American-German Liner Sinks British Sub
The weather was fine for a week’s worth of British Naval maneuvers in the English Channel. Submarine “B2” was part of a flotilla of 12 submarines four miles from the breakwaters of Dover. The B class of submarine was intended for coastal patrol work. The boats had petrol engines for surface propulsion and batteries for underwater propulsion.
The Hamburg America Line was started in 1847 and became the largest German and at times the world’s largest shipping company, serving the market created by the German immigration to the US and later immigration from Eastern Europe. The 23000 ton SS AMERIKA was built in the Harland-Wolff Shipyards in Belfast, Ireland in 1905 and went into trans-Atlantic service. The SS AMERIKA sent the first iceberg warning to RMS TITANIC.On October 4, 1912 the SS AMERIKA was steaming off the coast of Dover when HMS B2 crossed 60 feet in front of her bow only their conning tower showing. The SS AMERIKA was and moving twice as fast and unable to stop. Full speed astern was ordered and engines reversed but the liner struck the submarine mid ship and it broke in two then went down like a rock. 15 sailors on the HMS B2 perish. Only one man Lt Richard I Pulleyne survived swimming upward from the broken submarine. The SS AMERIKA went back to South Hampton with slight damage.
HMS B2 submarine from Great Britain
SS AMERIKA postcard – 1912