WW1 German sinking of passenger ships


Self ******.
Registered Senior Member
I read some post in here a while ago about Americans intentionally sending a passenger ship to be sunk? At least I think so, I've lost the thread. I couldn't find anything by googling, so... is there any truth, or at least, speculation about this?
Lusitania springs to mind immediately--there was a book written about the sinking about 30 years ago, I can't remember the author's name, but he claimed it was sunk because it was carrying munitions and weapons. It was thus regarded as a legitimate war target by the Germans. It was also claimed in the book that the explosion of some of the munitions was responsible for much more damage than that caused by the torpedoes.
Isn't that the passenger ship they loaded with explosives?

Not explosives per se in the sense you probably mean but rather munitions intended for the British, as the story goes. That's what the Germans claimed so they could make it fair game. That has never been resolved one way or the other.

As to part of your original question, NO - neither it or any other ship was sent out to be a purposeful target to be blown out of the water.
desi: "Isn't that the passenger ship they loaded with explosives?"

Read-Only: "That has never been resolved one way or the other."

Stay tuned- maybe we'll find out next summer.
As I recall the Lusitania was sunk because the Germans believed it to be carrying munitions. It'd be interesting to know if the Germans were correct or not, it did however have nearly 2000 passengers on board and presumably their luggage and other cargo so I'm not entirely sure how much munitions you'd get on it.
There's also a strong possibility that the British; knowing the likely outcome to the way others would perceive Germany, fed false intelligence to the Germans to draw them away from other targets and create this one.
It's not a very PC suggestion so I hardly expect anyone to take to it but it is war and these things occur.
"On 1 May 1915 the "Lusitania" sailed from New York and commenced her normal transatlantic crossing. Notwithstanding an advert in the press placed by the German Embassy warning prospective passengers of the danger of sailing in a British ship into what had been classified as a war zone, the "Lusitania" had a full passenger list and cargo for Liverpool. Her Master, Captain William Turner, was one of Cunard's senior Masters and highly experienced, but fully convinced that a submarine could pose no real danger to his fast and powerful ship. The "Lusitania" entered what was known as the war zone on 6 May so Capt Turner had his lifeboats swung out ready for lowering, but continued on at 21 knots. No abandon ship drill was carried out at any time during the voyage and many passengers were not even aware of which boat they were assigned to in case of an emergency."