|Ordered:||12 January 1916|
|Builder:||Kaiserliche Werft, Danzig|
|Laid down:||25 February 1916|
|Launched:||2 August 1916|
|Commissioned:||15 November 1916|
|Fate:||sunk off Shetland Islands, 29 September 1917|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||German Type UC II submarine|
|Draught:||3.61 m (11 ft 10 in)|
|Test depth:||50 m (160 ft)|
|Notes:||30-second diving time|
SM UC-55[Note 1] 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 12 January 1916, laid down on 25 February 1916, and was launched on 2 August 1916. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 15 November 1916 as SM UC-55.
A German Type UC II submarine, UC-55 had a displacement of 415 tonnes (408 long tons) when at the surface and 498 tonnes (490 long tons) while submerged. She had a length overall of 50.52 m (165 ft 9 in), a beam of 5.22 m (17 ft 2 in), and a draught of 3.61 m (11 ft 10 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).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 11.6 knots (21.5 km/h; 13.3 mph) and a submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph). When submerged, she could operate for 52 nautical miles (96 km; 60 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,660 to 9,450 nautical miles (16,040 to 17,500 km; 9,970 to 10,870 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). UC-55 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.
In 6 patrols UC-55 was credited with sinking 9 ships, either by torpedo or by mines laid.
UC-55 sailed from Heligoland on 25 September 1917 to lay mines in the Lerwick Channel, the southern approach to the port of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. On 29 September, just as she started dropping her mines, she suffered a loss of trim which resulted in her diving beyond her rated maximum dive depth. This in turn resulted in the forward compartment flooding, the batteries failing, and chlorine gas developing. She was forced to surface to ventilate the boat, but when she surfaced, the rudder refused to answer the helm due to the lack of battery power. Her captain then gave orders to destroy secret documents and codebooks and set scuttling charges in the mine room and engine room. While the charges were being placed she was sighted by the armed trawler Moravia and the destroyers HMS Tirade and HMS Sylvia.
A 12-pdr shell from the Sylvia hit the submarine's conning tower, killing her commander, Horst Ruhle von Lilienstern, and a second shell hit the hull and she began to sink, after which two depth-charges were dropped right beside the UC-55, resulting in the U-boat blowing up. The Moravia then closed with the wreck, fired two more shots into her, and dropped a final depth-charge. Of the submarine's crew, 17 were taken prisoner, and 10 were killed.
Location of Wreck
The wreck of UC-55 is thought to lie in 100 m (330 ft) at side scan sonar discovered the wreck of a submarine lying on its keel, and measuring approximately 5.60 m (18.4 ft) high and 50 m (160 ft) long.. This site was surveyed on 3 July 1985, when
Summary of raiding history
|19 April 1917||Bethlehem||United Kingdom||379||Sunk|
|21 April 1917||Gerda||Norway||979||Sunk|
|28 May 1917||Asters||Norway||1,531||Sunk|
|29 May 1917||Clan Murray||United Kingdom||4,835||Sunk|
|30 May 1917||Fernley||United Kingdom||3,820||Damaged|
|4 June 1917||Clara||Norway||923||Sunk|
|8 July 1917||Spekulation||Sweden||291||Sunk|
|10 July 1917||Flamma||United Kingdom||1,920||Damaged|
|12 July 1917||Balzac||Norway||1,720||Sunk|
|13 July 1917||Lai||Norway||509||Sunk|
|19 August 1917||Rosario||United Kingdom||1,821||Sunk|
- "SM" stands for "Seiner Majestät" (English: His Majesty's) and combined with the U for Unterseeboot would be translated as His Majesty's Submarine.
- Tonnages are in gross register tons
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: UC 55". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- Tarrant, p. 173.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 31-32.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Karl Neureuther". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Theodor Schultz". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Horst Rühle von Lilienstern". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Messimer, Dwight R. (2002). Verschollen: World War I U-boat losses. Naval Institute Press. pp. 295–296. ISBN 1-55750-475-X.
- Baird, R.N. (2003). Shipwrecks of the North of Scotland. Birlinn Ltd. pp. 286–287. ISBN 1-84158-233-6.
- "Uc-55 [possibly]: North Sea". RCAHMS.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by UC 55". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- 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.
- Williams, M. W. "HMS Tirade and the sinking of UC-55". In Mclean, David; Preston, Antony. Warship 1997-1998. Conway Maritime. ISBN 978-0-85177-722-1. ISSN 0142-6222. OCLC 38481646.
- 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.