U37 Lorient 1940.jpg
U-37 at Lorient in 1940
History
Nazi Germany
NameU-37
Ordered29 July 1936
BuilderDeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number942
Laid down15 March 1937
Launched14 May 1938
Commissioned4 August 1938
FateScuttled, 8 May 1945
General characteristics
Class and typeType IXA submarine
Displacement
  • 1,032 t (1,016 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,153 t (1,135 long tons) submerged
Length
Beam
  • 6.51 m (21 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.40 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height9.40 m (30 ft 10 in)
Draught4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
Installed power
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
Propulsion
Range
  • 10,500 nmi (19,400 km; 12,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 65–78 nmi (120–144 km; 75–90 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth230 m (750 ft)
Complement4 officers, 44 enlisted
Armament
Service record[1][2]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Heinrich Schuch
  • 4 August 1938 – 24 September 1939
  • K.Kapt. Werner Hartmann
  • 25 September 1939 – 6 May 1940
  • Kptlt. Victor Oehrn
  • 6 May – 26 October 1940
  • Kptlt. Asmus Nicolai Clausen
  • 26 October 1940 – 2 May 1941
  • Kptlt. Ulrich Folkers
  • 3 May – 15 November 1941
  • Oblt.z.S. Gustav-Adolf Janssen
  • 16 November 1941 – 30 June 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Albert Lauzemis
  • 1 July 1942 – 3 January 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Hinrich Kelling
  • 4 January – 19 November 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Peter Gerlach
  • 20 November 1943 – 8 January 1944
  • Oblt.z.S. Wolfgang Seiler
  • 9 January – 21 December 1944
  • Kptlt. Eberhard von Wenden
  • 22 December 1944 – 5 May 1945
Operations:
  • 11 patrols:
  • 1st patrol:
  • 19 August – 15 September 1939
  • 2nd patrol:
  • 5 October – 8 November 1939
  • 3rd patrol:
  • 28 January – 27 February 1940
  • 4th patrol:
  • 30 March – 18 April 1940
  • 5th patrol:
  • 15 May – 9 June 1940
  • 6th patrol:
  • 1 – 12 August 1940
  • 7th patrol:
  • 17 – 30 August 1940
  • 8th patrol:
  • 24 September – 22 October 1940
  • 9th patrol:
  • 28 November 1940 – 7 January 1941
  • 10th patrol:
  • 30 January – 18 February 1941
  • 11th patrol:
  • 27 February – 22 March 1941
Victories:
  • 53 merchant ships sunk
    (200,063 GRT)
  • 2 warships sunk
    (2,404 tons)
  • 1 merchant ship damaged
    (9,494 GRT)

German submarine U-37 was a Type IXA[3] U-boat of the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during World War II.[1] 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.[1]

Between August 1939 and March 1941, U-37 conducted eleven combat patrols, sinking 53 merchant ships, for a total of 200,063 gross register tons (GRT); and two warships, the British Hastings-class sloop HMS Penzance, and the French submarine Sfax (Q182).[1] 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.[1] U-37 was the sixth most successful U-boat in World War II.[4]

Design

As one of the eight original German Type IX submarines, later designated IXA, U-37 had a displacement of 1,032 tonnes (1,016 long tons) when at the surface and 1,153 tonnes (1,135 long tons) while submerged.[5] The U-boat had a total length of 76.50 m (251 ft), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.51 m (21 ft 4 in), a height of 9.40 m (30 ft 10 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 metric horsepower (740 kW; 990 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[5]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.7 knots (14.3 km/h; 8.9 mph).[5] When submerged, the boat could operate for 65–78 nautical miles (120–144 km; 75–90 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 10,500 nautical miles (19,400 km; 12,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-37 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[5]

Service history

First patrol

U-37 left Wilhelmshaven, with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Schuch in command, on 19 August 1939. The boat operated for nearly four weeks in the North Atlantic, returning to port on 15 September 1939.[6]

Second patrol

U-37 left Wilhelmshaven on 5 October 1939 to conduct operations in the North Atlantic now under the command of Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartmann. During this patrol she sank eight ships: four British, two Greek, one French and one Swedish, including the British steam freighter Yorkshire which was traveling with the Allied convoy HG-3, sailing from Gibraltar to Liverpool, England. Hartmann returned his boat to port on 8 November after nearly five weeks at sea.[7]

Third patrol

On 1 January 1940 U-37 was reassigned to the 2nd U-boat Flotilla based at Wilhelmshaven. On 28 January 1940 the U-boat departed for the North Atlantic, with Werner Hartmann in command. As on his previous patrol, Hartmann sank eight ships, this time three British, two Norwegian, one Danish, one French and one Greek. Of these ships, two were in convoy at the time. U-37 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 27 February.[8]

The crew of U-37 departing the submarine after reaching Wilhelmshaven on 18 April 1940
The crew of U-37 departing the submarine after reaching Wilhelmshaven on 18 April 1940

Fourth patrol

U-37 docking at Wilhelmshaven on 18 April 1940
U-37 docking at Wilhelmshaven on 18 April 1940

U-37 departed Wilhelmshaven on 30 March for Werner Hartmann's third consecutive patrol, this time around Norway. Again, Hartmann proved successful, sinking three ships; the Norwegian Tosca, the Swedish Sveaborg and the British Stancliffe. After patrolling for over two weeks, the U-boat returned to Wilhelmshaven on 18 April.[9]

Fifth patrol

Under a new captain, Kapitänleutnant Victor Oehrn, U-37 departed from Wilhelmshaven on 15 May for a patrol around Portugal and Spain. U-37 had her most successful mission, hitting eleven ships, sinking ten of them. Three French ships were sunk, two Greek, two British, one Swedish, one Argentinian, one Finnish; one British ship was damaged. After three and a half weeks at sea, U-37 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 9 June.[10]

The neutral Argentinian ship was Uruguay, sailing from Rosario to Limerick with a cargo of maize. U-37 surfaced and stopped Uruguay and examined her papers, then sank her with scuttling charges. Her crew of 28 were left in their lifeboats. Fifteen died, 13 survived.[11]

Argentine merchant ship SS Uruguay, sunk by U-37
Argentine merchant ship SS Uruguay, sunk by U-37

Sixth patrol

U-37 sailed from Wilhelmshaven on 1 August, again with Victor Oehrn in command. This week and a half long patrol in the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland resulted in the sinking of a single British ship, Upwey Grange. U-37 returned to port on 12 August, but rather than head back to Wilhelmshaven, she made for Lorient in France, where the 2nd U-boat Flotilla was now based.[12]

Seventh patrol

For the first time, U-37 began a patrol from a location other than Germany, in Lorient on 17 August, with Victor Oehrn in command once more. It was to focus on operations off the south-west coast of Ireland. Seven ships were sunk during this voyage; five of which were British, one Norwegian, and one Greek. Of these ships, one was from convoy OA 220, the British Brookwood, traveling from Britain to the Australia, two were from convoy SC 1, the British sloop HMS Penzance (L28) and Blarimore, sailing from Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, to the United Kingdom. After two weeks at sea, U-37 returned to Lorient on 30 August.[13]

Eighth patrol

On 24 September, U-37 departed Lorient on Victor Oehrn's fourth patrol, in which he would sail to the North Atlantic. During this month-long operation U-37 sank six ships, four of which were in convoy at the time of attack, all of which were British. Five of these six ships were sailing under the British flag, while the sixth was from Egypt. The British ship Corrientes was sunk as part of OB-217, sailing from Liverpool to North America. Heminge was sailing as part of OB-220, also sailing from Liverpool to North America. British General was sunk while sailing as part of convoy OA 222, sailing from Britain to North America. The fourth ship sunk was the British Stangrant, sailing as part of convoy HX 77 from Halifax to the United Kingdom. The U-boat returned to Lorient on 22 October.[14]

Ninth patrol

After over a month in port, U-37 departed with a new captain, Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen on 28 November for operations around north-west Africa and Spain. Seven ships were sunk during this patrol; two French, two Swedish, two British and one Spanish. Of these seven ships, three were in convoy at the time of their sinking. The Swedish Gwalia and Daphne and the British Jeanne M were sailing as part of convoy OG 46 from Britain to Gibraltar. The French vessels, the oiler Rhône and the submarine Sfax belonged to Vichy France and were sunk in error. After five weeks on the high seas, U-37 returned to Lorient on 14 January 1941.[15]

Tenth and eleventh patrols

U-37 left Lorient on 30 January 1941 to patrol off the coast of Portugal. On 8 February she spotted Convoy HG-53. The next day, U-37 sank two British ships, Courland and Estrellano. The third merchant vessel that U-37 sank on her tenth patrol was the British ship Brandenburg, on 10 February. The U-boat then returned to Lorient on 18 February after spending 20 days at sea and sinking 4,781 GRT of shipping.[16]

Leaving Lorient for the final time on 27 February 1941, U-37's last patrol took her to the waters south of Iceland. There she sank two vessels, the Greek cargo ship Mentor on 7 March, and the Icelandic trawler Pétursey on the 12th. After spending 24 days at sea, U-37 entered the port of Kiel on 22 March.[17]

Training boat

On 1 May 1941 U-37 was reassigned to the 26th U-boat Flotilla, based at Pillau (now Baltiysk, Russia) as a training U-boat. She was transferred to the 22nd U-boat Flotilla, based at Gotenhafen (now Gdynia, Poland) on 1 April 1942, and finally to the 4th U-boat Flotilla on 1 July 1944, where she remained until the end of the war.

She was scuttled by her crew on 8 May 1945.[1]

Film Portrayals

The British war propaganda film 49th Parallel (1941) uses the name U-37 for the German submarine whose crew comes ashore in Canada during WW2. The craft is shown being blown up in Hudson Bay. The film was released shortly after the real U-37 was removed from active service.

In the 1943 war film Action in the North Atlantic, the U-boat in the opening scenes is titled U-37.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name of Ship Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[18]
8 October 1939 Vistula  Sweden 1,018 Sunk
12 October 1939 Aris  Greece 4,810 Sunk
15 October 1939 Vermont  France 5,186 Sunk
17 October 1939 Yorkshire  United Kingdom 10,183 Sunk
24 October 1939 Ledbury  United Kingdom 3,528 Sunk
24 October 1939 Menin Ridge  United Kingdom 2,474 Sunk
24 October 1939 Tafna  United Kingdom 4,413 Sunk
30 October 1939 Thrasyvoulos  Greece 3,693 Sunk
4 February 1940 Hop  Norway 1,365 Sunk
4 February 1940 Leo Dawson  United Kingdom 4,330 Sunk
10 February 1940 Silja  Norway 1,259 Sunk
11 February 1940 Togimo  United Kingdom 290 Sunk
15 February 1940 Aase  Denmark 1,206 Sunk
17 February 1940 Pyrrhus  United Kingdom 7,418 Sunk
18 February 1940 Elin  Greece 4,917 Sunk
18 February 1940 P.L.M. 15  France 3,754 Sunk
10 April 1940 Sveaborg  Sweden 9,076 Sunk
10 April 1940 Tosca  Norway 5,128 Sunk
12 April 1940 Stancliffe  United Kingdom 4,511 Sunk
19 May 1940 Erik Frisell  Sweden 5,066 Sunk
22 May 1940 Dunster Grange  United Kingdom 9,494 Damaged
24 May 1940 Kyma  Greece 3,994 Sunk
27 May 1940 Sheaf Mead  United Kingdom 5,008 Sunk
27 May 1940 Uruguay  Argentina 3,425 Sunk
28 May 1940 Brazza  France 10,387 Sunk
28 May 1940 Julien  France 116 Sunk
28 May 1940 Maria Rosé  France 2,477 Sunk
29 May 1940 Telena  United Kingdom 7,406 Sunk
1 June 1940 Ioanna  Greece 950 Sunk
3 June 1940 Snabb  Finland 2,317 Sunk
8 August 1940 Upwey Grange  United Kingdom 9,130 Sunk
22 August 1940 Keret  Norway 1,718 Sunk
23 August 1940 Severn Leigh  United Kingdom 5,242 Sunk
24 August 1940 Brookwood  United Kingdom 5,100 Sunk
24 August 1940 HMS Penzance  Royal Navy 1,025 Sunk
25 August 1940 Blairmore  United Kingdom 4,141 Sunk
25 August 1940 Yewcrest  United Kingdom 3,774 Sunk
27 August 1940 Theodoros T  Greece 3,409 Sunk
27 September 1940 Georges Mabro  Egypt 2,555 Sunk
28 September 1940 Corrientes  United Kingdom 6,863 Sunk
30 September 1940 Heminge  United Kingdom 2,499 Sunk
30 September 1940 Samala  United Kingdom 5,390 Sunk
6 October 1940 British General  United Kingdom 6,989 Sunk
13 October 1940 Stangrant  United Kingdom 5,804 Sunk
1 December 1940 Palmella  United Kingdom 1,578 Sunk
2 December 1940 Gwalia  Sweden 1,258 Sunk
2 December 1940 Jeanne M.  United Kingdom 2,465 Sunk
4 December 1940 Daphne  Sweden 1,513 Sunk
16 December 1940 San Carlos  Spain 223 Sunk
19 December 1940 Rhône  Vichy France 2,785 Sunk
19 December 1940 Sfax (Q 182)  Vichy French Navy 1,379 Sunk
9 February 1941 Courland  United Kingdom 1,325 Sunk
9 February 1941 Estrellano  United Kingdom 1,983 Sunk
10 February 1941 Brandenburg  United Kingdom 1,473 Sunk
7 March 1941 Mentor  Greece 3,050 Sunk
12 March 1941 Petursey  Iceland 91 Sunk

References

Notes

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXA boat U-37". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-37". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type IXA". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Most Successful U-boats". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (First patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Second patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Third patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  9. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Fourth patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  10. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Fifth patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Uruguay (Steam merchant)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Sixth patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  13. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Seventh patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  14. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Eighth patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  15. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Ninth patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  16. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Tenth patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  17. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-37 (Eleventh patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  18. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-37". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2015.

Bibliography

  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6.
  • Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. Vol. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.

Coordinates: 54°55′N 09°47′E / 54.917°N 9.783°E / 54.917; 9.783