Encyclopedia - HMS Birmingham & U-15

Painting by M.G. Swanwick: "HMS Birmingham Commanded by Captain Arthur Duff, Ramming the German Submarine U15 on August 9th 1914" The British 5,400 ton light cruiser HMS Birmingham was responsible for sinking the first German submarine of the First World War.  Commanded by Captain Arthur Duff HMS Birmingham - of 'Chatham' class - knocked out both the periscope and conning tower of German U-15 on 9 August 1914 with a salvo of six shots from the light cruiser's guns east of the Orkneys while the submarine was attempting to move in for an attack.

Having done so Duff issued instructions that the cruiser be directed at the U-boat at full speed.

German submarine U-15Turning HMS Birmingham's helm the cruiser was brought around in order that her bows faced the crippled submarine.

Thus Duff rammed the German submarine at 25 mph (40 kph), which quickly rolled over and sank, killing its crew of 23.

HMS Birmingham subsequently took part at both the Battle of Heligoland Bight and the Battle of Jutland.

A 'Woolly Bear' comprised a German shrapnel shell, which burst with a cloud-like explosion.

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