Type VII-B German U-Boat


The Type VII-B was slightly enlarged over the initial variant and the saddle tanks were modified to improve seaworthiness as well as extend bunker capacity and range.  More powerful diesels were installed for greater surface speed.

More VII-B boats were built than the initial variant, but still not so many.  They were U-45 through U-55; U-73 through U-76; U-83 through U-87 and U-99 through U-102.  The three top ACES of the early years drove Type VII-B boats.  All three were sunk early in the war – Prien on 7 March 1941 then Schepke and KRETSCHMER within hours of one another on 17 March 1941.

Günther Prien  U-47 KRETSCHMER (122-1985)  U-99 Joachim Schepke   U-100
Displacement:    753/857 tons Length: 218′ 3″ Beam: 20′ 3″ Draft: 15′ 6″
Power (diesel): 2,800 hp Power (electric): 750 hp Speed (diesel): 17.5 knots Speed (electric): 8 knots
Bunkers:   108 tons diesel fuel Range (diesel):  6,500 miles @ 12 knots Range (electric): 80 miles @ 4 knots Crew: 44 men *
Deck gun: single 3.5 inch ** AA guns: single 20mm  *** Tubes (fwd): four Tubes (aft): one

The Type VII-B boat carried twelve torpedoes or fourteen mines
 *  Crew complement varied up to perhaps 60 depending on the mission.
 **  Deck guns were removed later in the war.
***  Later increased to two individual 20mm plus a single 37mm automatic guns.

History of the German Submarine U-48
            
SHARKHUNTERS International
History of the German submarine U-48 the MOST Successful Submarine of World War II
Conning Tower Emblems – above left, three Skippers = three black tomcats; above right – tonnage totals
Below left is the Mützenabzeichen (cap badge)
    

TYPE BUILDER LAUNCHED
VII-B Germania Werft (Kiel) 8 March 1939
COMMISSIONED FELDPOST Nr. SUNK
22 April 1939 M27354 3 May 1945
SUNK BY LOCATION SUNK POSITION SUNK
her crew Neustadt bay unknown

          
The wear and tear of war is evident in the conning tower badly in need of repainting.

Under three different Skippers, U-48 became the MOST successful submarine of any navy in World War II.  It is generally accepted that the I.W.O. (First Watchkeeping Officer) Reinhard “Teddy” Suhren did much of the shooting.  In fact, when Heinrich Bleichrodt was going to be decorated with his Knights Cross, he said that he would refuse it unless Suhren was also decorated with the Knights Cross.

No Men lost.

Commanders of U-48 include:

LAST NAME FIRST NAME FROM> TO OTHER BOATS COMMENTS
SCHULTZE HERBERT 22 April 1939 22 Apr 1940 U-2
RÖSING HANS-RUDOLF 22 April 1940 29 Aug 1940
Bleichrodt Heinrich 29 Aug 1940 16 Dec 1940 U-67 and U-109
SCHULTZE HERBERT 16 Dec 1941 21 Jun 1941
Atzinger U-618 and U-827
Todenhagen Diether U-1008 and U-365 KIA aboard U-365
HERBERT SCHULTZE
(191-1986)
HANS-RUDOLF RÖSING
(313-1987)
Bleichrodt

NOTE – Sharkhunters Member’s names appear in bold capital letters followed by their Membership Number.

I.W.O. “Teddy” Suhren

U-48 was initially attached to the U-Flottille Wegener then to the 7th U-Bootflottille based at St. Nazaire, France.  She was transferred to the 26th U-Bootflottille based at Pillau as a Schulboot (school boat) and used there for training until March 1942.  U-48 was then transferred to the 3rd ULD (U-Boot Lehr Division or submarine training division).  At the end of the war, she was scuttled by her own crew.

U-48 had 12 Feindfahrten (war patrols) in her short combat life, but sank more ships and more tonnage than any other submarine in World War II.  There were patrols in the North Atlantic but also a minelaying patrol off Portland, England; operations against British forces off Narvik in April 1940; and the unsuccessful search for survivors of BISMARCK.

SHIPS SUNK BY U-48 (SCHULTZE commanding):

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
  5 Sep 1939 ROYAL SCEPTER England Steamer   4,853 tons
  8 Sep 1939 WINKLEIGH England Steamer   5,055 tons
11 Sep 1939 FIRBY England Steamer   4,869 Tons
12 Oct 1939 EMILE MIGUET   + France Tanker 14,115 Tons
12 Oct 1939 HERONSPOOL    + England Steamer   5,202 Tons
12 Oct 1939 LOUSIANE France Steamer   6,903 Tons
ROYAL SCEPTER WINKLEIGH FIRBY
EMILE  MIGUET HERONSPOOL LOUSIANE

+  The Captain of the American liner PRESIDENT HARDING radioed that he had rescued the entire crew of 36 from HERONSPOOL.  Captain Batson, Master of HERONSPOOL said that at 6 o’clock Friday evening he saw the EMILE MIGUET being shelled about six miles distant, so he steered his ship away to the north eastward.  About 8 o’clock they heard an explosion and saw a column of water rise on the starboard beam.  Half an hour later the submarine approached and signaled ‘What ship?
“As soon as we could make him out,” Captain Batson said, “we fired two shots at him whereupon he dived.  I hauled to the westward for two hours then zig-zagged.  About 11pm the submarine appeared in sight nearly aft.  We quickly fired two shots at him in succession.  He disappeared but reappeared at midnight and fired a shot which exploded close to our starboard beam.  Then we sighted him on the starboard quarter and again we fired.”
After a while the submarine submerged again but soon there was a violent explosion in the forepart of the HERONSPOOL.  She had been torpedoed.  Captain Batson continues, “We then abandoned ship in two lifeboats and after pulling away for some diistance, we lay to.  We saw that the forepart of the ship appeared to have been blown away and that she was listing to port.  The submarine appeared in full view a short distance away 20 minutes later but seemed not to notice us.  We sighted PRESIDENT HARDING about 5:30am and shortly after that HERONSPOOL disappeared”

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
 14 Oct 1939 SNEATON England Steamer   3,677 Tons
17 Oct 1939 CLAN CHISHOLM England Steamer   7,256 Tons
26 Oct 1939 GUSTAV E. REUTER Sweden Tanker   6,336 Tons
  9 Dec 1939 BRANDON England Steamer   6,668 Tons
  9 Dec 1939 SAN ALBERTO England Tanker   7,397 Tons
15 Dec 1939 GERMAINE Greece Steamer   5,217 Tons
10 Feb 1940 BURGERDIJK Netherlands Steamer   6,853 Tons
14 Feb 1940 SULTAN STAR England Steamer 12,306 Tons
SNEATON CLAN CHISHOLM GUSTAV A. REUTER
GERMAIN BURGERDIJK SULTAN STAR
DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
15 Feb 1940 DEN HAAG Netherlands Steamer 8,971 Tons
17 Feb 1940 WILJA Finland Steamer 3,396 Tons
  1 Feb 1941 NICOLAOS ANGELOS Greece Steamer 4,351 Tons
24 Feb 1941 NAILSEA LASS England Steamer 4,289 Tons
29 Mar 1941 GERMANIC England Steamer 5,352 Tons
29 Mar 1941 LIMBOURG Belgium Steamer 2,483 Tons
29 Mar 1941 EASTLEA England Steamer 4,267 Tons
29 Mar 1941 HYLTON   * England Steamer 5,197 Tons
  2 Apr 1941 BEAVERDALE England Steamer 9,957 Tons
DEN HAAG WILJA NICOLAOS ANGELOS
NAILSEA LASS GERMANIC BEAVERDALE

*  As one might imagine. firing into a convoy such as this attack on Convoy HX.115, is a chaotic thing.  U-48 reported two different ships hit, but her torpedoes actually missed them and hit two other ships.  They thought they had sunk ATHELPRINCEbut she was not even hit.  They did hit and sink EASTLEA but they erroneously reported her as MASUNDA.

SHIPS SUNK BY U-48 (RÖSING commanding):

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
   6 Jun 1940 STANCOR England Steamer     798 Tons
   7Jun 1940 FRANCES MASSEY England Steamer 4,212 Tons
11 Jun 1940 VIOLANDO N.
GOULANDRIS
Greece Steamer 3,598 Tons
19 Jun 1940 TUDOR Norway Motorship 6,607 Tons
19 Jun 1940 BARON  LOUDOUN England Steamer 5,661 Tons
19 Jun 1940 BRITISH MONARCH England Steamer 5,661 Tons
20 Jun 1940 MOERDRECHT Netherlands Tanker 7,493 Tons
16 Aug 1940 HEDRUN Sweden Steamer 2,325 Tons
19 Aug 1940 VILLE de GAND Belgium Steamer 7,590 Tons
24 Aug 1940 LE BREA England Steamer 6,665 Tons
25 Aug 1940 ATHELCREST England Tanker 6,825 Tons
25 Aug 1940 EMPIRE MERLIN England Steamer 5,763 Tons
STANCOR VIOLANDO N. GOULANDRIS TUDOR
BARON LOUDOUN MOORDRECHT HEDRUN
VILLE de GAND   (sunk) EROS  (damaged)

SHIPS DAMAGED BY U-48 (RÖSING commanding):

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
  7 Jun 1940 EROS England Steamer 5,888 Tons
21 Aug 1940 unknown unknown unknown unknown
21 Aug 1940 unknown unknown unknown unknown

SHIPS SUNK BY U-48 (Bleichrodt commanding):

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
15 Sep 1940 HMS DUNDEE England Corvette   1,060 Tons
15 Sep 1940 ALEXANDROS Greece Steamer   4,343 Tons
15 Sep 1940 EMPIRE VOLUNTEER England Steamer   5,319 Tons
15 Sep 1940 KENDOROC  ** England Steamer   1,780 Tons
18 Sep 1940 CITY OF BENARES England Steamer 11,081 Tons
18 Sep 1940 MARINA England Steamer   5,088 Tons
18 Sep 1940 MAGDELENA England Steamer   3,118 Tons
21 Sep 1940 BLAIRANGUS England Steamer   4,409 Tons
11 Oct 1940 BRANDANGER Norway Motorship   4,624 Tons
11 Oct 1940 PORT GISBORNE England Motorship 10,144 Tons
17 Oct 1940 DAVANGER Norway Tanker   7,102 Tons
17 Oct 1940 LANDGUEDOC England Tanker   9,512 Tons
17 Oct 1940 SCORESBY England Steamer   3,843 Tons
18 Oct 1940 SANDSEND England Steamer   3,612 Tons
20 Oct 1940 SHIREK  *** England Tanker   6,023 Tons
HMS  DUNDEE CITY OF BENARES MAGDELENA
BRANDANGER PORT GISBORNE SCORESBY
SANDSEND SHIREK

**     Not certain if U-48 sank KENDOROC; there are reports another U-Boat sank her with gunfire.
***   SHIREK was first hit by U-47 four hours earlier and left in flames.  U-48 sank her with a coup d’grace.

SHIPS DAMAGED BY U-48 (Bleichrodt commanding)

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRT
15 Sep 1940 EMPIRE SOLDIER **** England Steamer 6,000 Tons (prox)
21 Sep 1940 BROOMPARK England Steamer 5,136 Tons
17 Oct 1940 HASPENDEN England Steamer 4,678 Tons

****  EMPIRE SOLDIER swerved to avoid torpedo from U-48 and hit another ship causing minor damage.

U-48 was scuttled by her own crew off Neustadt Bay while under command of Todenhagen in the unofficial Operation Regenbogen (Rainbow) against orders from Großadmiral Karl Dönitz.  Sometime between 1947 and 1953 she was raised by the Allies and broken up.

History of the German Submarine U-96

One of the MOST Famous Submarines of World War II

Much of this information, the data, the photos etc. comes directly from the veterans, the veterans’ organizations and is the most accurate available anywhere …much of this information is not even known elsewhere.

TYPE BUILDER LAUNCHED
VII-B Germania Werft (Kiel) 4 August 1940
COMMISSIONED FELDPOST Nr. SUNK
14 September 1940 M29052 30 March 1945
SUNK BY LOCATION SUNK POSITION SUNK
her crew Wilhelmshaven Harbor unknown

 

No Men lost.

 

Commanders of U-96 include:

LAST NAME FIRST NAME FROM TO OTHER BOATS COMMENTS
LEHMANN-WILLENBROCK
(120-1985)
HEINRICH 14 Sep 1940 March 1942 U-8, U-5 and U-256
Hellriegel Heinz-Jürgen March 1942 March 1943 U-543 KIA aboard U-543
Willner Horst Training
Rix Robert Training
HEINRICH LEHMANN-WILLENBROCK
(120-1985)
Heinz-Jürgen Hellriegel

NOTE – Sharkhunters Member’s names appear in bold capital letters followed by their Membership Number.

U-96 was initially attached to the 7th U-Bootflottille based at St. Nazaire, France as a Frontboot until March 1943.  She was transferred to the 22nd U-Bootflottille based at Gottenhafen as a Schulboot (school boat) and used there for training until she was destroyed dockside 30 March 1945 by an American bombing raid.

U-96 undertook 11 Feindfahrten (War Patrols), mostly in the North Atlantic.  In November 1941, she was ordered into the Mediterranean and stopped in the harbor at Vigo, Spain to replenish fuel and supplies from the ‘interned’ German supply ship BESSEL on the night of 27/28 November.  She attempted the break-through the night of 30 November/1 December 1941 but was so badly damaged that she had to withdraw back to St. Nazaire for repairs.  Over February and March 1942 she operated for one Feindfahrt off Nova Scotia and New England.

If this war history and the emblem appear familiar, this was part of the plot for the excellent movie “Das Boot” because during one patrol, LEHMANN-WILLEMBROCK had a PK (Propaganda Kompanie) sketch artist/photographer aboard named Lothar-Günther Buchheim!  He was to later become the author of the book turned movie “Das Boot” and to be quite frank, pretty well hated by most surviving U-Bootfahrer.

SHIPS SUNK BY U-96 (LEHMANN-WILLENBROCH commanding)

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRTons
11 Dec 1940 ROTORUA England Steamer 10,890
11 Dec 1940 TOWA Netherlands Steamer   5,419
12 Dec 1940 STUREHOLM Sweden Motorship   4,575
12 Dec 1940 MACEDONIER Belgium Steamer   5,227
14 Dec 1940 WESTERN PRINCE England Motorship 10,926
16 Jan 1941 OROPESA (1) England Steam liner 14,118
17 Dec 1941 ALAMEDA STAR  (2) England Steam liner 14,935
ROTORUA STUREHOLM MACEDONIER
WESTERN PRINCE OROPESA ALEMEDA STAR

(1)  OROPESA was still afloat two and a half hours after the initial attack, so she was finally sunk by a coup d’grace shot.
(2)  ALEMEDA STAR evaded three separate attacks by U-96 before finally being hit and even then, it took three more torpedoes to sink her.

 

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRTons
13 Feb 1941 CLEA England Motorship   8,074
13 Feb 1941 ARTHUR F. CORWIN  (3) England Motorship tanker 10,516
18 Feb 1941 BLACK OSPREY England Steamer   5,589
22 Feb 1941 SCOTTISH STANDARD   (4) England Steamer   6,668 Tons
23 Feb 1941 HUNTINGDON England Steamer 10,946
24 Feb 1941 LINARIA England Steamer   3,385
24 Feb 1941 SVEIN JARI Norway Steamer   1,908
24 Feb 1941 SIRIKISHNA England Steamer   5,458
28 Apr 1941 OILFIELD England Motorship   8,516
28 Apr 1941 CALEDONIA Norway Motorship tanker   9,892
28 Apr 1941 PORT HARDY England Steamer   8,897
19 May 1941 EMPIRE RIDGE England Steamer   2,922
  5 Jul 1941 ANSELM (5) England Steamer transport   5,954
ARTHUR F. CORWIN BLACK OSPREY SCOTTISH STANDARD
CALEDONIA PORT HARDY ANSELM
(3)  ARTHUR F. CORWIN was first hit by two torpedoes from U-123; two more torpedoes from U-96 sank this ship.
(4)  SCOTTISH STANDARD was damaged by bombs from an FW 200 CONDOR (similar to the photo right) of I/KG 40, then she was finally sunk by U-96.

(5)  U-96 fired one torpedo each at the armed merchant cruiser HMS CATHAY and the yacht HMS CHALLENGER in a group escorted by three destroyers.  Both torpedoes missed their intended target and hit ANSELM, sinking her.

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRTons
31 Oct 1941 BENNEKOM Netherlands Steamer 5,998
19 Feb 1942 EMPIRE SEAL England Motorship 7,955
20 Feb 1942 LAKE OSWEGA   (6) United States Motorship 2,398
22 Feb 1942 TORUNGEN Norway Steamer 1,948
22 Feb 1942 KARS England Motorship 8,888
  9 Mar 1942 TYR Norway Motorship 4,265

 

BENNEKOM

TORUNGEN

 

 

KARS  (after section beached)

TYR

(6)  This ship LAKE OSWEGA was built in 1918, owned and operated by Ford Motor Company and her master was Karl Prinz.  Her armament consisted of two 3” guns and she carried 2,398 tons of general cargo. She was bound from New York to Iceland by way of Halifax. U-96 had sunk EMPIRE SEA some hours earlier and then went after this zigzagging freighter. One torpedo hit this old ship amidships, breaking her in two, and she sank quickly.  The log of U-96 indicates that three lifeboats were launched, but none of the eight officers, twenty-two men and seven Armed Guards was ever found.

 

SHIPS DAMAGED BY U-96 (LEHMANN-WILLENBROCH commanding)

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRTons
 14 Dec 1940 EMPIRE RAZORBILL England Steamer   5,118
18 Dec 1940 PENDRECHT Netherlands Motorship 10,746

PENDRECHT ELISABETH von BELGIE

 

SHIPS SUNK BY U-96 (Hellriegel commanding):

DATE NAME NATION TYPE GRTons
10 Sep 1942 ELISABETH von BELGIE Belgium Steamer 4,241
10 Sep 1942 SVEVE Norway Motorship 6,313
11 Sep 1942 BELAES  (7) Portugal Trawler    415
25 Sep 1942 NEW YORK England Steamer 4,989

(7)  BELAES was sunk by gunfire from the deck gun.

SHIPS DAMAGED BY U-96 (Hellriegel commanding)

DATE NAME NATION TYPE <grtons< th=””> </grtons<>
10 Sep 1942 F. J. WOLFE(8) England Motorship tanker 12,190

(8)  This damaged tanker continued in convoy all the way to St. Johns where she arrived on 19 September.