SM U-38 was a German Type U 31 U-boat which operated in the Mediterranean Sea during World War I. It ended up being the third most successful U-boat participating in the war, sinking 134 merchant ships sunk for a total of 287,811 GRT.

German Submarine U38.jpg
SM U-38 with crew
History
German Empire
NameU-38
Ordered12 June 1912
BuilderGermaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number198
Laid down25 February 1913
Launched9 September 1914
Commissioned15 December 1914
FateSurrendered 23 February 1919. Broken up at Brest 1921
General characteristics
Class and typeGerman Type U 31 submarine
Displacement
  • 685 t (674 long tons) (surfaced)
  • 878 t (864 long tons) (submerged)
Length
Beam
  • 6.32 m (20 ft 9 in) (o/a)
  • 4.05 m (13 ft 3 in) (pressure hull)
Draught3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
Installed power
Propulsion
  • 2 × shafts
  • 2 × 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in) propellers
Speed
  • 16.4 knots (30.4 km/h; 18.9 mph) (surfaced)
  • 9.7 knots (18.0 km/h; 11.2 mph) (submerged)
Range
  • 8,790 nmi (16,280 km; 10,120 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (surfaced)
  • 80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) (submerged)
Test depth50 m (164 ft 1 in)
Boats & landing
craft carried
1 dinghy
Complement4 officers, 31 enlisted
Armament
Service record
Part of:
  • II Flottille
  • Unknown start – 11 November 1915
  • Pola Flotilla
  • 11 November 1915 – 22 May 1916
  • Constantinople Flotilla
  • 22 May 1916 – 7 September 1918
  • Pola / Mittelmeer I Flotilla
  • 7 September – 11 November 1918
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Max Valentiner
  • 5 December 1914 – 15 September 1917
  • Kptlt. Wilhelm Canaris
  • 16 September – 15 November 1917
  • Oblt.z.S. Hans Heinrich Wurmbach
  • 16 November 1917 – 18 January 1918
  • Kptlt. Clemens Wickel
  • 19 January – 11 November 1918
Operations: 17 patrols
Victories:
  • 134 merchant ships sunk
    (287,811 GRT)
  • 1 warship sunk
    (680 tons)
  • 4 auxiliary warships sunk
    (4,643 GRT)
  • 7 merchant ships damaged
    (29,821 GRT)
  • 1 warship damaged
    (10,850 tons)
  • 1 auxiliary warship damaged
    (3,848 GRT)
  • 3 merchant ships taken as prize
    (3,550 GRT)
B&W picture of a ship
The Italian Liner SS Ancona which was sunk by the German submarines, sailing from New York for Italy
Postcard of SS Persia at Aden, c.1900
Max Valentiner
Canaris, while a Korvettenkapitän

Its longest serving captain was Kptlt. Max Valentiner, who was awarded the Pour le Mérite while in command of U-38. Valentiner was in command of U-38 in November and December 1915 when she sank the passenger liners Ancona and Persia; both were controversial since the ships were sunk by torpedoes without warning, in defiance of the then-current Prize rules, which stated that merchant vessels carrying passengers be given an opportunity to evacuate their passengers before being sunk.

In 1917 Valentiner was succeeded as commander of U-38 by Kptlt. Wilhelm Canaris, who decades later became an Admiral and head of the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence), in 1935–1944.

DesignEdit

German Type U 31 submarines were double-hulled ocean-going submarines similar to Type 23 and Type 27 subs in dimensions and differed only slightly in propulsion and speed. They were considered very good high sea boats with average manoeuvrability and good surface steering.[1]

U-38 had an overall length of 64.70 m (212 ft 3 in), her pressure hull was 52.36 m (171 ft 9 in) long. The boat's beam was 6.32 m (20 ft 9 in) (o/a), while the pressure hull measured 4.05 m (13 ft 3 in). Type 31s had a draught of 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in) with a total height of 7.68–8.04 m (25 ft 2 in–26 ft 5 in). The boats displaced a total of 971 tonnes (956 long tons); 685 t (674 long tons) when surfaced and 878 t (864 long tons) when submerged.[1]

U-38 was fitted with two Germania 6-cylinder two-stroke diesel engines with a total of 1,850 metric horsepower (1,361 kW; 1,825 bhp) for use on the surface and two Siemens-Schuckert double-acting electric motors with a total of 1,200 PS (883 kW; 1,184 shp) for underwater use. These engines powered two shafts each with a 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in) propeller, which gave the boat a top surface speed of 16.4 knots (30.4 km/h; 18.9 mph), and 9.7 knots (18.0 km/h; 11.2 mph) when submerged. Cruising range was 8,790 nautical miles (16,280 km; 10,120 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) on the surface, and 80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) under water. Diving depth was 50 m (164 ft 1 in).[1]

The U-boat was armed with four 50 cm (20 in) torpedo tubes, two fitted in the bow and two in the stern, and carried 6 torpedoes. Additionally U-38 was equipped in 1915 with one 8.8 cm (3.5 in) Uk L/30 deck gun, which was replaced with a 10.5 cm (4.1 in) gun in 1916/17. The boat's complement was 4 officers and 31 enlisted.[1]

FateEdit

After World War I ended, U-38 was surrendered to France and docked in Brest in 1919, and then broken up.

Summary of raiding historyEdit

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[2]
18 April 1915 Brilliant   Norway 1,441 Captured as prize
22 April 1915 Eva   Norway 312 Sunk
22 April 1915 Oscar   Norway 766 Sunk
24 April 1915 Nidaros   Denmark 1,024 Captured as prize
27 April 1915 Torwald   Sweden 1,085 Captured as prize
30 April 1915 Elida   Sweden 1,693 Sunk
20 June 1915 HMS Roxburgh   Royal Navy 10,850 Damaged
21 June 1915 Carisbrook   United Kingdom 2,352 Sunk
22 June 1915 Leo   Russia 269 Sunk
23 June 1915 Truma   Norway 1,557 Sunk
23 June 1915 Elizabeth   United Kingdom 94 Sunk
23 June 1915 Four   United Kingdom 84 Sunk
23 June 1915 Josephine   United Kingdom 85 Sunk
23 June 1915 Piscatorial   United Kingdom 84 Sunk
23 June 1915 Research   United Kingdom 89 Sunk
23 June 1915 Uffa   United Kingdom 79 Sunk
23 June 1915 Ugiebrae   United Kingdom 79 Sunk
24 June 1915 Commander   United Kingdom 149 Sunk
24 June 1915 J. M. S.   United Kingdom 78 Sunk
24 June 1915 Lebanon   United Kingdom 111 Sunk
24 June 1915 Monarda   United Kingdom 87 Sunk
24 June 1915 Primrose   United Kingdom 91 Sunk
24 June 1915 Quiet Waters   United Kingdom 63 Sunk
24 June 1915 Star of Bethlehem   United Kingdom 77 Sunk
24 June 1915 Viceroy   United Kingdom 150 Sunk
24 June 1915 Vine   United Kingdom 110 Sunk
5 August 1915 Hans Emil   Denmark 106 Sunk
5 August 1915 Vanadis   Norway 484 Sunk
6 August 1915 Ocean Queen   United Kingdom 185 Sunk
6 August 1915 Westminster   United Kingdom 252 Sunk
9 August 1915 Thrush   United Kingdom 264 Sunk
10 August 1915 Oakwood   United Kingdom 4,279 Sunk
17 August 1915 Bonny   United Kingdom 2,702 Sunk
17 August 1915 George Baker   United Kingdom 91 Sunk
17 August 1915 Glenby   United Kingdom 2,196 Sunk
17 August 1915 Isidoro   Spain 2,044 Sunk
17 August 1915 Kirkby   United Kingdom 3,034 Sunk
17 August 1915 Maggie   United Kingdom 269 Sunk
17 August 1915 Paros   United Kingdom 3,596 Sunk
17 August 1915 Repeat   United Kingdom 107 Sunk
17 August 1915 The Queen   United Kingdom 557 Sunk
17 August 1915 Thornfield   United Kingdom 488 Sunk
19 August 1915 Baron Erskine   United Kingdom 5,585 Sunk
19 August 1915 Restormel   United Kingdom 2,118 Sunk
19 August 1915 Samara   United Kingdom 3,172 Sunk
20 August 1915 Bittern   United Kingdom 1,797 Sunk
20 August 1915 Carterswell   United Kingdom 4,308 Sunk
20 August 1915 Daghestan   Belgium 2,817 Sunk
20 August 1915 Martha Edmonds   United Kingdom 182 Sunk
21 August 1915 Cober   United Kingdom 3,060 Sunk
21 August 1915 Ruel   United Kingdom 4,029 Sunk
21 August 1915 San Melito   United Kingdom 10,160 Damaged
21 August 1915 Windsor   United Kingdom 6,055 Sunk
22 August 1915 Diomed   United Kingdom 4,672 Sunk
22 August 1915 Palmgrove   United Kingdom 3,100 Sunk
23 August 1915 Silvia   United Kingdom 5,268 Sunk
23 August 1915 Trafalgar   United Kingdom 4,572 Sunk
3 November 1915 Woodfield   United Kingdom 3,584 Sunk
3 November 1915 Yasukuni Maru   Japan 5,118 Sunk
4 November 1915 Dahra   France 2,127 Sunk
4 November 1915 Ionia   Italy 1,816 Sunk
4 November 1915 Le Calvados   France 1,658 Sunk, 740 people killed
4 November 1915 Mercian   United Kingdom 6,305 Damaged
5 November 1915 Buresk   United Kingdom 3,673 Sunk
5 November 1915 Sidi Ferruch   France 2,797 Sunk
6 November 1915 Elisa Francesca   Italy 208 Sunk
6 November 1915 Glenmoor   United Kingdom 3,075 Sunk
6 November 1915 Ticino   Italy 1,470 Sunk
6 November 1915 Yser   France 3,545 Sunk
7 November 1915 France IV   France 4,025 Sunk
8 November 1915 Ancona   Italy 8,210 Sunk, 206 people killed
9 November 1915 Firenze   Italy 3,960 Sunk
21 December 1915 Yasaka Maru   Japan 10,932 Sunk
30 December 1915 Clan Macfarlane   United Kingdom 4,823 Sunk
30 December 1915 Persia   United Kingdom 7,951 Sunk, 343 people killed
9 February 1916 Springwell   United Kingdom 5,593 Sunk
9 February 1916 HMS Thornhill   Royal Navy 3,848 Damaged
23 February 1916 Diadem   United Kingdom 3,752 Sunk
23 February 1916 Roubine   France 327 Sunk
24 February 1916 Denaby   United Kingdom 2,987 Sunk
24 February 1916 Fastnet   United Kingdom 2,227 Sunk
24 February 1916 Torborg   Sweden 1,266 Sunk
29 February 1916 Alexander Wentzel   Russia 2,832 Sunk
29 February 1916 Elisa S   Italy 209 Sunk
1 March 1916 Kilbride   United Kingdom 3,712 Sunk
16 May 1916 HMS Clifford   Royal Navy 487 Sunk
8 June 1916 Malorossija   Russia 893 Damaged
8 June 1916 Cementcrug   Russia 1,086 Sunk
8 June 1916 Ekaterina   Russia 70 Sunk
8 June 1916 Vera   Russia 1,231 Damaged
10 June 1916 Orion   Russia 429 Sunk
2 July 1916 Rockcliffe   United Kingdom 3,073 Sunk
9 July 1916 Vperied   Russia 859 Sunk
10 July 1916 Florida   Russia 3,238 Sunk
14 August 1916 HMS Remembrance   Royal Navy 3,660 Sunk
19 August 1916 Dea   Italy 166 Sunk
23 August 1916 Elios   Italy 190 Sunk
23 August 1916 Maria Brizzolari   Italy 152 Sunk
23 August 1916 Tanina   Italy 138 Sunk
24 August 1916 Isdalen   Norway 2,275 Sunk
24 August 1916 Liegeoise   Belgium 3,895 Sunk
25 August 1916 Leandros   Greece 1,658 Sunk
25 August 1916 Nostra Signora Del Carmine   Italy 1,575 Sunk
26 August 1916 Atlantico   Italy 3,069 Sunk
29 August 1916 Antigoon   Belgium 1,884 Sunk
29 August 1916 Francois Joseph   France 114 Sunk
29 August 1916 Stella Del Mare   Italy 1,166 Sunk
30 August 1916 Nostra Signora Della Guardia   Italy 1,588 Sunk
31 August 1916 Bacchus   France 3,583 Sunk
31 August 1916 Duart   United Kingdom 3,108 Sunk
31 August 1916 Piero Maroncelli   Kingdom of Italy 3,225 Sunk
1 September 1916 San Francesco Di Paola   Italy 68 Sunk
1 September 1916 Swift Wings   United Kingdom 4,465 Sunk
1 September 1916 Antinous   United Kingdom 3,682 Damaged
2 September 1916 Strathallan   United Kingdom 4,404 Sunk
2 September 1916 Uranie   France 117 Sunk
3 September 1916 Villa D’Oro   Italy 134 Sunk
4 September 1916 Laristan   United Kingdom 3,675 Sunk
5 September 1916 Saint Marc   France 5,818 Sunk
25 November 1916 Michael   Greece 2,410 Sunk
26 November 1916 Chemung   United States 3,062 Sunk
3 December 1916 Dacia   United Kingdom 1,856 Sunk
3 December 1916 Kanguroo   France 2,493 Sunk
3 December 1916 Surprise   French Navy 680 Sunk
8 December 1916 Brask   Norway 1,464 Sunk
8 December 1916 Britannia   United Kingdom 1,814 Sunk
9 December 1916 Brizella   Portugal 282 Sunk
10 December 1916 Esemplare   Italy 2,595 Sunk
13 December 1916 Angelo Parodi   Italy 3,825 Sunk
13 December 1916 Kaupanger   Norway 3,354 Sunk
15 December 1916 Emmanuele Accame   Italy 3,242 Sunk
17 December 1916 Tripoli   Italy 56 Sunk
20 December 1916 Itonus   United Kingdom 5,340 Sunk
25 January 1917 Sylvie   France 2,591 Sunk
7 February 1917 Aphrodite   France 130 Sunk
14 February 1917 Trowbridge   United Kingdom 3,712 Damaged
14 February 1917 Michele   Italy 41 Sunk
12 May 1917 Egyptian Prince   United Kingdom 3,117 Sunk
13 May 1917 Rio Amazonas   Italy 2,970 Sunk
25 May 1917 Kohinur   United Kingdom 2,265 Sunk
26 May 1917 Holmesbank   United Kingdom 3,051 Sunk
1 July 1917 Corrado   Italy 121 Sunk
1 July 1917 Volto Santo G.   Italy 225 Sunk
7 July 1917 La Resolu   France 186 Sunk
12 July 1917 Claire   Belgium 1,157 Sunk
15 July 1917 Atalante   France 124 Sunk
19 July 1917 Eloby   United Kingdom 6,545 Sunk
20 August 1917 Incemore   United Kingdom 3,060 Sunk
19 April 1918 Salambo   French Navy 248 Sunk
5 May 1918 Alberto Treves   Italy 3,838 Damaged
8 May 1918 Ingleside   United Kingdom 3,736 Sunk

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

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

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 6.
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U 38". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 14 December 2014.

BibliographyEdit

  • 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.
  • Eberhard Rössler: Geschichte des deutschen U-Bootbaus – Band 1. Bernard & Graefe Verlag 1996, ISBN 3-86047-153-8
  • Bodo Herzog: Deutsche U-Boote 1906-1966. Manfred Pawlak Verlags GmbH, Herrschingen 1990, ISBN 3-88199-687-7
  • Spindler, Arno (1966) [1932]. Der Handelskrieg mit U-Booten. 5 Vols. Berlin: Mittler & Sohn. Vols. 4+5, dealing with 1917+18, are very hard to find: Guildhall Library, London, has them all, also Vol. 1-3 in an English translation: The submarine war against commerce.
  • Beesly, Patrick (1982). Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914-1918. London: H Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-10864-2.
  • Halpern, Paul G. (1938). A Naval History of World War I. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85728-498-0.
  • Roessler, Eberhard (1997). Die Unterseeboote der Kaiserlichen Marine. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-5963-7.
  • Schroeder, Joachim (2002). Die U-Boote des Kaisers. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-6235-4.
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2008). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. Vol I., The Fleet in Action. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-76-3.
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2009). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. Vol II., The Fleet in Being. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-77-0.

External linksEdit