The Famous War Submarines Quiz!


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: wiki commons

About This Quiz

For decades, militaries of the world over have plunged beneath the waves to spy on (or destroy) their enemies. How much do you know about these famous submarines?

The Germans are famous for building U-boats, or submarines. What does "U-boat" stand for?

U-boats are undersea boats. During both world wars, the Allied navies shuddered at the thought of encountering capable U-boat commanders.


American ships spotted one of the midget subs long before the Pearl Harbor attack.

Hours before the first bombs fell, a U.S. minesweeping ship spotted a midget sub's periscope and moved to attack. The sub was damaged in the ensuing combat and one of the crew members famously washed up on shore and was captured.


During World War I, which country's submarine became famous for sinking the RMS Lusitania?

In May 1915, a German sub (the SM U-20) sank the RMS Lusitania, a passenger ship. Nearly 1,200 people died and the event turned public opinion against the Germans.


Submarines were first used in warfare during which conflict?

During the American Civil War, both the North and South were desperate to control America's coastal waters. They developed submarines as part of their arsenals.


During World War II, German U-boats often patrolled in groups, which were called _______.

The U-boats gathered in groups and hunted Allied targets as part of "wolfpacks." Wolfpacks of Nazi subs made the Atlantic Ocean a treacherous place for both military and civilian ships during World War II.


The K-141 Kursk is another famous military submarine. What power source did it have onboard?

The K-141 Kursk was a nuclear-powered sub. And it became famous for all the wrong reasons.


During World War II, Japan built its I-400-class submarines. What was notable about these subs?

The I-400-class submarines were gigantic -- the biggest subs of the era. They were a whopping 400 feet long and carried a crew of nearly 150 sailors.


What was very notable about Project 611, a type of Soviet submarine?

The Project 611 subs (also called Zulu IV class) were the very first ballistic missile submarines. In 1955, they launched the world's first submarine-based missiles.


How did the H.L. Hunley sink the USS Housatonic?

The H.L. Hunley rammed the USS Housatonic with a spar torpedo, which was basically an explosive charge at the end of a wooden pole. The charge blasted a hole into the ship's hull, and the Housatonic sank in just minutes.


The British ultimately got revenge for the sinking of the HMS E3.

Bernd Wegener and his crew terrorized the Allies for another year. But in late 1915, the British HMS Baralong, a Q-Ship, fired upon the U-27, killing its commander and much of its crew.


The H.L. Hunley sank in 1864. When were the remains of the ship located?

The ship wasn't located until 1995, nearly 120 years after she sank to the bottom of the sea. It was raised from the seabed in 2000, and it is now on public display.


What was special about the USS George Washington?

The USS George Washington was the world's first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. It's nuclear power source meant that it could stay underwater for its entire mission.


Which military force achieved the very first "kill" by a submarine?

In 1864, the Confederates deployed the famous H.L. Hunley submarine. It sank the USS Housatonic, which was operating a blockade meant to thwart Confederate ships.


The H.L. launched the first successful submarine attack in history. What happened to the famous sub?

The H.L. Hunley blew up the Housatonic, but at a great price. Historians believe the sub was damaged in the attack, and it promptly sank, killing everyone on board.


The first sub-on-sub attack occurred during which war?

In the fall of 1914, a British sub, the HMS E3, went to battle with a German sub, SM U-27. It was the first sub-on-sub battle in the history of human warfare.


Which side won the first sub-on-sub battle?

The German sub, commanded by Bernd Wegener, blasted the British sub with two torpedoes, and the HMS E3 went to the bottom of the sea. All 28 crew members died.


How many kills did the U-27 record before being destroyed by the HMS Baralong?

Bernd Wegener and his U-27 sank 12 ships (including two warships) during World War I. The HMS Baralong put an end to the German sub's evil ways.


In World War II, which country deployed "Type A" submarines?

The Japanese built and deployed Type A subs. They were so-called "midget submarines," just 78 feet long.


How many men crewed Japan's Type A subs?

The small Type A subs required a crew of just two men. The machines didn't even have engines. They ran solely on battery packs, which quickly drained during combat.


Type A submarines launched the very first attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Before Japan's warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor, the subs were already firing their torpedoes. But the attacks were so ineffectual that they are often forgotten by history books.


After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. managed to capture one of the Type A subs. What did they do with the sub?

The U.S. lugged the sub all the way back to the mainland. There, they used the Type A as a propaganda tool, showing it off to American citizens, who then bought more war bonds to support the war effort.


The commander of SM U-20 mistook the RMS Lusitania for a military vessel.

The SM U-20 positively identified the passenger ship and loosed its torpedoes anyway. Many Germans justified the ship's sinking by claiming that the Lusitania was secretly hauling war supplies.


What ultimately happened to the infamous SM U-20?

In 1916, the SM U-20 experienced engine problems and was grounded off of the Danish coast. Her crew detonated charges meant to destroy her.


How many of the I-400-class submarines actually entered service during World War II?

The Japanese initially wanted to build numerous copies of the I-400, but only two were ever completed and deployed. These subs were so big that they could carry three floatplanes.


Which country was the first to develop subs that could also carry warplanes?

During World War I, Germany's U-12 became the first sub ever to launch a warplane. It was a Friedrichshafen FF.29, a rickety-looking biplane with waterskis to help it navigate the waves.


The U-12 simply carried a warplane on its deck. What was the purpose of this unwieldy (and unstealthy) system?

The idea was to increase the range of the plane. The closer the plane was to its service area, the better the pilot could perform his mission.


The Soviet submarine S-13 is famous for what?

The S-13 is famous for being bloody. In 1945, it sank the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military transport ship that was being used for evacuation purposes. Around 9,400 people died during the attack.


The Soviet submarine named L-3 was also extremely deadly during World War II. It sank the MV Goya, which was being used by the Nazis. How many people died in the attack?

The L-3 sank the MV Goya, which, like the Wilhelm Gustloff, was evacuating German military men and civilians. More than 6,500 people perished.


In 2000, the K-141 Kursk suffered an explosion caused by ______?

The K-141 Kursk was using torpedoes during a training exercise, and one of the poorly-made weapons simply exploded due to a malfunction. Nearly 120 sailors died in the accident.


All of the men on the K-141 Kursk died instantly after the explosion.

After the accident, perhaps two dozen sailors were alive, and foreign authorities offered rescue assistance, which Russian officials refused. The rest of the men died before the Russians could reach them.


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