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SM U 1 800px.jpg
Career (German Empire) War Ensign of Germany 1903-1918.svg
Name: U 1
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Launched: 4 August 1906
Commissioned: 14 December 1906
Fate: Stricken 19 February 1919. On display in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany
General characteristics
Type: U 1
Tonnage: 238 tons
Length: 42.39 m (139.1 ft)
Beam: 3.8 m (12 ft)
Speed: Surfaced: 10.8 kn (20.0 km/h; 12.4 mph)
Submerged: 8.7 kn (16.1 km/h; 10.0 mph)
Test depth: 30 m (98 ft)
Crew: 2 officers, 10 sailors
Armament: 1 x 450mm torpedo tube & 3 C/03 torpedoes
Service record
Part of: Kaiserliche Marine
Operations: 0 patrols
Victories: No ships sunk or damaged

SM U-1 was the first U-boat produced by the German Empire to their Kaiserliche Marine. It was a unique submarine of the type sometimes called German Type U 1 submarine. U-1 was constructed by Germaniawerft in Kiel and commissioned on 14 December 1906. When World War I began in 1914, the boat was deemed obsolete and was used only as a training boat until 19 February 1919, when it was struck by another vessel while on a training exercise.



U-1 was based on a design by the Krupp engineer Raimondo Lorenzo d'Equevilley Montjustin for a coastal U-boat, based on the design Karp class submarine & the submarine Forelle, of which four were sold to Russia. The design was improved compared to the export submarines. For instance, U-1 had trim tanks, while in the export design, trim was adjusted by moving weights inside the submarine. Other improvements included a redesigned forecastle to improve her seagoing ability, a 10 cm (3.9 in) larger diameter pressure hull which was improved to prevent oil leakage from the external tanks, a rearrangement of the internal equipment, and a stronger ballast keel.

The Imperial German Navy avoided the use of gasoline due to the perceived risk of fires and explosions that had caused many accidents in early submarines, and instead of the gasoline engines that had powered the Karp boats, U-1 was given much safer Körting kerosene engines. While normally kerosene engines were started using gasoline, the U-1's engines avoided even this and instead used electrically-heated air.

U1-Gesamtansicht vom Heck her.JPG

The Körting engines could not be reversed and also had to run at full speed, since their rpm could not be varied to any useful extent, and as a consequence U-1 was fitted with adjustable-pitch propellers to allow her speed to be controlled. These propellers were abandoned in later designs due to their poor efficiency, kerosene-electric propulsion being used instead before Diesel propulsion was finally installed in the Type U 19 class in 1912-1913.


Construction on U-1 began in the autumn of 1904. The boat began its trials in August 1906, a year later than originally planned.

After suffering damage from a collision while on a training exercise in 1919, U-1 was sold to the Germaniawerft foundation at the Deutsches Museum in Munich where it was restored and can be viewed on display.


  • "". List of all U-Boats – U 1. Retrieved 3 August 2006.  
  • Robert C. Stern. Battle Beneath the Waves: U-boats at War, Cassell Military Paperbacks, 2002. ISBN 0-304-36228-X
  • Jameson, William (1965). The Most Formidable Thing: The Story of the Submarine from Its Earliest Days to the End of World War I. Rupert Hart-Davis. ISBN 0760313458.  
  • Miller, David (2003). The Illustrated Directory of Submarines. MBI Pub. Co.. ISBN 0760313458.  

See also



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