WWI U-boat War


Germaniawerft, Kiel

84 commissioned U-boats

The yard was founded in 1867 by Lloyd Foster as the Norddeutsche Schiffbau Actien Gesellschaft in Gaarden am Kieler Hafen. It was located in the harbour at Kiel. The idea of the yard was to construct war and merchant vessels. They built the first yacht of the emperor, the Hohenzollern.

The yard had to be sold in 1879 and became property of the Mäkisch-Schlesischen Machinenbau und Hütten-Aktiengesellschaft vorm. F.A. Egells. They constructed steam machines in Berlin since 1822. A few year later this firm also got in trouble and in November 1882 a new firm was founded, the Schiff und Maschinenbau Germania.

A few more warships were constructed and the wharf also had a very good reputation concerning the construction of torpedo boats. However the financial problems were never far away and by the end of August 1896 Krupp took them over, as they were very interested in building warships themselves. Between 1898 and 1902 the wharf doubled its surface and finally became 22.5 ha. New and large slips were constructed. In 1902 the wharf changed of name and became the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft.

At the end of January 1902 they started working with the Spanish engineer Raymondo Lorenzo d'Equevilley-Montjustin for the construction of a U-boat. In July construction started and in June 1903 the Forelle as the U-boat was named, was taken by a crane to the water. It was a success. Brazil wanted three of them. In the meantime a new type was constructed also. In April 1904 the Russian government ordered three of these U-boats. They were the Karp, Karass and Kambala. And the wharf also could sell the Forelle to Russia.

Austria and Norway were also interested in the new type U-boat and in Germany it was decided to buy also a ship of the same type (the U 1). Meanwhile in 1904 the Kaiserliche Marine its Torpedo Inspektion had decided to found the U-Bootkonstruktionsbüro where Gustave Berling in 1905-1906 had developed a new U-boat with better speed under and above surface. As long as d'Erquevilley was working at the Germaniawerft, the Kaiserliche Marine had no enthusiasm at all to give the yard secret material has he was after all a foreigner.

On 1 July 1907 a new engineer, Hans Techel, became responsible for the U-boat construction on the wharf, changing the opinion of the German navy on the Germaniawerft. Techel was to become an almost legendary figure in U-boat construction. On 8 of April 1908 the wharf received the order for U 5-8 and in 1909 for U 16.

The wharf also constructed its own diesel engines, resulting in a submarine for Italy, the Antropo, and a new order from the German navy for U-boats with these diesel engines in March 1911. From this moment on the Germaniawerft would become the most important U-boat construction wharf of Germany. Also before outbreak of war two own U-boat designs were made for Norway and Austria. During the war not only U-types but also many of the UB and UC's were constructed over there as were the trade U-boats Deutschland and Bremen.

See the page on this yard in WWII.

U-boats built by Germaniawerft, Kiel

TypeBoats WerkBuilt during
U 1U 1119 - 1906
U 5U 5 - U 84 boats147- 1501908 - 1911
U 16U 161571909 - 1911
U 23U 23 - U 264 boats177- 1801911 - 1914
U 31U 31 - U 4111 boats191- 2011912 - 1915
U 51U 51 - U 566 boats233- 2381914 - 1916
U 63U 63 - U 653 boats247- 2491915 - 1916
U 66U 66 - U 705 boats203- 2071913 - 1915
U 81U 81 - U 866 boats251- 2561915 - 1916
U 93U 93 - U 986 boats257- 2621915 - 1917
U 93U 105 - U 11410 boats274- 2831916 - 1918
U 139U 139 - U 1413 boats300- 3021916 - 1918
U 142U 1423031916 - 1918
UAUA2021912 - 1914
UB IUB 1 - UB 88 boats239- 2461914 - 1915
UB IIIUB 66 - UB 716 boats284- 2891916 - 1917
UB IIIUB 1333101917 - 1919
UB IIIUB 1363131917 - 1919
UC IIUC 49 - UC 546 boats265- 2701916 - 1917

Back to shipyards page