January 31 - 1918 - The Battle of May Island
"The Battle of May Island" was not actually a battle at all, but the macabre name given by sailors to a catastrophic accident involving a number of K-class submarines. On that night, two submarines were lost, while five others were significantly damaged, and 104 sailors lost their lives. The K-class submarine was a steam powered submarine which invited so much disaster it was said the K stood for "Kalamity." Yet the Battle of May Island was the worst incident in the history of the Royal Navy's submarine program. It was supposed to be a fleet exercise, but the heavy and difficult to manage submarines ended up running into each other as they were leaving the Firth of Forth for the North Sea. Once the first ships ran into each other, then other ships couldn't get out of the way, and the cruisers accompanying the submarines turned back to help, but only created more issues. Within less than two hours, two submarines were at the bottom of the seabed, with much of their crew lost.