Military Wiki
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-120
Ordered: 15 December 1937
Builder: Flender Werke, Lübeck
Yard number: 268
Laid down: 31 March 1938
Launched: 16 March 1940
Commissioned: 20 April 1940
Fate: Scuttled 2 May 1945 at Bremerhaven. Raised in 1950 and broken up.
Badge: Kriegsmarine Ensign
General characteristics
Type: IIB
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
Commanders: Oblt. Ernst Bauer (Knight's Cross)
Wolfgang Heyda
Oblt. Willy-Roderich Körner
Oblt. Hans Fiedler
Alfred Radermacher
Oblt. Adolf Gundlach[1]
Oblt. Joachim Sauerbier
Oblt. Rolf Rüdiger Bensel
Operations: No war patrols

German submarine U-120 was a Type IIB U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down on 31 March 1938 at the Flender Werke, Lübeck as 'werk' 268. She was launched on 16 March 1940 and commissioned on 20 April under Oberleutnant (Oblt.) Ernst Bauer.


U-120's emblem was an oak leaf, with an anchor, and a knife or dagger. She also shared this emblem with U-3, U-29, U-747, U-1274 and U-1308.[2]

Built for China[]

The Chinese Nationalist government used 10,000,000 Marks to order two Type IIB U-boats in 1937. They also dispatched 80 men to Germany for training in submarine operations. The Japanese government complained about this transaction, so the Chinese took their money back and these two vessels joined the Kriegsmarine after the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. They were U-120 and U-121.


U-120 was active from 1940 until she was scuttled in 1945. She was one of two Type II U-boats built at the Flender Werke in Lübeck. Along with her sister boat U-121, she was originally built for export to China. The advent of World War II and increased training needs, led the German high command to assign U-120 and U-121 to the training command.[3] From 20 April 1940 to 30 June she was part of the U-Bootschulflottille. In July 1940 she became part of the 21st U-boat Flotilla as a training boat until 16 March 1945 when she became part of the 31st U-boat Flotilla (training) until 2 May 1945 when she was scuttled at Bremerhaven. The boat was raised in 1950 and broken up for scrap.

Many sources incorrectly report that U-120 sank due to a malfunctioning toilet. This submarine was actually the much larger U-1206.[4]


  • 20 April 1940 - 25 November: Oberleutnant Ernst Bauer (Knight's Cross)
  • 26 November 1940 - 19 May 1941: Wolfgang Heyda
  • 20 May 1941 - 24 February 1942: Oblt. Willy-Roderich Körner
  • 25 February 1942 - 30 September: Oblt. Hans Fiedler
  • 15 September 1942 - 24 May 1943: Alfred Radermacher
  • 24 May 1943 - 26 Jul 1943 Oblt. Adolf Gundlach[5]
  • 26 July 1943 - 14 September 1944: Oblt. Joachim Sauerbier
  • 15 September 1944 - 2 May 1945: Oblt. Rolf Rüdiger Bensel


  2. - Emblem database
  3. Blair (1996), 178-179.
  4. Sources asserting incorrectly that U-120 sank because of a malfunctioning toilet include: Sources reporting U-1206 sank because of a malfunctioning toilet include:

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