To combat the U-boat menace in the early years of the war, Britain developed the Q-ship – a merchant vessel with concealed guns. Under the Kaiser's restrictions, the U-boats were to surface before attacking merchant ships with their guns. At the last minute, the Q-ship would open fire on the surfaced submarine, destroying it. The Q-ships' effectiveness ended in 1916 when Germany began unrestricted |U-boat warfare, torpedoing merchant ships while submerged. Ultimately, it would be the British tactic of convoys – where warships protected merchant vessels – which defeated the U-boats.
Discover the story of the war through the eyes of the British people and the Empire, both on the home front and the fighting fronts. Gain an understanding of how the war started, why it continued, how the Allies won and its global impact. See over 1,300 objects drawn from IWM’s First World War collections – the richest and most comprehensive in the world. Ranging from weapons, uniforms and equipment, to diaries and letters, keepsakes and trinkets, photographs, film and art. Each object on display gives a voice to the people who created them, used them or cared for them, and reveals stories not only of destruction, suffering and loss, but also endurance and innovation, duty and devotion, comradeship and love.