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Ships - U-58



U-58, a German submarine, along with UC-29 and UC-30 served as an escort to SMS SeaGull on November 23, 1916.
U-58.
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-58 was built by A. G. Weser, at Bremen Germany and commissioned on August 9, 1916. She was 219 feet in length, displaced 1,104 tons with a surface speed of 15 knots and a submerged speed of 9 knots. She had two bow and two stern torpedo tubes. A 105-mm and an 88-mm naval cannon were mounted on the deck.
Kapitanleutnant Gustav Amberger commanded U-58 with a crew of 39 when she was attacked by the United States destroyers Fanning and Nicholson on November 17, 1917 at the entrance to Cork Harbor, Ireland. The German crew scuttled the submarine; two Germans died in the attack.
Crew of U-58.
Gustav Amberger is shown leading the crew of U-58 into the US Government War Prison at Fort McPherson on April 18, 1918. The picture was obtained from NARA.
The 38 surviving crewmen of U-58 were the only German submariners captured by the United States during the war. Originally they were interned at prisoner of war camps in England, Scotland and Wales. The German government complained as the Hague Convention dictating the rules of war require captured combatants be interned only by the country that captured them. They were transported to the United States on the USS Leviathan (formerely the Hamburg-American liner Vaterland) and interned at the War Prison Barracks, Fort McPherson, Georgia.
The wreck of the U-58 is frequently visited by scuba divers.

In remembrance of the two souls lost while serving aboard U-58, during World War I. Deaths were the result of the encounter with United States destroyers on November 17, 1917.
  • Petty Officer Franz Baden went down with his ship.
  • Petty Officer Franz Glinder was drowned. He was buried at sea by the crew of the Fanning with full honors.
This is a complete list of U-58 crewmembers interned at Fort McPherson.
Gustav Amberger, Lieutenant Commander Fritz Bachmann, Stoker
Eduard Birk, Petty Officer Viktor Bornheim, Petty Officer
Bernhard Brauns, Sailor Adolf Busch, Sailor
Hugo Gorgen, Stoker Ernst Grunert, Chief Petty Officer
Arthur Haupt, Petty Officer Reinhard Kading, Sailor
Kurt Kretzschmar, Sailor Ernst Krueger, Stoker
Herman Kuhlmann, Sailor Franz Litwin, Petty Officer
Frederick Mueller, Lieutenant Willie Oesschig, Petty Officer
Karl Peterson, Stoker Ernst Rauschnner, Sailor
Fritz Renz, Sailor Heinrich Repke, Warrant Officer
Herman Rippe, Petty Officer Peter Schiffers, Stoker
Kurt Schneider, Stoker Paul Schroeder, Ober Lieutenant
Willy Selberg, Stoker Fritz Shulz, Sailor
Adolph Simmons, Stoker Michael Sommueller, Petty Officer
Albert Sporhage, Stoker Joseph Steinau, Stoker
Hans Stoffels, Petty Officer Herman Thiel, Sailor
Paul Trumphold, Stoker Walter Ueckerann, Sailor
Otto Von Ritgen, Ober Lieutenant Philip Weyer, Stoker
Heinrich Wissemann, Petty Officer Berthold Wittenbacher, Stoker

RELATED TOPICS:
Caliber
Naval Ranks
Ship Tonnage
Wreck Divers

RELATED WEB SITES:

U-58 A German submarine wreck of Cork Harbor.
Fanning A more detailed article about the destroyer.
Nicholson A more detailed article about Nicholson.
NARA US National Archives Records Administration.
uboat.net A site dedicated to German U-boats.

REFERENCES:
RAIDERS OF THE DEEP, by Lowell Thomas.

Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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