most likely have to deal with the main forces of the two countries, France and Italy, each of which had a stronger linear fleet.
“U-12” died in a desperate operation. In August, 1916, Lerch decided to get into the harbor of Venice and "restore order there." Perhaps he would have succeeded, the submarine was already very close to the target, but stumbled upon a mine and quickly sank. No one escaped. The Italians raised the boat that same year, nobly burying the brave men with military honors at the cemetery in Venice.


Submarine "U-14" (former French Curie)


Submarine "U-14" - side projection

Submarine "U-14" Austria-Hungary, 1915

Former French Curie. It was built at the naval shipyard in Toulon, rebuilt at the state shipyard in Pole. Type of construction - single body. Body material - steel. Displacement overhead / underwater - 401 / 552 t. Dimensions: length 52,15 m, width 3,6 m, draft 3,2 m. Body material - steel. Immersion depth - up to 30 m. Engine: 2 diesel engine with power 960 hp and 2 electric motor power 1320 hp Surface / submarine speed - 12,5 / 9 knots. Armament: 7 450-mm torpedo tubes (1 in the nose, 2 onboard, XnUMX lattice Dzhevetsky system); during the war, one 4-mm cannon was installed, subsequently replaced by an 37-mm. Crew -88 people. At the end of 28, the Curie was sunk at the entrance to Paula, then was raised, rebuilt, and commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian fleet in 1914. Twice upgraded. After the war, returned to France, was in service until 1915, in 1929-m scrapped.


How desperately critical was the situation with the submarine fleet in Austria-Hungary, shows the story of the French boat Curie. This is not the most successful design submarine in December 1914, tried to penetrate into the main base of the enemy fleet, anticipating Lerch's adventure. With the same result. “Curie” hopelessly entangled in the anti-submarine network at the entrance to Paul in the manner of “U-6”, and she suffered the same fate. The boat surfaced and was sunk by artillery, and almost the entire crew was captured.

The proximity of the base allowed the Austrians to quickly raise the trophy from a solid 40-meter depth. Damage was easily fixed, and the boat decided to put into operation. It took more than a year, but the result was more than satisfactory. The Austrians replaced diesel engines with domestic ones, significantly rebuilt the superstructure and installed the 88-mm cannon - the most powerful in their submarine fleet. So “Frenchwoman” became “Austrian” under the modest designation “U-14”. Soon it was taken under the command of one of the most famous submariners of the "patchwork monarchy", Georg von Trapp. He and his team managed to make dozens of military campaigns on the trophy and sink a dozen enemy ships with a total capacity under 46 thousand tons, including the Italian “Milazzo” in 11500 t, which became the largest ship sunk by the Austro-Hungarian fleet. After the war, the boat was returned to the French, who not only returned her original name, but for quite a long time, about ten years, were kept in service. Moreover, the former owners, not without bitterness, admitted that after the Austrian modernization, the Curie had become the best unit in the French submarine fleet!

Quite successfully operated and built under license and received from the Germans "baby." It is appropriate to note here that usually in the most conservative component of the armed forces, in the navy, in the “dual monarchy”, fair internationalism flourished. In addition to the Austrian Germans, many officers were Croats and Slovenes from the Adriatic Dalmatia; by the end of the war the Hungarian admiral Miklos Horthy commanded the fleet, and the representative of one of the most land nations of the empire, Czech Zdenek Hudeček, became the most productive submariner. He received a "U-27", which entered service only in the spring of 1917, and made the first of its ten military campaigns under the command of Austrian German Robert von Fernland. In total, three dozen ships have fallen victim to the boat, although most of them are quite small. Very far from the German records, but for such a short period of time is very good. And given the multitude of problems, both technical and national, that have destroyed the Habsburg monarchy, the achievements of the submariners of Austria-Hungary deserve respect.
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  1. alekc73 27 August 2016 15: 39 New
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    Interestingly about the Habsburg submarine fleet. I have not read it before.
  2. dmi.pris 27 August 2016 17: 46 New
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    They have an interesting story. I'm talking about the fleet of Austria-Hungary. There were a couple of dreadnoughts, one Italian torpedo boat sank. It seems that Admiral Horthy commanded all this economy. He then led Hungary under the fascists. By the way, unlike other satellites, the Hungarians fought fiercely.
  3. Gost171 27 August 2016 17: 49 New
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    Thanks, interesting article, plus
  4. antivirus 27 August 2016 21: 57 New
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    there is no option "subscribe to comments" How will the commander help?
  5. proud 28 August 2016 00: 53 New
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    Wonderful article, author-YOUNG !!!!!!!!!!
  6. Vadim Zhivov 28 August 2016 11: 22 New
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    To the author + and thanks for the article. As I now found out in the Mediterranean Sea, it turns out that there was not a weak slaughter involving small countries.
    1. Alexey RA 29 August 2016 19: 19 New
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      EMNIP, in the Mediterranean all the fleets of the participating countries of the WWI fought. Even the Japanese - and they managed to take part.

      The RIF was also noted there. And he lost on the mines exhibited by the U-73 submarine, bought from Japan and reclassified to the EDB cruiser Peresvet.
  7. Dekabrev 28 August 2016 23: 45 New
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    By the way, success for such a small and not the most modern submarine fleet is even nothing. Thanks to the author!
  8. xomaNN 10 July 2017 10: 12 New
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    Neither Austria-Hungary, nor its fleet was left fellow Land Hungary and Land Austria wassat
  9. Egorov Oleg 4 December 2019 01: 02 New
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    I want to say that babies like UB-I and UB-II did not fight badly in the German fleet, the Flanders flotilla spoiled a lot of blood for the Allies in the English Channel, and for the Austrians in the Adriatic these boats were full enough that before the actions of the Austrian submarine fleet then he takes an honorable 3rd place in the war after Germany and England, leaving behind such great maritime powers as France and Russia.
  10. Egorov Oleg 4 December 2019 09: 23 New
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    Interesting events would be if the Germans managed to transfer 700 ton boats U-7, U-8, U-9, U-10, U-11, Austria would then be able to control the entire eastern Mediterranean and how the Dardanelles operation would proceed. And so the Austrians, in order to somehow increase the range of small submarines, had to drag them in tow of the Light Cruisers closer to the place of hostilities ..