German Type U 81 submarine

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Class overview
Builders: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Operators:  Kaiserliche Marine
Preceded by: Type UE I
Succeeded by: Type U 87
Cost:
Completed: 6
Lost: 4
General characteristics
Displacement: 808 tonnes (795 long tons) (surfaced)
946 tonnes (931 long tons) (submerged)
1160 tons (total)[1]
Length: 70.6 m (231 ft 8 in) (overall)[1]
55.55 m (pressure hull)
Beam: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in) (overall)[1]
4.15 m (pressure hull)
Draught: 4.02 m (13 ft 2 in)[1]
Propulsion: 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) (surfaced)
880 kilowatts (1,180 hp) (submerged)[1]
Speed: 16.8 knots (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph) (surfaced)
9.1 knots (16.9 km/h; 10.5 mph) (submerged)[1]
Range: 11,200 nautical miles (20,700 km; 12,900 mi) @ 8 kn(surfaced) 56 nautical miles (104 km; 64 mi) @ 5 kn (submerged)
Test depth: ~50 m (160 ft)
Complement: 35 men[1]
Armament: Four 50 cm (20 in) torpedo tubes forward, two 50cm torpedo tubes aft with 12 torpedoes
10.5 cm (4.1 in) deck gun with 220 rounds
8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) deck gun[1]

Type 81 was a class of U-boats built during World War I by the Kaiserliche Marine.

Type 81 U-boats carried 12 torpedoes and had various arrangements of deck guns. U 81 to U 83 had one 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) deck gun with 140-240 rounds. U 84 - U 86 were constructed with two 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) deck guns. In 1917, U 84 - U 86 were converted to a carry one 10.5 cm and one 8.8 cm deck gun[1] and carried 240 rounds.

They carried a crew of four officers and 31 men[1] and had excellent seagoing abilities with a cruising range of around 11,220 nautical miles (20,780 km; 12,910 mi). Many arrangements from the Type 81 and the next two types were also seen on the World War II Type IX U-boats when their design work took place 20 years later.

Compared to the previous type 63, the 81s were 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in) longer, while the pressure hull remained the same.[2] They were .3 knots (0.56 km/h; 0.35 mph) faster on the surface, and .1 knots (0.19 km/h; 0.12 mph) faster submerged and increased range by 1,030 nautical miles (1,910 km; 1,190 mi) to 11,200 nmi at 8 knots. They carried 12 torpedoes instead of 6, and by 1917 all type 87s had the larger 10.5 cm deck gun versus the twin 8.8 cm on the 63s. Crew size was decreased by 1 to 35.

Compared to the following type 87, the 81s were 4.26 metres (14.0 ft) longer, yet 5 tons lighter.[3] Their range was 180 miles shorter, but speed was 1.2 knots (2.2 km/h; 1.4 mph) faster on the surface and .5 knots (0.93 km/h; 0.58 mph) faster submerged. The most significant difference was the addition of 4 more torpedoes and 2 additional bow tubes on the type 87. Type 87 also got the additional crew member back and numbered 36 again.

Type 81 boats were responsible for sinking 3.537% of all allied shipping sunk during the war, taking a total of 454,484 gross register tons (GRT). They also damaged 63,058 GRT, and captured 3,462 GRT.

Boat Sunk Damaged Captured Total
U-81 88,483 3481 91,964
U-82 110,160 6450 116,610
U-83 32,914 3,207 36,121
U-84 83127 42149 3,462 128,738
U-85 20225 7608 27,883
U-86 119,575 163 119,738
Totals 454,484 63,058 3,462 517,542

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Encyclopedia of U-boats (2004), London:Greenhill Books, ISBN 1-85367-623-3, p.33
  2. ^ Uboat.net type 63
  3. ^ Uboat.net type 87

External links[edit]