Military Wiki
SM U-30 (Germany)
Career (German Empire)
Name: U-30
Ordered: 19 February 1912
Builder: Kaiserliche Werft Danzig
Launched: 15 November 1913
Commissioned: 26 August 1914
Fate: Surrendered 22 November 1918. Broken up at Blyth in 1919-20.
General characteristics
Class & type: German Type U 27 submarine
Displacement: 685 tons surfaced
878 tons submerged[1]
Length: 64.7 m (212.3 ft)[2]
Beam: 6.32 m (20.7 ft)[2]
Draught: 3.48 m (11.4 ft)[2]
Speed: 16.4 knots (30.4 km/h) (surfaced)
9.8 knots (18.1 km/h) (submerged)
Range: 9,770 nautical miles (18,090 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h) (surfaced)
85 nautical miles (157 km) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h) (submerged)
Test depth: 50 m (164.0 ft)
  • 4 x 50 cm (19.7 in) torpedo tubes
  • 1 x 88 mm (3.46 in) deck gun
Service record
Part of: Kaiserliche Marine
Commanders: Erich von Rosenberg-Grusczyski 25 Sep 1914 - 22 Jun 1915
Franz Grünert 1 May 1916 - 20 Nov 1917
Operations: 6 patrols

27 ships sunk for a total of 48,060 tons.

1 ship damaged for a total of 5,189 tons.[3]

SM U-30 was one of 329 submarines serving in the Imperial German Navy in World War I. She engaged in commerce warfare as part of the First Battle of the Atlantic. U-30 is significant for the torpedoing of the American tanker Gulflight on 1 May 1915 twenty miles west of Scilly.[4]

Torpedoing of the Gulflight

The particular mission when the Gulflight was attacked commenced 24 April 1915. On 28 April U-30 intercepted the 1950 ton collier Mobile which she sank by gunfire after allowing the crew to escape. On 29 April she similarly sank the 3200 ton Cherbourg. 30 April she ordered the steamer Fulgent to halt, but when the ship failed to do so fired a shot into the ship's bridge, which killed the captain and quartermaster. The ship stopped and the rest of the crew were allowed to escape before the ship was sunk by explosive charges placed inside. That afternoon, the 3100 ton Svorno was stopped and sunk. On 1 May the grain carrier Edale and French ship Europe were sunk. A Dutch ship was stopped and as a neutral permitted to continue at a point some 45 miles north west of the Scilly Isles but the submarine was spotted at this point by a steam drifter, Clara Alice which reported her position to a naval patrol.[5]

The patrol ships Iago and Filey started to hunt for the submarine, but succeeded only in intercepting the Gulflight, which they took under escort. The escort proved something of a disadvantage to the gulflight because she was obliged to slow down for the patrol and then under international law, as a ship escorted by armed vessels became a legitimate target for attack. U30 spotted the convoy and fired one torpedo at Gulflight, before noticing that she was flying an American flag. The submarine then broke off the attack in accordance with her instructions not to attack neutral vessels.

The Gulflight survived the attack, although two members of the crew drowned while evacuating the ship and the master Captain Gunter died later that night from a heart attack. The ship was towed to Crow Bay and later repaired. News of the event would be overshadowed a few days later by the sinking of the RMS Lusitania but the incident together with the attack on Lusitania and another ship the Cushing formed the basis of a formal complaint from the US government to Germany. Although the United States remained officially neutral in the ongoing hostilities, it reached agreement with the German government that further attacks by submarine would be strictly in accord with "cruiser Rules" as defined by international law.


  1. U 27 type
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2
  3. U-30
  5. Simpson, Colin (1972). Lusitania. Book club associates. 

Coordinates: 53°33′07″N 6°40′06″E / 53.55194°N 6.66833°E / 53.55194; 6.66833

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).