List of submarine actions

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A German World War I-era submarine

American Civil War[edit]

  • 1864, February 17 – Human-powered submarine H. L. Hunley sinks U.S. sloop USS Housatonic with spar torpedo, off Charleston. The H. L. Hunley thus became the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy vessel in combat, and was the direct progenitor of what would eventually become international submarine warfare.

First Balkan War[edit]

  • 1912, December 9 – Greek submarine Delfin became the first submarine to launch a self-propelled torpedo at an enemy ship, though the ship did not sink due to a weapons malfunction.

World War I[edit]

Illustration by Hans Bohrdt depicting the sinking of HMS Cressy, HMS Hogue and HMS Aboukir by U-9 on 22 September 1914 off the Dutch coast.
  • 1914, September 5 – HMS Pathfinder is sunk at the start of World War I by U-21, becoming the first ship to ever be sunk by a self-propelled torpedo fired by submarine.
  • 1914, September 22 – German submarine U-9 sinks three unescorted British armoured cruisers HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy in approximately one hour.
  • 1914, October 18 – German submarine U-27 sinks HMS E3 in the first ever successful attack on one submarine by another.
  • 1914, October 20 – German submarine U-17 sinks SS Glitra in the first submarine sinking of a merchant ship during the world wars.[1]
  • 1915, May 7 – German submarine U-20 sinks RMS Lusitania killing 1,198 and leaving 761 survivors. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, contributed to the U.S. entry into World War I.
  • 1915, May 25/27 – In the morning of May 27 German submarine U-21 sinks the British pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Majestic off the Gallipoli peninsula. Two days after the same U-boat sunk the pre-dreadnought HMS Triumph near Gaba Nepe.
  • 1916, March 22 – German submarine SM U-68 is sunk by the Q-ship - a merchant ship carrying hidden weapons - HMS Farnborough in the first successful use of depth charges.[2] (Farnborough sank the SM U-83 in 1917)

World War II[edit]

O'Brien hit by torpedo as USS Wasp burns. Both ship were torpedoed and sunk by I-19.
  • 1939, October 14 – German U-boat U-47 sinks HMS Royal Oak in Scapa Flow base. The First Lord of Admiralty Winston Churchill officially announced the loss of Royal Oak to the House of Commons, first conceding that the raid had been "a remarkable exploit of professional skill and daring".
  • 1940, October 17–19 – The most effective wolfpack of the world wars including U-boat aces Kretschmer, Prien and Schepke sinks 32 ships from Convoy SC 7 and Convoy HX 79 in two days.
  • 1940, November 23 – German submarine U-100 sinks 7 Allied Merchant ships from Convoy SC-11 in only 3 hours.
  • 1941, November 13 – U-81 strikes HMS Ark Royal with a single torpedo. She sinks the following day due to crippling damage.[3]
  • 1942, September 15 – Japanese submarine I-19 sinks U.S. aircraft carrier USS Wasp and destroyer USS O'Brien and damages battleship USS North Carolina with a single salvo.
  • 1943, March 16–19 – The largest North Atlantic U-boat wolfpack attack of the world wars sinks 22 ships from Convoys HX 229/SC 122.
  • 1943, April 29 – May 6 – Convoy ONS 5 is the last major North Atlantic wolfpack attack by surfaced U-boats as escorts demonstrate effective use of radar to sink 6 U-boats in low-visibility conditions.
  • 1943, May 14 – U-640 or U-657 is the first submarine sunk by a homing torpedo.
  • 1944, November 29 – USS Archer-Fish sinks Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano, the largest vessel of that time.
  • 1943, October 31-November 1 – USS Borie and U-405 engage in a pitched battle ending with Borie ramming the submarine. Both ships are lost.
  • 1945, January 30 – Soviet submarine S-13 sinks the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff, with older and cautious estimates of 6,000 but more recent estimates of more than 9,000 casualties.
  • 1945, February 6 – Royal Navy submarine Venturer becomes the only submarine to sink another submarine while they were both submerged when she sinks U-864 off Norway.
  • 1945, April 16 – Soviet submarine L-3 sinks the German ship Goya, with 6,000–7,000 casualties.
Archerfish undergoing a sea test on 5 June 1945 near San Francisco

Post-World War II[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tarrant, V.E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive 1914–1945. Sterling Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 1-85409-520-X.
  2. ^ Tarrant, V.E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive 1914–1945. Sterling Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 1-85409-520-X.
  3. ^ Rossiter. Ark Royal. pp. 375–6.
  4. ^ Casualties in 1971 war Archived 2005-10-30 at the Wayback Machine.