Submarine warfare.

First World War 1914-1918 from the German perspective.

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Submarine warfare.

Post by tigre » Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:54 am

Hello to all :D; an interesting article.........................

DIE FORMEN DES UBOOTKRIEGES. [Types of submarine warfare.] Admiral Spindler, Retired

The German blockade announcement of 4 February 1915 and the accompanying note of the German government clearly indicated that submarine attacks were only planned against hostile vessels, and that "German naval forces have been instructed to avoid any violation of neutral shipping, in so far as it can be recognized as such." The German admiralty was convinced at that time that the merchantmen of the Entente would in a very short time be-sailing under neutral colors, and that neutral and hostile ships would be difficult to tell apart. Furthermore, it was not believed that submarines should be expected to carry out careful search in order to determine the proper or improper use of neutral flags, inasmuch as it was definitely expected that these merchantmen would be armed and capable of offensive action and other resistance against submarine control. The erroneous sinking of neutral merchant ships would therefore appear inevitable. But intentional destruction of neutral shipping-this characteristic-of unrestricted submarine warfare-was never even considered throughout the conferences between the Navy Department, the Foreign Office, and the Chancellor (November 1914-February 1915). When the government launched itself into the unknown sea of submarine warfare it did so with the understanding that everything possible would be done from a naval viewpoint to prevent the sinking of neutral shipping except as an unavoidable accident. If Admiral Bauer, who at that time was in command of submarine activities, had other ideas as to the intent of the governmental policy, then such a mistaken conception is the fault of the Admiralty itself. But all these details, including the attitude of Admiral von Pohl, are fully explained in the work of the Naval Archives, and there should be no question as to facts. In 1915, unrestricted submarine warfare was not planned, but on the other hand it was planned to sink hostile merchant ships without warning, and to proceed against neutral ones in accord with existing international law.

As previously indicated, the opening phases of the submarine campaign in 1915 were groping into an unknown sphere. There were certain suppositions as to what the enemy might do. Only the actual course of events would indicate what he really would do, and how to proceed further.

Immediately upon the very first venture, the initial experience, corroborated as time went on again and again, and more and more emphatically, the fact that all these suppositions had been erroneous. A misuse of flags was practically non-existant. Hostile merchantmen were readily discernible by the fact that they carried no flags, had painted over all names, and when challenged, always sought safety in flight. Neutral ships were recognized by the fact that they carried their national flag, bore other plain markings, and usually complied readily with the orders of the submarine commanders. Furthermore, hostile steamers were not armed for several months.

The result of these unexpected developments was that submarine commanders began to use their guns more and more, that is, to operate on the surface, and to avoid using the difficult underwater torpedo. The gun was far more effective in the campaign against merchant ships, much quicker, and the risks connected therewith were far less than had been assumed at least for several months. Also the danger of submarine traps, which were quickly recognized after their initial surprise effect, had been exaggerated.

Therefore, the methods of submarine warfare were adapted to the situation. This was not the situation anticipated, and throughout the summer of 1915 it developed smoothly into submarine warfare in accordance with international law.

All that was necessary at that time was to confirm this status by means of an official order. The diplomatic advantages of such an order can hardly be overestimated. This type of submarine warfare complied with the laws of seizure and search; there was no sinking of ships without warning, and it complied with all diplomatic demands. Even the fundamental understanding with the United States would have been possible. The last "Lusitania Note" of 21 July 1915, indicated unmistakably such a solution. A great opportunity was permitted to pass by. It was so because the German government at that time lacked understanding, unity, and strength necessary to coordinate the military and diplomatic features and to guide them both with a strong and determined hand.

Instead there was only internal conflict. Submarine warfare was entirely suspended in English waters for almost a whole year, with the exception of a short period of activity in the spring of 1916.

The results in sinkings between October 1916 and January, 1917, at which time the German submarines operated in accordance with international law, by Navy Department orders, and by which time the situation with regard to the arming of merchantmen had been completely altered, indicate that very decisive results could have been obtained after the summer of 1915, if the submarine campaign would have been continued, and conducted in accordance with international law.

After the merchant ships of the Entente had been armed, that is in general around 1 January 1916, the effectiveness of submarine warfare was considerably reduced as long as they complied with the laws as to seizure and search. The German government announced in February 1916 that armed merchant ships would thereafter be treated the same as war vessels, that is, attacked without warning.

Source: DIE FORMEN DES UBOOTKRIEGES. [Types of submarine warfare.] Admiral Spindler, Retired.Periodical Articles-Catalog. RML Nº 66. Sep1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt!. :up:
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War Zone proclaimed by Germany February 1915 ..................
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Re: Submarine warfare.

Post by tigre » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:24 am

Hello to all :D; a little more.........................

DIE FORMEN DES UBOOTKRIEGES. [Types of submarine warfare.] Admiral Spindler, Retired

This phase of the German submarine warfare, however, also ran a most unhappy course. Immediately after the published order with reference to armed merchantmen went into effect, a secret order was published which meant a return to the procedure of the summer of 1915-in other words, the sinking of all hostile ships in the war zone without warning. even the unarmed ones. In accordance with this order the unarmed passenger ship "Sussex" was erroneously torpedoed on 24 March 1916. This was followed by the sharp American ultimatum of 18 April 1916, and thereupon again the cessation of submarine warfare against England. The German interpretation of international law, of declaring all armed merchant ships as being classified as ships of war, was never argued out and brought to a decision.

By strange coincidence the American government expressed the idea that submarines, whose employment in the campaign against merchant ships was acknowledged, could not be expected to proceed against merchantmen by halting them and searching them, if they were armed, at the same time that the German government was proposing just such a suggestion. A follow-up of the German proposal would have therefore found encouragement in the United States. To what extent the American government was committed against the principle of arming merchantmen may be gathered from the fact that when a submarine torpedoed the armed British passenger steamer "Persia" on 30 December 1915, with a loss of 334 lives, among them two Americans, no protest was made by the American government. But on the other hand when the unarmed "Sussex" was torpedoed , the above mentioned ultimatum was presented, although no American lives were lost thereby, and the only thing that happened was that several American passengers were injured. There were also other modifications which pointed to the expectation that the American government would consider the German viewpoint as to the treatment of armed hostile merchant ships.

The military results would have been excellent. We would have been able to conduct what would amount to unrestricted submarine warfare, without being forced to enunciate that dangerous phrase. Against unarmed ships, and against all neutral vessels, the procedure was to be according to international regulations; hostile armed ships could be torpedoed without warning. Unrestricted, submarine warfare as practiced in 1917 and 1918 was not much different in practice. Even while engaged in unrestricted submarine warfare, experienced submarine commanders used their surface weapons as much as possible, in order to achieve the greatest possible economy of ammunition and effectiveness; the difficult torpedo was only used when there was no other choice, or when there was a favorable opportunity for using them against large valuable steamers, which were always heavily armed, secured by accompanying warships, or travelling in convoy.

The argument will now be propounded that convoys, after the fall of 1917; were the most important objectives in the Atlantic. A submarine complying with the regulations as to seizure and search cannot halt a vessel in convoy. Convoys could only be attacked by submarines because we claimed the right to do so in the blockade zone as a reprisal.

The answer to this argument is that the classification of vessels, hostile as well as neutral, sailing in hostile waters, as well as their treatment by submarines, is a question of international law, which has never been settled any more than the problem of the armed merchant vessel. However, with the same legal right, by which the German government denied the privileges of merchant vessels to those which were armed, and classifying them as ships of war, the German government could have announced that it would consider all vessels under armed convoy in the same category. It is to be assumed that when a neutral vessel places itself under the armed protection of one of the belligerents, that it is planning on resisting search by the other side. The German government therefore should have announced at the appropriate momet, that it would consider all vessels, even neutral ones, sailing under armed convoy of the enemy, in the same category as armed vessels of all sorts.

Source: DIE FORMEN DES UBOOTKRIEGES. [Types of submarine warfare.] Admiral Spindler, Retired.Periodical Articles-Catalog. RML Nº 66. Sep1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt!. :up:
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The Sussex in Boulogne after being hit in March 1916 .............................
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Re: Submarine warfare.

Post by tigre » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:57 am

Hello to all :D; a little more.........................

DIE FORMEN DES UBOOTKRIEGES. [Types of submarine warfare.] Admiral Spindler, Retired

The argument briefly outlined above may be summarized as follows:

Procedure according to the laws of seizure and search should have been the basis and the starting point for the conduct of the submarine warfare. The arming of merchantmen and the movement in convoy should have been treated as exceptions to the general rule. So, by gradual expansion of existing law, and by means of logical adaptation to the changing situation, the submarine campaign would have arrived step by step at a point, which would have approximated unrestricted warfare. The complaints of interference with neutral trade would have been voiced in an entirely different tone. The necessity of applying the right of reprisals, which in its very essence acknowledges illegality, would then have been unnecessary. Furthermore, it appears to me that the published restriction of large sea areas which was received by the entire world, especially by the United States, as a challenge, would have been unnecessary. The initiation of a submarine campaign proceeding in accordance with international law requires no announcement either for military, legal, or diplomatic reasons. The special treatment of armed ships and convoys does not have to be restricted to certain sea areas; it can be applied everywhere with the same legality. Consider, for example, that the United States used the harsh words of "strict accountability" when the original restricted zone was announced by Germany in 1915, and emphasized its position, so that when on 31 January 1917 the unrestricted submarine warfare was announced, after all that had preceded this event, the entry of that country into the war was inevitable. It merely indicates how the course of events might have been guided by a clever evaluation of foreign psychology, in the careful choice of phrases, and the sound, legal progression to stricter forms of submarine warfare.

The possibility of a satisfactory settlement with America was clearly indicated. Opinions may differ as to the chances of success along those lines. This much, however, is certain: The immensity of the objective warranted at least an attempt.

These considerations can not be concluded without briefly discussing, the frequently advanced theory that the entry of the United States into the war was caused by economic pressure and not by the submarine situation, and for that reason any discussion about it was beside the point. Even Admiral Bauer in his article favors such a hypothesis based in certain statements made by President Wilson in 1919 when in answer to senatorial questions, he supposedly indicated that America would have entered the war even without the submarine question being an issue.

As to the statements of President Wilson, he did say, when cornered in regard to the League of Nations, that in his opinion public sentiment in America had sufficiently condemned the"Injustice of the German War," to have brought the United States into the conflict, even if it had not been directly afected by it. In this connection it is necessary to state that the "Injustice of the German War" was based largely, in American eyes, upon the activities of the German submarines. Also the context of President Wilson's testimony indicates that he had no intention of denying the influence of the submarine warfare on America's attitude.

Source: DIE FORMEN DES UBOOTKRIEGES. [Types of submarine warfare.] Admiral Spindler, Retired.Periodical Articles-Catalog. RML Nº 66. Sep1937.

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Año Nuevo - Happy New Year - feliz Ano Novo - gluckliches Neues Jahr - Bonne Année - Felice Anno Nuovo - Szczęśliwego nowego roku!! :beer:
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Submarine warfare.

Post by tigre » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:51 am

Hello to all :D; a little more..................................................

Dangerous areas declared in WWI.

Source: http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/comment ... /CRB08.jpg

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Año Nuevo - Happy New Year - feliz Ano Novo - gluckliches Neues Jahr - Bonne Année - Felice Anno Nuovo - Szczęśliwego nowego roku!! :beer:
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Re: Submarine warfare.

Post by tigre » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:59 am

Hello to all :D; a little more..................................................

Submarine warfare in WWI.

Source: http://www.delcampe.net/page/item/id,24 ... age,G.html

As the source she would be the ocean-going diesel powered submarine U 19. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Submarine warfare.

Post by tigre » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:40 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more..................................................

The Kaiser with the U-boat commander of Flanders submarines in 1918.

Source: http://www.ebay.de/itm/Der-Kaiser-bei-d ... 023wt_1124

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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