Daily Event for January 21, 2008

Jan. 21, 1915 the German submarine SMS U-22, patrolling in the North Sea and sighted a submarine on the surface. Kapitänleutnant Bruno Hoppe challenged the boat with signals, but received no response. Twice he signaled and twice he received no response. With the assumption that the boat was British, Hoppe ordered torpedoes fired, soon they were running toward the unsuspecting boat. A torpedo doesn't distinguish between friend or foe and apparently Hoppe could not either, the suspected British submarine was actually SMS U-7 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Georg König, a good friend of Hoppe.

The U-7 was on her third patrol and had yet to score a victory, she never would. U-7 was hit and sank
taking König and twenty-three other men with her, there was only one survivor. It was he who confirmed the identity of the boat to Hoppe. When he was picked up and Hoppe saw the cap insignia he knew he had killed his friend. For unknown reasons Hoppe did not receive the signal alerting him to the presence of U-7 in his assigned area and because the late afternoon sun was directly in his eyes they did not see that U-7 had sent the appropriate recognition signals when challenged.

When U-7 returned to her base Hoppe and his crew did not respond to the cheers of the other U-boat men awaiting their arrival, which those there to greet them could not understand. But when Hoppe approached the flotilla commander, who had been there to meet the boat, he informed him that he had torpedoed U-7, possibly one of the most difficult things he ever had to do in his life.

Sadly this happens on all sides in war, but this was the first known example of a "friendly fire" incident of this kind in the Great War. Bruno Hoppe did not survive the war, but U-22 did. Hoppe was killed in SMS U-86 on
Feb. 17, 1917 after sinking almost 30,000 tons of shipping.
© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

In Erinnerung an die gefallenen Besatzungsmitglieder der SMS U-7
"In the memory of the fallen crewmen of SMS U-7"

Blazejczak, F.
Büttner, Alfred
Darmas, Hugo
U-Oberheizer (der Reserve)
Diehl, Rudolf
Doeberl, Adalbert
Oberleutnant zur See
Draeger, Wilhelm
Gatz, Arthur
Hochmuth, P.
Horion, Wilhelm
U-Oberheizer (der Reserve)
Jesche, Fritz
König, Georg
Commanding Officer
Liese, Wilhelm
Liewers, Reinh
Nitschke, Karl
Pettig, Ernst
U-Obermatrose (der Reserve)
Pollock, Paul
U-Funktelegrafie Gast
Schmidt, Georg
Schrodt, Paul
Schulte, Karl
Schulz, Fritz
Soltau, Ludwig
U-Maschinistenmaat Gr
Stamm, Karl
Marine Ingenieur
This list contains the names of 22 known casualties, two names are missing. If you can help complete it
please email the webmaster.

To submit a photo, biographical information or correction please email the webmaster.

2005 Daily Event