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UB-2 in port at Flanders
UB-2 in port at Flanders
Career (German Empire)
Name: SM UB-2
Ordered: 15 November 1914[1]
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel[2]
Yard number: 240[1]
Laid down: 1 November 1914[1]
Launched: 13 February 1915[1]
Commissioned: 10 February 1915[1]
Struck: 19 February 1919[1]
Fate: broken up, 3 February 1920[1]
Service record
Part of:
  • Flanders Flotilla (May 1915 – March 1916)[1]
  • Baltic Flotilla (March–December 1916)
  • training Flotilla (December 1916 – November 1918)
  • Werner Fürbringer (February 1915 – March 1916)[1]
  • Karl Neumann (March–April 1916)
  • Oblt. Thomas Bieber (April–July 1916)
  • Harald von Keyserlingk (July–December 1916)
Operations: 38 war patrols
Victories: 11 ships (1,374 GRT) sunk[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: German Type UB I submarine
Displacement: 127 t (140 short tons), surfaced[2]
142 t (157 short tons), submerged
Length: 92 ft 2 in (28.09 m)[3]
Beam: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)[3]
Draft: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)[3]
Propulsion: 1 × propeller shaft
1 × Daimler 4-cylinder diesel engine, 60 bhp (45 kW)[3]
1 × Siemens-Schuckert electric motor, 120 shp (89 kW)[3]
Speed: 6.47 knots (11.98 km/h), surfaced[2]
5.51 knots (10.20 km/h), submerged
Endurance: 1,650 nautical miles @ 5 knots, surfaced (3,060 km @ 9.3 km/h)[3]
45 nautical miles @ 4 knots, submerged (83 km @ 7.4 km/h)[3]
Test depth: 50 metres (160 ft)[3]
Complement: 14[3]
Armament: 2 × 45 cm (17.7 in) bow torpedo tubes[3]
2 × torpedoes
1 × 8 mm (0.31 in) machine gun
Notes: 33-second diving time[3]

SM UB-2 was a German Type UB I submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German language: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. She sank eleven ships during her career and was broken up in Germany in 1920.

UB-2 was ordered in October 1914 and was laid down at the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel in November. UB-2 was a little more than 92 feet (28 m) in length and displaced between 127 and 142 metric tons (140 and 157 short tons), depending on whether surfaced or submerged. She carried two torpedoes for her two bow torpedo tubes and was also armed with a deck-mounted machine gun. She was launched and commissioned as SM UB-2 in February 1915.[Note 1]

When UB-2 sailed to join the Flanders Flotilla in May 1915, she became the only member of her class to not be shipped by rail to Antwerp to join the unit. While in the flotilla, UB-2 sank eleven British ships of 1,374 gross register tons (GRT) under the command of Werner Fürbringer. The U-boat was assigned to the Baltic Flotilla in March 1916 relegated to a training role from December that same year. At the end of the war, UB-2 was deemed unseaworthy and unable to surrender at Harwich with the rest of Germany's U-boat fleet. She remained in Germany where she was broken up by Stinnes in February 1920.

Design and construction

After the German Army's rapid advance along the North Sea coast in the earliest stages of World War I, the German Imperial Navy found itself without suitable submarines that could be operated in the narrow and shallow environment off Flanders.[4][5] Project 34, a design effort begun in mid-August 1914,[5] produced the Type UB I design: a small submarine that could be shipped by rail to a port of operations and quickly assembled. Constrained by railroad size limitations, the UB I design called for a boat about 92 feet (28 m) long and displacing about 125 metric tons (138 short tons) with two torpedo tubes.[4][Note 2] UB-2 was part of the initial allotment of eight submarines—numbered UB-1 to UB-8—ordered on 15 October from Germaniawerft of Kiel, just shy of two months after planning for the class began.[4][6]

UB-2 was laid down by Germaniawerft on 1 November, one the first two boats of the class started. She was launched at Kiel on 13 February 1915.[1] As built, UB-2 was 92 feet 2 inches (28.09 m) long, 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m) abeam, and had a draft of 9 feet 10 inches (3.00 m).[3] She had a single 60-brake-horsepower (45 kW) Daimler 4-cylinder diesel engine for surface travel, and a single 120-shaft-horsepower (89 kW) Siemens-Schuckert electric motor for underwater travel, both attached to a single propeller shaft.[3] Her top speeds were 6.47 knots (11.98 km/h), surfaced, and 5.51 knots (10.20 km/h), submerged.[2] At more moderate speeds, she could sail up to 1,650 nautical miles (3,060 km) on the surface before refueling, and up to 45 nautical miles (83 km) submerged before recharging her batteries.[3] Like all boats of the class, UB-2 was rated to a diving depth of 50 metres (160 ft), and could completely submerge in 33 seconds.[3]

UB-2 was armed with two 45-centimeter (17.7 in) torpedoes in two bow torpedo tubes. She was also outfitted for a single 8-millimeter (0.31 in) machine gun on deck.[3] UB-2's standard complement consisted of one officer and thirteen enlisted men.[7]

Service career

The submarine was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy as SM UB-2 on 20 February under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Fürbringer,[1] a 26-year-old native of Braunschweig,[8][Note 3] and underwent trials in German home waters.[7]

UB-2 sailed from Germany to Flanders to join the Flanders Flotilla (German language: U-boote des Marinekorps U-Flotille Flandern) on 10 May 1915, and was the only UB I or UC I boat in the flotilla to not be shipped to Antwerp by rail.[1][7] When UB-2 joined the flotilla, Germany was in the midst of its first submarine offensive, begun in February. During this campaign, enemy vessels in the German-defined war zone (German language: Kriegsgebiet), which encompassed all waters around the United Kingdom (including the English Channel), were to be sunk. Vessels of neutral countries were not to be attacked unless they definitively could be identified as enemy vessels operating under a false flag.[9]

The UB I boats of the Flanders Flotilla were initially limited to patrols in the Hoofden, the southern portion of the North Sea between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.[10] On 9 and 10 June, while patrolling in this area 50 to 60 nautical miles (93 to 111 km) southeast of Lowestoft, UB-2 sank six British fishing smacks with a combined tonnage of just under 300 GRT, the largest being Intrepid of 59 tons.[11][12] All six of the smacks—sailing vessels traditionally rigged with red ochre sails[13]—were stopped, boarded by crewmen from UB-2, and sunk with explosives.[14]

The majority of UB-2's victims were fishing smacks, traditionally outfitted with red ochre sails.[13]

After UB-2's sister boat UB-6 pioneered a route around past British anti-submarine nets and mines in the Straits of Dover in late June, boats of the flotilla began to patrol the western English Channel.[15] UB-2, UB-5, and UB-10 soon followed with patrols in the Channel. Even though none of the boats sank any ships, by successfully completing their voyages they helped further prove the feasibility of defeating the British countermeasures in the Straits of Dover.[15]

On 28 August, UB-2 was patrolling in the Corton–Yarmouth area when she sank the British trawler Miura.[16] At 297 tons, Miura bested Intrepid as the largest vessel sunk by UB-2 to-date.[11][17] Early the following month, UB-2 sank another two fishing smacks 44 nautical miles (81 km) east-southeast of Lowestoft: the 57-ton Constance,[18] and the 44-ton Emanuel.[19] Three days later, UB-2 sank 47-ton smack Boy Ernie about 58 nautical miles (107 km) east of Cromer.[20] As with the six vessels sunk in June, all three were stopped by UB-2 and sunk with explosives.[14]

Germany's submarine offensive was suspended on 18 September by the chief of the Admiralstab, Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff, In response to American demands after German submarines had sunk the Cunard Line steamer Lusitania in May 1915 and other high profile sinkings in August and September. Holtzendorff's directive from ordered all U-boats out of the English Channel and the South-Western Approaches and required that all submarine activity in the North Sea be conducted strictly along prize regulations.[21] UB-2 did not sink any vessels over the next four months.[11]

The German Imperial Navy began its second submarine offensive in February 1916, declaring, among other provisions, that all enemy vessels in the war zone were to be destroyed without warning.[22] On 26 February 1916, UB-2 torpedoed and sank the cargo ship Arbonne,[23][24] in what was ultimately her last wartime success.[11] The British steamer—at 672 GRT, the largest ship sunk by UB-2[11]—went down with a loss of all fourteen of her crew.[23]

In early March, Kapitänleutnant Fürbringer was succeeded by the former commander of UB-13, Kapitänleutnant Karl Neumann, who had been in the same cadet class as Fürbringer.[25] Fürbringer went on to command six other U-boats, and was responsible for sinking nearly 100,000 tons of shipping.[8] In 1933 he published a memoir of his World War I U-boat service, Alarm! Tauchen!!: U-boot in kampf und sturm, which included an overview of his career, including his time on UB-2.[26]

By early February, the Flanders Flotilla was beginning to receive the newer, larger Type UB II boats.[27] UB-2 was transferred into the Baltic Flotilla (German language: U-boote der Ostseetreitträfte V. U-Halbflotille) about a week after Neumann took command.[1][22] Boats of the Baltic flotilla were based at either Kiel, Danzig, or Libau,[27] but where UB-2 was stationed during this time is not reported in sources. While UB-2 was in the Baltic Flotilla, Neumann was succeeded by Oberleutnant zur See Thomas Bieber in April, who was in turn succeeded by Oberleutnant zur See Harald von Keyserlingk in July. In early December, Keyserlingk was reassigned from UB-2 to UB-36,[28] and UB-2 was transferred to training duties.[1] According to authors R.H. Gibson and Maurice Prendergast, submarines assigned to training duties were "war-worn craft" unfit for service.[29]

At the end of the war, the Allies required all German U-boats to be sailed to Harwich for surrender. UB-2 was one of eight U-boats deemed unseaworthy and allowed to remain in Germany.[30][Note 4] UB-2 was broken up by Stinnes on 3 February 1920.[1]

Ships sunk or damaged

Ships sunk or damaged by SM UB-2[11]
Date Name [Note 5] Tonnage Nationality
9 June 1915 Britannia 43 British
9 June 1915 Edward 52 British
9 June 1915 Laurestina 48 British
9 June 1915 Quivive or Qui Vive 50 British
9 June 1915 Welfare 45 British
10 June 1915 Intrepid 59 British
23 August 1915 Miura 257 British
7 September 1915 Constance 57 British
7 September 1915 Emanuel 44 British
10 September 1915 Boy Ernie 47 British
26 February 1916 Arbonne 672 British


  1. "SM" stands for "Seiner Majestät" (English: His Majesty's) and combined with the U for Unterseeboot would be translated as His Majesty's Submarine.
  2. A further refinement of the design—replacing the torpedo tubes with mine chutes but changing little else—evolved into the Type UC I coastal minelaying submarine. See: Miller, p. 458.
  3. Fürbringer was in the Navy's April 1907 cadet class with 34 other future U-boat captains, including Heino von Heimburg, Hans Howaldt, Otto Steinbrinck, and Ralph Wenninger. See: Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI Officer Crews: Crew 4/07". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  4. The other seven boats were U-1, U-2, U-4, U-17, and three fellow Type UB I boats, UB-5, UB-9, and UB-11.
  5. Tonnages are in gross register tons


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: UB-2". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Tarrant, p. 172.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 Gardiner, p. 180.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Miller, pp. 46–47.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Karau, p. 48.
  6. Williamson, p. 12.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Karau, p. 49.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Werner Fürbringer". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  9. Tarrant, p. 14.
  10. Karau, p. 50.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Ships hit by UB 2". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  12. Helgason, Guðmundur. Ships hit during WWI: Britannia, Edward, Laurestina, Quivive, Welfare, Intrepid. U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved on 3 March 2009.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Penwith District Council (2009). "Boat Types". Penzance: Penwith District Council. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "British fishing vessels lost at sea due to enemy action: 1914, 1915, 1916 in date order". World War 1 at Sea. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.  The information on the website is extracted from British Vessels Lost at Sea: 1914–1918. His Majesty's Stationary Office. 1919. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Karau, p. 51.
  16. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Miura". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  17. "Miura (1132855)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 4 March 2009.  (subscription required)
  18. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Constance". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  19. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Emanuel". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  20. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Boy Ernie". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  21. Tarrant, pp. 21–22.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Tarrant, p. 26.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Arbonne". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  24. "Arbonne (1127912)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 4 March 2009.  (subscription required)
  25. Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Karl Neumann". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  26. Helgason, Guðmundur. "The WWI books". Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 Tarrant, p. 34.
  28. Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Harald von Keyserlingk". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  29. Gibson and Prendergast, p. 57.
  30. Gibson and Prendergast, pp. 331–32.


  • Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-907-8. OCLC 12119866. 
  • Gibson, R. H.; Maurice Prendergast (2003) [1931]. The German Submarine War, 1914–1918. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 9781591143147. OCLC 52924732. 
  • Karau, Mark D. (2003). Wielding the Dagger: the MarineKorps Flandern and the German War Effort, 1914–1918. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-32475-8. OCLC 51204317. 
  • Miller, David (2002). The Illustrated Directory of Submarines of the World. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0-7603-1345-9. OCLC 50208951. 
  • Tarrant, V. E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive: 1914–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-764-7. OCLC 20338385. 
  • Williamson, Gordon (2002). U-boats of the Kaiser's Navy. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84176-362-0. OCLC 48627495. 

Further reading

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