SM UB-110

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U-Boat 110, a general view looking aft (8770771018).jpg
UB-110 being repaired at Swan Hunter's dry dock in 1918
History
German Empire
Name: UB-110
Ordered: 6/8 February 1917[1]
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Cost: 3,714,000 German Papiermark
Yard number: 316
Launched: 1 September 1917[2]
Commissioned: 23 March 1918[2]
Fate: sunk by HMS Garry on 19 July 1918 at 54°39′N 0°55′W / 54.650°N 0.917°W / 54.650; -0.917Coordinates: 54°39′N 0°55′W / 54.650°N 0.917°W / 54.650; -0.917[2]
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: German Type UB III submarine
Displacement:
  • 519 t (511 long tons) surfaced
  • 649 t (639 long tons) submerged
Length: 55.30 m (181 ft 5 in) (o/a)
Beam: 5.80 m (19 ft)
Draught: 3.70 m (12 ft 2 in)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 13.3 knots (24.6 km/h; 15.3 mph) surfaced
  • 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h; 8.6 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 7,420 nmi (13,740 km; 8,540 mi) at 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph) surfaced
  • 55 nmi (102 km; 63 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 50 m (160 ft)
Complement: 3 officers, (max.)31 men[2]
Armament:
Service record
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Werner Fürbringer[3]
  • 23 March – 19 July 1918
Operations: 2 patrols
Victories:
  • 1 merchant ship sunk (3,709 GRT)
  • 1 fleet oiler damaged (1,137 GRT)

SM UB-110 was a German Type UB III submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I.

Construction[edit]

UB-110 was built by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg. After just under a year of construction, it was launched at Hamburg on 1 September 1917 and commissioned in the spring of 1918 under the command of Kptlt. Werner Fürbringer. Like all Type UB III submarines, UB-110 carried ten torpedoes and was armed with an 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun, carried a crew of three officers and up to 31 men, and had a cruising range of 7,420 nautical miles (13,740 km; 8,540 mi). It had a displacement of 519 t (511 long tons) while surfaced and 649 t (639 long tons) when submerged. Its engines enabled it to travel at 13.3 knots (24.6 km/h; 15.3 mph) when surfaced and 7.4 knots (13.7 km/h; 8.5 mph) when submerged.

Ships hit by UB-110[edit]

During its lifetime, UB-110 is confirmed to have torpedoed two ships, the Sprucol and the Southborough.[4] The 'Sprucol' was a 1,137 ton tanker being operated by the Royal Navy at the time of engagement, when it was damaged off the English coast but made it back to the Humber with no casualties.[5] The 3,709 ton civilian steamer 'Southborough' was not to be so lucky, sunk 5 miles off the east coast of Scarborough on July 16th, 1918 with the loss of 30 civilian lives.[6]

Sinking[edit]

The submarine was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 23 March 1918 as SM UB-110.[Note 1]

On 19 July 1918, while under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Fürbringer, UB-110 was depth charged, rammed, and sunk near the Tyne by HMS Garry, commanded by Charles Lightoller. This was possibly the last U-boat sinking during the Great War.[7]

In his postwar memoirs, Fürbringer alleged that, after the sinking, HMS Garry hove to and opened fire with revolvers and machine guns on the unarmed crew in the water. He states that he saw the skull of his 18-year old steward split open by a lump of coal hurled by a member of Garry's crew. He also states that when he attempted to help a wounded officer to swim, the man said, "Let me die in peace. The swine are going to murder us anyhow." The memoir states that the shooting ceased only when the convoy that the destroyer had been escorting, and that contained many neutral-flagged ships, arrived on the scene, at which point "as if by magic the British now let down some life boats into the water."[8] Lieutenant Commander Lightoller was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross for sinking UB-110. A total of 23 members of UB-110's crew died in the action, some, according to Fürbringer, at the hands of Garry's crew after the sinking.

Rescue operation[edit]

HMTBD Bonetta arrived late on the scene and picked up five survivors, including the Captain, but one of them, the Engineer Officer, died on deck immediately after being taken out of the water. The German captain, despite the ordeal he had come through, proved himself to be a very self-possessed individual when examined in the chart room. He expressed the opinion that Germany would shortly win the war, but he was a long way out in his calculation, as Germany was defeated six weeks later. Some of his sailors had not the same guts, but had got on their knees and begged for their lives on seeing officers of the Bonetta carrying arms. Webley & Scott automatic pistols hanging round their necks by lanyards were always put on when 'action' was sounded. The Bonetta's duties around that time had included picking up many, badly wounded, survivors, and dead, from fishing boats, which had been shelled by a German submarine, off the entrance to the Tyne. Perhaps unsurprisingly the crew of the Bonetta were not made aware of any massacre.[9]

Boat raised[edit]

UB-110 was raised on 4 October 1918 and broken up at Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne.[2] An album of photographs of the vessel has been shared by Tyne and Wear Archives "The sinking and raising of UB-110"

An unsettling discovery during its salvage was that some of its torpedoes were fitted with magnetic firing pistols—the first to be properly identified by the British. These early examples were problematic, often detonating their weapons prematurely if at all.[10]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 2] Fate[11]
10 July 1918 RFA Sprucol  Royal Fleet Auxiliary 1,137 Damaged
16 July 1918 Southborough  United Kingdom 3,709 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Rössler 1979, p. 66.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gröner 1991, pp. 25-30.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Werner Fürbringer (Royal House Order of Hohenzollern)". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Ships hit by UB 110". uboat.net. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Ships hit during WWI: Sprucol". uboat.net. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Ships hit during WWI: Southborough". uboat.net. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Lightoller, C. Titanic and Other Ships, ch.44, eBook at Gutenberg of Australia
  8. ^ Werner Fürbringer (1999), Fips: Legendary German U-Boat Commander, 1915-1918, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis. Pages 118-121.
  9. ^ Boyd, Captain Robert Storrar. "A Dundee Master Mariner - His Own Story, serving as a First Lieutenant on the Bonetta". ninetradesofdundee.co.uk. Self. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  10. ^ Admiralty. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918, p. 150.
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by UB 110". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 9 March 2015.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bendert, Harald (2000). Die UB-Boote der Kaiserlichen Marine, 1914-1918. Einsätze, Erfolge, Schicksal (in German). Hamburg: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn GmbH. ISBN 3-8132-0713-7.
  • 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.
  • Rössler, Eberhard (1979). U-Bootbau bis Ende des 1. Weltkrieges, Konstruktionen für das Ausland und die Jahre 1935 - 1945. Die deutschen U-Boote und ihre Werften (in German). I. Munich: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 3-7637-5213-7.