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Author Topic: U-Boat SM UC-5. Captured 28th April 1916  (Read 2192 times)

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U-Boat SM UC-5. Captured 28th April 1916
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 22:34:28 »
SM UC-5. German type UC1 mine-laying submarine.

Launched 13th June 1915 and commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on the 19th. Became part of Flandern U-Flotilla on the 27th July 1915. The U-Boat had a complement of one officer and 13-16 ratings. Armament consisted of one machine-gun, rifles, and twelve UC-120 sea-mines. No torpedoes.
UC-5 made a total of twenty-nine short patrols with two commanders. A total of twenty-nine ships were sunk by the U-Boats mines, including the hospital ship HMHS Anglia off Folkestone. Seven ships were damaged.

On the 27th April 1916 UC-5, under the command of Oberleutnant Ulrich Mohrbutter, was making an attempt to mine an area one nautical mile east of the Shipwash light vessel, on the approach to the RN base at Harwich. A patrol forced the U-Boat to submerge. On surfacing at 22.15hrs it ran aground on the Shipwash Shoal, the ebb tide forcing it onto the sandbank and turning it on its port side. Stuck fast, Mohrbutter ordered the U-Boats papers and charts to be destroyed and scuttling charges laid.

The U-Boats radio call to Zeebrugge had been picked up by the British and the destroyer HMS Firedrake was ordered to the scene. As the Firedrake approached at 13.00 hrs on the 28th April, the U-Boats crew could be seen on deck, hands raised. As the Firedrake came closer they jumped into the water and were picked up by Firedrakes boats. Shortly after the last man was picked up, he had stayed to set the scuttling charges, a series of explosions shook the U-Boat but did not set off the mines.
Once he was sure that it was safe to do so, Lieutenant Quentin Paterson and two other officers boarded the U-Boat. An inspection revealed that the U-Boat was holed and that two of the mines had dropped down the discharge tubes and were in a dangerous position. Paterson and two others removed the detonation tubes from ten of the mines, but were unable to do so to the two that had dropped.

The dangerous salvage work was undertaken by Commodore Sir Frederic W Young, a well respected salvage expert. twenty-seven days after its stranding the U-Boat was towed into Harwich where, in dry dock, its mines were removed. Despite the damage UC-5 was a valuable prize, the first U-Boat to be captured virtually intact. The U-Boat was carefully examined, probably at Sheerness, where a series of photos were taken. It was then patched up and put on public display, first at Temple Pier in London and then, cut into sections, at central Park in New York, after which it was then scrapped.

Link to nine photos of UC-5 mainly at Sheerness submarine uc5&sort=best#license Despite some of the captions I think all the photos, except for No. 6, were taken at Sheerness.


An epic of salvage: UC-5

The time a German submarine was plopped in the middle of Central Park

Two short clips of UC-5 in London.


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