A quarter of a century before the feared wolfpacks of Admiral Dönitz roamed the waters of the Atlantic, their Imperial German ancestors left their mark in history. Although nowadays the U-boats of the Imperial German Navy seem to have been forgotten by historians and writers alike, it was them who very nearly won the First World War for Germany.

Here a brief overview of the first U-boat campaign in military history is provided. Although this is now some 80 years in the past, from the history of it one can still learn - especially as many aspects of submarine technology and tactics were developed in Germany by the Imperial Navy.

1. Overture

A rather unpromising start of the campaign.

3. Escalation

The harshness of the U-boat campaign increases when 1915 unrestricted warfare against merchant vessels is declared as a German reaction to the British blockade

2. First Blood

U-boats strike their first successes against warships in 1914

4. Deadly Mediterranean

From 1915-1917, U-boats have some stunning successes in the Mediterranean.

5. Crisis

Unrestricted U-boat warfare nearly defeats Britain but brings America in the war in 1917

7. Selected Technical Data

of Imperial German U-boats and their Torpedoes.

6. Finale

At the defeat of Germany in 1918 by the British blockade, the U-boat war is called off - time for a resumé.

8. References

Written by Clemens Brechtelsbauer