USS New York (BB-34): The Only US Ship to Sink a German U-boat in WWI
By Samantha Franco
via the Military History Online web site
The USS New York (BB-34) was a US Navy battleship and the lead vessel of her two-ship class. Named after the state of New York, she was designed to be the first ship to carry a 14-inch/45-caliber gun. The vessel entered service in 1914 and first actively served during the US occupation of Veracruz.
Following more than three years of operations off the east coast and in the Caribbean, she set sail across the Atlantic to join the British Grand Fleet in December 1917. With the fleet, she acted as the flagship of US battleships in the 6th Battle Squadron for the remainder of World War I.
It was during an escort mission that the USS New York first came into contact with a German U-boat. As she led a fleet of battleships into the Pentland Firth on October 14, 1918, she was badly damaged by an underwater collision. Two blades broke off of one of the vessel’s propellors, significantly reducing her speed, and there was damage to the starboard side.
New York‘s commanders opined that the depth of the channel omitted the notion that she may have collided with a shipwreck, and instead concluded she must have hit a submerged U-boat. Given the damage the vessel had suffered, her commanders also concluded that the collision would have been fatal, marking it the only time a German vessel was sunk by Battleship Division Nine during their service with the Grand Fleet.
Following the war, it was suggested the German craft was either the SM UB-113 or SM UB-123. However, both suggestions were debunked, as the UB-113 was sunk by a French gunboat in the Gulf of Gascony, while the UB-123 sank in the North Sea Mine Barrage five days after the collision.
The USS New York was also present for one of the most dramatic moments of the war, in which the German High Seas Fleet surrendered in the Firth of Forth on November 21, 1918, just days after the Armistice was signed.
Read the entire article on the Military History Online web site here:
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