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SM U-32 (Austria-Hungary)

SM U-32 or U-XXXII was a U-27 class U-boat or submarine for the Austro-Hungarian Navy U-32, built by the Hungarian firm of Ganz Danubius at Fiume, was launched in May 1917 and commissioned in June

U-32 had a single hull and was just over 121 feet 37 m in length She displaced nearly 265 metric tons 261 long tons when surfaced and over 300 metric tons 295 long tons when submerged Her two diesel engines moved her at up to 9 knots 17 km/h; 10 mph on the surface, while her twin electric motors propelled her at up to 75 knots 139 km/h; 86 mph while underwater She was armed with two bow torpedo tubes and could carry a load of up to four torpedoes She was also equipped with a 75 mm 30 in deck gun and a machine gun

In her service career U-32 hit five ships of 6,788 gross register tons GRT, sinking four and damaging one At Pola at war's end, the boat was handed over to Italy and scrapped in 19205

Design and constructionedit

Austria-Hungary's U-boat fleet was largely obsolete at the outbreak of World War I6 The Austro-Hungarian Navy satisfied its most urgent needs by purchasing five Type UB I submarines that comprised the U-10 class from Germany,7 by raising and recommissioning the sunken French submarine Curie as U-14,6Note 1 and by building four submarines of the U-20 class that were based on the 1911 Danish Havmanden class3Note 2

After these steps alleviated their most urgent needs,6 the Austro-Hungarian Navy selected the German Type UB II design for its newest submarines in mid 19158 The Germans were reluctant to allocate any of their wartime resources to Austro-Hungarian construction, but were willing to sell plans for up to six of the UB II boats to be constructed under license in Austria-Hungary8 The Austro-Hungarian Navy agreed to the proposal and purchased the plans from AG Weser of Bremen9

U-32 displaced 264 metric tons 260 long tons surfaced and 301 metric tons 296 long tons submerged3 She had a single hull with saddle tanks,10 and was 121 feet 1 inch 3691 m long with a beam of 14 feet 4 inches 437 m and a draft of 12 feet 2 inches 371 m3 For propulsion, she had two shafts, twin diesel engines of 270 bhp 200 kW for surface running, and twin electric motors of 280 shp 210 kW for submerged travel She was capable of 9 knots 167 km/h while surfaced and 75 knots 139 km/h while submerged3 Although there is no specific notation of a range for U-32 in Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921, the German UB II boats, upon which the U-27 class was based, had a range of over 6,000 nautical miles 11,000 km at 5 knots 93 km/h surfaced, and 45 nautical miles 83 km at 4 knots 74 km/h submerged10 U-27-class boats were designed for a crew of 23–243

U-32 was armed with two 45 cm 177 in bow torpedo tubes and could carry a complement of four torpedoes She was also equipped with a 75 mm/26 30 in deck gun and an 8 mm 031 in machine gun3

After intricate political negotiations to allocate production of the class between Austrian and Hungarian firms,8 U-27 was ordered from Ganz Danubius on 12 October 19151 She was laid down on 18 July 1916 at Fiume and launched on 11 May 19172

Service careeredit

After launching, the U-boat made her way to Pola,2 where, on 29 April 1917, SM U-32 was commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy under the command of Linienschiffleutnant Gaston Vio4 Vio, a 30-year-old native of Fiume, was a first-time submarine commander11 Vio and U-32 began their first patrol on 3 July when they sailed from Pola for a Mediterranean deployment East of Manfredonia two days later, an enemy submarine launched a spread of three torpedoes at U-32 but the Austro-Hungarian submarine avoided them all Two days later, U-32 had an at-sea rendezvous with the German U-boat UC-52 The following day, Vio failed to hit a steamer in the Gulf of Taranto2

On 15 July, U-32 launched torpedoes against the British steamer Incemore Hit 225 nautical miles 417 km east-southeast of Malta, the 3,060-ton ship was en route from Marseilles to Salonika when she was attacked Incemore was damaged but continued on her way; no one aboard the steamer was killed in the attack12Note 3 The U-boat docked in Cattaro to end her first patrol four days later2

The next Mediterranean patrol for U-32 began on 14 August Sister boat U-40 met up with her at sea on 29 August Two days later, U-32 stopped a Greek sailing vessel, Agios Georgios and examined her, but let her go on her way Vio put in his boat at Cattaro on 4 September, ending the boat's second patrol2 On 12 October, U-32 departed Cattaro for Durazzo, arriving the next day On the 18th, the submarine departed there for Brindisi, screening for a sortie by the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Helgoland and a destroyer group When U-32 reached Brindisi the following day, she was greeted by Italian torpedo boats which dropped five depth charges over her After putting in at Cattaro on the 19th, she quickly departed for Pola to repair damage to her conning tower2

After two months of repairs at Pola, U-32 set out on 27 December but had to return with engine problems She departed for the Mediterranean the following day and cruised between Alexandria and Malta, but returned to Cattaro in late January 1918 without success Another patrol beginning in late February was similarly fruitless and U-32 returned to Cattaro empty-handed again on 26 March2

While at Cattaro, Vio was relieved of command on 24 April and replaced by Linienschiffleutnant Otto Kasseroller, who had formerly been in command of U-2 Kasseroller was a 31-year-old Salzburg native13 On 8 May, U-32 began her first cruise with Kasseroller at the helm Five days out, the Greek sailing ship Julia was stopped near Cape Matapan After allowing Julia's crew to board a lifeboat, Kasseroller sank Julia with fire from the U-boat's deck gun After the 48-ton ship was sunk, U-32 towed the lifeboat close to the shore As a result, none of the Greek ship's crew died in the attack214

A week later, on 20 May, U-32 sank two more Greek sailing ships: the 58-ton Agios Dionysios, and the 30-ton Angeliki1516 The following day Kasseroller torpedoed a British steamer Chatham, of 3,592 gross register tons GRT, was headed from Karachi to Marseilles with grain and onions when U-32 sent her down 80 nautical miles 150 km from Cape Matapan17 Continuing her most successful patrol, U-32 met with the German UB-48 off the coast of Africa on 3 June, but returned to Cattaro on the 6th2

During the remainder of June and into July, U-32 patrolled in the Adriatic out of Cattaro, calling at the Albanian ports of Durazzo and San Giovanni di Medua Continuing this same duty into August, U-32 was forced to crash dive to avoid an attack by another submarine on 19 August Five days later an airplane attacked the U-boat, dropping a total of five bombs After the attack, U-32 made her way to Cattaro and, in early September, headed back to Pola After making a stop at Fiume, the submarine docked at Pola on 13 September and remained there through the end of the war She was ceded to Italy as a war reparation, and scrapped in 19205 In total, U-32 sank four ships and damaged one other ship, hitting a combined total of 6,788 GRT4

Ships sunk or damagededit

Ships sunk or damaged by SM U-3218
Date Name Tonnage Nationality
000000001917-07-15-000015 July 1917 Incemore 3,060 British
000000001918-05-13-000013 May 1918 Julia 48 Greek
000000001918-05-20-000020 May 1918 Agios Dionysios 58 Greek
000000001918-05-20-000020 May 1918 Angeliki 30 Greek
000000001918-05-21-000021 May 1918 Chatham 3,592 British

damaged but not sunk


  1. ^ Curie had been caught in an anti-submarine net while trying to enter the harbor at Pola on 20 December 1914 See: Gardiner, p 343
  2. ^ The plans for the Danish Havmanden class submarines, three of which were built in Austria-Hungary, were seized from Whitehead & Co in Fiume See: Gardiner, pp 344, 354
  3. ^ Incemore was not so lucky the following month when the German U-38 attacked and sank her 52 nautical miles 96 km from Pantelleria


  1. ^ a b Miller, p 20
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Tengeralattjárók" pdf in Hungarian Imperial and Royal Navy Association pp 25–26 Retrieved 22 January 2009 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gardiner, p 344
  4. ^ a b c d e Helgason, Guðmundur "WWI U-boats: KUK U32" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 22 January 2009 
  5. ^ a b Gibson and Prendergast, pp 388–89
  6. ^ a b c Gardiner, p 341
  7. ^ Gardiner, p 343
  8. ^ a b c Halpern, p 383
  9. ^ Baumgartner and Sieche, as excerpted here reprinted and translated into English by Sieche Retrieved 1 December 2008
  10. ^ a b Gardiner, p 181
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "WWI U-boat commanders: Gaston Vio" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet 
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "Ships hit during WWI: Incemore d" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 23 January 2009 
  13. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "WWI U-boat commanders: Otto Kasseroller" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 22 January 2009 
  14. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "Ships hit during WWI: Julia" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 23 January 2009 
  15. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "Ships hit during WWI: Agios Dionysios" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 23 January 2009 
  16. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "Ships hit during WWI: Angeliki" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 23 January 2009 
  17. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "Ships hit during WWI: Chatham" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 23 January 2009 
  18. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur "Ships hit by KUK U32" German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboatnet Retrieved 22 January 2009 


  • Baumgartner, Lothar; Erwin Sieche 1999 Die Schiffe der kuk Kriegsmarine im Bild = Austro-Hungarian warships in photographs in German Wien: Verlagsbuchhandlung Stöhr ISBN 978-3-901208-25-6 OCLC 43596931 
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed 1985 Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921 Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press ISBN 978-0-87021-907-8 OCLC 12119866 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link
  • Gibson, R H; Prendergast, Maurice 2003 1931 The German Submarine War, 1914–1918 Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press ISBN 978-1-59114-314-7 OCLC 52924732 
  • Halpern, Paul G 1994 A Naval History of World War I Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press ISBN 978-0-87021-266-6 OCLC 28411665 
  • Miller, David 2002 The Illustrated Directory of Submarines of the World St Paul, Minnesota: MBI Pub Co ISBN 978-0-7603-1345-9 OCLC 50208951 

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