German Type I submarine
The Type I U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...
was the first post-World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
attempt by the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...
to produce an ocean going submarine. Only two Type IAs were built, but the decision to halt production on further boats is believed to be because of political decisions and not because of major faults in the Type I design. Although the boats did not have any major design faults, they were known to be difficult to handle due to their poor stability and slow dive rate. The type was based on the design of the Finnish Vetehinen class and the Spanish Type E-1, designed by Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw (the company also designed the Soviet S class submarine
Soviet S class submarine
The S-class or Srednyaya submarines were part of the Soviet Navy's underwater fleet during World War II. Unofficially nicknamed Stalinets , boats of this class were the most successful and achieved the most significant victories among all Soviet submarines...
). The design later served as a basis for the development of other types of boats, primarily the VII
German Type VII submarine
Type VII U-boats were the most common type of German World War II U-boat. The Type VII was based on earlier German submarine designs going back to the World War I Type UB III, designed through the Dutch dummy company Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag which was set up by Germany after...
German Type IX submarine
The Type IX U-boat was designed by Germany in 1935 and 1936 as a large ocean-going submarine for sustained operations far from the home support facilities. Type IX boats were briefly used for patrols off the eastern United States in an attempt to disrupt the stream of troops and supplies bound for...
Constructed by AG Weser
Aktien-Gesellschaft Weser was one of the great German shipbuilding companies, located at the Weser River in Bremen. Founded in 1873 it was finally closed in 1983. Altogether, AG Weser built about 1400 ships of different types, including many war ships...
in Bremen, the Type IA was launched on February 14, 1936. The two boats produced, U-25 and U-26, were primarily used as training vessels and for propaganda purposes to fly the Nazi
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...
flag. In 1940, the boats were called into combat duty due to the shortage of available submarines. Both boats experienced short, but successful combat careers. U-25 participated in five war cruises, sinking eight enemy ships. On August 3, 1940, while on a mine laying mission near Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...
, U-25 struck a mine and sank with all hands on board.
U-26 carried out eight war cruises, sinking three merchant ships and damaging one British
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
warship on its first mission laying mines. On its second war cruise it became the first U-boat during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
to enter the Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...
. U-26 participated in three other successful war patrols, sinking four additional merchant ships. On its eighth war cruise the boat sunk three merchant ships and damaged another ship the next day. The attack on this ship led to severe depth-charging by two British warships. Unable to dive, U-26 was forced to surface where she was bombed by a Sunderland flying boat
The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers. It took its service name from the town and port of Sunderland in northeast England....
. The crew scuttled the submarine and were rescued by Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...
List of Type I submarines