Trench art from the World Wars may be common, but a piece from a super-submarine
commanded by the greatest submarine ace of all time is extremely rare. This piece is
made from a brass shell casing measuring 8.4 cm in diameter, the end is flared and it is
hand engraved “Kaiserliche Marine/U-139/1914 -1918″ surrounded by a shield border and
featuring floral decoration and an anchor. 8 3/8″ high, pleasing brown patina.
The U-139 was the first boat from “Project 46″, a class of long range submarines which
featured a pair of 15 cm deck guns and two 8.8 cm deck guns in addition to its 4 bow and
2 stern torpedo tubes. Its main role was to be used on the surface against merchant ships
with the deck guns as primary armament. The conning tower’s command center featured
90mm of armor and the pressure hull was thicker than normal to allow for deeper dives. It
was commissioned in May, 1918 and commanded by Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière,
the most successful submarine commander in history, having sunk 194 ships, totaling
453,716 tons, during his 15 war patrols. Most of these were during his time in command
of U-35 between November, 1915 and March, 1918. The U-139 sank four ships and
damaged a fifth, all in October, 1918, just a few weeks before the end of hostilities. Price
includes US domestic shipping.