SM UB-49

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Career (German Empire)
Name: U 49
Ordered: 20 May 1916[1]
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Cost: 3,276,000 German Papiermark
Yard number: 294
Launched: 6 January 1917
Commissioned: 28 June 1917
Fate: Handed over to the United Kingdom 16 January 1919 and broken up in Swansea 1922.
General characteristics
Class & type: German Type UB III submarine
Displacement: 516 t (508 long tons) surfaced
651 t (641 long tons) submerged
Length: 55.3 m (181 ft 5 in) o/a
Beam: 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)
Draught: 3.68 m (12 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: 2 shafts
2 × 6-cylinder four stroke MAN diesel engines with 1,100 ihp (820 kW)
2 × SSW electric motors with 788 ihp (588 kW)
450 rpm surfaced
362 rpm submerged
Speed: 13.6 kn (25.2 km/h; 15.7 mph) surfaced
8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
Range: 9,040 nautical miles (16,740 km) at 6kn surfaced
55 nautical miles (102 km) at 4kn submerged
Test depth: 50 m (160 ft)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
1 dingi
Complement: 3 officers, 31 men
Sensors and
processing systems:
2 periscopes
Armament:

5 × 50 cm (20 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern) with 10 torpedoes

1 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) deck gun
Service record
Part of: Imperial German Navy
Commanders: Kptlt. Hans-Joachim von Mellenthin
Oblt. z.S. Adolf Ehrensberger
Operations: 8 patrols
Victories: 40 ships (81,486 GRT), 1 escort

SM UB-49 was a German Type UB III submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 28 June 1917 as SM UB-49.[nb 1]

UB-49 served mainly in the Mediterranean. In the Austro-Hungarian Navy she was listed as SM U-80. In eight wartime patrols she sank 40 ships totaling 81,486 gross register tons (GRT) and one escort. After the Armistice with Germany UB-49 returned to Kiel via Norway. Handed over to the United Kingdom on 16 January 1919, she was broken up in Swansea in 1922.

Construction[edit]

UB-49 was ordered by the German Imperial Navy on 20 May 1916. She was built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg and following just under a year of construction, launched at Hamburg on 6 January 1917. UB-49 was commissioned later that same year under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Hans-Joachim von Mellenthin. Like all Type UB III submarines, UB-49 carried 10 torpedoes and was armed with an 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) deck gun. UB-49 could carry a crew of up to 34 men and had a cruising range of 9,040 nautical miles (16,740 km).[2] UB-49 had a displacement of 516 t (508 long tons; 569 short tons) while surfaced and 651 t (641 long tons) when submerged. Her engines enabled her to travel at 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph) when surfaced and 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) when submerged.[2]

Service history[edit]

First War Patrol[edit]

On 22 August 1917, UB-49 left Kiel for Cattaro to join the Pola Flotilla passing the Orkney-Shetland barrier four days later. Before breaking through the Strait of Gibraltar, UB-49 sank six ships, damaging one further. On 9 September 1917 loss of fuel forced UB-49 to change course and make for Cadiz in neutral Spain.

Second War Patrol[edit]

While Spanish authorities planned to intern UB-49 for the duration of the war, her crew managed to repair the damage to the fuel tanks and bunker enough oil to reach Cattaro. On 6 October 1917, UB-49 slipped out of the harbour and reached Cattaro nine days later with no fuel left. After refuelling UB-49 sailed for Pola where the boat was repaired.

Third War Patrol[edit]

On 11 December 1917, UB-49 left Pola for a cruise in the Gulf of Genoa. Already on the first day, UB-49 was attacked by an enemy submarine. The next day, two Italian sailing ships were sunk, while exchanging fire with a coastal battery at the same time. On 15 December 1917, UB-49 managed to sink three steamers out of a convoy leaving Genoa, followed by two more the next day. On 22 December 1917, another two steamers were hit by torpedoes of UB-49. The last torpedo on this cruise UB-49 used on a British steamer off Naples.

Fourth War Patrol[edit]

Between 23 January and 13 February 1918 UB-49 operated in the Gulf of Genoa again, sinking several Italian sailing ships, a British steamer and an Italian escort vessel, G 32. On the way back to Cattaro, UB-49 experienced problems with her ballast tanks east of Malta and dived uncontrolled to a depth of 67 metres (220 ft). Using compressed air to blow out all ballast tanks simultaneously, UB-49 was able to surface again and continue her journey to Cattaro.

Fifth War Patrol[edit]

On 5 March 1918, UB-49 left Cattaro again to operate in the Tyrrhenian Sea. From 13 March 1918 UB-49 pursued a convoy leaving Genoa for Naples and in two days managed to sink three out of four steamers. East of Sardinia, an Italian steamer and a French tug boat fell victim to UB-49. Between 19 and 21 March 1918, UB-49 operated in the Gulf of Naples, sinking several Italian sailing ships and shelling the fortifications of Civitavecchia. A fire in one of the dynamos forced UB-49 to return to base on 25 March 1918.

Sixth War Patrol[edit]

UB-49 sailed on 11 May 1918 for her sixth war patrol, which lead her into the Gulf of Lion and the Western Mediterranean. In the last week of May, UB-49 successfully attacked Allied shipping south of the Balearic Islands, sinking three steamers. On 2 June, UB-49 - running low on fuel - turned back to Pola for a major overhaul. When she arrived there on 12 June 1918, Kptlt. von Mellenthin handed over command of UB-49 to Oberleutnant zur See (Oblt.z.S.) Alfred Ehrensberger.

Seventh War Patrol[edit]

After three months in port, UB-49 went to sea again on 11 September 1918. Headed for the Western Mediterranean, Ehrensberger was less successful than von Mellenthin. A strong Allied presence of escorts pressed UB-49 under the surface more and more often. Nevertheless, UB-49 sank two ships off the Spanish coast. UB-49 made port again on 12 October 1918.

Eighth War Patrol[edit]

When it became apparent that Austria-Hungary's situation was untenable, UB-49 was ordered to return to Kiel. Leaving Pola on 29 October 1918 she reached the Norwegian port of Lervik in the last week of November 1918. Together with most of the other u-boats from the Mediterranean, UB-49 arrived in Kiel on 29 November 1918.

Aftermath[edit]

The Armistice with Germany required that all u-boats had to be surrendered to the Allies. UB-49 was handed over to the United Kingdom on 16 January 1919. In 1922 the u-boat was broken up in Swansea.

Raiding career[edit]

Ships sunk by SM UB-49[3]
Date Name Tonnage[nb 2] Nationality
2 September 1917 Caracas 1,077 Norwegian
4 September 1917 Theodora 2,899 Greek
6 September 1917 Moina 168 French
7 September 1917 Clan Ferguson 4,808 British
7 September 1917 Hunsbridge 3,424 British
7 September 1917 Casa Blanca 31 Portuguese
16 December 1917 San Francesco di Paola 51 Italian
16 December 1917 New York 442 Italian
20 December 1917 Attualita 4,791 Italian
20 December 1917 Regin 1,845 Norwegian
20 December 1917 Suruga 4,374 US
21 December 1917 Stromboli 5,356 Italian
21 December 1917 Monte Bianco 6,968 Italian
22 December 1917 Caboto 4,418 Italian
25 December 1917 Umballa 5,310 British
26 January 1918 Caterina 21 Italian
28 January 1918 Lysi 247 Italian
29 January 1918 Paolo Meriga 127 Italian
29 January 1918 Lavoro 160 Italian
28 January 1918 Elsa 165 Italian
29 January 1918 Ada 179 Italian
29 January 1918 Lucia Martini 160 Italian
29 January 1918 Fanny 74 Italian
4 February 1918 General Church 6,600 British
7 February 1918 Escort G 32 237 Italian
7 February 1918 Mette 118 Danish
13 March 1918 San Francesco di Paolo 25 Italian
13 March 1918 Umta 5,422 British
14 March 1918 Principessa Laetitia 4,011 Italian
15 March 1918 Clan McDougall 4,710 British
17 March 1918 Tripoli 1,743 Italian
18 March 1918 Utrecht 293 French
19 March 1918 San Francesco di Paola 70 Italian
19 March 1918 Giovanni Albonese 497 Italian
20 March 1918 Angelo Raffaele 53 Italian
21 March 1918 Dante C 129 Italian
25 March 1918 Carlo Splendor 105 Italian
26 May 1918 Le Gard 1,458 French
27 May 1918 Uganda 5,431 British
27 May 1918 Carmela 128 Italian
28 May 1918 Pietro Maroncelli 5,134 Italian
3 June 1918 Mecanicien Donzel 8,227 French
27 September 1918 Hatasu 3,193 British
1 October 1918 Francoli 1,241 Spanish
Total: 81,486

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ "SM" stands for "Seiner Majestät" (English: His Majesty's) and combined with the U for Unterseeboot would be translated as His Majesty's Submarine.
  2. ^ Tonnages are in gross register tons
Citations
  1. ^ Rössler 2000, p. 65.
  2. ^ a b Gröner 1985, p. 52.
  3. ^ Bendert 2000, pp. 123-125.


References[edit]