The Year 1915 Illustrated/British Submarines in the Baltic

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THE Naval Battle in the Gulf of Riga confirmed what had been generally known of the presence of British submarines in the Baltic. The loss of the Moltke[notes 1][1] was a serious blow to the German Navy, but more misfortunes were to follow, for news soon arrived of the sinking of a number of vessels engaged in carrying ore and other war products from Sweden to Germany. By the middle of October the trade between the two countries was seriously menaced by the submarine activities. An attempt by a German destroyer to sink a submarine was frustrated and the destroyer was torpedoed and sent to the bottom. By the end of the month over twenty ships had been either sunk or captured in these waters, including the German cruiser Prinz Adalbert.

Loss of submarine E13[edit]

The German Navy gave another illustration of its methods of barbarism towards the end of August. Whilst on its way to the Baltic, the British submarine EI3 (Commander Layton) had the misfortune to ground in Danish territorial waters off the Island of Saltholm. Whilst there stranded, two German destroyers approached and shelled the crew, killing fourteen of the number. A Danish destroyer then intervened and prevented further infringement of neutrality. A few days later the German Government tendered an apology to Denmark for the action, intimating that she had given strict orders to the Naval Chief to respect neutrality.

Submarine destroyed by bomb[edit]

On August 26th, the British Admiralty made the announcement that Squadron-Commander Arthur W. Bigsworth, R.N., had that morning destroyed single-handed a German submarine by bombs dropped from an aeroplane. The statement confirmed what had been generally accepted as to the success which was attending the Admiralty's efforts to combat the submarines. Commander Bigsworth had previously won a valuable success by dropping four bombs on one of the Zeppelins which raided Ramsgate in May. The Zeppelin was seriously damaged.


  1. SMS Moltke was damaged several times during the war being hit by heavy-caliber gunfire at Jutland, and torpedoed twice by British submarines while on fleet advances. After the cessation of hostilities in 1918, she, along with the majority of the High Seas Fleet, was interned at Scapa Flow pending a decision by the Allies as to the fate of the fleet. The ship met her end when she was scuttled by her crew, along with the rest of the High Seas Fleet in 1919 to prevent them from being seized by the British Royal Navy. The wreck of the Moltke was raised on 10 June 1927, and scrapped at Rosyth from 1927 to 1929.


  1. "Moltke-class battlecruiser". Wikipedia: The free encyclopaedia. Accessed 14 February, 2018