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SM U-33 (Germany)
Career (German Empire)
Name: U-33
Ordered: 29 March 1912
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Laid down: 7 November 1912
Launched: 19 May 1914
Commissioned: 27 September 1914
Fate: Surrendered at the end of the war broken up at Blyth in 1919-20
General characteristics
Class & type: German Type U 31 submarine
Displacement: 685 tons (surfaced)
878 tons (submerged)
971 tons (total)
Length: 64.70 m (overall)
52.36 m (pressure hull)
Beam: 6.32 m (overall)
4.05 m (pressure hull)
Height: 7.68 m
Draught: 3.56 m
Propulsion: Diesel (2 x 950 PS)
Electric (2 x 600 PS)
1850 hp (surfaced)
1200 hp (submerged)
Speed: 16.4 knots (surfaced)
9.7 knots (submerged)
Range: 8790 miles @ 8 kn (surfaced) 80 miles @ 5 kn(submerged)[1]
Test depth: 50 m
Complement: 4 officers
31 crewmen
Armament:
Service record
Part of: Imperial German Navy
Commanders:

27 Sep 1914 - 23 Sep 1916 - Konrad Gansser[4]
24 Sep 1916 - 1 Apr 1917 - Gustav Sieß[4]

2 Apr 1917 - 30 Nov 1918 - Hellmuth von Doemming[4]
Victories:

82 ships sunk for a total of 193.529 tons.
8 ships damaged for a total of 36.452 tons.

1 ship taken as prize for a total of 453 tons.

SM U-33 was a German Type U 31 U-boat of the Imperial German Navy.

SS Brussels[edit | edit source]

On 28 March 1915, U-33 ordered the Great Eastern Railway's SS Brussels to stop.[5] Instead of stopping, her captain, Charles Fryatt ordered full steam ahead and attempted to ram U-33, which only just managed to dive in time.[6]

Sinking of hospital ship[edit | edit source]

On March 30,[7] 1916 the Russian hospital ship Portugal was towing a string of small flat-bottomed boats to ferry wounded from the shore to the ship. Off Rizeh, on the Turkish coast of the Black Sea she had stopped as one of the small boats was sinking and repairs were being made. The ship was not carrying wounded at the time, but had a staff of Red Cross workers on board, as well as her usual crew.[8] | The ship's crew saw a periscope approaching the vessel but as the ship was a hospital ship and protected by the Hague conventions no evasive actions were taken. Without warning SM U-33 fired a torpedo which missed. The submarine came around again fired a torpedo from a depth of 30 feet, which hit near the engine room, breaking the ship into two pieces.[8] Of 273 persons on board, 158 were rescued.[9]

Operations[edit | edit source]

SM U-33 Kaptlt. Gausser till autumn 1917, then to U-156; next C.O. probably Kaptlt. Siess. Came off the stocks at Kiel about the end of November 1914, and joined the Kiel School for trials, proceeding to Emden on 12 January 1915. She was attached to the 4th Half Flotilla.[10]

24–25 January 1915. On Bight patrol to an area where enemy battle cruisers were reported.[10]

30 January 1915 ? Special anti-submarine patrol. Returned owing to engine trouble.[10]

? 18–20 February 1915. Bight patrol.[10]

21 February - ? 22 February 1915. Bight patrol.[10]

27 February - 10 April 1915. Through Channel to Atlantic. 2 S.S., 2 sailing vessels sunk.[10]

29–30 May 1915. North Sea returned owing to defective W/T.[10]

4–24 June 1915. Northabout to west coast of Scotland. Sank 2 S.S., 1 prize.[10]

14–17 August 1915. Bight Anti-air raid patrol.[10]

28 August - 15 September 1915. To Mediterranean northabout. Sank 5 S.S. Arrived Cattaro about 15 September and joined the Constantinople Half Flot.[10]

28 September - 9 October 1915. Cruise in eastern Mediterranean. Sank 10 S.S.[10]

16 November - 6 December 1915. Cruise in central Mediterranean. Sank 13 S.S. On 5 December was in action with drifter HOLLIBANK in the Straits of Otranto. Took prisoner Capt. Wilson, King’s messenger.[10]

April 1916 - November 1916. U-33 was operating chiefly in the eastern Black Sea and was based on Constantinople or Varna. By April 1917 she was back in the Adriatic.[10]

12 January - 10 February 1918. Left Cattaro and operated in eastern Mediterranean. Sank 2. S.S., 2 sailing vessels, and damaged but did not sink 2 S.S.[10]

1–17 May 1918. Left Cattaro for the east, and on 7 May was in area off Port Said. Sank 1 S.S., 1 sailing vessel, and attacked 2 ships and a convoy unsuccessfully. On May 8 was in action, and on 15 May broke off undertaking owing to defects.[10]

2 September to about 26 September. Left Cattaro for the east. Sank 1 S.S., 12 sailing vessels.[10]

On 19 October 1918. U-33 left Cattaro for Kiel. The only incident of the voyage was that she was attacked by a trawler on 1 November in about 36°35'E. She steered northabout and by the Sound, at some time with UB-51 and UB-105.[10]

Surrendered at Harwich January 16, 1919.[10]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. type U31
  2. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "U-Boats (1905-18)", in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare, "(Phoebus Publishing, 1978), Volume 23, p.2534.
  3. Fitzsimons, p.2575; he mistakenly identifies it as 86mm p.2534.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "WWI U-boats - U 33". uboat.net. 2009. http://www.uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=33. Retrieved August 29, 2009. 
  5. "Charles Fryatt". Southern Life. http://www.southernlife.org.uk/fryatt.htm. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  6. The Great Eastern Railway Magazine, September 1916, p218-26
  7. Times article 5 days after the event, retrieved Dec 31,2009
  8. 8.0 8.1 The War on hospital ships, from the narratives of eye-witnesses (1917) (1917 ed.). London : T. Fisher Unwin. p. 1. http://www.archive.org/details/waronhospitalshi00lond.  - Call number: SRLF_UCLA:LAGE-3563453
  9. #2
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 10.17 National Archives, Kew: HW 7/3, Room 40, History of German Naval Warfare 1914-1918 (Published below - Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918)

References[edit | edit source]

  • Spindler, Arno (1932,1933,1934,1941/1964,1966). Der Handelskrieg mit U-Booten. 5 Vols. Berlin: Mittler & Sohn. Vols. 4+5, dealing with 1917+18, are very hard to find: Guildhall Library, London, has them all, also Vol. 1-3 in an English translation: The submarine war against commerce. 
  • Beesly, Patrick (1982). Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914-1918. London: H Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-10864-2. 
  • Halpern, Paul G. (1933). A Naval History of World War I. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85728-498-0. 
  • Roessler, Eberhard (1997). Die Unterseeboote der Kaiserlichen Marine. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-5963-7. 
  • Schroeder, Joachim (2002). Die U-Boote des Kaisers. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-6235-4. 
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2008). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. Vol I., The Fleet in Action. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-76-3. 
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2009). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. Vol II., The Fleet in Being. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-77-0. 

External links[edit | edit source]


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