The Baltic Campaign

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The attacks

The submarines steadily attacked German coastal shipping carrying vital war supplies. This forced the Germans to introduce a convoy system in their home waters. By their impact, real and imagined, the strategic effect of these boats on Germany was very significant. They harassed, and sometimes sank, German warships and dislocated the vital iron ore trade between Sweden and Germany which forced the commitment of even more German ships to anti-submarine duties. Their presence thwarted German naval advances in support of the land campaign against Russia. The Germans even blamed vessels lost to mines on British submarines. So successful were the British in 1915 and 1916 that German trade in the Baltic almost completely ceased.

Baltic submarine brooch (RNSM)
Baltic submarine brooch (RNSM)

The Baltic campaign ended in April 1918 after the Russians signed a peace treaty with Germany. The treaty demanded the surrender of all the British submarines, but the crews scuttled many of them before they could fall into German hands.


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