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Collision with U-103
In the early hours of 12 May 1918, while en route for France with US troops under the command of Captain Hayes, Olympic sighted a surfaced U-boat 500 m (1,600 ft) ahead. Her gunners opened fire at once, and she turned to ram the submarine, which immediately crash dived to 30 m (98 ft) and turned to a parallel course. Almost immediately afterwards Olympic struck the submarine just aft of her conning tower and her port propeller sliced through U-103's pressure hull. The crew of U-103 blew her ballast tanks, scuttled and abandoned the submarine. This is the only known incident in World War I in which a merchant vessel sank an enemy warship. Olympic returned to Southampton with at least two hull plates dented and her prow twisted to one side, but not breached.

Olympic did not stop to pick up survivors, but continued on to Cherbourg. The USS Davis sighted a distress flare and picked up 31 survivors from U-103. It was discovered that U-103 had been preparing to torpedo the Olympic when she was sighted, but the crew could not flood the two stern torpedo tubes. Some American soldiers on board paid for a plaque to be placed in one of Olympic's lounges to commemorate the event, it read:

This tablet presented by the 59th Regiment United States Infantry commemorates the sinking of the German submarine U103 by the Olympic on May 12th 1918 in latitude 49 degrees 16 minutes north longitude 4 degrees 51 minutes west on the voyage from New York to Southampton with American troops...
Category: RMS Olympic | Added by: CunardWhiteStarLine (03/12/2013)
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