Dr. Kevin Stanton
Modern European History
3 rd Period
Thesis Paragraph and Outline
March 10 th , 2018
The Use and Effect of Submarines in WWI
Early into World War I the Germans had perfected the submarine called the
Unterseeboot or U-boat. This technology was a major advantage to the Germans, who at the
time, were the only nation to have this technology. These crafts had a consequential impact
on World War I. The U-Boats had sunk a massive amount of shipping. U-123/ Blaison sunk
the Uss Gulfamerica and ten others within the same week, off the coast of Cape Canaveral.
The other nations had some major difficulty sinking the U-Boats because they spent most of
their time submerged. The British were the first to prevail around 1910 creating steel
undersea nets to guard shallow ports and docks.
German U-Boats were about three hundred feet long and could dive up to nine
hundred and twenty feet deep. Around 1890 U-boats were quiet smaller than their combat
counterparts by about fifty percent. Then in 1903 the U-2 was introduced, being twice as 1
long and having two torpedo tubes rather than just one on the classic model. The most
popular variant in WWI was the Type VII. These were about 211.6 feet long and could hold
up to fourteen torpedoes at once. There were seven different types of subs used in WWI, all 2
of them are mostly the same except the the Type VIIF which was a torpedo supply ship. The
1 "U-boat," Wikipedia, March 10, 2018, accessed March 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-boat.
2 "German U-Boat," German Type VII U-Boat - history, specification and photos, accessed March 11, 2018,
Germans soon realized that the regular Type VII’s did not have enough torpedoes for regular
combat duty. They had to return to German ports not because their fuel was depleted or low
provisions but rather that they had run out of torpedoes. The germans decided to rig some of
the fleet to be torpedo supply ships that would hold forty-one torpedoes rather than the usual
fourteen. Theses ships were largely unsuccessful because, the two ships had to be secured to
one another via rope and the task of taking fourteen torpedos out of a cargo hold and over
shifty planks between them proved to be an extremely laborious process. The two U-boats
were exposed for an extraordinary amount time and could be easily spotted by enemy
cruisers. A total of four of these ships were built and quickly converted back to their
Around 1915 most nations had enough of casualties caused by German submarines.
The British designed countermeasures for german submarines. Gunfire was only effective at a
short range and only while the U-Boat was surfaced. Initially they had put an underwater steel
net of steel to protect all of their ports. Next they developed a genius form of camouflage
nicknamed the “dazzle”. It was in intricate design of oblong shapes painted onto a ship...