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SUBMARINE U9, Issue 15667, 4 December 1914
COMMAND I-R TKLLS HIS STORY.
HOW THREE r/KUbSERSWERK SUNK. Through tlie Gorman .Admiralty the following story of Captain-lieutenant Otto Wcddigcn, commander of the submarine U9, whoso teat in destroying three British cruisers has "neon one of the startling events of the war, is made public. BERLIN, October 6. Delayed by Censor.) . I set out from a North Sea port on one of the arms of the Kiel Canal, and set my course in a south-westerly direction. ' The namo of the port 1 cannot ttato officially, but it ha.s been guessed at ; nor am I permitted lo say definitely just when we started, but it was not many days Iwfore the morning of SeptemW "22 when I fell iu with my quarry. British torp:do boats came within my reach, but I felt there was bigger game further on, so on I went. It was 10 minutes after six on the morning of lastTuesday when 1 caught, sight of one of the big' cruisei's of the enemy. I was then 18 sea miles north-westerly of the Hook of Holland. I had travelled considerably more than 200 miles from my base. I had been going ahead partially -submerged, with about sft of my periscope showing. —Oefs Sight of His Quarry.— Almost immediately 1 caught sight of the first cruiser and two others. I submerged completely, and laid my course in order to bring up"in the centre of the trio, which held a eort of triangular formation. I could see their grey-black sides riding high over the water. When I first sighted them they we.e near enough for torpedo work, but I wanted to make my aim sure, so I went down and in on thorn. I had taken the position of the three ships before submerging, and I succeeded in gett:ng another flash through my periscope before I began action. I soon reached what I regarded as a good shooting point. —Torpedo Hits BuiFs-eye.—
Then I loosed one of my torpedoes at tho middle ship. I was then about 12ft under water, and got the shot off in good sbap?, my men handling the boat as if it had' been a skiff. 1 climbed to the surface to get a- sight through my tube of the effect, and discovered that the shot had gone straight and true, striking the ship (which I later learned was the Aboukir) under one of its magazines, which in exploding helped the torpedo's work of destruction. There wus a fountain of water, a burst of smoke, a flash of fire, and part of the cruiser rose in the air. —Seeks Out Other Cruisers.—
Its crew were brave, and even with death staring them in the face kept to their posts. I submerged at once. But I had stayed on top long enough to see the
■ 111 olher cruiseni, which I learned wore tli ■ j J Crcssy and the Hcgue. turn and .nenm full • j spefcd to their dyiu,' Bister. As 1 reach. 1 '! \ I my torpedo depth 1 sent a second I'lian!'-' ; at tlie nearest of tho oncoming vc.-i-c!-. which was the Hogue. Tho English w. ". . playing my g.irr.o, for 1 had s, arcrly to move out of my position, which w:v, a great aid, since it helped to keep me from detection. The attack on the Ho:j,iu , went true. But this time I did noi have i the advantageous aid of having tho torpedo detonate under the magazine, so for 20 minutes.the Rogue lay wounded and helpless on the surface before it heaved, half turned over, and sank. —Third Cruiser Hunted Down.— By this time, the third cruiser knew, of course, that the enemy was upon it. and it - sought as best it could to defend itself. It loosed its torpedo defence batteries on bows, starboard, and port, and stood it? ground, as if more anxious to help the many sailors in the water than to sav;> itself. In common with the method of defending itself against a submarine attack, it steamed ;i zigzag course, and this made it necessary for me to hold my torpedoes until I cculd lay a true course for . them, which also made it necessary for me to get nearer to the Creepy. I had to ; come to the surface for a view, and _sawhow wildly the fire was b?ing sent from the ship. " Small wonder that was wh"r. they did not known where to shoot, although one shot went unpleasantly near us. j —Two Torpedoes Do Work.— j When I got witliiu suitable range I sent away my third attack. This time I sent a second torpedo after the first to make the 6trike doubly certain. -My crewwere aiming like sharpshooters, and both torpedoes went to their bull's-eye. My luck wa6 with me again, for the, enemy was made useless, and at once began sinking by the head. Then it careened far over, "but all the while its men stayed at the guns looking for their invisible foe. They wore brave and true to their country's sea traditions. Then it eventually suffered a boiler explosion and complete-!;, turned turtle. With its keel uppermost it floated until the air got out from under it, and then it sank with a loud sound, as if from a creature in pain. 'Hie whole affair had taken less than ons hour from the time of shooting off the torpedo until the Creasy went to the bottom. j —Sets Course for Heme.— j 1 set my course for home. Befor? T got far some British cruisers and dastroy*re were on the spot, and the destroyers tcok up tho chase. I kept under water most o: the way, but managed to get eff a wirelcsr to the German fleet 'that I wa.s headir. homeward and being pursued, but althougtheir destroyers saw mo plainly at dus on tho 22nd, and made a final effort tstop me, they abandoned the attempt, n. r it was taking them too far from safety and needlessly exposing them to attack from our fleet and submarines.—American exchange, j
SUBMARINE U9, Issue 15667, 4 December 1914
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