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German submarine U-30 (1936)
Name: U-30
Ordered: 1 April 1935
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Cost: 4,189,000 Reichsmark
Yard number: 911
Laid down: 24 January 1936
Launched: 4 August 1936
Commissioned: 8 October 1936
Decommissioned: January 1945
General characteristics [1][2]
Type: Type VIIA submarine
Displacement: 626 tonnes (616 long tons) ↑
745 t (733 long tons) ↓
Length: 64.5 m (211 ft 7 in) o/a
44.5 m (146 ft 0 in) pressure hull
Beam: 5.85 m (19 ft 2 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.4 m (14 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines totalling 2,100–2,310 bhp (1,570–1,720 kW). Max rpm: 470–485
2 × Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW). Max rpm: 322
Speed: 17 knots (20 mph; 31 km/h) ↑
8 knots (9.2 mph; 15 km/h) ↓
Range: 6,200 nmi (11,500 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h) ↑
73–94 nmi (135–174 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) ↓
Test depth: 220 m (720 ft)
Crush depth: 230–250 m (750–820 ft)
Complement: 42–46 officers and ratings
Armament: • 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
• 11 × torpedoes or 22 TMA mines or 33 TMB mines
• 1 × 8.8 cm SK C/35 naval gun (220 rounds)
• 1 × C30 20 mm AA
Service record[3][4]
Part of: 2nd U-boat Flotilla
(8 October 1936 – 30 November 1940)
24th U-boat Flotilla
(1 December 1940 – 30 November 1943)
22nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 December 1943 – 12 January 1945)
Identification codes: M 05 559
Commanders: Kptlt. Hans Cohausz
(8 October 1936 – 31 October 1938)
Hans Pauckstadt
(15 February 1938 – 17 August 1938)
Kptlt. Fritz-Julius Lemp
(November 1938 – September 1940)
Robert Prützmann
(September 1940 – 31 March 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Paul-Karl Loeser
(1 April – April 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Hubertus Purkhold
( – 22 April April 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Kurt Baberg
(23 April 1941 – 9 March 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Hermann Bauer
(10 March – 4 October 1942)
Ltn. Franz Saar
(5 October – 16 December 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Ernst Fischer
(May 1943 – 1 December 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Ludwig Fabricius
(2 December 1943 – 14 December 1944)
Oblt.z.S. Günther Schimmel
(17–23 January 1945)
Operations: 1st patrol:
22 August – 27 September 1939
2nd patrol:
9–14 December 1939
3rd patrol:
23 December 1939 – 17 January 1940
4th patrol:
11–30 March 1940
5th patrol:
3 April – 4 May 1940
6th patrol:
8 June – 7 July 1940
7th patrol:
13–24 July 1940
8th patrol:
5–30 August 1940
Victories: 16 commercial ships sunk (86,165 GRT)
one auxiliary warship sunk (325 GRT)
one commercial ship damaged (5,642 GRT)
one warship damaged (31,100 GRT)

German submarine U-30 was a Type VIIA U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine that served during World War II. She was ordered in April 1935 in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, which prevented the construction and commissioning of any U-boats for the German navy, and as part of the German naval rearmament program known as Plan Z. She sank the liner SS Athenia, the first ship sunk in World War II, on 3 September 1939, under the command of Fritz-Julius Lemp. She was retired from front-line service in September 1940 after undertaking eight war patrols, having sunk 17 vessels and damaging two others. U-30 then served in a training role until the end of the war when she was scuttled. She was later raised and broken up for scrap in 1948.


U-30 was ordered by the Kriegsmarine on 1 April 1935 (as part of Plan Z and in violation of the Treaty of Versailles). Her keel was laid down on 24 January 1936 by AG Weser, Bremen as Werk 911. She was launched on 4 August and formally commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on 8 October under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.)Hans Cohausz.[3] Like all Type VIIA submarines, U-30 had two MAN 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines totalling 2,100–2,310 bhp (1,570–1,720 kW) as well as two Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 electric motors, that produced 750 shp (560 kW) and allowed her to travel at a maximum of 17 knots (31 km/h) while surfaced and 8 knots (15 km/h) submerged. She had a range of 6,200 nmi (11,500 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) while on the surface and 73–94 nmi (135–174 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) while submerged. U-30 had five torpedo tubes, (four in the bow, one in the stern). She could also carry a total of eleven 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedoes or 22 TMA mines or 33 TMB mines and had a C35 88 mm gun/L45 deck gun (with 220 rounds). She was equipped with one C30 20 mm AA anti-aircraft gun. After being commissioned and deployed, U-30 was stationed in the German port city of Wilhelmshaven.[1][2]

Service history[]

During her career U-30 was involved in eight war patrols and sank 16 merchant ships, totalling 86,165 gross register tons (GRT) and one auxiliary warship of 325 GRT. U-30 also damaged one ship of 5,642 GRT and damaged the British battleship HMS Barham. All of these attacks took place under the command of 'Kptlt.' Fritz-Julius Lemp.[3][4]

First patrol and the sinking of the Athenia[]

U-30 went to sea on 22 August 1939, before World War II began.[5] Her active service career began on 3 September 1939, just 12 days after leaving Wilhelmshaven and only 10 hours after Great Britain declared war on Germany, she sank the 13,581 ton passenger ship SS Athenia about 200 miles (320 km) west of the Hebrides while she was en route from Liverpool to Montreal in Canada.[6][7] The Athenia was the first ship sunk in World War II; out of 1,400 passengers, 112 of them, including 28 neutral Americans, died.[7] After sinking the Athenia, U-30 went on to sink two more vessels, the Blairlogie and the SS Fanad Head.[5]

Following the attack, the German Ministry of Propaganda checked incoming reports from both London and the German Naval High command. Having been told by the Kriegsmarine that there was not a single U-boat in the vicinity of the Athenia on the day of her sinking, the Propaganda Ministry promptly denied all allegations that any German U-boat had sunk the Athenia.[7] They claimed instead that the British had torpedoed their own vessel in an attempt to bring the United States into the war on the side of the Allies.[8]

In order to calm-down any American response to the sinking of the Athenia, Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, arranged a meeting between Grand Admiral Erich Raeder and the American naval attaché on 16 September 1939. During the meeting, Raeder assured the attaché that he had received reports from every German submarine at sea and "as a result of which it was definitely established that the Athenia had not been sunk by a German U-boat".[8] Raeder then asked the attaché to inform the American government.[8] However, not every submarine had returned to port and all U-boats maintained radio silence while at sea.[8]

Once U-30 docked on 27 September, Admiral Karl Dönitz met Lemp while he was disembarking from the U-boat. Dönitz later said that Lemp looked "very unhappy" and that he told the Admiral that he was in fact responsible for the sinking of the Athenia. Lemp had mistaken the Athenia for an armed merchant cruiser, which he claimed was zig-zagging. Dönitz subsequently received orders that the Athenia affair was to be kept a "total secret",[8] the High Command of the Navy (OKM) were not to court-martial Lemp as they considered his actions in good-faith, and that any other political explanations about the sinking of the Athenia were to be handled by the OKM who would deny any allegations that a German U-boat had sunk the vessel. In order to keep the sinking of the Athenia a secret, Dönitz had U-30's log altered in order to erase any evidence. It was not until the Nuremberg trials in 1946 that the truth about the fate of the liner was brought forth publicly by the Germans.[8][9]

Second patrol[]

As a result of the investigation undertaken by the German General Staff following the sinking of the Athenia, U-30 remained in port until 9 December 1939 when she was finally allowed to put to sea again for her second war patrol. It lasted only six days, during which time she travelled up to the southern coast of (then neutral) Norway before returning to Wilhelmshaven on 14 December 1939. During the voyage U-30 did not encounter any enemy vessels, consequently she returned to port without any claims.[10]

Third patrol[]

U-30's third patrol was much more successful. Having left Wilhelmshaven on 23 December 1939, she journeyed into the North Sea. She then circumnavigated the British Isles and travelled along the southern coast of Ireland. It was near to the west coast of Scotland that U-30 sank her first enemy vessel during her third patrol, the 325 ton anti-submarine trawler HMS Barbara Robertson, on 28 December. That same day, she hit a much bigger target, the British battleship HMS Barham. Following the sinking of the Barbara Robertson, U-30 fired a torpedo at the battleship and damaged her, killing four crew members. U-30's next three victims were sunk by mines laid by the U-boat: the El Oso, sunk on 11 January; the Gracia, damaged on 16 January and the Cairnross, sunk on 17 January. Meanwhile, U-30 returned to her home port of Wilhelmshaven on 17 January 1940.[11]

Fourth patrol[]

The fourth patrol that U-30 undertook began on 11 March 1940 when she left Wilhelmshaven for the west coast of Norway in preparation for the invasion of that country. For a period of 20 days, she traveled northeast along the Norwegian coast in search of any Allied convoys, she did not find any and returned to Wilhelmshaven on 30 March 1940.[12]

Fifth patrol[]

Like her fourth patrol, U-30's fifth patrol ended without any losses. She put to sea on 3 April 1940 to support the German invasion of Norway and Denmark (codenamed Operation Weserubung). For 32 days, U-30 travelled up the west coast of Norway. She then headed southwest to Scotland in order to intercept British warships that were heading north to defend Norway. She failed to encounter any vessels, however, and returned to Wilhelmshaven, arriving there on 4 May.[13]

Sixth patrol[]

U-30's sixth patrol was the first time in which she had sunk any enemy ships since her third patrol. Having left Wilhelmshaven on 8 June 1940, she once again entered the North Sea in an attempt to sink any Allied ships in the area. For 32 days, U-30 circumnavigated the British Isles and sank five enemy ships in the Bay of Biscay. The first vessel to be attacked was the 4,876 ton British merchantman, Otterpool which was sunk on 20 June 1940. Two days later, the 3,999 ton Norwegian vessel Randsfjord was sunk. On 28 June, the British ship Llanarth was torpedoed, followed by the Beignon on 1 July and the Egyptian Angele Mabro on 6 July. Following these attacks, U-30 headed back to port. Instead of returning to Wilhelmshaven, however, U-30 put in at Lorient, in France, which had been captured after the fall of that country. In doing so, she became the first German U-boat to enter the port.[14][15]

Later patrols and retirement[]

U-30 began her first patrol operating from Lorient and her seventh overall on 13 July 1940. During a period of 12 days, she traveled as far south as Portugal and sank the 712 ton British ship Ellaroy on the 21st. Three days later, on 24 July, U-30 returned to Lorient,[16] having experienced a malfunction in one of her engines.[15] It then became clear that the boat was suffering a number of mechanical difficulties and as a result it was decided that she would need to be used sparingly. For her next patrol it was decided that she would leave from Lorient, but would return to Germany.[17]

The eighth and last war patrol that U-30 was to undertake, began on 5 August 1940 when she left Lorient for the North Atlantic. In 26 days, she travelled north of the British Isles, into the North Sea and entered the German port city of Kiel on 30 August 1940. During that time, she sank the Swedish vessel Canton on 9 August and the British steam merchantman Clan Macphee on 16 August 1940. Both of these attacks took place off the west coast of neutral Ireland.[18] After these successes, however, U-30 once again experienced engine trouble and was forced to end her patrol early, returning to Germany. Before she arrived, Lemp received word that he had been awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for the boat's previous war patrols.[19]

Following her eighth patrol, U-30 was retired from front-line service on 15 September 1940 and was assigned to training flotillas in the Baltic for the rest of the war.[20] After her retirement, many of U-30's experienced crew members, including Lemp, were transferred to U-110.[21] In the last months of the war, U-30 was used as a range boat (gunnery platform) before being scuttled by her crew on 4 May 1945 at Flensburg in Kupfermühlen Bay, in order to avoid surrendering the boat to the Allies as part of Operation Regenbogen.[22] The wreck of the U-boat was later raised and broken up in 1948.[3]

Summary of raiding career[]

During her service in the Kriegsmarine, U-30 sank 16 commercial ships, a loss of 86,165 GRT, and one warship for a loss of 325 GRT. She also damaged one commercial ship of 5,642 GRT and damaged the battleship HMS Barham.[23]

Date[23] Ship[23] Nationality[23] Tonnage[23] Fate[23]
3 September 1939 Athenia United Kingdom Great Britain 13,581 sunk
11 September 1939 Blairlogie United Kingdom Great Britain 4,425 sunk
14 September 1939 Fanad Head United Kingdom Great Britain 5,200 sunk
28 December 1939 HMS Barbara Robertson United Kingdom Great Britain 325 sunk
28 December 1939 HMS Barham United Kingdom Great Britain 31,100 damaged
11 January 1940 El Oso United Kingdom Great Britain 7,267 sunk
16 January 1940 Gracia United Kingdom Great Britain 5,642 damaged
17 January 1940 Cairnross United Kingdom Great Britain 5,494 sunk
7 February 1940 Munster United Kingdom Great Britain 4,305 sunk
9 February 1940 Chagres United Kingdom Great Britain 5,406 sunk
8 March 1940 Counsellor United Kingdom Great Britain 5,068 sunk
20 June 1940 Otterpool United Kingdom Great Britain 4,876 sunk
22 June 1940 Randsfjord Norway Norway 3,999 sunk
28 June 1940 Llanarth United Kingdom Great Britain 5,053 sunk
1 July 1940 Beignon United Kingdom Great Britain 5,218 sunk
6 July 1940 Angele Mabro Egypt Egypt 3,154 sunk
21 July 1940 Ellaroy United Kingdom Great Britain 712 sunk
1 August 1940 Canton Sweden Sweden 5,779 sunk
16 August 1940 Clan Macphee United Kingdom Great Britain 6,628 sunk

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type VIIA". U-Boat War in World War II. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Type VII U-Boat". German U-boat. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-30". German U-boats of WWII. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by U-30". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (First patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  6. Shirer (1990) p.622
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Shirer (1990) p.636
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Shirer (1990) p.637
  9. Shirer (1990) p.638
  10. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Second patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  11. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Third patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  12. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Fourth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  13. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Fifth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  14. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Sixth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Blair (2000a), p. 176
  16. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Seventh patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  17. Blair (2000a), p. 177
  18. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-30 (Eighth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  19. Blair (2000a), p. 178
  20. Blair (2000a), pp. 178 & 701
  21. Blair (2000a), p. 254
  22. Blair (2000b), pp. 700 & 815
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 "Ships hit by U-30". U-boat Successes. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  • U-30 at
  • Blair, Clay (2000a) [1996]. Hitler's U-boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942. New York: Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-64032-0. 
  • Blair, Clay (2000b) [1996]. Hitler's U-boat War: The Hunters, 1942–1945. New York: Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-64033-9. 
  • Shirer, William L. (1990). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-72868-7. 

External links[]

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