Page 3509


"But the lack of light and air, the

absence of every comfort, the dangers that

menace them every hour, yes, every minute,

are the common lot of all U-boat men.

There is, however, greater responsibility

upon the officers and the chief engineers,

although every single U-boat man, sailor

and oiler alike, knows that oftentimes

a slight oversight or a false move will seal

the fate of himself and his comrades.

"The most careful selection among the

volunteers, who are always offering themselves in great numbers for the U-boat

service, is just as important as the long

period of training in which U-boat aspirants are schooled in every branch of their

difficult service. They must all be in

superior health and be what they call

'fixe Kerle'-i. e., quick in perception

and decision, never timid or hesitating,

skilled, and also infinitely serious in their

conception of duty, dependable and steadfast. The sailor must be a 'thoroughbred

seaman,' the oiler a perfect mechanic.

"The members of the crews are trained

at the U-boat school. There they become

acquainted with all the complicated

apparatus, the expert use of which forms

the basis for every success. The pupils

are made familiar with the instruments

that show the condition of the atmosphere,

the trim of the boat and the height and

depth, with the functions of the numerous

valves, slides and levers, etc., and with

the safety and life-saving apparatus, a

thorough knowledge of which is indispensable for every U-boat man. In addition

to these general points, the submarine

sailor must have skill in navigation, in

signaling, in serving and launching torpedoes and in handling the deck guns and

their ammunition, while the oiler must

understand the care of the engines that

drive the U-boat above and below the

water well enough to enable him, in case

of necessity, to take the place of the

engineers and, if possible, that of the chief


"Correspondingly greater demands are

made upon the officers and the engineers.

Every U-boat commander is almost a

'superman.' He must possess extraordinary gifts of both an intellectual and physical kind if he wants to fill his post with

success. To him belongs a quite special

talent. The officers' corps of the German

Navy includes a number of such 'supermen.' These commanders are reinforced

by an excellent body of engineers."

Aside from the operations about the

Dardanelles, described in another chapter,

the losses of the Allies from mines and

submarines were chiefly confined to scout

vessels, such as small cruisers, gunboats,

and destroyers. Among the most notable losses sustained by them were the

British cruiser Hawke, sunk October 16,

1914, in the North Sea; the British dreadnought Audacious, sunk off the northeast

coast of Ireland, October 27 of the same

year; the British pre-dreadnought battleship Formidable, torpedoed off Plymouth

with a loss of 600 lives, January 1, 1915;

the British pre-dreadnought King Edward VII., sunk by a mine on January

10, 1916; the British pre-dreadnought Russel, sunk by a mine in the Mediterranean

late in April, 1916; the French cruiser

Leon Gambetta, torpedoed April 26, 1915,

in the Strait of Otranto with a loss of

over 500 men; the Italian cruiser Guiseppe

Garibaldi, torpedoed in the Adriatic, July

18, 1915.

On November 29, 1914, the British

pre-dreadnought battleship Bulwark was

blown up in the Thames and practically

all of her crew were instantly killed. The

disaster may have been due to careless

handling of ammunition, but there was

much talk to the effect that perhaps an

infernal machine had in some way been

introduced into her magazine. Two or

three similar happenings subsequently gave

color to the theory that these explosions

were the work of spies.

The ceaseless vigilance of the patrol

boats of the Allies proved extraordinarily

successful in guarding transports carrying

troops, and it was not until the transportation of troops to the Balkan theaters

of war in large numbers began that there

were any losses. The first considerable

loss of this sort was the transport Royal

Edward, torpedoed in the AEgean in