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A History of U-156 and Germany's Long-range Submarine Campaign Against North America, 1918 

Photo courtesy of the Marist College Special Archives and Collections from the Lowell Thomas papers  

German u-boat book
About the Book

In the last year of the Great War Germany sent huge submarines to the distant waters off West Africa, the United States, and Canada in a desperate attempt to sink unprotected shipping and scatter Allied defenses in the main naval war zone around Great Britain and the Mediterranean. 

The U-156, a huge long range u-boat kreuzer, transported captured cargo, attacked shipping, and dodged death at the hands of the Allies. The U-156 was also the focus of a relentless British code breaking and attack operation, shelled the mainland US, and sank the largest US warship lost in World War I. Then, after over a month on the far side of the Atlantic, the U-156 sailed home and into history.

Book cover photo courtesy of Marist College Special Archives and McFarland Publishing


Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff, Chief of the German Naval Staff

"The military necessity of scattering as much as possible the anti-submarine forces of our enemies

makes it necessary to increase the area of the blockade zones” and “the best chance of success lies in an increase of unrestricted submarine warfare to the east coast of the United States

Kapitänleutnant Konrad Gansser, Commander of the U-156

"Two torpedoes pass approximately three ship's lengths before the bow of the U-Kreuzer and soon explode near the coast.  A third torpedo, fired a few seconds later, initially runs straight in the direction of the first two, but after covering the first half of the course it curves to the left. Outmaneuvering it is no longer possible, the torpedo hits the u-kreuzer at starboard amidships"

US Intelligence Report

"The U-156 was perhaps the most effective of all the submarines sent to these shores"