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(Former German Torpedo-boat Destroyer: dp. 1,106; 1. 261'3"; b. 27'3"; dr. 13'1"; s. 34.5 k.; cpl. 87; a. 3 88mm., 6 20" tt., 24 mines; cl. V-43)

V-43, a large, German torpedo boat destroyer, was laid down in the latter part of 1914 at Stettin, Germany, by the Aktiengesellschaft Vulcan; launched on 27 January 1915; and placed in service in the Imperial German Navy on 28 May 1915, probably under the command of Kapitanleutnant Carl.

V-43 was assigned to VI Torpedo Flotilla, High Seas Fleet, operating out of Wilhelmshaven. For the most part, she and her sisters in VI Torpedo Flotilla screened German minesweeping operations in the eastern portion of the North Sea and patrolled against British incursions into the German Bight. On 24 April 1916, she accompanied Vice Admiral Hipper's battle cruisers on a shore bombardment of the English coast near Lowe-stoft. During the mission, she did not have an opportunity to launch any torpedoes. She returned to Jade Bay the following day.

Sometime during the following month, V-43 entered the yard for repairs, probably at Wilhelmshaven, because the official German account of the war, Der Krieg zur See 1914-1918, lists her in the Jutland task organization chart with the note "Auf Werften: nahm an der Schlacht nicht teil"-"in the yard: took no part in the battle." In any event, V-43 subsequently returned to active duty with VI Torpedo Flotilla. For the remainder of 1916, she operated with 12 Torpedo Half Flotilla out of the Ems estuary and Jade Bay patrolling the North Sea. By December 1916, she became the flagship of the half flotilla.

Late in January 1917, V-43 and the other torpedo boat destroyers of VI Torpedo Flotilla were reassigned to the Commander, Torpedo Flotillas, Flanders. On the 22d, the two half flotillas departed Wilhelmshaven, exited the German Bight into the North Sea, and rounded the northwestern corner of the Netherlands. That evening as the warships passed down along the coast of the Netherlands, they encountered two British forces-the first, a three-ship group of light cruisers and the second, a full flotilla of destroyers. The Germans fired torpedoes and guns and, as the British cruisers turned to evade the torpedoes, dashed past them down the Channel toward Zeebrugge. However, VI Torpedo Flotilla did not escape unscathed. Its flagship, V-69, received heavy damage from the cruisers' guns and, after engaging the destroyers, was forced to retire to the Dutch coast for repairs at Yimuiden. The remaining German warships then engaged the British destroyers and managed to sink one of them before arriving safely in Zeebrugge early the following morning. V-43 carried out V-69's duties as flagship of the entire flotilla until 20 February when she was relieved of that responsibility by S-49 and resumed her role as flagship of 12 Torpedo Half Flotilla.

For the next two months, VI Torpedo Flotilla operated out of Zeebrugge. V-43, however, was undergoing repairs at Ostend during the flotilla's only other action of its short tour of duty along the Belgian coast. On 29 March, V-43 departed Zeebrugge in company with the other ships of her flotilla to conduct a short commerce raid on their way back to Wilhelmshaven and resumption of duty guarding the German Bight. On the way, they encountered only one small British steamer, SS Mascot, which V-67 and G-95 sank with gunfire. That afternoon, the ships of the flotilla dropped anchor in Wilhelmshaven.

For the remainder of the war, V-43 conducted patrols in the German Bight and protected German mine-sweeping operations in that area. Early on the morning of 17 November 1917, while covering the minesweepers, she and the other ships of 12 Half Flotilla joined the cruisers Frankfurt, Pillau, Konigsberg, and Nurnberg in a running battle with British cruisers and battle-cruisers. During that fight, the torpedo-boat destroyer managed to launch two torpedoes, but neither scored a hit. One passed close to HMS Royalist and the other 30 yards ahead of HMS Cardiff. The German destroyers and cruisers covered the minesweepers' retirement toward Heligoland, and the British broke off action at about 0950 when the German battleship Kaiser and Kaiserin moved up to support the light forces.

Over the next year, V-43 operated in the German Bight. During the fall of 1918, the blockade and four years of war undermined Germany's ability and will to fight. In November, the German High Command sued for an armistice which was formalized on 11 November 1918. Under the conditions of that armistice, the High Seas Fleet was to be interned by the Allies. The greater portion of the fleet, including V-43, went to the British base at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. The erstwhile German warships lay at anchor there, tended by German nucleus crews while surrender negotiations at Versailles draeged on. Finally, on 21 June 1919, the crew of V-43 joined a large number of their comrades in a last defiant act against the victors. Rather than surrender their ships, they tried to scuttle them. V-43 sank, but she was later raised and repaired. Almost a year later, she was turned over to the United States Navy at Rosyth, Scotland, and commissioned on 4 June 1920 for the Atlantic passage. She was placed out of commission at Norfolk, Va., on 30 August 1920. After spending almost a year there, she was sunk off Cape Henry, Va., on 15 July 1921 by gunfire from Florida (BB-30).

Published: Tue Oct 20 13:02:46 EDT 2015