back to article Soz, folklore fans! Negligence, not Nessie, sank WWI German sub

A sunken German submarine from World War One has been found at the bottom of the Irish Sea – and excitable folk are claiming the Loch Ness Monster sank it. The official story of UB-85's sinking, as logged by the crew of Royal Navy sloop HMS Coreopsis and reproduced on authoritative U-boat history website uboat.net, is that she …

  1. Unep Eurobats
    Coffee/keyboard

    These wacky German submariners

    At least Captain Schlitt managed to destroy the secret material (whatever that was).

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: These wacky German submariners

      The toilet paper?

      1. Unep Eurobats

        Re: These wacky German submariners

        If the plucky Brits had got their hands on the Germans' top secret Unterwasserkhazitechnik it would all have been over by Christmas.

    2. Gazareth

      Re: These wacky German submariners

      The Madonna with the big boobies, natch.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Joe Harrison

      Re: Chlorine.

      As a child I had a train set with a 12v transformer. School helpfully informed me you can create chlorine this way so I attached the transformer leads to two forks and put them in a bowl of salty water. It works spectacularly well and I almost gassed myself.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Chlorine.

        An experience denied the would-be scientists of tomorrow thanks to the nanny state.

        Hopefully, a return to the values that made Britain great* will prevail post-Brexit once the onerous yoke of Eurolaw has been shrugged off.

        *Child chimney sweeps, dark satanic mills c/w healthy levels of smog, caning, hanging, caning THEN hanging, fast cruiser doctrine, and, of course, wonderfully complete sets of chemicals on display in every school lab and within easy reach of the eager fingers of tomorrow's Nobel laureates.

        1. billse10

          Re: Chlorine.

          don't forget the interesting chemistry sets ?

          "Gilbert released an “Atomic Energy Lab,” which contained three “very low-level” radioactive sources (alpha, beta, and gamma particles), a U-239 Geiger counter" etc etc

        2. PNGuinn
          Mushroom

          Re: Nanny State v Real Chemistry

          Chemistry Lab with 4 island benches.

          Sinks, qty 2, on each bench.

          No traps to the sinks.

          Drainage from said sinks via half round salt glazed clays set into lab floor.

          Loosely covered by hardwood timber panels for ease of maintenance.

          Boy "accidentally" drops naughty piece of calcium carbide down sink at one end of lab.

          Another? boy some time later disposes of lighted match down sink at other end of lab.

          All timber covers immediately raised several inches from floor "for inspection".

          Science these days just aint the fun it used to be.

          Seriously, when I think of the stuff I got to handle at O Level, let alone A Level TOGETHER WITH APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTION compared to what the H & S elves allow kids today I'm surprised anyone wants to do "Science" at all.

          And don't get me started on the "quality" of today's textbooks. Full of basic errors and greenie propaganda. Bloody comics compared to what I had when I were a lad.

    2. PhilBuk

      Re: Chlorine.

      Seawater + Lead-acid batteries don't need the electrolysis bit. Just add sulphuric acid to a salt solution and watch the sulphuric displace the chlorine.

      Phil.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me
    Pirate

    Where's negligence? Nessie hit the sub, buckled some plates and it couldn't dive. Nessie should be awarded a Dickin Medal.

  4. DHBI

    Das Bootnote

    "Das Bootnote" - an open pun goal... thanks for that :-)

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Das Bootnote

      But if El Reg know it's "das Boot" why did they write "Her wreck"?

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Das Bootnote

        Because one of the few times English has a gender for an non-living object is for boats, and they're female.

        If you really want to go and start a noun gender fight, I believe Spanish and Italian share quite a few nouns, but disagree on the gender of the item.

        1. Ralph B

          Re: Das Bootnote

          > Because one of the few times English has a gender for an non-living object is for boats, and they're female

          But, dammit, it's not an English boat, it's a German boat, and they're neuter!

        2. PNGuinn
          Headmaster

          Re: Das Bootnote

          Foreign Nouns at Dawn.

          GO FOR IT!

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Das Bootnote

        But if El Reg know it's "das Boot" why did they write "Her wreck"?

        Perhaps they meant Herr Wreck?

      3. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Das Bootnote 4 Ralph B

        You seem to be very well informed on the niceties of the German language and its use with respect to U-Boats Ralph B, or should I say ... HERR B!

        Lieutenant Darling! Get the Rabid Alsatian and the hot dog buns!

  5. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    And some claim

    Germans have no humour.

  6. Vinyl-Junkie
    FAIL

    The Germans...

    ...aren't the only ones to leave hatches open. The M2 tragedy, which killed 70 Royal Navy officers and men, is widely believed to have been the result of the crew trying to beat their own record for getting an aircraft aloft and opening the hanger doors (yes, you read that correctly) before the boat had fully surfaced.

    For some fascinating photos of the M2 in action, see here: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1931/1931%20-%200813.html

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: The Germans...

      A few navies had fun with seaplanes on submarines. I seem to remember the Japanese used one to bomob Sydney harbour.

      Although nobody beats the US for silliness by landing aeroplanes on airships. The USS Akron and Macron. The didn't have a flight deck on top, they landed the biplanes on a sort of trapeze, then hoisted them up into the hangar, and launched them the same way.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: The Germans...

        "Although nobody beats the US for silliness by landing aeroplanes on airships. The USS Akron and Macron. "

        Two mistakes made have you.

        a) The arrangement actually worked rather well for such a Heath-Robinson affair (though like all special landings it took a bit of practice to get it perfect), and the program was not dropped because *that* bit was broken. To launch his aircraft the pilot simply pulled a release trigger. That worked spectacularly well, gravity being what it is.

        2) The two airships were the Akron and the MACON (usually pronounced MAY-con). They were named after cities.

        The program was dropped because airships, despite their magnificence and the strange attraction they have for people (me included), are fundamentally dangerous things to fly on account of the air density at one end of the immense ship not being guaranteed to be anything like the same as that at the rear, and subject to change without warning. The Shenandoah was torn in half under stresses induced by these circumstances, after - by one account - a tail-stand.

        Add to that the vulnerability of such huge structures to localized gusting of wind and the by-necessity skimpy nature of the rigid skeleton and you pretty much have a tragedy waiting to happen. Both Macon and Akron were lost due to problems arising from non-homogeneous air density over the length of the airframe.

        One might argue that the only part of the whole airship aircraft carrier idea that *did* work was that of the carrying of fixed-wing aircraft.

        1. Tikimon

          Re: The Germans...

          The pilots reported that it was easier to catch the "trapeze" than it was to land on a pitching, tossing aircraft carrier. Impractical as they are, I miss the idea of airships too.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          US airships

          It's worth noting that the USS Shenandoah was based on a German design - one of the light-weight "height climbers" and therefore weaker than a usual airship. From memory (I've got a book here - I've read it, but it's made out of paper so it's not easy to do a random search), it only had one keel rather than the three used in stronger designs.

          The Zeppelins operated by Germany as passenger aircraft managed to avoid disaster until the famous Hindenburg fire because (after an inauspicious start when he broke an airship getting it out of the hanger) Hugo Eckener (look him up) applied his sailing nous to the job and made sure that he and his airship pilots read the sky ahead and avoided patches of weather which were airship-unfriendly. US naval airship fliers were not always so cautious.

          (I've read books - can't recall which one or where, but in one of them I read that one US airship commander was utterly certainly his airship was the strongest thing in the sky and so didn't need to avoid the bad weather ahead, which turned out to be a really really big mistake.)

          The thing is, it was more the lack of caution in operation which caused the loss of Macon and Akron, since the craft were obviously vulnerable to the problems which did for them: the operators should have acted with due caution.

          Also, every attempt to operate flying aircraft carriers has resulted in the conclusion that while air-launching an aircraft can be made to work pretty well, air recovery is somewhere between "very tricky" and "a total nightmare" which is generally best avoided.

          The only air-launched crewed aeroplane setups I've heard of actually going into any sort of service (experimental and research rocket planes aside) are these two:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Mayo_Composite

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zveno_project

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: US airships

            " read that one US airship commander was utterly certainly his airship was the strongest thing in the sky and so didn't need to avoid the bad weather ahead, which turned out to be a really really big mistake"

            That actually sounds more like the rational that was behind the flying fuck-up that was the R101, which re-purposed itself from an airship to International Rescue's "Mole" upon entering French airspace while attempting a journey to Karachi one rainy night.

            One can point to any failure of an airship's structure and claim that it was the result of the crew not flying the ship safely, and how the heck does one "read the sky" after dark? And from under the envelope?

            The point is that airships are horribly vulnerable to the weather. This is due to their size and the nature of their construction.

            They are long, which makes them vulnerable to crosswind gusts, and air density differential lift variance between nose and tail. They have to be light, which means they are easy to break with even moderate stress (such as from battling crosswind gusts). They require everything to be working just so to be airworthy. Any structural failure tends to be a killer.

            They are vulnerable to buoyancy problems provoked by small over-corrections in gas venting or ballast release. They lose buoyancy when they drift too low as the gas cells compress, which makes an uncorrected slow dive in increasing barometric pressure conditions self-aggravating. They risk catastrophic failure if they float too high as the gas expands past the failure point of the cells unless mechanical safety valves open, in which case the issue of synchronizing the venting over the length of the ship and shutting it down before the ship begins to dive raises its ugly (and deadly) head.

            And let's not forget that the corrective measures (venting, ballast release) are non-renewable from the standpoint of the ship. At some point there will be no more ballast to let go if it isn't carefully marshaled, and if too much gas is vented (as in: so much that even dropping all ballast will not produce a neutral buoyancy condition) a crash is inevitable. Good luck getting the cabin stewards to jump overboard to save the ship in these days of unionization and lack of esprit de corps.

            There's a really nifty article in the National Geographic's January (I think) 1925 issue that gives a first-hand experience of undocking an airship from its mast under benign conditions, and it is an account of barely contained chaos and panic. I recommend it as an eye-opener for anyone in love with aerostatic transport.

            The Onion put it best on their groundbreaking report on the loss of The Hindenburg: Once again one of these seemingly invincible leviathans of the air proves to be as fragile as gasoline-soaked tissue paper.

            1. Schultz Silver badge

              venting, ballast release are non-renewable...

              I think that's why they didn't use those on proper zeppelins. A gas bottle and a pump makes your 'ballast' perfectly reusable.

      2. PNGuinn
        Headmaster

        Re: The Japanese ...

        Strewth, Cobber, your'e telling me the cheeky bastards tried to bomob Sidney?

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: The Germans...

      Which is why submarines of WWII onward have "the Christmas tree". Of course, you have to watch it ...

      1. ARaybould

        Christmas Tree

        > Of course, you have to watch it...

        There is quite an incentive to do that.

    3. Vic

      Re: The Germans...

      The M2 tragedy, which killed 70 Royal Navy officers and men, is widely believed to have been the result of the crew trying to beat their own record for getting an aircraft aloft and opening the hanger doors (yes, you read that correctly) before the boat had fully surfaced.

      Well, the hangar door is certainly open now. I've been in that hangar many times.

      It's quite silty...

      Vic.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > UB-85 was not the only German submarine to sink after a crew snafu.

    Then there are the British K boats...

    K13 sank. Twice. Then they renamed it K22 and she nearly sank again during the infamous Battle of May Island in 1918.

    Two submarines were lost and three others damaged, the K22 quite heavily so. A light cruiser was also damaged and 104 sailors lost their lives.

    During the battle no shots where fired and the Germans were not involved.

    There has apparently never been a submarine with the number 13 since in the Royal Navy...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      submarines with a K- prefix do not seem to be a good idea ....

  8. CraPo

    Kptlt. Schlitt

    For the sake of one Letter, that could have been some amazing nominative determinism.

  9. Swarthy
    Coffee/keyboard

    Having been around some submariners...

    Sailors call the toilet the head, submariners use the colloquial term "freckle locker" because there is a chance (if a valve is open, or the person flushing doesn't follow procedure) that it will flush backwards - giving the occupant new freckles, of a disturbing nature.

  10. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    UB-40

    Still surfacing regularly and not sunk without a trace

    http://ub40.global

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Happy

    Not Nessie

    a 'strange beast' rose from the sea. He is said to have described a 'beast' with 'large eyes, set in a horny sort of skull. It had a small head, but with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight'.”

    Captain Nemo's Nautilus.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAkTwIQ8Mfg

  12. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Clearly, some here will appreciate

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd_SxiVyI2s

    Model USS Macon flies at Moffett

  13. D@v3

    Question....

    Given..."promptly surfaced and surrendered rather than drowning his 34-strong crew."

    The boat sank after it had surfaced, the crew surrendered, and presumably, evacuated. So, what was the cause of the sinking?

    (actually, having written that, and thought about it, I guess that seeing as it had taken on *some* water already, and now had no crew, staying a float might have been a bit of a challenge, or Nessie came back for another go)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So.....

    Fuckwit Schlitt risked going down with his ship then nearly had his throat slit by the Brits for a shit?

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