SHIPS-IN-CLASS (4): U-19; U-20; U-21; U-22
OPERATORS: Imperial Germany
PROPULSION: 2 x MAN 8-cylinder diesel engines developing 1,700 horsepower with 2 x AEG Double Modyn motors developing 1,200 horsepower to 2 x shafts.
Detailing the development and operational history of the SM U-19 Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine.
Entry last updated on 12/13/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The German Navy undersea force was to play a major role in both World Wars but it was in the first grand conflict that the service made a name for itself. The U-boats were one of the most feared of the enemy forces for their stealth-like operation and surprise attacks on Allied shipping and auxiliary warships. U-19 served during World War 1 (1914-1918) and amazingly managed an ocean-going career that spanned the entire conflict. She was ordered during the lead-up to world war on November 25th, 1910 and built under the brand label of Kaiserliche Werft Danzig (Yard No. 13), her keel being laid down on October 20th, 1911. She was launched on October 10th, 1912 and formally commissioned on July 6th, 1913.
Her design was typical of attack submarines of the period with a mid-set sail, flat deck and tapered hull. Her displacement was 650 tons when surfaced and 837 tons when submerged. Dimensions included a length of 210.5 feet with a beam of 20 feet and a draught of 11.8 feet. Her machinery included 2 x MAN 8-cylinder two-stroke diesel motors developing 1,677 horsepower each for surface cruising along with 2 x AEG "double modyn" motor generators delivering 1,184 horsepower for undersea travel. As was the case with these early submarines, the vessel was required to surface to recharge its battery meaning that submersed travel was rather short, used primarily during attack phases. This also meant that the vessel was highly susceptible to attack during the surfaced period - hardly holding the speed to outrun perusing vessels or the agility to avoid incoming air attacks. Reachable speeds were nearly 15.5 knots when surfaced and up to 9.5 knots when submerged. Range was out to 11,200 miles when surfaced, 92 miles when submerged. The submarine was cleared to dive to depths of 164 feet. She carried a crew of 35 men.
Armament centered around 4 x 500mm (19.7") torpedo tubes with two fitted in the bow and two fitted in the stern. Six torpedo reloads were carried. For surface work, she was outfitted with 1 x 88mm SK L/30 deck gun (installed in 1916) and a 105mm SK L/45 deck gun (added in 1917). Additional firepower came from a sole 37mm Hotchkiss cannon.
U-19 began her wartime career on August 1st, 1914. On October 24th, she was rammed by HMS Badger which required her to be taken offline for substantial repair work. During the course of the war, U-19 took part in a total of twelve patrols and claimed forty-six total ships with her guns and torpedoes amounting to 64,816 tons (how submarine victories were weighed during the war). Her first target was the Durward of Britain on January 21sr, 1915 (1,301 tons) and ended with Hollandia I of the Netherlands (733 tons) on April 25th, 1918 (she was captured as a war prize and not sunk).
U-19 managed to survive the war which ended with the Armistice of November 1918. On that day, she was taken under the authority of the British Navy, sailed to Blyth, dismantled and ultimately scrapped between 1919 and 1920. Her deck gun was saved as a war prize and given to the town of Bangor Castle to honor local boy Commander Edward Bingham of HMS Nestor during the Battle of Jutland - the largest naval engagement of World War 1.
U-19's class numbered four and included U-boats U-20, U-21 and U-22.