SM U-20 (1912)

U-20 on or after 6 November, 1916. She had run aground on the 5th, and the extensive damage to her bow is from her crew detonating her torpedoes the following day. Photo in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

SM U-20 was launched in December, 1912. Commissioned the following August, U-20 began patrols with the rest of the fleet after the outbreak of World War I, and was under command of Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger from December, 1914. On 7 May, 1915, U-20 and Schweiger sunk the liner RMS Lusitania, sparking outrage from the United States, and forcing the Kaiser to order no further attacks on liners. Nevertheless, Schweiger and U-20 sank the RMS Hesperian, carrying troops, cargo, and functioning as a hospital ship, on 4 September. Schweiger was severely reprimanded, but retained his command, and sank the troop transport SS Cymric on 8 May, 1916. U-20s engines were damaged on 4 November, 1916, and she was run aground off Denmark. The crew detonated her torpedoes, but otherwise failed to destroy U-20, and she remained on the beach until 1925. The Danes blew up the wreck, after removing the conning tower and deck gun, placing the former on display at the Strandingsmuseum.