U-Boats of the Kreigsmarine

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U-1

German submarine U-1 was the first U-boat (or submarine) built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine following Adolf Hitler’s abrogation of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1935, which banned Germany possessing a submarine force.

A Type IIA U-boat, she was built at the Deutsche Werke shipyards in Kiel, yard number 236. Her keel being laid on 11 February 1935 amid celebration. She was completed on 29 June 1935 after a very rapid construction, and was manned by crews trained in the Netherlands.

U-25 (1936)

German submarine U-25 was one of two Type IA ocean-going submarines produced by Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine. Constructed by DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen as yard number 903, U-25 was commissioned on 6 April 1936. It experienced a short, but successful combat career, sinking eight ships and damaging one.

U-26 (1936)

German submarine U-26 was one of the two Type IA ocean-going U-boats produced by Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine. Constructed in Bremen, U-26 was commissioned in May 1936. She experienced a short, but successful combat career, sinking eleven ships.

Until 1940, U-26 was primarily used as training vessel and for propaganda purposes by the German government. During her trials it was found that the Type IA submarine was difficult to handle due to her poor stability and slow dive rate.

In early 1940, the boat was called into combat duty due to the shortage of available submarines. U-26 participated in six war patrols, sinking eleven ships and badly damaging one other. On her first patrol laying mines, U-26 sank three merchant ships and damaged one British warship. On her second war patrol it became the first U-boat during World War II to enter the Mediterranean Sea. U-26 participated in three other successful patrols, sinking four additional merchant ships.

U-31 (1936)

German submarine U-31 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down on 1 March 1936 as yard number 912, launched on 25 September and commissioned on 28 December 1936.

U-34 (1936)

German submarine U-34 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She was laid down in September 1935, launched in July 1936 and commissioned in September.

U-34 is known alongside U-33 to take action in the Spanish Civil War executing Operation Ursula. As a result, U-34 became the first German submarine to sink another vessel since the end of World War I in 1918. During World War II the boat carried out seven patrols, sinking 22 ships and capturing two more. She was sunk in a collision in the Baltic in August 1943.

 U-35

German submarine U-35 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine. She was built three years before the start of World War II. The submarine was laid down on 2 March 1936 by Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft at Kiel, launched on 24 September 1936, and commissioned on 3 November that year under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Klaus Ewerth. The U-boat was featured on the cover of Life magazine on 16 October 1939.

U-35 was scuttled just three months into World War II in November 1939. During her service, she conducted two war patrols and sank four vessels for a total loss of 7,850 tons while damaging one vessel of around 6,014 tons.

U-37

German submarine U-37 was a Type IXA U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 15 March 1937 at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard in Bremen, launched on 14 May 1938, and commissioned on 4 August 1938 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Schuch as part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla.

Between August 1939 and March 1941, U-37 conducted eleven combat patrols, sinking 53 merchant ships, for a total of 200,124 gross register tons (GRT); and two warships, the British Hastings-class sloop HMS Penzance, and the French submarine Sfax (Q182). U-37 was then withdrawn from front-line service and assigned to training units until the end of the war. On 8 May 1945, the U-boat was scuttled in Sonderburg Bay, off Flensburg. U-37 was the sixth most successful U-boat in World War II.

U-45

German submarine U-45 was a Type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was ordered on 21 November 1936 and laid down on 23 February 1937 at F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel as yard number 580. She was launched on 27 April 1938 and commissioned on 25 June 1938 under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Alexander Gelhaar.

During her Kriegsmarine service, U-45 conducted only two war patrols and sank two vessels for a loss of 19,313 gross register tons (GRT).

While operating with others in an attack on an Allied convoy, U-45 was sunk by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Inglefield, Ivanhoe and Intrepid on 14 October 1939 southwest of Ireland.

U-71

German submarine U-71 was a type VII C submarine of Germany’s Kriegsmarine during the Second World War.

Ordered on 25 January 1939, her keel was laid down as yard number 618 on 21 December that year. She was launched on 31 October 1940 and commissioned on 14 December. She entered the 7th U-boat Flotilla as a training submarine (commissioning until 31 May 1941), then served as a front (operational) boat between 1 June 1941 and 31 May 1943. During that time she carried out ten war patrols, but had to return to port following damage after colliding with U-631 in the North Atlantic on 17 April 1943.

After that, she moved to the 24th U-boat Flotilla as a training submarine (1 June 1943 – 30 June 1944), then to the 22nd flotilla also as a training boat from 1 July 1944 until 1 February 1945. She was a member of 17 wolfpacks. She sank five ships and was scuttled on 2 May 1945 at Wilhelmshaven, six days before the German surrender.

U-123 – 1940 Version

German submarine U-123 was a Type IXB U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II. After that conflict, she became the French submarine Blaison (Q165)until she was decommissioned on 18 August 1959.

U-126

German submarine U-126 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. In six patrols, she sank 25 ships for a total of 112,489 gross register tons (GRT). She was laid down at the AG Weser yard in Bremen as ‘werk’ 989 on 1 June 1940, launched on 31 December and commissioned on 22 March 1941 under Kapitänleutnant Ernst Bauer.

The submarine commenced her service with the 2nd U-boat Flotilla, an organization she would stay with, both for training and operations.

U-175

German submarine U-175 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. She was laid down on 30 January 1941 at Bremen, and commissioned on 5 December 1941 with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Bruns in command. After training with the 4th U-boat Flotilla, U-175 was transferred to the 10th U-boat Flotilla for front-line service. Throughout her career, the boat undertook three war patrols during which she sank 10 merchant ships amounting to a total of 40,619 gross register tons (GRT) before being sunk by the US Coast Guard cutter Spencer on 17 April 1943.

U-177

German submarine U-177 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 25 November 1940 at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard in Bremen as yard number 1017. She was launched on 1 October 1941 and commissioned on 14 March 1942 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Schulze. After a period of training with the 4th U-boat Flotilla at Stettin, the boat was transferred to the 10th flotilla on 1 October 1942 and based at Lorient for front-line service, she was then reassigned to the 12th flotilla at Bordeaux on 1 December.

She sank 14 ships of 87,388 gross register tons (GRT) and damaged one other of 2,588 GRT, but was herself sunk in February 1944 in the Atlantic west of Ascension Island by a US Navy aircraft.

U-199

German submarine U-199 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 10 October 1941 at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard at Bremen as yard number 1045, launched on 11 July 1942 and commissioned on 28 November. She was commanded by Ritterkreuz recipient Kapitänleutnant Hans-Werner Kraus, who had previously successfully commanded U-47 and U-83.

After training with the 4th U-boat Flotilla at Stettin, U-199 was transferred to the 12th U-boat Flotilla for front-line service from 1 May 1943.

She was sunk off the Brazilian coast in 1943 by a combination of attacks by Brazilian and American aircraft.

U-201

German submarine U-201 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine in World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 20 January 1940 by Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 630, launched on 7 December 1940, and commissioned on 25 January 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Adalbert Schnee. Attached to the 1st U-boat Flotilla, she made nine successful patrols in the North Atlantic, the last two under the command of Kapitänleutnant Günther Rosenberg. She was a member of eight wolfpacks.

She was sunk on 17 February 1943 in the North Atlantic, by depth charges from a British warship. All 49 hands were lost.

U-234

German submarine U-234 was a Type XB U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II.

Her first and only mission into enemy territory consisted of the attempted delivery of uranium oxide and German advanced weapons technology to the Empire of Japan. After learning of Germany’s unconditional surrender, the submarine’s crew surrendered to the United States on 14 May 1945.

U-253

German submarine U-253 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

The U-boat was laid down 15 November 1940 at the Bremer Vulkan yard in Bremen-Vegesack, launched on 30 August 1941 and commissioned on 21 October 1941. U-253 served with the 8th U-boat Flotilla for training and later served operationally with the 6th U-boat Flotilla from 1 to 25 September 1942. U-253 completed one patrol but did not sink any ships.

U-253 was sunk with all hands on 25 September 1942 in the Denmark Strait, northwest of Iceland, at 66°59′59.9″N 23°0′0″WCoordinates: 66°59′59.9″N 23°0′0″W. The cause of U-253‍ ’s loss is not clear, but believed to be a British mine

U-307

German submarine U-307 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. The U-boat was laid down on 5 November 1941, and commissioned on 18 November 1942.

U-403

German submarine U-403 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II.In eight war patrols, she sank two ships totalling 12,946 gross register tons (GRT). She was sunk by a French aircraft west of Dakar in August 1943 with the loss of all hands.

U-404

German submarine U-404 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

She was laid down at the Danziger Werft in the city of the same name on 4 June 1940 as yard number 105, launched a year later on 4 June 1941 and was commissioned on 6 August 1941, with Kapitänleutnant Otto von Bülow in command.

The boat commenced her career with the 6th U-boat Flotilla, a training organization on 6 August 1941, before moving on to operations on 1 October 1941. U-404 carried out seven combat patrols, sinking 14 merchantmen and one warship for a total of over 70,000 gross register tons (GRT) during the Second World War. She also damaged two other ships. The submarine was a member of 13 wolfpacks and was visually identifiable by the particular paint scheme consisting of a prow of a Viking longboat painted in red paint on either side of the conning tower.

For his numerous successes, von Bülow received the Knight’s Cross.

U-471

German submarine U-471 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 25 October 1941 by Deutsche Werke, Kiel as yard number 302, launched on 6 March 1943 and commissioned on 5 May 1943 under Oberleutnant zur See Friedrich Kloevekorn.

U-505

U-505 is a German Type IXC U-boat built for service in the Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was captured on 4 June 1944 by United States Navy Task Group 22.3 (TG 22.3). Her codebooks, Enigma machine and other secret materials found on board assisted Allied code breaking operations.

All but one of U-505’s crew were rescued by the Navy task group. The submarine was towed to Bermuda in secret and her crew was interned at a US prisoner of war camp where they were denied access to International Red Cross visits. The Navy classified the capture as top secret and prevented its discovery by the Germans.

In 1954, U-505 was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois and is now a museum ship.

She is one of six U-boats that were captured by Allied forces during World War II, and the first warship to be captured by U.S. forces on the high seas since the War of 1812. In her uniquely unlucky career with the Kriegsmarine, she also had the distinction of being the “most heavily damaged U-boat to successfully return to port” in World War II (on her fourth patrol) and the only submarine in which a commanding officer took his own life in combat conditions (on her tenth patrol, following six botched patrols). U-505 is one of four German World War II U-boats that survive as museum ships, and one of two Type IXCs still in existence, the other being U-534.

U-515

German submarine U-515 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. She was commissioned in 1942 and sunk in 1944. U-515 completed six operational patrols and sank 23 ships, badly damaged two ships which later sank, and damaged two additional ships.

U-530

German submarine U-530 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down at the Deutsche Werft in Hamburg on 8 December 1941 as yard number 345, launched on 28 July 1942 and commissioned on 14 October 1942 with Kapitänleutnant Kurt Lange in command, who led her in six patrols. Lange was replaced in January 1945 by Oberleutnant zur See Otto Wermuth, who led her escape to Argentina after Germany’s surrender. The submarine’s voyage to Argentina led to many legends, apocryphal stories, and conspiracy theories that together with U-977 it had transported escaping Nazi leaders and/or Nazi gold to South America, or even that it would be involved in the sinking of Brazilian cruiser Bahia as the last act of the Battle of the Atlantic.

U-534

German submarine U-534 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. She was built in 1942 in Hamburg-Finkenwerder by Deutsche Werft AG as ‘werk’ 352. She was launched on 23 September 1942 and commissioned on 23 December with Oberleutnant zur See Herbert Nollau in command.

The U-boat is one of only four German WWII submarines in preserved condition remaining in the world, the only other IXC boat being U-505 in Chicago, United States. This boat was used mainly for training duties, and during her life sank no other ships. A Royal Air Force bomber sank her on 5 May 1945 in the Kattegat some 20 kilometers northeast of the Danish island of Anholt. U-534 was salvaged in 1993 and since February 2009 has been on display in Birkenhead as part of the U-boat Story.

U-552

German submarine U-552 was a Type VIIC U-Boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 1 December 1939 at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as ‘werk’ 528, launched on 14 September 1940 and went into service on 4 December 1940. U-552 was nicknamed the Roter Teufel (“Red Devil”) after its mascot of a grinning devil which was painted on the conning tower. She was one of the more successful of her class, operating for over three years of continual service and sinking or damaging 30 Allied ships with 164,276 tons sunk and 26,910 tons damaged. She was a member of 21 wolf packs.

U-552 was involved in two controversial actions: in October 1941 she sank the USS Reuben James, the first US Navy warship to be lost in World War II; this was at a time when the US was still officially neutral, and caused a diplomatic row. In April 1942 she sank the freighter SS David H. Atwater off the US seaboard in a particularly brutal attack, characterized as a naval atrocity.

U-552 had an unusually long service life, surviving to the end of World War II; after evacuating from her French base during the spring of 1944 she operated on training duties in the Baltic Sea until 2 May 1945, when her crew scuttled her to prevent her falling into enemy hands.

U-553

German submarine U-553 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

U-805

German submarine U-805 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II.

U-848

German submarine U-848 was a Type IXD2 U-boat built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. Laid down in Bremen and completed in February 1943, the boat was a long-range Type IX, with four bow and two stern torpedo tubes.

She was commanded throughout her brief service life by Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Rollmann, who led her through her sea trials and onto her first war patrol on 18 September 1943.

U-995

German submarine U-995 was a Type VIIC/41 U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine. She was laid down on 25 November 1942 by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, Germany, and commissioned on 16 September 1943 with Oberleutnant zur See Walter Köhntopp in command.

At the end of the war on 8 May 1945 she was stricken at Trondheim, Norway. She was surrendered to the British and then transferred to Norwegian ownership in October 1948. In December 1952, U995 became the Norwegian submarine Kaura and in 1965 she was stricken by the Royal Norwegian Navy. She then was sold for the symbolic price of one Deutsche Mark to Germany where she became a museum ship at Laboe Naval Memorial in October 1971.

U-977

German submarine U-977 was a World War II Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine which escaped to Argentina after Germany’s surrender. The submarine’s voyage to Argentina led to many legends, apocryphal stories and conspiracy theories that together with U-530 it had transported escaping Nazi leaders (including Hitler himself) and/or Nazi gold to South America, that it had made a 66-day passage without surfacing, that it had made a secret voyage to Antarctica, or even that it would be involved in the sinking of Brazilian cruiser Bahia as the last act of the Battle of the Atlantic.

U-2511

German submarine U-2511 was a Type XXI U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine during World War II. The Elektroboot submarine was laid down on 7 July 1944 at the Blohm & Voss yard at Hamburg, launched on 2 September 1944, and commissioned on 29 September 1944 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Adalbert Schnee.

U-2540, Wilhelm Bauer

The Wilhelm Bauer (originally designated U-2540) is a Type XXI U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine, completed shortly before the end of World War II. It was scuttled at the end of the war, having never gone on patrol. In 1957, it was raised from the seabed off Flensburg Firth and recommissioned in the German Bundesmarine in 1960. Finally decommissioned in 1980, it is the only floating example of a XXI U-boat.

U-3008

The German submarine U-3008 was a Type XXI U-boat of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine that served in the United States Navy for several years after World War II.

Her keel was laid down on 2 July 1944 by DeSchiMAG AG Weser of Bremen, and she was commissioned on 19 October 1944 with Kapitänleutnant Fokko Schlömer in command. In March 1945 Schlömer was relieved by Kapitänleutnant Helmut Manseck who commanded the boat until Nazi Germany’s surrender on 8 May.

U-3535

This boat was not commissioned into the Kriegsmarine. However she had been ordered and was, at least at one time, planned for commission. She was 95% complete when captured in dock. Commissioned into the Soviet Navy then sunk in 1947.

 

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German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History

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