Skip to main content
Related Content

German U-Boat Engagements:  England and Wales

From July to November 1917, USS Parker (Destroyer #48) was attached to the base at Plymouth, England, and operated with U.S. Navy submarine chasers.  Parker made contact with the enemy on several occasions.   She was credited with probably seriously damaging an enemy submarine on August 3, 1917.  

SS J. L. Luckenbach was shelled for three hours by German U-Boat, U-62, southwest of England on October 16, 1917.  USS Nicholson (Destroyer #52) rescued the merchant vessel while also driving off the submarine, which was disguised as a sailing vessel.   

The following month, USS Fanning (Destroyer #37) and USS Nicholson (Destroyer #52) sank German U-Boat, U-58, off Milford Haven, Wales on November 17.   U-58 was the first U-Boat sunk by the U.S. Navy.   The enemy crew surrendered.   

German submarine U-53 torpodoed and sank USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer #61) off England, with the loss of 64 lives on December 6, 1917.   There were 38 survivors, with two men captured by the submarine.   Hans Rose, U-53's commanding officer, in a rare gesture of war, reported the remaining men's drift location to the American base in Queenstown, Ireland.  Throughout the night, HMS Cameilia and British liner SS Catalina conducted rescue operatios.  By 08:30 a.m., HMS Insolent picked up the lack survivors.   

The next contact did not happen until September 26, 1918 when USCG cutter Tampa was steaming through the Bristol Channel when she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-91.  All those on board, 115 crew members and 16 passengers were killed, resulting in the greatest combat-related loss of life suffered by U.S. Naval forces during the war. 

Image:   42-4509-A:  Loss of USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer #61) off Scilly Islands, England on December 6, 1917.  Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.