Military Wiki
German submarine U-20 (1936)
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-20
Ordered: 2 February 1935
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 550
Laid down: 1 August 1935
Launched: 14 January 1936
Commissioned: 1 February 1936
Identification: M 29 241
Fate: Scuttled 10 September 1944, off the coast of Turkey in the Black Sea[1]
General characteristics
Type: IIB
Displacement: Surfaced 279 Tons
Submerged 329 Tons
Length: 42.7m (140.2Ft)
Beam: 4.1m (13.5Ft)
Speed: Surfaced:13 Knots
Submerged:7 Knots
Endurance: Surfaced 1,800 Miles at 12 Knots
Submerged 43 Miles at 4 Knots
Crew: 25
Armament: Three fore torpedo tubes with 6 x 21 inch Torpedos and 1 x 20mm AA gun on fore-deck
Service record
Part of:
  • Hans Eckermann
  • Karl-Heinz Moehle
  • Harro von Klot-Heydenfeldt
  • Heinrich Driver
  • Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
  • Ottokar Arnold Paulshen
  • Herbert Schauenburg
  • Wolfgang Sträter
  • Kurt Nölke
  • Clemens Schöler
  • Karl Grafen
Operations: 16;
1st patrol:
24–31 August 1939
2nd patrol:
29 September–17 October 1939
3rd patrol:
18–24 November 1939
4th patrol:
7–13 December 1939
5th patrol:
6–16 January 1940
6th patrol:
a. 21–21 January 1940
b. 23–31 January 1940
c. 4–4 February 1940
7th patrol:
27 February–4 March 1940
8th patrol:
14–20 March 1940
9th patrol:
22–29 June 1943
10th patrol:
11 July–7 August 1943
11th patrol:
a. 16–22 September 1943
b. 24 September–12 October 1943
12th patrol:
8 November–9 December 1943
13th patrol:
1–26 January 1944
14th patrol:
a. 22 February–1 March 1944
b. 2–27 March 1944
15th patrol:
11 June–11 July 1944
16th patrol:
19 August 1944–10 September 1944
Victories: 13 ships sunk for a total of 30,067 GRT
One ship damaged, of 1,846 GRT.
Two ships declared a total loss for a total of 8,446 GRT

German submarine U-20 was a Type IIB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine. Her keel was laid down on 1 August 1935, by Germaniawerft of Kiel as 'werk' 550. She was commissioned on 1 February 1936. During World War II, she conducted operations against enemy shipping.

U-20 went on 16 war patrols, sinking 16 ships totalling 39,637 GRT and damaging one more of 1,846 GRT.

Operational history[]

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols[]

U-20's first three patrols involved observation (in August 1939) and the laying of mines in the North Sea and off the British east coast. She would start in Kiel and finish in Wilhelmshaven; then reverse the process.

4th and 5th patrols[]

She sank the Magnus about 40 mi (64 km) east northeast of Peterhead in Scotland. The ship went down in 90 seconds; there was only one survivor. She also sank the Ionian and the Willowpool in November and December respectively, with mines laid in November.

The boat sank the Sylvia northeast of Aberdeen on her fifth sortie on 13 October 1940.

6th - 8th patrols[]

U-20 sank a steady number of ships on her sixth and seventh patrols, (her eighth foray was relatively quiet), but a series of changes were on the way.

She was transferred to the U-Ausbildungsflottille as a school boat on 1 May 1940, then the Black Sea, avoiding the heavy British presence at Gibraltar and throughout the Mediterranean by moving overland and along the Danube to her new home with the 30th U-boat Flotilla at Konstanza in Rumania.[2]

9th and 10th patrols[]

The boat's first patrol in the new environment, but her ninth overall, almost ended in disaster when she tried to torpedo a Soviet submarine chaser; the vessel responded by dropping eight depth charges. U-20 was obliged to stay submerged for four hours and returned to base with various mechanical failures.

Near the end of sally number ten, a crew member from U-19 who had been taken sick, was transferred to U-20 on 4 August 1943. The boat docked at Konstanza on the 7th.

11th - 14th patrols[]

These patrols were conducted between Konstanza and Sevastopol. U-20 sank the Soviet Vaijan Kutur'e on 16 January 1944 off Cape Anakria.

15th patrol[]

The boat sank the Pestel on 19 June 1944 off Trabzon. The Soviets reported that this ship was sunk in Turkish territorial waters.

She also sank the Soviet landing craft DB-26 on 26 June with gunfire and demolition charges.

16th patrol and fate[]

She was scuttled on 10 September 1944, in the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey.[3]

On 3 February 2008, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that U-20 had been discovered by Selçuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, in 80 feet (24 m) of water off the coast of the Turkish city of Zonguldak.[4]

Summary of raiding history[]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
29 November 1939 Ionian  United Kingdom 3,114 Sunk (mine)
9 December 1939 Magnus  Denmark 1,339 Sunk
10 December 1939 Føina  Norway 1,674 Sunk
10 December 1939 Willowpool  United Kingdom 4,815 Sunk (mine)
13 January 1940 Sylvia  Sweden 1,524 Sunk
27 January 1940 England  Denmark 2,319 Sunk
27 January 1940 Faro  Norway 844 Total loss
27 January 1940 Friedensborg  Denmark 2,094 Sunk
27 January 1940 Hosanger  Denmark 1,591 Sunk
29 February 1940 Maria Rosa  Italy 4,211 Sunk
1 March 1940 Mirella  Italy 5,340 Sunk
29 November 1943 Peredovik  Soviet Union 1,846 Damaged
16 January 1944 Vaijan Kutur'e  Soviet Union 7,602 Total loss
7 April 1944 Rion  Soviet Union 184 Sunk (mine)
19 June 1944 Pestel  Soviet Union 1,850 Sunk
24 June 1944 DB-26  Soviet Union 9 Sunk

See also[]


  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997. p. 217. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  2. The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 21
  3. Kemp, p. 217.
  4. Adolf Hitler's "Lost fleet" found in Black Sea, The Telegraph, Retrieved 2010-12-27

External links[]

Coordinates: 41°10′N 30°47′E / 41.167°N 30.783°E / 41.167; 30.783

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