Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - U-68
U-68, a German submarine, served as an escort to SMS SeaGull on December 30, 1915.
Escort service provided SeaGull with a way to observe and avoid ships of the British blockade. Sailing many miles ahead of the escorted ship, the submarine sailed with its deck awash, which made the boat practically invisible to other ships. Crewmen on the submarine were able to observe blockade ships in safety. Preset radio codes were used to pass information of the presence and location of these ships. Escorted vessels could then alter course to avoid the blockade ships.
Submarines doing escort work were not to engage the enemy. Their sole purposes were to observe and communicate any sightings. If significant enemy ships were encountered they were to radio the situation, submerge and return to Germany.
On escort duty the crew of the submarine would not likely see the escorted vessel during the voyage.
U-68 was built by Germaniawerft, at Kiel Germany and commissioned on August 17, 1915. She was 228 feet in length, displaced 1,150 tons with a surface speed of 17 knots and a submerged speed of 10 knots. She had 4 bow and 1 stern torpedo tube. A 105-mm naval cannon was mounted on the deck.
U-68 sailed under the command of Kapitanleutnant Ludwig Guentzel with a crew of 37.
U-68 was sunk by gunfire and depth charges from the British ship HMS Farnborough on March 22, 1916, off Dunmore Head, Ireland with the loss of 38 lives. This was the first submarine to be sunk with the use of depth charges.
Gordon Campbell was in command of Farnborough on March 22, and received promotion to Commander for his actions. Campbell was Commander of HMS Pargust on June 7, 1917 when she encountered and sank UC-29, the last of three German submarines he accounted for during the war.
RELATED WEB SITES:
uboat.net A site dedicated to German U-boats.
Das Bundesarchiv Official German war records archive site.
MY MYSTERY SHIPS, by Gordon Campbell.
Q-SHIPS AND THEIR STORY, by Edward Keble Chatterton.
KRIEGSTAGEBUCHE: U-68, Das Bundesarchiv, Freiburg, Germany.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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