Full Episode: The Royal Navy’s Battle Against Killer U-Boats in Drain the Oceans – Video

Full Episode: The Royal Navy’s Battle Against Killer U-Boats in Drain the Oceans – Video

The video “How Killer U-Boats Battled the Royal Navy” takes viewers on a deep dive into the deadly struggle between German U-Boats and the Royal Navy during World War I. With a staggering 12 million tons of ships sunk and the threat of almost winning the war, U-Boats proved to be a formidable adversary. The draining of the oceans reveals the wreckage of British warships and civilian vessels, highlighting the devastation caused by these stealthy submarines.

Through detailed investigations and advanced scanning technology, the video uncovers the secrets of sunken U-Boats and the tactics used by both sides in this underwater warfare. From the mysterious disappearance of British cruisers to the infamous sinking of the RMS Lusitania, the impact of U-Boats on the war is brought to light.

Viewers are taken on a journey to discover how the Royal Navy fought back against the U-Boat menace, using innovative strategies such as Q ships disguised as merchant vessels to lure and defeat the enemy. The use of depth charges, mines, and other countermeasures ultimately turned the tide against the U-Boats, leading to their defeat by the end of the war.

The legacy of the Killer U-Boats lives on, with their tactics and technology influencing submarine warfare in World War II and beyond. The video serves as a powerful reminder of the brutal and relentless nature of naval combat during this pivotal period in history.

Watch the video by National Geographic

Video Transcript

World War I a new stealth weapon brings Terror to the oceans this is a dirty war evidence of a naval Revolution lost for a century beneath the storm ravaged Seas of the British Isles imagine if we could empty the oceans letting the water drain away to reveal the secrets of the seaf

Flow now we can using accurate data and astonishing technology to bring light once again to a lost world why do three Royal Navy warships simply disappear the British are shocked how does a single Le torpedo changed the course of history for a ship of that size to disappear in less than 20

Minutes was just incredible and how do the Allies strike back in a battle that changes Naval Warfare forever today’s superpowers tries one weapon above all Others the Submarine the ultimate stealth weapon striking at will delivering its deadly payload from out of Nowhere but the rise of the submarine started a century ago it’s a story that begins with a mystery off the coast of Holland the corpse of an enormous ship emerges and not just one three broken Giants Lo side by side how did they get here 1914 Britain and Germany go to

War Britannia has ruled the waves for centuries her Fleet so massive how can Germany ever hope to win just 7 weeks into the war HMS abukir cresy and hog scann The Horizon near the Dutch Coast their mission Seek and Destroy any enemy that dares to threaten British vessels supplying the battlefields of

France it was there as a scream against serious German surface attack on these vital cross Channel supplies the three ships are packed with Cutting Edge technology among the first ever protected by super hardened steel plate a whole new class of Warship armored Cruisers these are powerful ships

They’ll blow you out the water if they see you on the surface they’re armed with 12 6in guns 29 .2 in guns each the morning of September 22nd is clear and calm there’s no enemy in sight yet the three Cruisers vanish their last communication a distress signal in the weeks that follow follow

Hundreds of bodies wash up along the Dutch Coast Britain’s belief that her Navy is Invincible is rocked to the core for a decade cloudy balink has been investigating the fate of the Lost Patrol now she’s on to something so we’re 20 mil off the Dutch Coast over there is England and over

There are EV I try to find the three Cruisers and figure out what has happened to them she’s on the last known coordinates of the three Ships 15 ft down cloudy and her dive buddy find themselves among piles of Twisted Wreckage the Rec site is massive stretching for hundreds of feet into the Darkness Cloud’s exploration reveals that there’s more than one vessel here and her lights pick out something else strewn all around shells still in their casings never Fired I saw a lot of ammunition I saw here I see the boxes with small shells it has to be a military ship and on these coordinate their definitely try Hoke or abir a positive ID but in the Gloom it’s difficult to see how the ships met their

End it’s very hard to understand the shape of the ship below because you only see part of the ships and you can’t recognize like the bow or something it’s it’s impossible high-tech sonar scans provide a solution mapping the Rex in perfect detail allowing us to do something never possible

Before drain away the English Channel to see the Lost Patrol clearly for the first time in over a hundred years the warships bristle with guns including these Innovative Sid mounted weapons called casement guns on the smooth Hull of abukir there’s no sign of battle damage but near the stern a gaping

Wound on the other two re fatal blows also clearly visible Hog’s Hull is broken open cress’s interior completely exposed damage like this far beneath the waterline is hard evidence that a terrible new weapon is in play so what you see is where Torpedoes went into the ships and I think this is

The moment that the naval Warfare changed forever Torpedoes are self-propelled and deadly flying under the waves they strike below the waterline the torpedo as initially developed and tested through the 1860s and 1870s is truly refined in World War I they are originally fired from ships

But on the day of the Lost Patrol the Horizon is empty the source of the torpedo must lurk unseen unable to defeat the Royal Navy’s massive battle fleets on the surface the Germans are now deploying new technology under the waves they call them unb you boats the British Cruisers are completely

Unprepared what they weren’t expecting was this covert underwater attack which is carried out with great skill unfired ammunition on the seabed shows that the Cruisers don’t put up much of a fight by the time they spot Torpedoes running the battle is already over OTS are a game changer

The way the drained ships lie close together reveals that they were sitting ducks as the first goes down the other two race in to rescue survivors giving ubo number nine the perfect opportunity to pick them off with ease they still lie where they fell side by side the sinking of the three Cruisers

Abukir hog and cresi demonstrated the power of the submarine perhaps more than anything else the Dutch authorities bury the British Dead with military honors In the nland it was big news it was in all newspapers because in one and a half hour almost 1500 men died and 13 of them were teenage boys so it was a very big story and they were buried here honorably There Were Soldiers along the

Road they paid a lot of attention to It OTS are so effective because German Engineers have overcome some massive technical challenges and how they manage this can still be seen because remarkably the very first ubo survived this is you won Germany’s first submarine over 100 years old and you could make some five or six hours submerged with the electric engine

At slow speed 5 six knots Electric engines power the 139 ft long vessel when underwater its batteries are recharged by two gasoline engines which run the uboat on the surface we have two different pairs of engine two gasoline and two electric motors so it’s like a modern car hybrid

System U1 can dive to 100 ft and travel submerged for 50 mil but for their crew OTS are unforgiving places there’s deafening engine noise exposed electrical circuits and if seawater gets into the batteries dead ly chlorine gas will quickly spread if you’re serving in submarines you’ve got a higher chance of dying than

You have if you’re on the Western Front uots may be dangerous for their Crews but they’re lethal to their enemies and the Germans have boats almost three times bigger than U1 on the drawing board during 1915 Germany expands its Fleet to over 50 and that’s just the start the climax

Was reached with a number of 125 available submarines means uh around 30 40 submarines were at Sea daily and this expanding ubot Force doesn’t just have military Targets in its sights there were elements in the German Navy who quite deliberately wanted to achieve what you might call a form of Maritime terrorism

The killer uots Target a world famous ship in an attack that shocks the world the ubo Menace is growing by 1915 no allied ship is safe off Ireland’s southern coast Owen mcgar investigates what happens when the German Navy dramatically escalates its campaign it’s under the water you can look around you

Don’t know where it is you don’t know where it’s going to attack from how do you attack back uots entering service in the second year of the war could dive almost twice as deep as U won and run submerged for 80 mil increased range means they can now strike deep into the

Atlantic and soon the German Navy is making the most of its killer technology beneath this buoy lies the wreck of one of the most iconic ships in history and its shocking secret Owen is one of a select few experienced enough to make the dive it’s

So deep he must breathe a special mix of gases to stay alive it’s like the Everest of of diving it’s just within the Realms of safety and the limitations of your qualifications he heads down over 300 ft into the darkness this Twisted wreckage is All That Remains of one of the most luxurious

Passenger liners ever Built but for over a century the power of the sea has taken its toll on a huge wreck like 798 ft long it still lies as a huge Hulk on the sea floor it’s funed with fishing nets discarded fishing nets Tangled fishing nets it’s a dangerous Dive it also hides Clues to an atrocity so shocking it changes the course of the war this is the wreck of RMS Lucitania on May 1st 195 15 Lucitania leaves New York for Britain like her ill-fated rival Titanic this massive liner has been engineered to be Unsinkable on board nearly 2,000 Souls it was like a floating five-star hotel in one end of it and then for the third class passengers it was still a luxurious way and fast way of CR the

Atlantic 6 days later Lucitania is just 12 miles from the Irish Coast her Captain has been warned that OTS are in the area but Lucitania can surely outrun any threat the Lucitania was doing 24 knots when she was cruising and if you look out to stern of Lucen

You could put 60 water skier across the water and she could pull water ski she went that fast so why does this superliner built to be Invincible never arrive 300 ft down Clues are hard to spot but feeding precise 3D scanning data into powerful animation software me means we can now reveal the

Wreck of one of the most famous ships that ever sailed Lucitania slowly emerges back into the light 32,000 tons of scarred and twisted Mount she lies tilted on her starboard side Parts sunken into the seabed can this be linked to how she sank now seeing under the seafloor

Itself it’s possible to reveal something never seen before evidence of a fatal blow here under the waterline the unmistakable Hallmark of a torpedo strike u20 has been ordered to stock these Wat ERS not only hunting warships liners too the ubot unleashes a single torpedo like an Assassin’s bullet if you could

Imagine being on the deck of the Lucitania being six seven stories up and looking over and you see this thing coming at you and you know it’s going to hit you and you know exactly what it is that must be daunting Lucitania is built to take on huge

Amounts of water yet still stay afloat How could a single shot send a ship this big to the bottom the drained wreck reveals the hoe is snapped clean in half and the tip of the bow severely damaged evidence the liner hits the seafloor with tremendous Force now at last we can reconstruct

Lucitania final moments the torpedo blows open a hole Lucitania is traveling so fast that her momentum forces tons of water in she plunges into the Atlantic taking nearly one 1,200 men women and children with her she’s almost driving herself underneath the water even if the props were stopped

She still was 32,000 tons still being driven forward there’s hardly any time to launch lifeboats she was gone in 20 minutes which must have been just terrifying for the people on board Lucitania speed hasn’t saved her it’s killed her she hits the seabed so fast that her huge Hull snaps in

Two many hundreds of bodies wash ashore nearby buried in Mass graves in Ireland as the whole world reels in shock the Germans were seen as murderers they were seen as villains OTS are now a terror weapon but it’s a risky strategy the loss of American civilians on Lucitania

And further ybot attacks on American shipping pushes the US towards joining the war the German Navy knows that the clock is ticking the Germans know that they have a short window in which they can try to win the war if they can get enough Subs out there if they can have advances on

The battlefield then they have a chance the killer yots launch a new campaign to crush their enemy outright waged here just off the coast of Britain but the battle is about to get a lot tougher for everyone lurking beneath the surface unseen unchallenged the ubot seems Invincible to counter the threat of the

German uots the Royal Navy in particular didn’t have much that they could throw at it UB boats can hide themselves within sight of any British Port the enemy is at the gates after sinking Lucitania the ubot fleet doubles to over a 100 vessels they’re planning to land a

Decisive blow we will sink enough ships to stop Britain importing and this will defeat the British who are the lynchpin of the allies before the Americans who might well declare war can bring their power to bear Britain’s ports are the final destination for a vast Maritime supply chain thousands of merchant ships bring

Vital food Munitions and supplies from the British Empire and the USA the need to support the war in Europe seized a massive shipment of men and material across the Atlantic as well as the movement of ships in and around the British Isles the Germans know this and the

Submarines are sent out to take those ships out with deadly effect if the German OTS can cut the flow of supply ships they can starve Britain into submission and they’ll stop at nothing to do it it’s a total war civilians are Target merchant seamen are Target this is what Total War is it’s

Not a war between sailors and soldiers it’s a war in which everybody is involved and everybody will be sacrificed this war rages most fiercely here in the Irish sea just outside the important port of Liverpool in these Seas Banger University’s survey vessel Prince madog is on a mission there she

Is Marine archaeologist inis McCartney has joined forces with oceanographer Mike Roberts using the latest scanners their ambitious plan is to locate every victim of this battle and discover what happens when the uots try to starve Britain into submission in World War One this stretch of water was a very very dangerous place to

Be every merchant ship runs the gauntlet to make it through this Corridor of death it must have been terrifying knowing what could happen at any moment and Prince madog survey is uncovering the massive scale of the killing immediately beneath us are the remnants of a protracted battle a battlefield effectively which contains

The remains of many many hundreds of shipwrecks the sonar scans reveal the scattered bodies of the uots victims they prey on any type of vessel thousands perish inis and Mike study one wreck closely a ship heavily ladened with cargo for the war effort we know from the position of

Where it is combined with the length and other details that we can see that this is the recre of ss a papa 4:00 a.m. November 28th 1917 SS apapa is almost at the end of her journey from West Africa as well as cargo she’s carrying 119 passengers including many women and

Children soon they’ll be docking safely at Liverpool they hope it’s coming into the danger zone where the uots are wasting us 96 is in the perfect position UB maneuvered around and was between the land and the ship undetectable against the background fires a torpedo which struck a papa in the

Stern and it immediately began to sink the captain on the aappa ordered the women and children to be put into the lifeboats so the lifeboats are swung out and they put down on the rail though aapa is already sinking u96 Commander Hinrich Jess isn’t finished with her

Yet at this point u96 has fired its second torpedo what the commander referred to as the killing shot and it was being hit the second time while everybody was evacuated it caused 77 people to Die the dead civilians on board AA make this one of the most in Infamous ubot

Attacks ever but it’s just one of many under orders to sink a monthly quota of 600,000 tons of shipping ubot attacks are Relentless in fact at one month April 19 uh 17 they get to 800,000 tons it’s quite massive they’re doing better than they expected National survival is on the

Line how can the British fight back not to German submarines improve and change during the first world war but also the means by which to find them and syn them also begin to change Prince madog has found dozens of wrecks now she picks up a new signal

From the seafloor unlike any seen so far is this evidence of an underwater counter offensive skinny and Tube light with a Central High Point this is a classic submarine wreck among the wrecks surveyed in The Killing Zone this is the only uboat so if uots are so dominant here in

1917 what is it doing on the seabed prince maddog’s detailed scan makes it possible to drain back the waters and investigate it’s an amazingly well-preserved ubot Frozen in time and this fearsome Killer’s 200t long body looks completely undamaged accurate measurements from the highres scan means inis can identify exactly which youbot this

Is the distance from the bow to the conning Tower to the stern and all of that matches up um exactly correctly for u87 it’s an incredible Discovery u87 is one of a whole new class of Long Range oceangoing Hunter Killers it’s faster than previous uots and Carries twice as many

Torpedoes a deadly threat u87 was the best type of Submarine the Germans were capable of making in 1916 to 1917 what could its mysterious fate tell us of the desperate struggle to stop the killer Yots the wreck of u87 sits on the SE bed apparently intact but over 500 ft across the drained ocean floor another much smaller piece of wreckage comes to light it appears to be the very tip of U 87’s Stern what’s it doing here aboard survey vessel Prince bog inis McCartney reviews records of

U87 detailing her Mission and learns more about the day she is destroyed Christmas Day 1917 u87 incounters a small Convoy and Torpedoes a steam ship the ubot Periscope is subsequently spotted Royal Navy Patrol boat p56 has u87 in its sights the chances of any of these Patrol boats ever seeing a

Submarine was remote and when they did everything gets to used to take them Out and she’s carrying a new kind of anti-submarine weapon an underwater bomb called a depth charge a depth charge is an explosive that is set once launched or rolled off the side or the back of a ship to detonate at a set depth the British captain gets as close

To the last sighting of u87 as he can and fires a volley of depth charges but is this what sinks the ubot can this small fragment give us an answer some Force has left it 500 ft away from the ubot but the edges of the wound look clean not Jagged could a

Depth charge do this can you confirm the range is clear for fire in over confirm the range is clear add a remote defense testing facility in Scotland demolition experts are trying to understand what effect an underwater blast can have on a ubo sensitive equipment measures the force ad depth charge on leashes outside

And inside the H 60 seconds I wouldn’t want to be in a summary when that happens to it because it’s a very violent event 5 4 3 2 1 the blast creates a pulsing shock wve but it does not crack open the hoe however the test reveals that depth

Charges can damage Subs in other ways the direct shock wave excites the submarine shakes it vibrates it uh until until equipment fails if this array of fragile pipes Valves and hatches breaks that threatens the ubot survival and exposes its biggest weakness by setting a depth charge off

Underwater the blast is intended to RUP the seams to break systems to Rattle a crew to concuss them dep Chargers had uh the immediate effect of driving the ubber to the surface on the surface there’s nowhere to hide p56 seizes the moment a good way of sinking submarines

Was just R them uh they were vulnerable to this they could would be cut in half or have bits chunks taken out of them by a ship ramming them this would sometimes perhaps damage the ship but on the other hand on balance it was better to sink the submarine and ramming is very Important risking sinking itself the patrol boat heads on a collision course with u87 the drained wreck Bears the scars of this incredible Clash the impact cleanly slices off the rear end leaving the fragment intact it sinks to the bottom followed quickly by the crippled ubot as the submarine was sinking the

Patrol boat that had rammed it could see the Germans inside the submarine so we know it was opened right up the Germans have been wreaking havoc in the Irish seed for months but now U 87’s crew meets its own terrible fate submarines were known to their Crews sometimes as steel coffins I think

It’s an apt analogy because when we find one of these sitting on the bottom particularly one lost in combat you realize that the crew is still inside the wreck of u87 reveals that new technology plus some luck and courage could defeat a ubot and by the end of 19170 the royal

Navy has a new Force dedicated to the fight the anti-submarine division is charge with looking at every single means of Technology every single means of strategy available to it to combat this threat and it develops a whole raft of different ways of dealing with it the count attack means taking the war

To the uots both above and below the waves they also develop the undersea mine as a more effective weapon and ultimately build a a fortress wall a barrage as they call it of Mines to keep the Germans from approaching around British coasts huge forests of deadly floating bombs now

Protect shipping these massive Mine Fields sink uots and deter attacks by the middle of 1918 the kill rate drops off from its peak at 800,000 tons per month to under 400,000 tons but that’s still a lot of sunken ships for all of the work being done to counter the German OTS they reign

Supreme Conventional Weapons are still not Landing a decisive blow the British must use a secret stealth weapon of their Own the English Channel is where the battle to defeat the OTS reaches its Climax by 1918 its entrance blocked by a huge Minefield but off Plymouth so R scans reveal the outline of a wreck it’s similar to a papa a cargo ship does this mean that despite all Allied

Countermeasures you boats still threaten in these Waters historical wreck researcher Steve Mortimer is heading out to take a closer look for over four years he’s been searching for a lost Legend and this wreck is a exactly what he’s looking for today we’re looking to dive a

Shipwreck that was sunk in 1918 after a battle with a German ubo we’ve been looking for her for a number of years but today we’ve got a really hard target she’s lying in 65 M we think something like that all we can do is go down see what

We find and see if we can identify her Among the thousands of defenseless cargo ships sunk by uots in these deadly Waters Steve’s Target is Special the shape and size of the hull proof that this was built as a cargo Ship and the mangled wreckage shows that it met a violent end but the murky conditions obscure further Secrets only draining away the English Channel can fully uncover the wreck and reveal the extraordinary truth the hull is twisted and bent the bow torn Open classic torpedo damage but there’s a totally unexpected Discovery

Too Naval guns military hardware on a cargo ship for Steve Mortimer it’s the evidence he’s dreamed of fantastic that must be it that must be it the engines on the stern of the ship there’s two big guns on the stern it can’t be anything else that must be HS do Force

Stock force is a legendary British secret weapon code named a q ship the Q ship is a warship disguised as a merchant vessel it’s a ship that is trying to pretend to be something it isn’t and in this particular case to look innocent when it is in fact far

From innocent she may look like a harmless cargo ship but stock force is heavily armed 4 in Naval guns like those on a cruiser or Destroyer sit on platforms that can be folded away and hidden below deck it’s one type of stealth against another type of stealth under a directive from admiralty Chief

Winston Churchill the Royal Navy has deployed Q ships since the submarine Menace first began it’s thought to have been at least 200 ships and they vary from the very smallest uh little fishing vessels even single M sailing ships right through to large Merchant ships the sailors on board are not Merchant Camen they’re

Fighting men practiced in the art of deception July 30th 1918 as stock Force sails along the English Channel her job is not to transport cargo but to lure a uboat to attack she spots a periscope the Trap can be be laid what happens next makes stock force and her crew famous their story

Immortalized in a silent movie with great skill u80 has crept through a Minefield and Strikes first most of the bridges destroyed some members of the crew are trapped stock Force starts to sink the cre rushes to abandon ship but it’s all part of the trick they were even trained out of tip

The Lifeboat over while they were dropping it so just to make the whole thing look very amateurish the crew would then be off and the ubo would then move in to Close Quarters to finish off the Ship u80 takes the bait surfacing to inspect its handiwork stock Force’s Captain Harold Aon holds his nerve Alton Waits until the ubo is in the optimum position to attack it and then checks let’s go ordering his crew to fight back with everything they’ve got in would come the submarine down

Would come the covers over the guns and battle would Commence it would be a Hellfire of shells pouring into it you have to be able to hold your nerve even if your ship is sinking and open fire and continue firing on a platform that is going glug glug glug into the ocean the ubo is hit the captain of

Stock Force escapes only moments before his ship goes down Commander Harold auton wins the Victoria Cross Britain’s highest honor for Valor at last the Allies are neutralizing the ubot threat and cargo ships now reach Britain in well-protected convoys there are simply not enough OTS left to stop the flow of

Supplies if the Germans had been able to keep producing more submarines they might very well have won the war when the exhausted Germans finally surrender in November 19 18 they are forced to hand over their OTS before 1914 there isn’t a great deal of understanding about what the

Submarine can really do but by 1918 everybody knows it’s a Lethal Weapon no one knows this better than the man bent on resurrecting German Naval power in the 1930s the Nazis well aware of the success of the uots in World War I adopt that technology and adopt those strategies yet

Again in the second world war the Nazis launch over 1100 new and improved yots and once again they devastate Allied Shipping crewed by Brave and remorseless men the killer yots revolutionize Naval Warfare the ancestors of the Super Subs that silently and secretly dominate the oceans Today

Video “How Killer U-Boats Battled the Royal Navy (Full Episode) | Drain the Oceans” was uploaded on 03/24/2024. Watch all the latest Videos by National Geographic on Gretopia