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German submarine activities on the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada online

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most of the harbors and especially off Chesapeake Bay. A neutral has reported that
the patrol extends as far as Cape Skerry.

It should be noted that except for mine laying, submarines of this class always
work in deep water and that the Germans have laid mines in water in depths up to
seventy fathoms. So far as is known there is no reason why they should not lay
mines in depths up to ninety fathoms. ^

The foregoing completes the information furnished by British Admiralty. The
following is added by me.

There are circumstances which render it highly important that nothing whatever
should be given out which would lead the enemy even to surmise that we have had
any advance information concerning this submarine, even in the event of our sinking
her, and that such measures as are taken by the department be taken as secretly as
possible and without public disclosure of the specific reasons.

I venture to remind the department in this connection that the employment of
surface vessels to patrol against this submarine would probably result at best in merely
driving her from one area to another, whereas the employment of submarines against
her might lead to her destruction. It is suggested that having estimated her most
probable areas of operation submarines be employed in a patrol as nearly stationary
as may be, some of them covering the point south of Five Fathoms Bank Light Vessel,
remaining submerged during the day with periscopes only showing. Of five sub-
marines certainly destroyed in four days three were torpedoed by British submarines.

June 4, 1918 — (9029). — It is practically certain that there is but one submarine on
Atlantic coast, which is probably U-151.

June 7, 1918— {%120). — Military characteristics of U-151 from latest Admiralty
information as follows :

Length 213 feet 3 inches breadth 29 feet 2 inches surface draft 14 feet 9 inches dis-
placement surface 1700 tons submerged 2100 tons Engine 1200 horsepower speed 11
knots and a half surface speed 8 knots submerged fuel stowage 250 tons including
stowage in ballast tank, endurance surface 17,000 miles at 6 knots submerged 50 miles
at 7 knots armament 2-5-9 guns two 22 pounders one machine gun six torpedo tubes
4 bow 2 stem complement 8 officers 65 men: U-151 is converted mercantile sub-
marine Deutschland type commander probably Lieutenant Commander Kophamel
formerly in command of Pola submarine flotilla. In cruising last from September 10th
to December 20th approximately U-151 was out over 100 days during this period 9
steamers and 5 sailing vessels total 45,000 tons sunk by gunfire, about 400 ammunition
carried for each gun, limited number of torpedoes carried^ — maximum of 12. Sub-
marine may be equipped to carry and lay about 40 mines.

June 29, 1918 — (357). — Second cruiser submarine at sea. At present off west coast
of Ireland. Her field of operation not yet known. Can not reach longitude of
Nantucket before July fifteenth. Shall keep Department informed.

July 5, 1918 — (655, our 357). — Enemy cruiser submarine outward bound, reported
July 4 about 45 N. 30 W. proceeding southwesterly.


.Tuhi 24, 1918. — .AdmiralU' has received relia1)le information indicafiiie; that U-ld6
is intended to operate in Gulf of Maine but if foggy there to shift operations off

July 26, 1918. — Admiralty report on reliable authority that harbor works, cranes,
etc., at Wilmington are considered by Germans as favorable objectives for bombard-
ment. This and other similar information is transmitted for such use as the depart-
ment can make of it although apparently of not very great value.

August 1, 1918. — It is considered probable by Admiralty that a new mine-lajdng
type submarine is on its way to American coast, and that possibly she is the one
engaged by S. S. Baron Napier on July 26th in lat. 45-26 N. long. 32-56 W. at 0838.
It is estimated this submarine can reach longitude Nantucket Lightship August 2nd.
It is said that this type is a great improvement over V-71-80, larger than ordinary
U-boats and carries following armament: One six-inch gun, one four-inch gun, two
anti-aircraft guns, forty-fives. Also carries torpedoes but number of tubes unknown.
August 6, 1918. — Following cable received by British commander in chief "As
submarines reported western Atlantic are at present between New York and Chesa-
peake Bay area, vessels from U K below speed 13 knots are being routed north of
area if bound New York, south if bound Chesapeake Bay and north or south if bound
Delaware Bay latter being sent by X or Z routes respectively if necessary and then
hug coast. Latter case will be specified in report sent in accordance with paragraph 8
approaching routes." As the agreement with Na\'y Department is that after o-eneral
plans meet -with joint approval, we will handle the diversion routes at this end for
westbound ships, this cable does not accord. It happens in this particular case to
route ships direct through area of operations of the only two submarines at present
on this coast. British C.-in-C. concurs in general scheme that westbound diversion
better be handled from this end.

August 7, 1918. — We feel so certain that mine-laying submarine will operate in
Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound August 10 that counter measures in mininw
are recommended.

August 9, 1918. — Admiralty informs that two converted mercantile type submarines
will probably leave Germany middle of August for American coast. One of them
will probably lay mines east of Atlantic City and Currituck. The other off St. Johns,
Newfoundland, Western Bay, Newfoundland and Halifax. These submarines esti-
mated to reach American waters about second week of September.

August 10, 1918. — Return routes of submarine now on American coast expected to
be somewhat as follows: Submarine off Cape Hatteras at present by same return
route as U-151. Submarine off Halifax at present approximately along parallel 44
north from longitude Halifax to about 50 degrees west. Mine-laying submarine after
laying her mines expected to operate between Cape Race and Halifax.

September 2, I9/<9.— Return route of mine-laying submarine now off American coast
expected somewhat as follows: Vicinity Cape Race thi'ough an approximate position
54 degrees north 27 degrees west.

September 9, 1918. — S. S. Monmouth reports that on September 7th she was chased
in about 43.00 north 45.50 west. Should this report prove reliable submarine would
be one of two converted mercantile type which were expected to sail from Germany
about the middle of August and she could reach the American coast about September
15th. It is known that the other had not left Germany on September 2nd.

September 16, 1918. — U-152 believed to be proceeding to America, appears to have
been submarine which sunk Danish S. V., Constanza 62.30 N. 0.35 W. at 1400 September
11. She is expected to operate to southward of steamer route and lay mines east
Atlantic City and southeast Currituck. It is estimated she can reach longitude
Nantucket first week October.

October 3, 1918. — Not for circulation. It appears that U-lb2 was in about 44
degrees north 39 degrees west, September 30th and is not likely therefore to reach


longitude Nantucket before about October 12th. Evidently U-1S9 was submarine
which sunk two ships by gunfire in about 45.30 north 11.00 west October 1st and is
therefore not proceeding America at present. Her commanding officer Amauld de la
Periere is firm believer in attack by gunfire.

In addition to the above dispatches the following letter from the
force commander in Europe was received.

U. S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters,

U. S. S. "Melville," Flagship,
SO Grosvenor Gardens, London, S. W., April SO, 1918.
Reference No. 01. 16416.

From: Commander, U. S. Naval Forces in European Waters.
To: Secretary of the Navy (Operations).
Subject: Areas of Operations of Enemy Submarines.
Reference: (a) My cable :»6352 of 11 April.

1. Submarines along Atlantic seaboard. — Since the beginning of submarine warfare
it has been possible for the enemy to send a submarine to the Atlantic seaboard to
operate against allied shipping. The danger to be anticipated in such a diversion is
not in the number of ships that would be sunk, but in the interruption and delays of
shipping due to the presence of a submarine unless plans are ready in advance to
meet such a contingency.

A more serious feature is that the department might be led to reconsider its policy
of sending antisubmarine craft abroad. It is quite possible for the enemy to send one
or more submarines to the Atlantic seaboard at any time. The most likely type of
submarine to be used for such operations would be the cruiser submarine.

2. Cruiser submarine. — At the present time there are only 7 cruiser submarines com-
pleted. All of these are of the ex-Deutschland iype, designed originally as cargo
cruisers and now used to assist in the submarine campaign. Ten others of greater
speed have been projected, but none have been completed, and the latest information
indicates that the work on these vessels is not being pushed. This is rather to be
expected owing to the small amount of damage done thus far by cruiser submarines.
These submarines sink only 30,000 to 40,000 tons of shipping in a four-months' cruise.

3. Cruiser submarines now in ser%dce make only about 11^ knots on the surface,
with perhaps a maximum of 7 knots submerged. They handle poorly under water
and probably can not submerge to any considerable depth. On account of their
large size they are particularly vulnerable to attack by enemy submarines. It ifl
probably for this reason that the cruiser submarine has always operated in areas well
clear of antisubmarine craft. If this tjT)e of vessel proceeded to the Atlantic seaboard
it would undoubtedly operate well offshore and shift its areas of operations frequently.
Thus far, with one exception, which occurred a few days ago, the cruiser submarine
has never attacked convoys and has never fired torpedoes in the open sea, although
vessels of this type have been operating for 10 months. All attacks have been by
gunfire, and as these cruiser submarines are slow, they can attack with success only
small, slow, poorly armed ships.

4. If cruiser submarines are sent to the North Atlantic seaboard no great damage
to shipping is to be anticipated. Nearly all shipping eastbound is in convoy and it
is unlikely that any appreciable number of convoys will be sighted, and if sighted
will probably not be attacked. The shipping westbound is independent, but is
scattered over such a wide area that the success of the cruiser submarine would not
be large, and war warnings would soon indicate areas to be avoided.

[Note. — Later e\ddence indicates two cases of attack against single ships; in one
case the vessel was struck and the other missed by two torpedoes. — ^Wm. S. S.]


5. As there are only 7 cruiser submarines built, we are able to keep very close
track of these ships. At the present time one of these vessels is operating off the west
coast of Spain, en route home, two are in the vicinity of the Canaries, one is in the
North Sea bound out, and three are in Germany overhauling. I have the positions
of all of these cruiser submarines checked regularly, with the idea of anticipating a
cruise of any of these vessels to America. These vessels are frequently in wireless
communication with one another, as well as with the small submarines, and they
receive messages regularly from Nauen. Their attacks against ships furnish an ad-
ditional method of checking their positions, and I hope that we will be able to keep
an accurate chart of all the cruiser submarines, so as to be able to warn the department
considerably in advance of any probable cruise of these vessels out of European
waters. At the moment the only one that might cross the ocean is the one now coming
out of the North Sea, as the other three have been out too long to make a long cruise

6. Small submarines. — There is greater danger to be anticipated from the small
submarine — that is, submarines of a surface displacement not exceeding about 800
tons. These vessels can approach focal areas with a fair degree of immunity, and can
attack convoys or single ships under most circumstances. The number of torpedoes
carried by these vessels is small, however, not exceeding 10 or 12, and the damage
by gunfire would not be serious except to slow, poorly aimed ships.

7. There seems little likelihood, however, that small submarines will be sent to the
Atlantic seaboard. These vessels would have to steam nearly 6,000 miles additional
before arriving at their himting ground. This would mean a strain on the crew,
difficulty of supplies and fuel (although their cruising radius is sufficient), absence
from wireless information, Uability to engine breakdown, imfamiliarity with American
coast, and so forth, all for a small result on arriving on the Atlantic seaboard.

8. The small submarines at present operating around the United Kingdom can
discharge their torpedoes and start home after about 10 days' operations. In one case,
U-53, which is considered a remarkably efficient submarine, exhausted all torpedoes
after 4 days' operations in the English Channel.

9. It is certain that if the enemy traiisfers his submarine attack in anj^ strength to
America the submarine campaign will be quickly defeated. The enemy is having
difficulty in maintaining in operation under present conditions any considerable
number of small submarines. The average number around the United Kingdom at
any time does not exceed about 10. The number is not constant but seems to be
greater during periods of full moon .

10. Declared zones. — If submarines are to operate regularly on the Atlantic sea-
board, it is quite probable that the enemy wiU make a public declaration extending
the present barred zones. Public declarations were made January 31, 1917, setting
limits to the barred zone and these were extended by proclamation on November 22,
1917; January 8, 1918; January 11, 1918.

The barred zone around the Azores was declared in November, 1917, but a cruiser
submarine operated in the vicinity during June, July, and August, 1917. The barred
zone around the Cape de Verde Islands was declared January 8, 1918, but a cruiser
submarine was operating off Dakar and in the Cape de Verde Islands in October and
November, 1917.

It is e\ident that the enemy might at any time, without warning, send a submarine
to the Atlantic seaboard; but for repeated operations there he would probably declare
a barred zone. The declaring of such a zone open to ruthless warfare would weaken all
the arguments used to justify the declaring of zones in European waters. We know
that the enemy would produce arguments if the military adv9,ntage warranted, but
the advantage of operations in America should prove so small as not to justify the
embarrassment in extending the barred zone.


11. Future submarine operations. — The enemy is working on a new type of cruiser
Bubmarine with a speed of about 17 knots and the same battery as the DeutscJiland
type. It is doubtful if this type of vessel will be handy under water and it is assumed
that the bulk of her work will be done by gunfire.

Convoys escorted by cruisers would have little to fear from this type of submarine;
but slow vessels poorly armed would be at a disadvantage. There is some doubt,
however, as to whether a convoy of vessels, even without a crxiiser escort, would not
make it interesting for the submarine. Altogether the type is not greatly to be feared ;
but it is realized that this type of vessel would have considerable advantage over the
present Deutschland type of cruiser submarine.

12. Aroimd the United Kingdom the small submarine seems to be committed, for
the present, at least, to inshore operations.

In February of 1917 there were some 30 sinkings to the westward of the 10th merid-
ian, extending as far as the 16th meridian; but in February of this year there were no
sinkings west of the 8th meridian. In March, 1917, there were 40 sinkings west of
the 10th meridian, extending as far as the 18th meridian, but in March, 1918, there
were no sinkings west of the 8th meridian. In April, 1917, there were 82 sinkings
west of the 10th meridian, extending to the 19th meridian, while in April, 1918,
practically all of the sinkings have been east of the 8th meridian, there being only 4
sinkings west of this meridian, operarions not extending beyond the 12th meridian.
So far as can be ascertained the enemy are concentrating efforts on building submarines
of about 550 tons surface displacement.

13. The changes of ai'eas in which submaiines operate have undoubtedly been
brought about by the introduction of the convoy system. Submarines operating well
to the westward have small chance of finding convoys and have the disadvantage of
having to attack convoys under escort if found. By confining their operations to
areas near shore submarines enjoy the advantage of always having a considerable
quantity of shipping in sight, as well as of finding many opportunities either by day
or night to attack ships that are not under escort or in convoy. This is necessarily so,
as there is a considerable coasting trade, cross-channel trade, and numbers of ships
proceeding to assembly ports, all of which sailings are either unescorted or poorly
escorted, and the submarine finds many opportunities for attack without subjecting
himself to the danger that he would encounter in attacking escorted convoys.

14. It is hoped during summer weather to make a wider use of aircraft and small
surface craft to protect coastal waters. Whether results will be successful enough to
drive the submarine farther offshore remains to be seen. Every indication at present
seems to point to the submarines continuing their operations near the coast.

15. The convoy system has given us a double advantage:

(a) It has brought the submarine closer in shore, where more means are available
for attacking it.

(b) It has given protection and confidence to shipping at sea and made the submarine
expose himself to considerable risk of destruction in case he elects to attack a convoy.

There are many indications that the submarine does not relish the idea of attacking
convoys imless the escort is a weak one or a favorable opportunity presents itself
through straggling ships or otherwise. About 90 per cent of the attacks delivered by
submarines are delivered against ships that are not in convoy.

16. Department's policy. — I fully concur in the department's present policy, namely,
retaining on the Atlantic seaboard only the older and less effective destroyers, together
with a number of submarine chasers and the bulk of our submarines. The submarine
campaign will be defeated when we minimize the losses in European waters. If the
enemy \oluntarily assists us by transferring his operations to the Atlantic seaboard
his defeat mil come the sooner.


17. There is always the likelihood that a submarine may appear off the American
coast. In the same manner, and this Avould be fully as embarrassing, submarines may
begin operations west of the 20th meridian. The losses from all such operations must
be accepted. We are certain that they will be small, and will not, for many reasons,
be regularly carried on.

18. I see nothing in the submarine situation to-day to warrant any change in the
present policy of the department. The situation is not as serious as it was a year ago
at this time. The Allies are getting better defensive measures and are increasing
offensive measures against the submarine, many of which are meeting with success.
The help of the U. S. Navy has materially aided in defeating the submarine campaign.
Present information indicates that we are at least holding our own with the submarine,
and that submarine construction is slowing down rather than speeding up. During
the first quarter of 1918 we sank 21 enemy submarines, and the best information indi-
cates that not more than 17 new boats are commissioned. With the coming of better
weather it is hoped that the situation will further improve.

19. There seems no sound reason for assuming that the enemy will transfer oper-
ations to the Atlantic seaboard, except possibly in the case of the cruiser submarines.
These vessels have thus far done little damage to shipping, and it might prove good
strategy to send them to our coast. In any event no great danger is to be anticipated
from the present type of cruiser submarine, and adequate steps can be taken to deal
with these vessels if they arrive on the Atlantic seaboard.

20. This letter was prepared prior to the dispatch of my cable No. 7289 of May 1.


The German submarine DeutscMand, the first cargo-carrying U-
boat, left Bremen with a cargo of chemicals and dyestuffs on June 14,
1916, and shaped her course for Heligoland, where she remained for
nine days for the purpose, so her captain, Paul Koenig, stated, of
throwing the enemj^ off the scent if by any means he should have
learned what was being attempted.

The DeutscMand was manned by a crew of 8 officers and 26 men —
the captain, 3 deck officers, 4 engineer officers, 6 quartermasters, 4
electricians, 14 engineers, 1 steward and 1 cook.

Because of the danger by way of the English Channel, which was
heavily netted, Capt. "Koenig laid his course around the north of
Scotland, and it was while he was in the North Sea that most of
the submergence of the DeutscMand (about 90 miles in all) took place.
Usually the U-boat traveled on the surface, but on sighting any
suspicious ship she would immediately submerge, occasionally using
her periscopes. According to Capt. Koenig's account, she was sub-
merged to the bottom and remained for several hours.

The DeutscMand resembled the typical German U-boat, but carried
no torpedo tubes or guns. Her hull was cigar-shaped, cylindrical
structure, which extends from stem to stern. Inclosing the hull was
a lighter false hull, which was perforated to permit the entrance and
exit of water and was so shaped as to give the submarine a fairly
good ship model for diving at full speed on the surface and at a
lesser speed submerged. The dimensions and some of the character-
istics of the DeutscMand were as follows: Length, 213 feet 3 inches;


beam, inner liull, about 17 feet; beam, outer hull, 29 feet 2 inches;
depth, about 24 feet; depth to top of conning tower, about 35 feet;
draft Goaded), 16 to 17 feet; displacement, light, 1,800 tons — sub-
merged, 2,200 tons. Speed on the surface, 12 to 14 knots per hour —
submerged, 7^ knots; fuel oil capacity, 150 tons normal, and maxi-
mum 240 tons.

At 7^ knots per hour she could remain submerged for 8 hours; at
3^ knots per hour, 40 hours; at 1^ knots per hour, 96 hours. Cargo
capacity, about 750 tons. The Deutschland was equipped with two
vertical inverted, four-cycle, single-acting, nonreversible, air-starting
engines of 600 horsepower each; Deisel, Krupp type; diameter of
cylinders, about 17 inches; shaft, about 6 inches.

She had two periscopes of the housing type, one in the conning
tower and one offset, forward of the conning tower. Her electric
batteries consisted of 280 cells in two batteries of 140 cells each.
There were two motors on each shaft, each motor being 300 horse-
power. She was fully equipped with radio apparatus, installed in a
sound-proof room. The radio set was in forward trimming station.
Two hollow masts were used, height about 43 feet above the deck;
length of antenna, about 160 feet. Masts were hinged and housed
in recesses in starboard superstructure. They were raised by means
of a special motor and drum.

The interior of the cylindrical hull was divided by four transverse
bulkheads into five separate water-tight compartments. Compart-
ment No. 1 at the bow contained the anchor cables and electric
winches for handling the anchor ; also general ship stores and a certain
amount of cargo. Compartment No. 2 was given up entirely to
cargo. Compartment No. 3, which was considerably larger than any
of the others, contained the living quarters of the officers and crew.
At the after end of this compartment and communicating with it
was the conning tower. Compartment No. 4 was given up entirely
to cargo. Compartment No. 5 contained the propelling machinery,

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