Only today's atomic submarines have outstripped the fabulous twin-funneled K boats—the biggest, fastest submarines of World War I. But no other class of warship suffered so much calamity and controversy. Authorized by Churchill, these steam-powered submarines were the best-concealed debacle in British naval history. Their crews called themselves the suicide club and in this authoritative documentary their story is vividly reconstructed.
Built secretly to meet a threat that existed only in the minds of the flag officers, the so-called "submersible destroyers" suffered an unprecedented series of accidents from the day they began their trials. Six sank with an appalling death toll. The forty-seven men of K 13 were luckier. They were rescued after fifty-seven hours trapped underwater. During the Battle of May Island when British ships carved through their own K flotillas one night, two K boats sank, two were crippled, and a cruiser lost her bows. Then there was the mysterious disappearance of K 5 in the Atlantic. All told, not one K boat escaped. The product of two years' research, this fascinating book looks for answers to what went wrong during the series of dreadful mishaps described.