Grand Fleet Ambush
In mid-May, Scheer completed plans to draw out part of the British Grand Fleet. The German High Seas Fleet would sortie for a raid on Sunderland, luring the British fleet across "'nests' of submarines and mine-fields". U-70 was one of four U-boats that put out to sea beginning on 18 May to scout the central North Sea for signs of the British fleet. Completing five days of scouting, U-70, along with U-63, U-51, U-32, sister boat U-66, U-24, and U-52, took up position off the Firth of Forth on 23 May. The other two other boats, U-43 and U-44, were stationed off Pentland Firth, in position to attack the British fleet leaving Scapa Flow. All the boats were to remain on station until 1 June and await a coded message which would report the sailing of the British fleet. Unfortunately for the Germans, the British Admiralty had intelligence reports of the departure of the submarines which, coupled with an absence of attacks on shipping, aroused British suspicions.
A delayed departure of the German fleet for its sortie (which had been redirected to the Skagerrak) and the failure of five U-boats to receive the coded message warning of the British advance caused Scheer's anticipated ambush to be a "complete and disappointing failure". Although U-70 had received the advance warning of the coded message, her crew did not ever see any part of the fleet. The failure of the submarine ambush to sink any British capital ships allowed the full Grand Fleet to engage the numerically inferior High Seas Fleet in the Battle of Jutland, which took place 31 May – 1 June.
U-70's next success came in December when she sank the 5,587-ton British steamer Pascal on 17 December. Over the next month she sank an additional 15 ships (20,545 GRT).
Read more about this topic: SM U-70
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