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SM U-15 (Austria-Hungary)

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Career (Austria-Hungary)
Name: SM U-15
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen[1]
Yard number: 232[2]
Launched: September 1915[3]
Commissioned: 6 October 1915
Fate: Handed over to Italy as war reparations and scrapped, 1920
Service record
  • Friedrich Schlosser (Oct–Nov 1915)[4]
  • Friedrich Fähndrich (Nov 1915–Mar 1916)
  • Franz Rzemenowsky von Trautenegg (Mar 1916)
  • Friedrich Fähndrich (May–Dec 1916)
  • Franz Rzemenowsky von Trautenegg (Oct 1916)
  • Otto Molitor (from Dec 1916–
  • Franz Rzemenowsky von Trautenegg (to Jun 1917)
  • Otto Molitor (Jun–Jul 1917)
  • Ludwig Müller (Jul 1917–Mar 1918)
  • Andreas Korparic (Mar–Oct 1918)
Victories: 5 ships (8,044 GRT) sunk
1 warship (745 GRT) sunk[4]
General characteristics
Type: U-10-class submarine
Displacement: 125.5 long tons (127.51 t) surfaced
140.25 long tons (142.50 t) submerged[1]
Length: 92 ft 2 in (28.09 m)[5]
Beam: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m)[1]
Draft: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)[1]
Propulsion: 1 × shaft
1 × Daimler diesel engine, 60 bhp (45 kW)
1 × electric motor, 120 shp (89 kW)[5]
Speed: 6.5 knots (12.0 km/h) surfaced
5.5 knots (10.2 km/h) submerged[1]
Range: 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km) @ 5 kn (9.3 km/h) surfaced
45 nautical miles (83 km) @ 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged[5]
Complement: 17[1]
Armament: 2 × 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes (both in front); 2 torpedoes[1]
1 × 37 mm/23 (1.5 in) QF gun, Oct 1916[1]
1 × 47 mm/23 (1.9 in) QF gun, Nov 1917[1]

SM U-15 or U-XV was a U-10-class submarine or U-boat of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (German: Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine or K.u.K. Kriegsmarine) during World War I. U-15 was constructed in Germany and shipped by rail to Pola where she was assembled and launched in April 1915. She was commissioned in October 1915. U-15 was the most successful boat of the U-10 class, sinking six ships totaling more than 8,000 gross register tons (GRT). The boat survived the war and was handed over to Italy as a war reparation and scrapped in 1920.

Design and construction[edit]

U-15 was constructed at AG Weser in Bremen for the Austro-Hungarian Navy and then shipped by rail in sections to Pola, where the sections were riveted together. Though there is no specific mention of how long it took for U-15‍ '​s sections to be assembled, a sister boat, the German Type UB I submarine UB-3, shipped to Pola from Germany in mid-April 1915, was assembled in about two weeks.[6][Note 1] U-15 was launched in April.

U-15 was a small, coastal submarine that displaced 125.5 long tons (127.5 t) surfaced and 140.25 long tons (142.50 t) submerged. She featured a single shaft, a single 60 bhp (45 kW) Daimler diesel engine for surface running, and a single 120 shp (89 kW) electric motor for submerged travel.[1] U-15 was capable of up to 6.5 knots (12.0 km/h) while surfaced and 5.5 knots (10.2 km/h) while submerged at a diving depth of up to 50 metres (160 ft).[5] She was designed for a crew of 17 officers and men.[1]

U-15 was equipped with two 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes located in the front and carried a complement of two torpedoes. In October 1916, U-15‍ '​s armament was supplemented with a 37 mm/23 (1.5 in) quick-firing (QF) gun. This gun was replaced by a 47 mm/23 (1.9 in) QF gun in November 1917.[1]

Operational history[edit]

SM U-15 was commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy on 6 October under the command of Linienschiffsleutnant Friedrich Schlosser. On 28 November, Linienschiffsleutnant Friedrich Fähndrich was assigned to the first of two stints in command of the boat.[4] On 18 December, Fähndrich and U-15 attacked and sank two Albanian sailing vessels near Lezhë. The Erzen, of 25 GRT, and the Figlio Preligiona, of 80 GRT, were both sunk at position 41°47′N 19°31′E / 41.783°N 19.517°E / 41.783; 19.517.[7][8][9]

After being relieved by Linienschiffsleutnant Franz Rzemenowsky von Trautenegg from late March to early May 1916, Fähndrich resumed command on 10 May.[4] One week later, on 17 May, U-15 torpedoed and sank the 2,237 GRT Italian steamer Stura in the Adriatic some 18 nautical miles (33 km) east of Brindisi.[10][Note 2]

The following month, Fähndrich and the crew of U-15 scored their second double kill when they sank the Italian auxiliary cruiser Cittá di Messina (3,495 GRT) and the French destroyer Fourche (745 GRT).[11][12] While about 20 nautical miles (37 km) east of Otranto on 23 June, U-15 torpedoed and sank Cittá di Messina. The escorting destroyer Fourche began a depth charge attack on U-15 and assumed success when an oil slick appeared on the surface. After the captain of Fourche turned his attentions to the rescue Cittá di Messina‍ '​s survivors, U-15 launched a single torpedo that struck Fourche amidships and sank her.[13]

On 25 October, U-15, back under the command of von Trautenegg,[4] sank the 2,207 GRT Italian steamer Polcevera,[14] a sister ship to Stura (sunk by U-15 in May).[15] Polcevera was the last ship sunk by U-15.

From October 1916 to the end of the fighting in November 1918, U-15‍ '​s activities are unknown. U-15 was at Pola at the end of the war when Austria-Hungary handed her over to Italy.[16] U-15 was scrapped at Pola by 1920.[1]


  1. ^ The Austro-Hungarian U-10 class and the German Type UB I were virtually identical.
  2. ^ Stura, launched in 1883, had sailed in passenger duty for Navigazione Generale Italiana between the Mediterranean and New York before the war. See: Immigration Information Bureau, pp. 8–9, 16, 23.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Gardiner, p. 343.
  2. ^ Baumgartner and Sieche, as excerpted here (reprinted and translated into English by Sieche). Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  3. ^ Gibson and Pendergast, p. 385.
  4. ^ a b c d e Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: U KUK U15". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c d Gardiner, p. 180.
  6. ^ Messimer, p. 126–27.
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Erzen". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Figlio Preligiona". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  9. ^ Google (4 November 2008). "SM U-15 (Austria-Hungary)". Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  10. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Stura". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Citta Di Messina". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Fourche". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  13. ^ Compton-Hall, p. 230.
  14. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Polceverra". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 November 2008.  Helgason refers to the ship as "Polceverra", but Haworth, and Swiggum & Kohli identify the ship as "Polcevera".
    For Haworth, see: "Polcevera". Miramar Ship Index. R.B.Haworth. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
    For Swiggum & Kohli, see: Swiggum, S.; M. Kohli (13 October 2006). "Società Italiana di Transporti Marittimi Raggio & Co., Genoa 1882-1885". Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  15. ^ Swiggum, S.; M. Kohli (13 October 2006). "Società Italiana di Transporti Marittimi Raggio & Co., Genoa 1882-1885". Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  16. ^ Gibson and Pendergast, p. 388.