SM UC-51

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History
German Empire
Name: UC-51
Ordered: 12 January 1916[1]
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel[2]
Yard number: 267[1]
Launched: 5 December 1916[1]
Commissioned: 6 January 1917[1]
Fate: sunk by mine, 17 November 1917[1]
General characteristics [3]
Class and type: German Type UC II submarine
Displacement:
  • 434 t (427 long tons), surfaced
  • 511 t (503 long tons), submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 5.22 m (17 ft 2 in) o/a
  • 3.65 m (12 ft) pressure hull
Draught: 3.64 m (11 ft 11 in)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 11.8 knots (21.9 km/h; 13.6 mph), surfaced
  • 7.2 knots (13.3 km/h; 8.3 mph), submerged
Range:
  • 8,820–9,450 nmi (16,330–17,500 km; 10,150–10,870 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) surfaced
  • 56 nmi (104 km; 64 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 50 m (160 ft)
Complement: 26
Armament:
  • 6 × 100 cm (39.4 in) mine tubes
  • 18 × UC 200 mines
  • 3 × 50 cm (19.7 in) torpedo tubes (2 bow/external; one stern)
  • 7 × torpedoes
  • 1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) Uk L/30 deck gun
Notes: 30-second diving time
Service record
Part of:
  • I Flotilla
  • 8 April – 20 August 1917
  • Flandern Flotilla
  • 20 August 1917 – 17 November 1917
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Wilhelm Schröder[4]
  • 6 January – 28 April 1917
  • Oblt.z.S. Hans Galster[5]
  • 29 April – 17 November 1917
Operations: 7 patrols
Victories:
  • 28 merchant ships sunk (31,829 GRT)
  • 2 merchant ships damaged (5,855 GRT)

SM UC-51 was a German Type UC II minelaying submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. The U-boat was ordered on 20 November 1915 and was launched on 5 December 1916. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 6 January 1917 as SM UC-51.[Note 1] In seven patrols UC-51 was credited with sinking 28 ships, either by torpedo or by mines laid. UC-51 was mined and sunk in the English Channel on 17 November 1917.[1]

The wreck was located and identified by marine archaeologist Innes McCartney close to the official sinking position in 2001.

Design[edit]

A German Type UC II submarine, UC-51 had a displacement of 434 tonnes (427 long tons) when at the surface and 511 tonnes (503 long tons) while submerged. She had a length overall of 52.69 m (172 ft 10 in), a beam of 5.22 m (17 ft 2 in), and a draught of 3.64 m (11 ft 11 in). The submarine was powered by two six-cylinder four-stroke diesel engines each producing 290–300 metric horsepower (210–220 kW; 290–300 shp) (a total of 580–600 metric horsepower (430–440 kW; 570–590 shp)), two electric motors producing 620 metric horsepower (460 kW; 610 shp), and two propeller shafts. She had a dive time of 48 seconds and was capable of operating at a depth of 50 metres (160 ft).[3]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 11.8 knots (21.9 km/h; 13.6 mph) and a submerged speed of 7.2 knots (13.3 km/h; 8.3 mph). When submerged, she could operate for 56 nautical miles (104 km; 64 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,820 to 9,450 nautical miles (16,330 to 17,500 km; 10,150 to 10,870 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). UC-51 was fitted with six 100 centimetres (39 in) mine tubes, eighteen UC 200 mines, three 50 centimetres (20 in) torpedo tubes (one on the stern and two on the bow), seven torpedoes, and one 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) Uk L/30 deck gun. Her complement was twenty-six crew members.[3]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 2] Fate[6]
16 April 1917 Amanda  Sweden 232 Sunk
16 April 1917 Polycarp  Norway 509 Sunk
17 April 1917 Atalanta  Sweden 1,091 Damaged
4 May 1917 Marie  Denmark 772 Sunk
5 May 1917 Segovia  Norway 1,394 Sunk
18 June 1917 Kangaroo  United Kingdom 76 Sunk
18 June 1917 Violet  United Kingdom 158 Sunk
22 June 1917 Miami  United Kingdom 3,762 Sunk
24 June 1917 Hilversum  Netherlands 1,505 Sunk
26 July 1917 Ludgate  United Kingdom 3,708 Sunk
11 August 1917 Gloriosa  United Kingdom 23 Sunk
12 August 1917 Eleazar  United Kingdom 111 Sunk
14 August 1917 N. Verberckmoens  France 1,353 Sunk
14 August 1917 Wisbech  United Kingdom 1,282 Sunk
8 September 1917 Ezel  United Kingdom 163 Sunk
8 September 1917 Laura  United Kingdom 104 Sunk
10 September 1917 Jane Williamson  United Kingdom 197 Sunk
10 September 1917 Mary Orr  United Kingdom 91 Sunk
10 September 1917 Mary Seymour  United Kingdom 150 Sunk
10 September 1917 Moss Rose  United Kingdom 161 Sunk
10 September 1917 Water Lily  United Kingdom 111 Sunk
11 September 1917 Luxembourg  United Kingdom 1,417 Sunk
11 September 1917 Rosy Cross  United Kingdom 25 Sunk
11 September 1917 William  United Kingdom 78 Sunk
14 September 1917 Zeta  United Kingdom 2,269 Sunk
15 September 1917 Saint Jacques  France 2,459 Sunk
9 October 1917 Poldown  United Kingdom 1,370 Sunk
15 October 1917 HMD Active III  Royal Navy 81 Sunk
20 October 1917 Ionian  United Kingdom 8,268 Sunk
17 November 1917 David Lloyd George  United Kingdom 4,764 Damaged

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. ^ a b c d e f Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: UC 51". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 23 February 2009. 
  2. ^ Tarrant, p. 173.
  3. ^ a b c Gröner 1991, pp. 31-32.
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Wilhelm Schröder". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Hans Galster". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by UC 51". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bendert, Harald (2001). Die UC-Boote der Kaiserlichen Marine 1914-1918. Minenkrieg mit U-Booten (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0758-7. 
  • 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. 
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-907-8. OCLC 12119866. 
  • Tarrant, V. E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive: 1914–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-764-7. OCLC 20338385. 
  • Innes McCartney (2002). Lost Patrols: Submarine Wrecks of the English Channel.