Baralong Incident

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The Baralong Incidents were naval engagements of the First World War in August and September 1915, involving the Royal Navy Q-Ship HMS Wyandra, sailing under the name of Baralong, and two German U-boats.

The Baralong sank U-27, which had been preparing to sink a nearby merchant ship. About a dozen of the crewmen managed to escape the sinking submarine, and Lieutenant Godfrey Herbert, commanding officer of the Baralong, ordered the surviving sailors to be shot as they tried to board the Nicosian. He then sent a boarding party aboard that merchant ship to prevent any attempts at sinking her. All the survivors of the U-27's sinking, including several who had reached the Nicosian, were shot dead. Later, Baralong sank U-41 in what has also been described as an unchivalrous incident.

Contents

First incident

Action of 19 August 1915

On August 19, 1915, about 100 miles south of Queenstown, Ireland, U-27, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Bernard Wegener, stopped the British steamer Nicosian in accordance with the rules laid down by the London Treaty. A boarding party of six men from the U-27 discovered the Nicosian was carrying munitions and 250 American mules intended for the use of the British Army in France. They ordered the freighter's crew and passengers into lifeboats, and prepared to sink the freighter.

U-27 was lying off Nicosian's port quarter firing into it when the Baralong appeared on the scene, flying the ensign of the United States as a false flag. When she was half a mile away Baralong ran up a signal flag to the effect that she was going to rescue Nicosian's crew. Wegener acknowledged the signal, ordered his men to stop firing, and took U-27 along the port side of Nicosian to intercept the Baralong. As the submarine disappeared behind the steamship, Herbert steered Baralong on a parallel course along Nicosian's starboard side.[1]

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