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HMS E20 in Harbor
Name: HMS E20
Builder: Vickers, Barrow
Laid down: 25 November 1914
Commissioned: 30 August 1915
Fate: Sunk by torpedo, 6 November 1915
General characteristics
Class & type: E class submarine
Displacement: 667 long tons (678 t) surfaced
807 long tons (820 t) submerged
Length: 181 ft (55 m)
Beam: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 1,600 hp (1,193 kW) diesels
2 × 840 hp (626 kW) electric
2 screws
Speed: 15.25 knots (28.24 km/h; 17.55 mph) surfaced
10.25 knots (18.98 km/h; 11.80 mph) submerged
Range: 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
65 nmi (120 km) at 5 kn (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Complement: 30
Armament: • 5 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes (2 bow, 2 beam, 1 stern)
• 1 × 12-pounder gun

HMS E20 was a British E class submarine built by Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness. She was laid down on 25 November 1914 and was commissioned on 30 August 1915.

Service history

While the German Submarine UB-14 had been in port on 30 November, Turkish forces had captured the French submarine Turquoise before the submarine or any of the confidential papers on board could be destroyed.[1] When Turquoise was caught, her commander had not signaled her predicament to anyone, so a scheduled rendezvous with the British submarine E20—as far as anyone other than Turquoise or the Germans and Turks knew—was still on. UB-14 had been sent to keep the rendezvous,[2] reportedly going so far as to radio messages in the latest British code.[3] Upon arriving at the designated location, UB-14 surfaced and fired a torpedo at E20 from a distance of 500 metres (550 yd). Only when E20's crew saw the torpedo did they realize something was amiss, but it was too late to avoid the weapon.[4] The torpedo hit E20's conning tower and sank the submarine with the loss of 21 men.[4][5] UB-14 rescued nine men, including E20's captain who,[4] reportedly, had been brushing his teeth at the time of the attack.[6]


  1. Stern, p. 30.
  2. Stern, p. 31.
  3. Grant, p. 33.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Stern, p. 32.
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: E 20". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  6. Stern, p. 34.
  • Hutchinson, Robert (2001). Jane's Submarines: War Beneath the Waves from 1776 to the Present Say. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-710558-8. OCLC 53783010. 

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