SM UB-49

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Career (German Empire)
Name: U 49
Ordered: 20 May 1916[1]
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Cost: 3,276,000 German Papiermark
Yard number: 294
Launched: 6 January 1917
Commissioned: 28 June 1917
Fate: Handed over to the United Kingdom 16 January 1919 and broken up in Swansea 1922.
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: German Type UB III submarine
Displacement: 516 t (508 long tons) surfaced
651 t (641 long tons) submerged
Length: 55.3 m (181 ft 5 in) o/a
Beam: 5.8 m (19 ft)
Draught: 3.68 m (12 ft 1 in)
Propulsion: 2 × propeller shaft
2 × MAN four-stroke 6-cylinder diesel engine, 1,050 bhp (780 kW)
2 × Siemens-Schuckert electric motor, 780 shp (580 kW)
450 rpm surfaced
362 rpm submerged
Speed: 13.6 knots (25.2 km/h; 15.7 mph) surfaced
8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
Range: 9,040 nmi (16,740 km; 10,400 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 (164 ft 1 in)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
1 dingi
Complement: 3 officers, 31 men
Sensors and
processing systems:
2 periscopes
Armament:
Service record
Part of: Imperial German Navy
Commanders: Kptlt. Hans-Joachim von Mellenthin
Oblt. z.S. Adolf Ehrensberger
Operations: 8 patrols
Victories: 40 ships (81,486 GRT), 1 escort

SM UB-49 was a German Type UB III submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 28 June 1917 as SM UB-49.[nb 1]

UB-49 served mainly in the Mediterranean. In the Austro-Hungarian Navy she was listed as SM U-80. In eight wartime patrols she sank 40 ships totaling 81,486 gross register tons (GRT) and one escort. After the Armistice with Germany UB-49 returned to Kiel via Norway. Handed over to the United Kingdom on 16 January 1919, she was broken up in Swansea in 1922.

Construction[edit]

UB-49 was ordered by the German Imperial Navy on 20 May 1916. She was built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg and following just under a year of construction, launched at Hamburg on 6 January 1917. UB-49 was commissioned later that same year under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Hans-Joachim von Mellenthin. Like all Type UB III submarines, UB-49 carried 10 torpedoes and was armed with an 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) deck gun. UB-49 could carry a crew of up to 34 men and had a cruising range of 9,040 nautical miles (16,740 km; 10,400 mi). UB-49 had a displacement of 516 t (508 long tons; 569 short tons) while surfaced and 651 t (641 long tons) when submerged. Her engines enabled her to travel at 13.6 knots (25.2 km/h; 15.7 mph) when surfaced and 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) when submerged.[3]

Service history[edit]

First War Patrol[edit]

On 22 August 1917, UB-49 left Kiel for Cattaro to join the Pola Flotilla passing the Orkney-Shetland barrier four days later. Before breaking through the Strait of Gibraltar, UB-49 sank six ships, damaging one further. On 9 September 1917 loss of fuel forced UB-49 to change course and make for Cadiz in neutral Spain.

Second War Patrol[edit]

While Spanish authorities planned to intern UB-49 for the duration of the war, her crew managed to repair the damage to the fuel tanks and bunker enough oil to reach Cattaro. On 6 October 1917, UB-49 slipped out of the harbour and reached Cattaro nine days later with no fuel left. After refuelling UB-49 sailed for Pola where the boat was repaired.

Third War Patrol[edit]

On 11 December 1917, UB-49 left Pola for a cruise in the Gulf of Genoa. Already on the first day, UB-49 was attacked by an enemy submarine. The next day, two Italian sailing ships were sunk, while exchanging fire with a coastal battery at the same time. On 15 December 1917, UB-49 managed to sink three steamers out of a convoy leaving Genoa, followed by two more the next day. On 22 December 1917, another two steamers were hit by torpedoes of UB-49. The last torpedo on this cruise UB-49 used on a British steamer off Naples.

Fourth War Patrol[edit]

Between 23 January and 13 February 1918 UB-49 operated in the Gulf of Genoa again, sinking several Italian sailing ships, a British steamer and an Italian escort vessel, G 32. On the way back to Cattaro, UB-49 experienced problems with her ballast tanks east of Malta and dived uncontrolled to a depth of 67 metres (220 ft). Using compressed air to blow out all ballast tanks simultaneously, UB-49 was able to surface again and continue her journey to Cattaro.

Fifth War Patrol[edit]

On 5 March 1918, UB-49 left Cattaro again to operate in the Tyrrhenian Sea. From 13 March 1918 UB-49 pursued a convoy leaving Genoa for Naples and in two days managed to sink three out of four steamers. East of Sardinia, an Italian steamer and a French tug boat fell victim to UB-49. Between 19 and 21 March 1918, UB-49 operated in the Gulf of Naples, sinking several Italian sailing ships and shelling the fortifications of Civitavecchia. A fire in one of the dynamos forced UB-49 to return to base on 25 March 1918.

Sixth War Patrol[edit]

UB-49 sailed on 11 May 1918 for her sixth war patrol, which led her into the Gulf of Lion and the Western Mediterranean. In the last week of May, UB-49 successfully attacked Allied shipping south of the Balearic Islands, sinking three steamers. On 2 June, UB-49 - running low on fuel - turned back to Pola for a major overhaul. When she arrived there on 12 June 1918, Kptlt. von Mellenthin handed over command of UB-49 to Oberleutnant zur See (Oblt.z.S.) Alfred Ehrensberger.

Seventh War Patrol[edit]

After three months in port, UB-49 went to sea again on 11 September 1918. Headed for the Western Mediterranean, Ehrensberger was less successful than von Mellenthin. A strong Allied presence of escorts pressed UB-49 under the surface more and more often. Nevertheless, UB-49 sank two ships off the Spanish coast. UB-49 made port again on 12 October 1918.

Eighth War Patrol[edit]

When it became apparent that Austria-Hungary's situation was untenable, UB-49 was ordered to return to Kiel. Leaving Pola on 29 October 1918 she reached the Norwegian port of Lervik in the last week of November 1918. Together with most of the other u-boats from the Mediterranean, UB-49 arrived in Kiel on 29 November 1918.

Aftermath[edit]

The Armistice with Germany required that all u-boats had to be surrendered to the Allies. UB-49 was handed over to the United Kingdom on 16 January 1919. In 1922 the u-boat was broken up in Swansea.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Ships sunk by SM UB-49[4]
Date Name Nationality Tonnage[nb 2] Fate
2 September 1917 Caracas  Norway 1,077 Sunk
4 September 1917 Theodora  Greece 2,899 Sunk
6 September 1917 Moina  France 168 Sunk
7 September 1917 Brodmead  United Kingdom 5,646 Damaged
7 September 1917 Clan Ferguson  United Kingdom 4,808 Sunk
7 September 1917 Hunsbridge  United Kingdom 3,424 Sunk
7 September 1917 Casa Blanca  Portugal 31 Sunk
16 December 1917 San Francesco di Paola  Kingdom of Italy 51 Sunk
16 December 1917 New York  Kingdom of Italy 442 Sunk
18 December 1917 Giuilo S  Kingdom of Italy 151 Damaged
20 December 1917 Attualita  Kingdom of Italy 4,791 Sunk
20 December 1917 Regin  Norway 1,845 Sunk
20 December 1917 Suruga  United States 4,374 Damaged
21 December 1917 Stromboli  Kingdom of Italy 5,356 Sunk
21 December 1917 Monte Bianco  Kingdom of Italy 6,968 Damaged
22 December 1917 Caboto  Kingdom of Italy 4,418 Sunk
22 December 1917 Piemonte  Kingdom of Italy 2,395 Damaged
25 December 1917 Umballa  United Kingdom 5,310 Sunk
26 January 1918 Caterina  Kingdom of Italy 21 Sunk
28 January 1918 Lysi  Kingdom of Italy 247 Sunk
29 January 1918 Paolo Meriga  Kingdom of Italy 127 Sunk
29 January 1918 Lavoro  Kingdom of Italy 160 Sunk
29 January 1918 Elsa  Kingdom of Italy 165 Sunk
29 January 1918 Ada  Kingdom of Italy 179 Sunk
29 January 1918 Lucia Martini  Kingdom of Italy 160 Sunk
29 January 1918 Fanny  Kingdom of Italy 74 Sunk
4 February 1918 General Church  United Kingdom 6,600 Damaged
7 February 1918 G 32  Regia Marina 237 Sunk
7 February 1918 Mette  Denmark 118 Sunk
13 March 1918 San Francesco di Paolo  Kingdom of Italy 25 Sunk
13 March 1918 Umta  United Kingdom 5,422 Damaged
14 March 1918 Principessa Laetitia  Kingdom of Italy 4,011 Sunk
15 March 1918 Clan McDougall  United Kingdom 4,710 Sunk
17 March 1918 Tripoli  Kingdom of Italy 1,743 Sunk
18 March 1918 Utrecht  France 293 Sunk
19 March 1918 San Francesco di Paola  Kingdom of Italy 70 Sunk
19 March 1918 Giovanni Albonese  Kingdom of Italy 497 Sunk
20 March 1918 Angelo Raffaele  Kingdom of Italy 53 Sunk
21 March 1918 Dante C  Kingdom of Italy 129 Sunk
25 March 1918 Carlo Splendor  Kingdom of Italy 105 Sunk
26 May 1918 Le Gard  France 1,458 Sunk
27 May 1918 Uganda  United Kingdom 5,431 Sunk
27 May 1918 Carmela  Kingdom of Italy 128 Sunk
28 May 1918 Pietro Maroncelli  Kingdom of Italy 5,134 Sunk
3 June 1918 Mecanicien Donzel  France 8,227 Sunk
27 September 1918 Hatasu  United Kingdom 3,193 Sunk
1 October 1918 Francoli  Spain 1,241 Sunk
Total: 81,486

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. ^ Tonnages are in gross register tons

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rössler 2000, p. 65.
  2. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 52-53.
  3. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 52.
  4. ^ Bendert 2000, pp. 123-125.

Bibliography[edit]