Whale Becomes Casualty Of War
In 1903, Germaniawerft dockyard in Kiel completed Germany’s first fully functional submarine, Forelle, which was sold to Russia during the Russo-Japanese War in April 1904. Germany has kept improving the design of it’s submarines so that at the beginning of war in the summer of 1914, Germany had 48 submarines (of which only 28 were functional) of 13 classes in service or under construction. The are called Unterseeboot, which means “undersea boat”.or U-boot which has been anglicized to U-boat.
For the first few months of the war, U-boat anti-commerce actions observed the “prize rules” of the time which governed the treatment of enemy civilian ships and their occupants. In the first ten weeks, the Germans sank five British cruisers. On September 5, 1914, HMS Pathfinder was sunk by SM U-21, the first ship to have been sunk by a submarine using a self-propelled torpedo. On September 22, U-9 sank the obsolete British warships HMS Aboukir, HMS Cressy and HMS Hogue (the “Live Bait Squadron”) in a single hour. The British Navy fought back with it’s guns firing at what ever target appeared on the water.
On January 8, 1915 a whale, mistaken for a surfacing U-boat, was killed off the shores of the Netherlands when it was repeatedly hit by 3 inch shells.