The “Deutschland” was a blockade-breaking German cargo submarine used during World War I. It was developed with private funds and operated by the North German Lloyd Line. It was one of the first UA-
class boats built but was unarmed, with a wide beam to provide space for cargo. The capacity was 700 tons, relatively small compared to surface ships. The boat was 213 feet long with a top speed of 15
knots on the surface and 7 knots while submerged. The crew consisted of four officers and twenty-five men. The commanding officer was Paul Koenig who had previously been a captain of North German
The “Deutschland” was used for high-value trans-Atlantic commerce, submerging to avoid British patrols. On its first trip, the submarine carried dyes, medicinals (e.g. arsphenamines) and gemstones to the
U.S. The payload was worth $1.5 million. It arrived in Baltimore harbor July 9, 1916 after four weeks at sea. It returned to Germany with strategic war materials including nickel, tin and rubber, much of it
stored outside the pressure hull.
|Interior of "Deutschland"-ca. 1916
Click to Enlarge
|"Deutschland" Docked at New London-1916
Photo: Nova. Click to Enlarge
Reproduction of Article “The Cargo of the Submarine Deutschland", Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry, Vol. XXXV, No. 23, December 15, 1916, p. 1202:
"On July 10th the mercantile submarine “Deutschland” arrived in Baltimore with 750 tons of medicinal and coal-tar dye products. It appears that the weight of dyes in the consignment was 125 tons, and that
they consisted mainly of Anthraquinone and Alizarine derivatives, which are patented in Germany and have not yet been prepared in the United States. A circular prepared by the Badische Company of New
York states that theses dyes have been prepared in a highly concentrated form, in a few cases twelve times their normal strength. They are offered in America at the following prices, per lb. f.o.b. New York:--
Euchrysin G.X., $8.50; Rhodamine B. extra (1 lb. = 5 lb. B.), Safranine T, extra conc. (80 lb. = 100 lb. T.K.), $7.35; Diamond Green G.K., $8.50; Anthraquinone Green, G.X.H.O., patented (2 lb. = 3 lb. G.X.N.), $9.50;
Anthraquinone Violet, $11; Anthraquinone Blue Green, B.X.O., patented (2 lb. = 3 lb. B.X.), $9.50; Cyanathrol R.B.X., patented (7 lb. = 10 lb. R.B.), $16.50; Indanthrene Blue R.S. Powder, triple, $10.50; Indanthrene
Blue, G.C.D. Powder, patented (8.33 lb. = 100 lb. paste), $56; Indanthrene Violet R.R., extra, Powder, patented (12.5 lb. = 100 lb. paste), $70; Indanthrene Black B.B. Powder, patented (12.5 lb. = 100 lb. paste),
$28; Anthracene Blue S.W.G. Powder, $15; Anthracene Blue S.W.G.G. extra Powder, $16.50; Alizarine Blue S. Powder, $8.75; Anthracene Blue S.W.R. Powder, $15; Oxamine Blue A. extra (2 lb. = 5 lb A.), $5.15;
Indigo White 50 %, $4.50."
The dyes delivered by the "Deutschland" were extremely expensive, reflecting both their high concentration and the demand by the U.S. textile industry. Using the inflation factor of $1.00 in 1916 equal to
$17.92 in 2005, the Indanthrene Violet R.R. would sell today for $1,254 per pound.
The “Deutschland” made another round trip in November 1916 to New London, Connecticut, with a $10 million cargo including gems, securities, and medicinals. By that time, the combatant submarine U-53
had also crossed the Atlantic to visit Newport, Rhode Island – and then sank five Allied freighters just outside the territorial limits before returning home.
In the early part of 1917, as German relations with the United States deteriorated, the "Deutschland" was converted for war duty as U-155. It made three war cruises, sinking 43 ships. On December 2, 1918
the "Deutschland" was taken to England and displayed as a war trophy. It was scrapped in 1921. Five workers were killed when an explosion ripped the ship apart during the dismantling.
1) "The Deutschland Eluded Foe with $10,000,000 Cargo", The New York Times, November 2, 1916
2) FirstWorldWar.Com., www.firstworldwar.com/source/deutschland1.htm
3) SubmarineHistory.Com., www.submarine-history.com/NOVAthree.htm
The Submarine "Deutschland"
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The Deutschland Crew in Baltimore-July 1916. Captain Paul Koening is at center.
|Commemorative Medal Issued for Visit of The Deuthschland to Baltimore in 1916.
Photos and Translation Courtesy of Timothy J. Wengert.
Obverse: 9 Juli 1916 [9 July 1916] U-DEUTSCHLAND PAUL KÖNIG KAPITÄN [Paul König, Captain]
ZUR ERINNERUNG AN DIE ANKUNFT DES ERSTEN HANDELSU-BOOTES
[on the banner] IN BALTIMORE 9 JULI 1916 [In commemoration of
the arrival of the first merchant submarine in Baltimore 9 July 1916]