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-47KRETSCHMER (122-1985)  U-99Joachim Schepke   U-100
Displacement:    753/857 tonsLength: 218′ 3″Beam: 20′ 3″Draft: 15′ 6″
Power (diesel): 2,800 hpPower (electric): 750 hpSpeed (diesel): 17.5 knotsSpeed (electric): 8 knots
Bunkers:   108 tons diesel fuelRange (diesel):  6,500 miles @ 12 knotsRange (electric): 80 miles @ 4 knotsCrew: 44 men *
Deck gun: single 3.5 inch **AA guns: single 20mm  ***Tubes (fwd): fourTubes (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)
    

TYPEBUILDERLAUNCHED
VII-BGermania Werft (Kiel)8 March 1939
COMMISSIONEDFELDPOST Nr.SUNK
22 April 1939M273543 May 1945
SUNK BYLOCATION SUNKPOSITION SUNK
her crewNeustadt bayunknown

          
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 NAMEFIRST NAMEFROM>TOOTHER BOATSCOMMENTS
SCHULTZEHERBERT22 April 193922 Apr 1940U-2
RÖSINGHANS-RUDOLF22 April 194029 Aug 1940
BleichrodtHeinrich29 Aug 194016 Dec 1940U-67 and U-109
SCHULTZEHERBERT16 Dec 194121 Jun 1941
AtzingerU-618 and U-827
TodenhagenDietherU-1008 and U-365KIA 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):

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
  5 Sep 1939ROYAL SCEPTEREnglandSteamer  4,853 tons
  8 Sep 1939WINKLEIGHEnglandSteamer  5,055 tons
11 Sep 1939FIRBYEnglandSteamer  4,869 Tons
12 Oct 1939EMILE MIGUET   +FranceTanker14,115 Tons
12 Oct 1939HERONSPOOL    +EnglandSteamer  5,202 Tons
12 Oct 1939LOUSIANEFranceSteamer  6,903 Tons
ROYAL SCEPTERWINKLEIGHFIRBY
EMILE  MIGUETHERONSPOOLLOUSIANE

+  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”

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
 14 Oct 1939SNEATONEnglandSteamer  3,677 Tons
17 Oct 1939CLAN CHISHOLMEnglandSteamer  7,256 Tons
26 Oct 1939GUSTAV E. REUTERSwedenTanker  6,336 Tons
  9 Dec 1939BRANDONEnglandSteamer  6,668 Tons
  9 Dec 1939SAN ALBERTOEnglandTanker  7,397 Tons
15 Dec 1939GERMAINEGreeceSteamer  5,217 Tons
10 Feb 1940BURGERDIJKNetherlandsSteamer  6,853 Tons
14 Feb 1940SULTAN STAREnglandSteamer12,306 Tons
SNEATONCLAN CHISHOLMGUSTAV A. REUTER
GERMAINBURGERDIJKSULTAN STAR
DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
15 Feb 1940DEN HAAGNetherlandsSteamer8,971 Tons
17 Feb 1940WILJAFinlandSteamer3,396 Tons
  1 Feb 1941NICOLAOS ANGELOSGreeceSteamer4,351 Tons
24 Feb 1941NAILSEA LASSEnglandSteamer4,289 Tons
29 Mar 1941GERMANICEnglandSteamer5,352 Tons
29 Mar 1941LIMBOURGBelgiumSteamer2,483 Tons
29 Mar 1941EASTLEAEnglandSteamer4,267 Tons
29 Mar 1941HYLTON   *EnglandSteamer5,197 Tons
  2 Apr 1941BEAVERDALEEnglandSteamer9,957 Tons
DEN HAAGWILJANICOLAOS ANGELOS
NAILSEA LASSGERMANICBEAVERDALE

*  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):

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
   6 Jun 1940STANCOREnglandSteamer    798 Tons
   7Jun 1940FRANCES MASSEYEnglandSteamer4,212 Tons
11 Jun 1940VIOLANDO N.
GOULANDRIS
GreeceSteamer3,598 Tons
19 Jun 1940TUDORNorwayMotorship6,607 Tons
19 Jun 1940BARON  LOUDOUNEnglandSteamer5,661 Tons
19 Jun 1940BRITISH MONARCHEnglandSteamer5,661 Tons
20 Jun 1940MOERDRECHTNetherlandsTanker7,493 Tons
16 Aug 1940HEDRUNSwedenSteamer2,325 Tons
19 Aug 1940VILLE de GANDBelgiumSteamer7,590 Tons
24 Aug 1940LE BREAEnglandSteamer6,665 Tons
25 Aug 1940ATHELCRESTEnglandTanker6,825 Tons
25 Aug 1940EMPIRE MERLINEnglandSteamer5,763 Tons
STANCORVIOLANDO N. GOULANDRISTUDOR
BARON LOUDOUNMOORDRECHTHEDRUN
VILLE de GAND   (sunk)EROS  (damaged)

SHIPS DAMAGED BY U-48 (RÖSING commanding):

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
  7 Jun 1940EROSEnglandSteamer5,888 Tons
21 Aug 1940unknownunknownunknownunknown
21 Aug 1940unknownunknownunknownunknown

SHIPS SUNK BY U-48 (Bleichrodt commanding):

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
15 Sep 1940HMS DUNDEEEnglandCorvette  1,060 Tons
15 Sep 1940ALEXANDROSGreeceSteamer  4,343 Tons
15 Sep 1940EMPIRE VOLUNTEEREnglandSteamer  5,319 Tons
15 Sep 1940KENDOROC  **EnglandSteamer  1,780 Tons
18 Sep 1940CITY OF BENARESEnglandSteamer11,081 Tons
18 Sep 1940MARINAEnglandSteamer  5,088 Tons
18 Sep 1940MAGDELENAEnglandSteamer  3,118 Tons
21 Sep 1940BLAIRANGUSEnglandSteamer  4,409 Tons
11 Oct 1940BRANDANGERNorwayMotorship  4,624 Tons
11 Oct 1940PORT GISBORNEEnglandMotorship10,144 Tons
17 Oct 1940DAVANGERNorwayTanker  7,102 Tons
17 Oct 1940LANDGUEDOCEnglandTanker  9,512 Tons
17 Oct 1940SCORESBYEnglandSteamer  3,843 Tons
18 Oct 1940SANDSENDEnglandSteamer  3,612 Tons
20 Oct 1940SHIREK  ***EnglandTanker  6,023 Tons
HMS  DUNDEECITY OF BENARESMAGDELENA
BRANDANGERPORT GISBORNESCORESBY
SANDSENDSHIREK

**     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)

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRT
15 Sep 1940EMPIRE SOLDIER ****EnglandSteamer6,000 Tons (prox)
21 Sep 1940BROOMPARKEnglandSteamer5,136 Tons
17 Oct 1940HASPENDENEnglandSteamer4,678 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.

TYPEBUILDERLAUNCHED
VII-BGermania Werft (Kiel)4 August 1940
COMMISSIONEDFELDPOST Nr.SUNK
14 September 1940M2905230 March 1945
SUNK BYLOCATION SUNKPOSITION SUNK
her crewWilhelmshaven Harborunknown

 

No Men lost.

 

Commanders of U-96 include:

LAST NAMEFIRST NAMEFROMTOOTHER BOATSCOMMENTS
LEHMANN-WILLENBROCK
(120-1985)
HEINRICH14 Sep 1940March 1942U-8, U-5 and U-256
HellriegelHeinz-JürgenMarch 1942March 1943U-543KIA aboard U-543
WillnerHorstTraining
RixRobertTraining
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)

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRTons
11 Dec 1940ROTORUAEnglandSteamer10,890
11 Dec 1940TOWANetherlandsSteamer  5,419
12 Dec 1940STUREHOLMSwedenMotorship  4,575
12 Dec 1940MACEDONIERBelgiumSteamer  5,227
14 Dec 1940WESTERN PRINCEEnglandMotorship10,926
16 Jan 1941OROPESA (1)EnglandSteam liner14,118
17 Dec 1941ALAMEDA STAR  (2)EnglandSteam liner14,935
ROTORUASTUREHOLMMACEDONIER
WESTERN PRINCEOROPESAALEMEDA 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.

 

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRTons
13 Feb 1941CLEAEnglandMotorship  8,074
13 Feb 1941ARTHUR F. CORWIN  (3)EnglandMotorship tanker10,516
18 Feb 1941BLACK OSPREYEnglandSteamer  5,589
22 Feb 1941SCOTTISH STANDARD   (4)EnglandSteamer  6,668 Tons
23 Feb 1941HUNTINGDONEnglandSteamer10,946
24 Feb 1941LINARIAEnglandSteamer  3,385
24 Feb 1941SVEIN JARINorwaySteamer  1,908
24 Feb 1941SIRIKISHNAEnglandSteamer  5,458
28 Apr 1941OILFIELDEnglandMotorship  8,516
28 Apr 1941CALEDONIANorwayMotorship tanker  9,892
28 Apr 1941PORT HARDYEnglandSteamer  8,897
19 May 1941EMPIRE RIDGEEnglandSteamer  2,922
  5 Jul 1941ANSELM (5)EnglandSteamer transport  5,954
ARTHUR F. CORWINBLACK OSPREYSCOTTISH STANDARD
CALEDONIAPORT HARDYANSELM
(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.

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRTons
31 Oct 1941BENNEKOMNetherlandsSteamer5,998
19 Feb 1942EMPIRE SEALEnglandMotorship7,955
20 Feb 1942LAKE OSWEGA   (6)United StatesMotorship2,398
22 Feb 1942TORUNGENNorwaySteamer1,948
22 Feb 1942KARSEnglandMotorship8,888
  9 Mar 1942TYRNorwayMotorship4,265

 

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)

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRTons
 14 Dec 1940EMPIRE RAZORBILLEnglandSteamer  5,118
18 Dec 1940PENDRECHTNetherlandsMotorship10,746

PENDRECHTELISABETH von BELGIE

 

SHIPS SUNK BY U-96 (Hellriegel commanding):

DATENAMENATIONTYPEGRTons
10 Sep 1942ELISABETH von BELGIEBelgiumSteamer4,241
10 Sep 1942SVEVENorwayMotorship6,313
11 Sep 1942BELAES  (7)PortugalTrawler   415
25 Sep 1942NEW YORKEnglandSteamer4,989

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

SHIPS DAMAGED BY U-96 (Hellriegel commanding)

DATENAMENATIONTYPE<grtons< th=””> </grtons<>
10 Sep 1942F. J. WOLFE(8)EnglandMotorship tanker12,190

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