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SM U-28 (Austria-Hungary)

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Career (Austria-Hungary)
Name: SM U-28
Ordered: 12 October 1915[1]
Builder: Cantiere Navale Triestino, Pola
Launched: 8 January 1917.[2]
Commissioned: 26 June 1917.[3]
Fate: scrapped 1920
Service record
Commanders:
  • Zdenko Hudeček (Jun 1917 – Oct 1918)[3]
  • Franz Rzemenowsky von Trautenegg (Oct 1918)
Victories: 10 ships (44,753 GRT) sunk[3]
1 ship (5,592 GRT) damaged
1 warship (5,250 tons) damaged
General characteristics
Type: U-27-class submarine
Displacement: 264 t (260 long tons) surfaced
301 t (296 long tons) submerged[2]
Length: 121 ft 1 in (36.91 m)[2]
Beam: 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)[2]
Draft: 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)[2]
Propulsion: 2 × propeller shafts
2 × diesel engines, 270 bhp (200 kW) total
2 × electric motors, 280 shp (210 kW) total[2]
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h) surfaced
7.5 knots (14 km/h) submerged[2]
Complement: 23–24[2]
Armament: 2 × 45 cm (17.7 in) bow torpedo tubes; 4 torpedoes
1 × 75 mm/26 (3.0 in) deck gun
1 × 8 mm (.323 cal) machine gun[2]

SM U-28 or U-XXVIII was a U-27 class U-boat or submarine for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. U-28, built by the Austrian firm of Cantiere Navale Triestino (CNT) at the Pola Navy Yard, was launched in January 1917 and commissioned in June.

She had a single hull and was just over 121 feet (37 m) in length. She displaced nearly 265 metric tons (261 long tons) when surfaced and over 300 metric tons (295 long tons) when submerged. Her two diesel engines moved her at up to 9 knots (17 km/h) on the surface, while her twin electric motors propelled her at up to 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h) while underwater. She was armed with two bow torpedo tubes and could carry a load of up to four torpedoes. She was also equipped with a 75 mm (3.0 in) deck gun and a machine gun.

During her service career, U-28 sank the British Q ship Bradford City and nine other ships, sending a combined tonnage of 47,743 GRT to the bottom. U-28 was surrendered at Venice in 1919, granted to Italy as a war reparation and broken up the following year.

Design and construction[edit]

Austria-Hungary's U-boat fleet was largely obsolete at the outbreak of World War I.[4] The Austro-Hungarian Navy satisfied its most urgent needs by purchasing five Type UB I submarines that comprised the U-10 class from Germany,[5] by raising and recommissioning the sunken French submarine Curie as U-14,[4][Note 1] and by building four submarines of the U-20 class that were based on the 1911 Danish Havmanden class.[2][Note 2]

After these steps alleviated their most urgent needs,[4] the Austro-Hungarian Navy selected the German Type UB II design for its newest submarines in mid 1915.[6] The Germans were reluctant to allocate any of their wartime resources to Austro-Hungarian construction, but were willing to sell plans for up to six of the UB II boats to be constructed under license in Austria-Hungary.[6] The Navy agreed to the proposal and purchased the plans from AG Weser of Bremen.[7]

U-28 displaced 264 metric tons (260 long tons) surfaced and 301 metric tons (296 long tons) submerged.[2] She had a single hull with saddle tanks,[8] and was 121 feet 1 inch (36.91 m) long with a beam of 14 feet 4 inches (4.37 m) and a draft of 12 feet 2 inches (3.71 m).[2] For propulsion, she had two shafts, twin diesel engines of 270 bhp (200 kW) for surface running, and twin electric motors of 280 shp (210 kW) for submerged travel. She was capable of 9 knots (16.7 km/h) while surfaced and 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h) while submerged.[2] Although there is no specific notation of a range for U-28 in Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921, the German UB II boats, upon which the U-27 class was based, had a range of over 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h) surfaced, and 45 nautical miles (83 km) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h) submerged.[8] U-27-class boats were designed for a crew of 23–24.[2]

U-28 was armed with two 45 cm (17.7 in) bow torpedo tubes and could carry a complement of four torpedoes. She was also equipped with a 75 mm/26 (3.0 in) deck gun and an 8 mm (0.31 in) machine gun.[2]

After intricate political negotiations to allocate production of the class between Austrian and Hungarian firms,[6] U-28 was ordered from Cantiere Navale Triestino (CNT) on 12 October 1915.[1] She was laid down by early 1916 at the Pola Navy Yard,[Note 3] and launched on 8 January 1917.[2]

Service career[edit]

After her completion, U-28 was commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy on 26 June 1917 under the command of Linienschiffsleutnant Zdenko Hudeček.[3] Previously in command of U-17, Hudeček was a 30-year-old native of Theresienstadt (present-day Terezín in the Czech Republic).[9]

Four days after the U-boat's commissioning, Hudeček achieved his first kill at the helm of U-28. On 30 June, while on patrol about 40 nautical miles (74 km) east of Malta, U-28 came upon the 4,809-ton British steamer Haigh Hall. The turret hull ship was carrying wheat from Bombay to Naples when torpedoed and sunk by Hudeček.[10] Three days later, the British India passenger ship Mongara met the same fate. Even though escorted by an Italian destroyer and a trawler,[11] Mongara was torpedoed and sunk by U-28 just 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) from the breakwater at Messina.[12] The 8,205-ton liner—the largest ship sunk by U-28[13]—was en route from Sydney to London when she went down, but was spared any loss of life in the attack.[12] In eight days in commission, U-28‍ '​s tally was over 13,000 tons,[13] already exceeding the totals of all four U-boats of the U-20 class.[4]

The following month, U-28 sank the 3,881-ton collier Maston 35 nautical miles (65 km) from Cape Spartivento, Calabria, on 13 August, killing two men of the British ship's crew.[14] Three days after Maston went down, U-28 sank Bradford City, a 3,683-ton British Q ship in the Straits of Messina, with no loss of life.[15] Bradford City, operating under the pseudonym Saros, had been particularly detached to the Straits to hunt U-28 and had ignored orders to proceed to port from officers unaware of her naval status. After the torpedo struck, the ship's "panic party" had taken to the boats in the hope of luring her attacker to the surface, but the arrival of the French naval trawler Hiver drove U-28 away before the gun crews aboard Bradford City could engage the submarine. Bradford City sank within 30 minutes off San Remo.[16] In October, U-28 closed out her 1917 list of victims with Bontnewydd, a British steamer sunk 60 nautical miles (110 km) north-northeast of Susa. The 3,296-ton steamer was sailing in ballast from Marseilles for Karachi.[17]

In January 1918, U-28 sank an additional three ships. Bosforo, an Italian steamer of 2,723 tons headed for Salonika, was sent to the bottom near Cape Spartivento on 12 January.[18] The following day, U-28 dispatched the British steamer Rapallo 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) south of Cape Peloro. One sailor aboard the one-year-old ship died in the attack, which occurred while the ship was headed to Messina in ballast.[19] On 21 January, West Wales, a collier headed from Barry to Alexandria, was sunk 140 nautical miles (260 km) from Malta, taking her load of coal and two of her crew to the bottom.[20]

On 8 March, U-28 attacked two ships, sinking one of them. The first ship, Mitra, a 5,592-ton tanker was hit by U-28 but was able to make port in Malta with her cargo of oil.[21][Note 4] Later in the month, U-28 sank Uganda 32 nautical miles (59 km) from Linosa, killing one sailor in the attack. The 1905 British ship was carrying cotton and cottonseed from Alexandria for London when the attack occurred.[22] Three days later, Stolt Nielsen, a 5,684-ton steamship, was sent to the bottom 38 nautical miles (70 km) from Malta. Carrying a general cargo for the Admiralty when she went down, the British ship turned out to be the final ship to be sunk by U-28.[13][23]

At the war's end, U-28 was surrendered to Italy at Venice in 1919. Later awarded to Italy as a war reparation, she was scrapped at Venice in 1920.[2] In her 18-month career, U-28 sank ten ships with a combined tonnage of 44,743, and damaged an eleventh.[13]

Ships sunk or damaged[edit]

Ships sunk or damaged by SM U-28[13]
Date Name Tonnage Nationality
30 June 1917 Haigh Hall 4,809 British
3 July 1917 Mongara 8,205 British
13 August 1917 Maston 3,881 British
16 August 1917 Bradford City 3,683 British
5 October 1917 Bontnewydd 3,296 British
12 January 1918 Bosforo 2,723 Italian
13 January 1918 Rapallo 3,811 British
21 January 1918 West Wales 4,336 British
8 March 1918 Mitra* 5,592 British
8 March 1918 Uganda 4,315 British
11 March 1918 Stolt Nielsen 5,684 British
Sunk:
Damaged:
Total:
44,743
5,592
50,335

* damaged but not sunk

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Curie had been caught in an anti-submarine net while trying to enter the harbor at Pola on 20 December 1914. See: Gardiner, p. 343.
  2. ^ The plans for the Danish Havmanden class submarines, three of which were built in Austria-Hungary, were seized from Whitehead & Co. in Fiume. See: Gardiner, pp. 344, 354.
  3. ^ By this time, the CNT shipyards at Monfalcone had been overrun by the Italian Army. See: Baumgartner and Sieche, as excerpted here (reprinted and translated into English by Sieche). Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  4. ^ Mitra lived somewhat of a charmed life. The 1912 ship had survived the explosion of a mine laid by German U-boat UC-25 in June 1917, in addition to weathering the attack from U-28. The ship, renamed Liberatador in 1935, remained in service until 1950, when she was scrapped at Buenos Aires. See: "Mitra (1132749)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 20 January 2009. (subscription required (help)). 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Miller, p. 20.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Gardiner, p. 344.
  3. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: U KUK U14". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gardiner, p. 341.
  5. ^ Gardiner, p. 343.
  6. ^ a b c Halpern, p. 383.
  7. ^ Baumgartner and Sieche, as excerpted here (reprinted and translated into English by Sieche). Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  8. ^ a b Gardiner, p. 181.
  9. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Robert Teufl von Fernland". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Haigh Hall". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Gibson and Prendergast, p. 258.
  12. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Mongara". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Ships hit by KUK U28". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  14. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Maston". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  15. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Bradford City". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  16. ^ Hepper, p. 101.
  17. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Bontnewydd". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  18. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Bosforo". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  19. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Rapallo". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  20. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: West Wales". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  21. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Mitra (d.)". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  22. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Uganda". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  23. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Stolt Nielsen". U-Boat War in World War I. Uboat.net. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 

Bibliography[edit]