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stepping stones of maritime history


U-31 departed from Wilhelmshafen on the 13th ofJanuary 1915 never to be seen again. It was believed she struck a mine somewhere in the North Sea. But there was also a story that after her alleged sinking she stranded on the English East coast. The boat was intact with the entire crew all lying peacefully but dead in their bunks. Supposedly died in their sleep when the ship was resting on the seabed. After months on the seabed the ship washed ashore intact.

The story fuelled tales of phantom sub marines and for a long time it was believed to be true. In September 2015 the Dutch wreck-diving team Lamlash discovered the wreck of the U31 65 miles west of IJmuiden. So the story can not be true. The U 31 ran on a mine and sank on her first patrol.


U-31 was identified on 9 September 2015 by the Dutch Lamlash wreck-diving team on a place about 65 nautical miles west of IJmuiden (NL) a few miles from the Dutch border in British waters.


German submarine type U 31. Eleven boats commisioned. Double-hull ocean going submarines. Considered very good high sea boats.

Built: Kiel Germania werft 1912. Launched 7 jan 1914. Commisioned 18-9-1914.
Length: 64.70 m.
Beam : 6.32 m.
Draught: 3.56 m.
Displacement: 685 (surface).
Armament: 4 torpedo tubes 6 torpedo's.
Deck gun: 105 mm.
Complement: 4 officers & 31 enlisted.
Commander: Siegfried Wachendorff oberleutnant zur See.


SM U31



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