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A U-boat was a type of military submarine used by Germany. They were most active in World War I and World War II. Although they could be very effective as weapons against enemy warships, they were most effectively used in economic warfare (commerce raiding) and enforcing naval blockades against enemy shipping.
The name is an abbreviation of the German Unterseeboot ("undersea boat"). In English, U-boat refers exclusively to the German vessels used during the World Wars. In German, however, the term U-Boot refers to any kind of submarine.
- "U-boat". Online Etymolgy Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=U-boat&allowed_in_frame=0. Retrieved 2012-22-06.