K Boats

Steam-Powered Submarines in World War I

  • Subject: General Military & Naval History | Royal Navy
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    March 29, 1999
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    10 oz
Softcover $28.95
Member Price $23.16 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


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.

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