Kalamity class

During World War 1, Britain decided to build a new type of giant submarine. The first two flotillas of K-Boats were ready for action by the end of 1917. But when they were put to the test, these 325 foot monsters of the deep proved to be unmanoeuvrable on the surface, slow and clumsy when diving and difficult to bring up again. This was their lamentable track record:

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Fire broke out aboard the K2 on its first test dive. K3 inexplicably dived to the sea bed with the Prince of Wales aboard on its first test. In 150 feet of water she ended with up with her bow buried in the bottom and her stern above the surface, her propellers spinning uselessly in the air. It took 20 minutes for control to be regained and the ship to be bought back to the surface.

Prince of Wales found here

 K13 sank during sea trials when an intake failed to close whilst diving and her engine room flooded. She was eventually salvaged and recommissioned as K22.

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K1 collided with K4 off the Danish coast and was scuttled to avoid capture.

Two boats were lost in an incident known as the Battle of May Island on 31 January 1918. The cruiser HMS Fearless collided with the head of a line of submarines, K17, which sank in about 8 minutes, whilst other submarines behind all turned to avoid her. K4 was struck by K6 which almost cut her in half, and was then struck by K7 before she finally sank with all her crew. At the same time K22 (the recommissioned K13) and K14 collided although both survived. In just 75 minutes, two submarines had been sunk, three badly damaged and 105 crew killed. K4 ran aground on Walney Island in January 1917 and remained stranded there for some time.

Walney Island found here

K5 was lost due to unknown reasons during a mock battle in the Bay of Biscay in 1921. Nothing further was heard of her following a signal that she was diving, but wreckage was recovered later that day. It was concluded that she exceeded her safe maximum depth.

K7 once managed to fire a torpedo at an enemy U-Boat, U95, but it failed to explode and did no damage.

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K15 sank at her mooring in Portsmouth in June 1921. This was caused by hydraulic oil expanding in the hot weather and contracting overnight as the temperature dropped with the consequent loss of pressure causing diving vents to open. The boat flooded through open hatches as it submerged.

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K16, on her trials, crashed into the seabed at the same place that K13 had on hers.

The K-Boats operation was scrapped after it had claimed 250 British lives but not one German soldier was killed.

interesting story about this German sailor here

Published in: on December 20, 2011 at 7:47 am  Comments (55)  
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