|German submarine U-21 (1936)|
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||2 February 1935|
|Laid down:||4 March 1935|
|Launched:||31 July 1936|
|Commissioned:||3 August 1936|
|Fate:||Stranded, March 1940 after running aground in southern Noorway|
Surfaced 279 Tons|
Submerged 329 Tons
Surfaced:13 Knots |
Surfaced 1,800 Miles at 12 Knots|
Submerged 43 Miles at 4 Knots
|Armament:||Three fore torpedo tubes with 6 x 21 inch Torpedos and 1 x 20mm AA gun on fore-deck|
|Part of:||Kriegsmarine1st U-boat Flotilla3rd U-boat Flotilla21st U-boat Flotilla30th U-boat Flotilla|
Kptlt. Kurt Freiwald|
(18 July 1935–3 October 1937)
Kptlt. Werner Lott
(September 1936–31 March 1937)
Kptlt. Wilhelm Ambrosius
Kpt. Erwin Sachs
Kptlt. Fritz Frauenheim
1 October 1937–6 January 1940
6 January–28 July 1940
Oblt. Hans Heidtmann
1 August–20 December 1940
Kptlt. Ernst-Bernard Lohse
21 December 1940–18 May 1941
Oblt. Karl-Heinz Herbsleb
19 May 1941–3 January 1942
Oblt. Hans-Heinrich Döhler
4 January–24 September 1942
25 September 1942–28 January 1943
Oblt. Rudolf Kugelberg
29 January 1943–11 May 1944
Oblt. Wolfgang Schwazkopf
12 May–5 August 1944
25 August–5 September 1939
9 September–1 October 1939
22 October–8 November 1939
27 November–5 December 1939
17–24 December 1939
27 January–9 February 1940
21–27 March 1940
Five ships sunk for a total of 10,706 GRT|
one auxiliary warship sunk, of 605 GRT;
one warship damaged of 11,500 tons
German submarine U-21 was a Type IIB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine. Her keel was laid down 4 March 1936, by Germaniawerft of Kiel as 'werk' 551. She was commissioned on 3 August 1936. During World War II, she conducted operations against enemy shipping.
U-21 went on seven war patrols, sinking five ships, one auxiliary warship and damaging one warship.
1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols
U-21's first patrol was relatively uneventful.
On her second foray, the boat was attacked by the British submarine HMS Ursula which fired six torpedoes at her in the North Sea northeast of Berwick-Upon-Tweed [On the English/Scottish border] on 17 September 1939. These were the first submarine weapons launched by the Royal Navy in the Second World War. They all missed.
On her third patrol, the U-boat also had torpedoes fired at her in the central North Sea by another British submarine, HMS Sealion. The result was inconclusive as well.
4th and 5th patrols
The boat's first success with a torpedo came on 1 December 1939 when she sank the Finnish-registered Mercator about 12 mi (19 km) southeast of Buchan Ness (near Peterhead). She also damaged the British cruiser HMS Belfast with a mine.
On her fifth sortie, she sank the Mars on 21 December 1939 and the Carl Henckel (both from Sweden), on the same day. She also sank the British boom defence vessel HMS Bayonet in the Firth of Forth, again with a mine.
Patrol number six saw her sink the Danish Vidar 100 mi (160 km) east of the Moray Firth on 31 January 1940.
She sank the British Royal Archer with a mine on 26 February 1940, but then it all went horribly wrong on 26 March when she ran aground off Oldknuppen Island after a navigational error. The boat was towed to Mandal in Norway where she was interned. She was then towed to Kristiansand for repairs and release after the German occupation of the Nordic country.
Summary of raiding history
|21 November 1939||HMS Belfast||United Kingdom||11,500||Damaged (mine)|
|1 December 1939||Mercator||Finland||4,620||Sunk|
|21 December 1939||Carl Henckel||Sweden||1,352||Sunk|
|21 December 1939||HMS Bayonet||United Kingdom||605||Sunk (mine)|
|21 December 1939||Mars||Sweden||1,475||Sunk|
|31 January 1940||Vidar||Denmark||1,353||Sunk|
|24 February 1940||Royal Archer||United Kingdom||2,266||Sunk (mine)|
- uboat.net webpage for U-21
- ubootwaffe.net webpage about U-21
- u-boot-archiv.de webpage for U-21(German)
Warning: Display title "German submarine <i>U-21</i> (1936)" overrides earlier display title "German submarine <i>U-20</i> (1936)".
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