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A rare glance into the heart of a WWI German U-boat!

Ian Smith


This photograph shows the U-Boat 110, a German Submarine that was sunk and risen in 1918. It shows the control room in the submarine, including the manhole to the periscope well, hand wheels for pressure gear, valve wheels for flooding and blowing and the air pressure gauges.

The UB-110 was rammed after attacking a merchant shipping convoy near Hartlepool in July 1918. She suffered from depth charges, when coming to the surface she was rammed again by British H.M.S. Garry, a torpedo boat destroyer, and eventually sunk. In September she was salvaged and placed in the admiralty dock, with an order to restore her to fighting state but this time to the British side. The Armistice, that ended the World War One, caused work on her restoration to be stopped. She was towed on another dock and was subsequently sold as scrap.


Imagine having to be in there during combat, being on a U-Boat was the most dangerous place in the war. Also not many good ways to die in a submarine. Drowning, instant decompression if you sink in deep water or if you sink in shallow waters you’d probably sit on the seabed until the oxygen is gone. During WW1 Germany had 351 operational boats, sunk in combat: 178 (50%), other losses: 39 (11%), completed after Armistice: 45, surrendered to Allies: 179, men lost in U-boats: 5,000 killed.


Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News