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Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

SM U-1 German Type U 1 Submarine

SM U-1 German Type U 1 Submarine
SM U-1 German Type U 1 Submarine

SM U-1, the German Type U 1 submarine, was the first U-boat class of the U-boat series of submarines produced for the German Empire’s Imperial German Navy. Only one was built. The U-1 was constructed by Germaniawerft in Kiel and was commissioned in 1906. When World War I began in 1914, the U-1 was deemed obsolete and was used only for training. In 1919 it was struck by another vessel while on an exercise and was then decommissioned.

The U-1 was sold to the Deutsches Museum in Munich where it was restored and can be viewed on display. A large portion of the starboard hull has been removed to allow visitors to see the submarine’s interior. With a length of 42 m, the U1 is one of the largest exhibits of the Deutsches Museum

The SM U-1 was a redesigned Karp class submarine and the main improvements included trim tanks instead of a moveable weight, a redesigned forecastle to improve seagoing ability, a 10 cm (3.9 in) larger diameter and strengthened pressure hull which prevented oil leakage from the external tanks, a rearrangement of the internal equipment and a more massive ballast keel.

The Imperial German Navy avoided the use of gasoline due to the perceived risk of fires and explosions that had caused many accidents in early submarines, and instead of the gasoline engines, the U-1 was given much safer Körting kerosene engines. While usually kerosene engines were started using gasoline, the U-1’s engines avoided even this and instead used electrically-heated air.

The U-1 engines could not be reversed and also had to run at full speed, since their rpm could not be varied. As a consequence, the U-1 was fitted with adjustable-pitch propellers to allow her speed to be controlled.

Winston S. Churchill on U-Boats

“Enemy submarines are to be called U-Boats. The term submarine is to be reserved for Allied underwater vessels. U-Boats are those dastardly villains who sink our ships, while submarines are those gallant and noble craft which sink theirs.” –  Winston S. Churchill

SM U-1 German Type U 1 Submarine

  • Name:                    U-1
  • Builder:                  Germaniawerft, Kiel
  • Launched:              1906
  • Decommissioned:  1919
  • Length:                  42.39 m (139 ft 1 in)
  • Power:                    2 × Körting 6-cylinder two-stroke kerosene motor with a total of 400 PS (294 kW; 395 shp)
  • Propulsion:            2 shafts, 2 × 1.30 m (4 ft 3 in) propellers
  • Speed:                  8.7 knots (16.1 km/h; 10.0 mph) submerged
  • Range:                  1,500 nmi (2,800 km; 1,700 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • Museum:              Deutsches Museum, Munich

Reflections

  • Are German submarines called U-Boats because of Churchill’s directive?

Explore Germany’s Museums

Berlin Museums

Munich Museums

Hamburg Museums

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“Of all the branches of men in the forces, there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners.” 
– Winston Churchill

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Photo Credit: de:User:Schoringer [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

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