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SM U-22 (Austria-Hungary)

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The design for Taco was based on the Havmanden class of the Royal Danish Navy (Havmanden pictured)
The design for U-22 was based on the Havmanden class of the Royal Danish Navy (Havmanden pictured)
Name: SM Taco
Ordered: 27 March 1915[1]
Builder: Hungarian UBAG yard, Fiume[2]
Laid down: mid 1915[3]
Launched: 27 January 1917[4]
Commissioned: 23 November 1917[3]
Fate: ceded to France, scrapped 1920[4]
Service record
  • Josef Holub (February – December 1917)[5]
  • Friedrich Sterz (December 1917 – October 1918)
Victories: None[5]
General characteristics
Type: U-20-class submarine
  • 173 t, surfaced
  • 210 t, submerged[4]
Length: 127 ft 2 in (38.76 m)[4]
Beam: 13 ft (4.0 m)[4]
Draft: 9 ft (2.7 m)[4]
  • 12 knots (22 km/h) surfaced
  • 9 knots (17 km/h) submerged[4]
  • 1,400 nautical miles (2,600 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced[6]
  • 23 nautical miles (43 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h) submerged
Complement: 18[4]

SM U-22 or U-XXII was a U-20-class submarine or U-boat built for and operated by the Austro-Hungarian Navy (German: Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine or K.u.K. Kriegsmarine) during the First World War. The design for U-22 was based on submarines of the Royal Danish Navy's Havmanden class (three of which had been built in Austria-Hungary), and was largely obsolete by the beginning of the war.

U-22 was just over 127 feet (39 m) long and was armed with two bow torpedo tubes, a deck gun, and a machine gun. The submarine was laid down in mid 1915 and launched in January 1917. The still unfinished U-boat sank in the harbor at Fiume in June but was raised, repaired, and relaunched in October. After her commissioning in November, U-22 patrolled off the Po River estuary and, later, in the northern Adriatic out of Trieste.

After undergoing months of repairs for her failed electric motor in mid 1918, U-22 returned to duty and patrolled off the Montenegrin coast out of Cattaro in August. At Cattaro at the end of World War I, U-22 was ceded to France as a war reparation and scrapped in 1920. U-22 had no wartime successes.

Design and construction[edit]

When it became apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Navy that the First World War would not be a short one,[1] they moved to bolster their U-boat fleet by seizing the plans for the Danish Havmanden class submarines,[2] three of which had been built at Whitehead & Co. in Fiume.[6] Although the Austro-Hungarian Navy was not happy with the design, which was largely obsolete,[7][8] it was the only design for which plans were available and which could be begun immediately in domestic shipyards.[8] The Austro-Hungarian Navy unenthusiastically placed orders for U-22 and her three sister boats on 27 March 1915.[1]

U-22 was one of two boats of the class to be built at the Hungarian UBAG yard in Fiume.[2] Due to demands by the Hungarian government,[1] subcontracts for the class were divided between Hungarian and Austrian firms,[4] and this politically expedient solution worsened technical problems with the design, resulting in numerous modifications and delays for the class in general.[2]

U-22 was an ocean-going submarine that displaced 173 tonnes (191 short tons) surfaced and 210 tonnes (231 short tons) submerged and was designed for a complement of 18. She was 127 feet 2 inches (38.76 m) long with a beam of 13 feet (4.0 m) and a draft of 9 feet (2.7 m). For propulsion, she featured a single shaft, a single 450 bhp (340 kW) diesel engine for surface running, and a single 160 shp (120 kW) electric motor for submerged travel.[4] She was capable of 12 knots (22 km/h) while surfaced and 9 knots (17 km/h) while submerged. Although there is no specific notation of a range for U-22, the Havmanden class, upon which the U-20 class was based, had a range of 1,400 nautical miles (2,600 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h), surfaced, and 23 nautical miles (43 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h) submerged.[6]

U-22 was armed with two 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes located in the front and carried a complement of two torpedoes. She was also equipped with a 66 mm/26 (2.6 in) deck gun and an 8 mm (0.31 in) machine gun.[4]

U-22 was laid down at Fiume in mid 1915 and launched on 27 January 1917, the last of the four U-20-class boats to be launched.[4] On 10 June, while not yet complete, the U-boat sank in the harbor at Fiume. Raised from her resting point at a depth of 9 meters (30 ft) the following day, U-22 underwent four months of repairs. She was launched again on 6 October.[3]

Service career[edit]

On 18 November 1917 the U-boat sailed for Pola, where she was commissioned as SM U-22 on 23 November under the command of Linienschiffsleutnant Josef Holub.[5] The 31-year-old Galician had been assigned to U-22 in February and had been in charge of sister boat U-21 from June 1916 until his assignment to U-22.[9]

Holub led U-22 out on her first patrol when they departed Pola on 5 December for duty off the Po estuary. After returning to Pola on 10 December, Holub led U-22 on another Po estuary tour from 15 to 17 December.[3] On 29 December, Holub was transferred to U-27. His replacement was Linienschiffsleutnant Friedrich Sterz. It was the first U-boat command of the 25-year-old native of Pergine, Tyrolia (in present-day Italy).[10][Note 1]

On 3 January 1918, Sterz returned U-22 to the Po estuary for a third patrol there. While in the area, an enemy submarine was spotted but no attack could be made because of bad weather; the same bad weather forced U-22 to put in at Rovigno the following day. Setting out from Rovigno on 5 January, U-22 unsuccessfully attacked an Italian torpedo boat and two steamships. After a return to Rovigno on 6 January, Sterz steered his boat to the submarine base at Brioni. Ten days later, U-22 headed to Trieste, where she conducted patrols in the northern Adriatic. On 5 February, U-22 avoided being hit by seven bombs dropped by an enemy airplane. Departing the northern Adriatic in late April, U-22 was headed for Cattaro when her electric motor failed. After a quick stop at Cattaro, U-22 returned to Pola for three months of repairs.[3]

After returning to service in August, U-22 operated out of Catttaro, patrolling off the Montenegrin coast over the next two months.[3] On 17 October, the boat returned to Cattaro,[3] where she remained until the war's end.[11] She was ceded to France as a war reparation and scrapped in 1920.[2] Like all of her sister boats,[2] U-22 had no wartime successes.[5]


  1. ^ Sterz would go on to command U-10 and U-29 before the war ended.


  1. ^ a b c d Halpern, p. 382.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gardiner, p. 344.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Tengeralattjárók" (pdf) (in Hungarian). Imperial and Royal Navy Association. p. 21. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Gardiner, p. 343.
  5. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: KUK U22". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c Gardiner, p. 354.
  7. ^ Halpern, p. 383.
  8. ^ a b Gardiner, p. 341.
  9. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Josef Holub". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  10. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Friedrich Sterz". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  11. ^ Gibson and Prendergast, p. 279.