SM U-73

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For other ships with the same name, see German submarine U-73.
History
German Empire
Name: U-73
Ordered: 6 January 1915
Builder: Kaiserliche Werft Danzig
Yard number: 29
Launched: 16 June 1915
Commissioned: 9 October 1915
Fate: Scuttled during the evacuation of Cattaro 30 October 1918 i8n position 44°52′N 13°50′E / 44.867°N 13.833°E / 44.867; 13.833[1]
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: German Type UE I submarine
Displacement:
  • 745 t (733 long tons) surfaced
  • 829 t (816 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 5.90 m (19 ft 4 in) (o/a)
  • 5.00 m (16 ft 5 in) (pressure hull)
Height: 8.25 m (27 ft 1 in)
Draught: 4.84 m (15 ft 11 in)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 800 PS (588 kW; 789 shp) surfaced
  • 2 × 800 PS (588 kW; 789 shp) submerged
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2× 1.41 m (4 ft 8 in) propellers
Speed:
  • 10.6 knots (19.6 km/h; 12.2 mph) surfaced
  • 7.9 knots (14.6 km/h; 9.1 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 7,880 nmi (14,590 km; 9,070 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) surfaced
  • 83 nmi (154 km; 96 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 50 m (164 ft 1 in)
Complement: 4 officers, 28 enlisted
Armament:
  • 2 × 50 cm (19.7 in) torpedo tubes (one starboard bow, one starbord stern)
  • 4 torpedoes
  • 1 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) deck guns
Service record
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Gustav Sieß[3]
  • 9 October 1915 – 21 May 1917
  • Ernst von Voigt[4]
  • 22 May 1917 – 15 January 1918
  • Karl Meusel[5]
  • 16 January – 15 June 1918
  • Carl Bünte[6]
  • 16 June – 14 July 1918
  • Fritz Saupe[7]
  • 15 July – 30 October 1918
Operations: 2 patrols
Victories:
  • 18 ships sunk (87,449 GRT)
  • 3 ships damaged (8,067 GRT)
  • 3 warships sunk (28,750 GRT)[1]

SM U-73 was one of 329 submarines serving in the Imperial German Navy in World War I. She engaged in the commerce war as part of the First Battle of the Atlantic.

U-73 has the distinction of being responsible for sinking the largest ship sunk in World War I, the 48,758 ton hospital ship Britannic, shortly after she laid the mine which Britannic struck.[8]

Operations[edit]

After completion at Danzig in November 1915, U-73 was commissioned by Kapitänleutnant Gustav Sieß.[1] She joined the Kiel School, where she remained until February 1916, conducting trials and crew training. She then left for the North Sea and was attached to the 1st Half Flotilla, still under Her activities were monitored throughout the war by Room 40, & most of her recorded movements are based on that information.[9] Her first operational cruise began 1 April 1916, when she left Heligoland Bight, bound for the Mediterranean by way of the North Sea. En route, she attacked one steamer in the Atlantic and laid mines off Lisbon and Malta. On 27 April 1916 she laid a minefield of 22 mines outside the Grand Harbour of Valletta in which four ships were sunk: the battleship HMS Russell, the sloop Nasturtium; HMT Crownsin sunk 4 May 1916 with the loss of 11 men,[National Archives] [ Wreck.eu] and the yacht HMY Aegusa.[10] On arriving Cattaro on about 1 May (the date is uncertain), U-73 joined the Pola-Cattaro Flotilla.

The minelaying cruises of U-73 in the Mediterranean cannot be reconstructed. The battleship HMS Russell hit two of the mines and sunk.. On 7 October 1916 she is reported to have left Pola, and the French put down to her the mine sunk off Cape Male on 12 October, as well as a minefield in the Gulf of Salonika, and mines in the Gulf of Athens on which two Greek ships were blown up. It seems certain U-73, still commanded by Sieß,[1] laid the mine by which the hospital ship HMHS Britannic was sunk, one hour after it was laid. It is possible the hospital ship HMHS Braemaer Castle was also damaged by one of her mines. U-73 suffered from constant machinery trouble in common with her class. At the end of October 1918, now in the hands of Kptlt. Fritz Saupe,[1] she was scuttled at Cattaro.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[11]
11 April 1916 Inverlyon  United Kingdom 1,827 Sunk
17 April 1916 Terje Viken  Norway 3,579 Sunk
27 April 1916 HMS Nasturtium  Royal Navy 1,250 Sunk
27 April 1916 HMS Russell  Royal Navy 14,000 Sunk
28 April 1916 HMY Aegusa  Royal Navy 1,242 Sunk
4 May 1916 Crownsin  United Kingdom 137 Sunk
3 August 1916 Clacton  United Kingdom 820 Sunk
9 August 1916 Lorenzo Donato  Kingdom of Italy 140 Sunk
24 October 1916 Propontis  Greece 700 Sunk
31 October 1916 Kiki Issaias  Greece 2,993 Sunk
14 November 1916 Burdigala  French Navy 12,009 Sunk
20 November 1916 Spetzai  Greece 788 Damaged
20 November 1916 Sparti  Greece 961 Damaged
21 November 1916 HMHS Britannic  Royal Navy 48,158 Sunk
23 November 1916 HMHS Braemar Castle  Royal Navy 6,318 Damaged
21 December 1916 Murex  United Kingdom 3,564 Sunk
23 December 1916 Thistleban  United Kingdom 4,117 Sunk
4 January 1917 Peresvyet  Russian Empire 13,500 Sunk
12 March 1917 Bilswood  United Kingdom 3,097 Sunk
29 September 1917 R 235  France 15 Sunk
30 September 1917 Midlothian  United Kingdom 1,321 Sunk
30 September 1917 Nicolosa  Greece 50 Sunk
1 October 1917 Ludovicos  United Kingdom 50 Sunk
19 October 1918 Almerian  United Kingdom 3,030 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: U 73". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Gröner 1991, pp. 10-11.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Gustav Sieß". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Ernst von Voigt". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Karl Meusel". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Carl Bünte". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Fritz Saupe". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Britannic". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  9. ^ National Archives, Kew: HW 7/3
  10. ^ "HMS Nasturtium (Flower Class Sloop - Arabis Type)". Subway Dive Centre. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U 73". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.