|November 17, 1917 - USS Fanning (DD-37) and USS Nicholson (DD-52) sink first enemy submarine, U-58, off Milford Haven, Wales.
The first German submarine sunk by the U.S. Navy in World War I was the U-58. It was the only U-boat kill of the war by American destroyers. On November 17, 1917, destroyers USS Fanning (DD 37) and USS Nicholson (DD 52) were escorting an Atlantic convoy near the Hebrides. Suddenly, Fanning's lookouts sighted a periscope moving through the sea. Fanning swung about, raced toward the sub at top speed, and began attacking with depth charges. The U-boat partially surfaced. Then, Nicholson joined the fray, making a depth-charge pass of her own. The explosions jammed the sub's diving gear and the U-boat plunged towards the bottom. At about 300 feet. the sub blew ballast and shot toward the surface. Fanning and Nicholson were waiting when the U-boat broke the surface and the destroyers began shelling. This was enough for the Germans who quickly surrendered. But, the U-boat's skipper ordered the seacocks opened, and as the destroyers were picking the surrendering Germans off the sub, it eased below the surface never to come up again. Only forty survivors were taken prisoner.