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Type VIIC U-boat
Type VIIC U-boat

List of successful U-boats contains lists of the most successful German U-boats in the two World Wars based on total tonnage.

World War I

This list contains the 5 most successful German U-boats during the First World War based on total tonnage. Only sunk commercial vessels are included, not military (warships) nor damaged ships.

5 Top-scoring U-boats of World War I
Boat Type Commissioned Total
tonnage
Ships
sunk
Patrols Fate Captains
SM U-35 Type U 31 3 November 1914 505,119 220 17 Surrendered, 26 November 1918 Waldemar Kophamel
Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière
Ernst von Voigt
Heino von Heimburg
SM U-39 Type U 31 13 January 1915 404,961 151 19 Surrendered, 22 March 1919 Hans Kratzsch
Walter Forstmann
Heinrich Metzger
SM U-38 Type U 31 15 December 1914 288,059 135 17 Surrendered, 23 February 1919 Max Valentiner
Wilhelm Canaris
Hans Heinrich Wurmbach
Clemens Wickel
SM U-34 Type U 31 5 October 1914 257,652 119 17 Missing, 9 November 1918 Claus Rücker
Wilhelm Canaris
Johannes Klasing
SM U-53 Type U 51 22 April 1916 224,314 87 13 Surrendered, 1 December 1918 Hans Rose
Otto von Schrader

World War II

This list contains the 10 most successful German U-boats during the Second World War based on total tonnage. Both commercial and military vessels (warships) are included but only sunk ships are included, not damaged ships.

10 Top-scoring U-boats of World War II
Boat Type Commissioned Total
tonnage
Ships
sunk
Patrols Fate Captains
U-48 VIIB 22 April 1939 300,537 51 12 Scuttled, 3 May 1945 Herbert Schultze
Hans-Rudolf Rösing
Heinrich Bleichrodt
U-99 VIIB 18 April 1940 244,658 38 8 Scuttled, 17 March 1941 after depth charging by HMS Walker. Otto Kretschmer
U-103 IXB 18 April 1940 237,596 45 11 Decommissioned March 1944. Sunk by bombs in Kiel, 15 April 1945. Viktor Schütze
Werner Winter
U-124 IXB 11 June 1940 225,637 48 11 Lost with all hands, 2 April 1943 after depth charging by HMS Stonecrop and HMS Black Swan. Georg-Wilhelm Schulz
Johann Mohr
U-123 IXB 30 May 1940 222,705 44 12 Decommissioned 17 June 1944. Scuttled in port, 19 August 1944. Refloated and taken into French service as Blaison. Karl-Heinz Moehle
Reinhard Hardegen
Horst von Schroeter
U-107 IXB 8 October 1940 217,786 39 13 Lost with all hands 18 August 1944 after depth charging by a Sunderland of 201 Squadron RAF. Günter Hessler
Harald Gelhaus
Volker Simmermacher
Karl-Heinz Fritz
U-37 IX 4 August 1938 202,467 55 11 Scuttled, 8 May 1945 Heinrich Schuch
Werner Hartmann
Victor Oehrn
Asmus Nicolai Clausen
Ulrich Folkers
U-66 IXC 20 March 1940 200,021 33 9 Sunk 6 May 1944 by Grumman F4F Wildcats and Grumman TBF Avengers of USS Block Island, rammed by destroyer escort USS Buckley. Richard Zapp
Friedrich Markworth
Paul Frerks
Gerhard Seehausen
U-68 IXC 11 February 1941 197,998 33 10 Sunk 10 April 1944, depth charges and rockets fired by F4F Wildcats and TBM Avengers of USS Guadalcanal. Karl-Friedrich Merten
Albert Lauzemis
Ekkehard Scherraus
Gerhard Seehausen
Albert Lauzemis
U-47 VIIB 17 December 1938 191,919 31 10 Missing with all hands, on or about 7 March 1941 while patrolling south of Iceland between 59 deg and 62 deg north.

Possibly depth-charged by destroyers HMS Wolverine and HMS Verity after being located using Type 286 ASDIC newly fitted to both destroyers.

Günther Prien

References