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UB-115

Sinking=

a)Prelude=On July 26th 1918 Maurer of UB-77 reached Germany; his log revealed that he had exchanged recognition signals with UB-110 in the war channel at 1005 on July 19th. Three days later Dodderstein of UC-70 gave more details at Bruges. He had met Fürbringer on the 18th and had learned that UB-110 was to return to port within two or three days. Information of the loss of a U-boat came from a neutral ship captain.He added detail to the sinking of UB-110 by a convoy escort off the East Coast on July 19th. The UB-110 was submerged and making an approach to the convey when her periscope was sighted, only 50 yards away, by a motor launch. Sevaral ships immediately dropped depth charges. The U-boats forward diving rudders jammed in the up position; her port motor short-circuited; and fuel tank was dam aged. When she came to the surface, exuding oil, the destroyer GARRY rammed her twice and hit her with several bursts of gunfire. With the upper works torn open, the U-boat rolled over and sank. Thirteen survivors, including Fürbinger, were picked up. On August 2nd the Red Cross reported that Fürringer, his watch officer, and part of his crew were prisoners. Divers were soon sent down to the new U B-110 to recover documents, among them the log book of the submarine.She had left Zeebrugge at 2250 on July 4th for the East coast, the log gave her noon position for each day until July 15th. On October 4th the wreck was finally raised from the bottom and towed to Newcastle. On October 7th photographs taken in the dry dock showed how extensively she had been damaged.Some consequences of the sinking of the UB-110 of the Yorkshire coast were described by Hector Bywater in a newspaper article:- A chart recovered from the wreck led to the destruction of five other submarines within two or three months’ time. Later in a book he wrote on Naval Intelligence he states:- UB-110 was investigated by divers fairly soon after July 19th, and that her mines were laid over a period of several days, and it was eight days after the last laying that the U-boat was sunk.A  chart recoved contained routes favoured by Fürbringer and other commanders. An interesting feature was a description noted on the chart of  ‘safe resting places on the bed of the sea’. If this statement is correct it may be significant that UC-70, UB-103 and UB-115 were found when they were lying on t he bottom. It may be significant that a good deal of mine-laying was undertaken early in August. On the 8th August mines were laid off Zeebrugge and a new minefield was begun off the Yorkshire coast. So it may well be the case that some some information concerning the Zeebrugge approaches and the U-boat operations off the East coast was acquired. UB-57 and UB-109 were sunk while passing through minefields along routes which their commanders regarded as safe.


b)Doomed=The UB-115 left Zeebrugge on 18th September 1918 for a patrol along the north east coast of England. On 29th September she was submerged 4½ miles off Newbiggin-by -the-Sea when at 1.29 p.m. the crew of the British airship R29 sighted an oil slick on the surface. The R29 was escorting a Scandinavian convoy at the time.The airship then dropped a 230-pound bomb to indicate the location. The British destroyer OUSE arrived on the scene but could not find the oil until the R29 dropped another bomb and a calcium flare. This time the OUSE, now joined by the STAR, found the spot and the two destroyers proceeded to drop seven depth charges at 50, 100 and 200 feet; three trawler joined the hunt and dropped ten more charges. Oil and air began to come up in considerable quantities, though the air bubbles were quite small. Evidently the U-boats hull was still fairly tight. At 2 p.m. she started her motors but soon stopped them again after the trawlers, listening with hydrophones, dropped twelve more charges. An hour later she tried again; two more depth charges brought up oil. At this point she was unable to reach the surface, for between 4 p.m. and 6.25 p.m. she ran her motors constantly in spite of the depth charges occasionally dropped. Oil came up all night, and two days later sweepers located an obstruction from which oil was still rising. Nothing more was heard from the UB-115 and the entire crew were presumed to have perished along with their vessel. It is worth noting that UB-115 was the last U-boat to leave Zeebrugge to attack shipping.


 
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