Who's Who - Otto Weddigen

Otto Weddigen Otto Weddigen (1882-1915) established a reputation as a daring German U-boat commander during the first months of the First World War.

Weddigen's naval career began in 1901, during the course of which he found himself stationed at Tsingtao from 1906-07.  In September 1910 he was appointed a U-boat Commander and was given command of U 9 in October 1911.

It was as Captain of the German U 9 U-boat that Weddigen earned a popular reputation at home in Germany when on 22 September 1914 he successfully torpedoed no fewer than three British cruisers, Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue south of the North Sea (each of 12,000 tons).

With Weddigen feted at home (and awarded the prestigious Pour le Merite) the loss of the three (albeit inefficient) cruisers caused much anxiety among the British naval command at the Admiralty in London, mostly notably to Grand Fleet commander Sir John Jellicoe.

The "U9"Alas for Weddigen his success was short-lived, despite sinking the British cruiser Hawke the following month and four merchant ships in February 1915 (the latter in a new U-boat, U 29).  Having published The First Submarine Blow is Struck at the height of his fame he was killed on 18 March 1915 when U 29 sank after being rammed by the British mammoth HMS Dreadnought.

The Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was the first ever delivered by telegram.

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