German submarine U-1206 sank as the result of a malfunctioning toilet.
Brilliant. Don’t believe me? The following account comes from Wikipedia:
‘U-1206 was one of the late war boats fitted with new deepwater high-pressure toilets which allowed them to be used while running at depth. Flushing these facilities was extremely complicated and special technicians were trained to operate them.
On April 14, 1945, 8 miles off the Scottish coast, while cruising at a depth of 200 feet, misuse of the toilet caused large amounts of water to flood the boat. According to the Commander’s report, while in the engine room helping to repair one of the diesel engines, he was informed that a malfunction involving the head caused a leak in the forward section. The leak flooded the submarine’s batteries (located beneath the toilet) causing them to release chlorine gas, leaving him with no alternative than to surface. Once surfaced, U-1206 was discovered and bombed by British patrols, forcing Schlitt to scuttle the submarine.’
One can just imagine it…
It begins with some unfortunate soul, clutching a copy of Mein Kampf, settling down to make mud and, after aggressive effort, entirely laying the toilet to waste. Perhaps he was whistling at first. Maybe he was smiling as he shed his load. But that’s all before he turned around and caught sight of the utter devastation his fine brown offspring had wrought. Nervous eyes bulging in horror at the sheer magnitude of the damage, he knew at once what he had to do. There was no question of his calling for expert advice; he must expel all evidence of the crime himself. Plunger in hand, he advanced upon the sleeping monster, laying dormant in the very middle of its watery empire, and set upon it with admirable courage. But in this errand he was thwarted; the great leviathan would not be moved. Haunted by the rising smell and the tap-tapping at the door by a lingering mother-to-be, the sweating culprit grew reckless. He tried anew to assert his control of the seas. A desperate leg was placed on top of the cistern for purchase; the flush was throttled with two quivering hands. And in the fading light there came the rushing sound of inevitability.
Alas history teaches us that man does not always triumph over his creation. In his haste for freedom, our gentle hero succeeded only in inflicting his sin upon his unsuspecting and undeserving crew mates. Thus it was, in my mind at least, that one man’s after dinner lust brought about the foundering of a state of the art weapon of war.