Talk:Unrestricted submarine warfare

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Unrestricted submarine warfare:
  • Find and add information on British Admiralty orders regarding submarine warfare, outlining if and if so, when unrestricted submarine warfare was introduced.
  • Find and add similar information for other nations participating in the war, e.g. Soviet Union, Italy, Japan, USA, France.

"It was obsolete from the start" lacks neutrality as much as "half-hearted attempt". Get-back-world-respect 16:47, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Kriegsmarine the only Navy not to engage in unrestricted from the start?[edit]

Can we please see some documentation for that claim? Preferably in the form of British Admiralty orders from 3 September 1939 or shortly after outlining the rules of the game for their subs. Until such evidence is forthcoming, I have changed it to a more neutral wording. Thanks. Andreas 06:48, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


I don't think that is correct. I did some research yesterday, and it seems they were quite serious about it. But I am as always willing to be swayed by some documentation. Until then I have changed it to a more neutral wording. Andreas 06:51, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

NPOV - no longer needed?[edit]

I think this page can be considered neutral now. Andreas 16:06, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

At present there is little pov but the british one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:40, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Judgement on Doenitz[edit]

See:Judgement : Doenitz

"Doenitz is charged with waging unrestricted submarine warfare contrary to the Naval Protocol of 1936 to which Germany acceded, and which reaffirmed the rules of submarine warfare laid down in the London Naval Agreement of 1930.Doenitz is charged with waging unrestricted submarine warfare contrary to the Naval Protocol of 1936 to which Germany acceded, and which reaffirmed the rules of submarine warfare laid down in the London Naval Agreement of 1930. ... The order of Doenitz to sink neutral ships without warning when found within these zones was, therefore, in the opinion of the Tribunal, violation of the Protocol. ... the sentence of Doenitz is not assessed on the ground of his breaches of the international law of submarine warfare."

So he was found guilty, but no sentence was passed for this war crime:

"In view of all the facts proved and in particular of an order of the British Admiralty announced on the 8th May, 1940, according to which all vessels should be sunk at sight in the Skagerrak, and the answers to interrogatories by Admiral Nimitz stating that unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day that nation entered the war".

--Philip Baird Shearer 23:45, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

2 Articles?[edit]

Most of this article seems to better fit under the heading "Naval Treaties and Rules of Engagement." Just a thought... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) pschemp | talk 21:12, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I do not think it needs moving. What I think it needs is a big expansion, because at the moment it only looks at the law and little else. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:22, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Article semi-protected for 3 weeks[edit]

Due to ongoing IP address vandalism, I have semi-protected this article (no IP or brand new account edits) for 3 weeks from today. I've also blocked the most recent IP vandal for a week and warned them, etc.

If this semi-protection causes problems with legitimate editing please let me know or find another administrator and have the protection deactivated early. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 03:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)


Our false flag article says "British Q-boats were notorious for this behaviour during World War One, which Germany used as a reason for its own use of unrestricted submarine warfare." This is unsourced so I didn't add it myself but it seems relevant to this article to me Nil Einne (talk) 22:53, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Maybe, if it was true. Germany commenced Unrestricted Submarine Warfare in February 1915; the first Q-ships weren’t operating until the summer. Xyl 54 (talk) 02:23, 7 December 2009 (UTC)


I’ve removed this;
"Despite unrestricted warfare in later years, the majority of submarine-caused shipping losses sustained by the Allies were via 'restricted' (Prize Regulations) warfare.(ref Willmott, p. 172)
despite having a source, it’s patent nonsense.
The period of USW was from February 1915 to August 1915, and from February 1917 to November 1918, ie more than half (28 out of 52 months) of the war. And it was during that period that three-quarters (9 million, out of a total of 12 million tons) of the total shipping lost was sunk. Also, the period between August 1915 and February 1917 wasn’t marked by a return to Prize Rules; it merely saw the re-intoduction of the minimum restrictions felt necessary to avoid giving neutral nations (principally the USA) cause for war. Xyl 54 (talk) 14:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)


I was reading Theodore Ropp's The Development of a Modern Navy and came across a couple of places where he compared the Jeune École's ideas on "unrestricted torpedo boat warfare" (Admiral Aube is quoted as saying that torpedo boats will sink their targets without warning; Admiral Hopkins thought that merchant ships would perhaps be given a stop-or-be-sunk warning. These are clearly prefiguring the German campaigns of WWI (and Ropp explicitly compares Aube's ideas with German practice at pp. 170-1). But does this belong here? And if it doesn't, where does it belong? Angus McLellan (Talk) 00:58, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

"Treat Holwitt as less Authoritative"[edit]

While Holwitt's thesis and subsequent book are great scholarship, they are hardly authoritative. We need a more second-sourced article here. To start with, I would certainly change the phrase "...they are considered by many[7] to be a breach..." to replace "many" with "some", since there aren't any others besides Holwitt cited as thinking this way. I'm going to make this minor change to the article, as I think there's no real dispute that a single-sourced opinion can be called "many".

Also it should be noted that the objections to unrestricted submarine warfare based on classical naval practices are decidedly biased in favor of the status quo, and aren't in any way consistent with the new technology of submarines, and certainly aren't consistent with "acceptable" contemporary practices. E.g. why would submarines be held to cruiser rules, while aircraft wouldn't be?

We also might want to include the Mediterranean theater in 1941-43 as a major unrestricted submarine warfare instance, as both Allied and Axis submarines never pretended to adhere to the "cruiser rules" method during that period of time (and, particularly with respect to the Allies, sank a large number of enemy merchantmen).

Finally, the article should note the difference in conduct in different areas falling under unrestricted submarine warfare. That is, USW as practiced considered as legitimate targets ALL shipping (including that of neutral countries) inside a declared War Zone (which might be significant in size), but outside the specified geographic zone, only vessels of belligerent countries were valid targets. This distinction is rather explicitly noted in both the rules of engagement issued to US submarine forces in WW2, and the political and military pronouncements of both the British and German governments around submarine warfare in both WW1 and WW2. Trims2u (talk) 09:34, 30 January 2012 (UTC)