War propaganda

U5 and the Leon Gambetta

Along with airplanes and tanks, submarines were important military innovations of the Great War. Because of their novelty and the high hopes attached to them, they proved to be a popular propaganda topic.

U5 also designated a ship class, which included three ship units (U5, U6 and U12). It was a British-designed ship, copies of which were manufactured from British components at the Whitehead company’s factory in Fiume in 1909 and 1910. During the war, the Monarchy preferred to acquire other designs, which is why there were only three ships in this class.

All three submarines were successful during the war. They were stationed in Cattaro and together the three of them sunk 22391 BRT of ship space. The largest of these ships was the French armored cruiser Léon Gambetta, which was sunk by U5 on April 27, 1915. U12 severely damaged the French battleship Jean Bart with its torpedoes on December 21, 1914. Later, all three submarines sank. U 12 ran into a mine in front of Venice in August 1915. The U6 got stuck in the nets of the Otranto sea lock in May 1916. U5 ran into an own mine on a practice trip, but this vessel was later recovered and repaired.

The successes against the two French warships greatly increased the propaganda value of U-boats. The most successful U5 was depicted on most submarine insignia, as we can see on the now released insignia. This is one of the rarer versions here.

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