|German submarine U-37 (1938)|
U-37 docking at Wilhelmshaven on 18 April 1940
|Ordered:||29 July 1936|
|Builder:||AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||15 March 1937|
|Launched:||14 May 1938|
|Commissioned:||4 August 1938|
|General characteristics |
|Type:||Type IXA submarine|
1,032 t (1,016 long tons) surfaced|
1,152 t (1,134 long tons) submerged
76.6 m (251 ft 4 in) o/a|
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) o/a|
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
|Height:||9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)|
|Draft:||4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)|
2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)|
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced|
7.7 knots (14.3 km/h) submerged
19,425 nmi (35,975 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced|
144 nmi (267 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||48 to 56|
• 6 × torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)|
• 22 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes
• 1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun (110 rounds)
• AA guns (2 cm FlaK 30)
6th U-boat Flotilla|
(1 April 1938 – 31 December 1939)
2nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 January 1940 – 30 April 1941)
26th U-boat Flotilla
(1 May 1941 – 31 March 1942)
22nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 April 1942 – 30 June 1944)
4th U-boat Flotilla
(1 July 1944 – 3 May 1945)
Kptlt. Heinrich Schuch|
(4 August 1938 – 24 September 1939)
KrvKpt. Werner Hartmann
(25 September 1939 – 6 May 1940)
Kptlt. Victor Oehrn
(6 May–26 October 1940)
Kptlt. Asmus Nicolai Clausen
(26 October 1940 – 2 May 1941)
Kptlt. Ulrich Folkers
(3 May–15 November 1941)
Oblt. Gustav-Adolf Janssen
(16 November 1941 – 30 June 1942)
Oblt. Albert Lauzemis
(1 July 1942 – 3 January 1943)
Oblt. Hinrich Kelling
(4 January–19 November 1943)
Oblt. Peter Gerlach
(20 November 1943 – 8 January 1944)
Oblt. Wolfgang Seiler
(9 January–21 December 1944)
Kptlt. Eberhard von Wenden
(22 December 1944 – 8 May 1945)
19 August–15 September 1939
5 October–8 November 1939
28 January–27 February 1940
30 March–18 April 1940
15 May–9 June 1940
1–12 August 1940
17–30 August 1940
24 September–22 October 1940
28 November 1940–7 January 1941
30 January–18 February 1941
27 February–22 March 1941
53 commercial ships sunk (200,124 GRT)|
Two warships sunk (2,404 GRT)
One ship damaged (9,494 GRT)
German submarine U-37 was a Type IXA U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 15 March 1937 at the AG Weser yard in Bremen, launched on 14 May 1938, and commissioned on 4 August 1938 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Schuch as part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla.
Between August 1939 and March 1941, U-37 conducted eleven combat patrols, sinking 53 merchant ships, for a total of 200,124 gross register tons (GRT); and two warships, the British sloop HMS Penzance (L28), and the French submarine Sfax (Q182). U-37 was then withdrawn from front-line service and assigned to training units until the end of the war. On 8 May 1945 the U-boat was scuttled in Sonderburg Bay, off Flensburg. U-37 was the sixth most successful U-boat in World War II.
U-37 left Wilhelmshaven on 5 October 1939 to conduct operations in the North Atlantic now under the command of Kapitän zur See Werner Hartmann. During this patrol she sank eight ships: four British, two Greek, one French and one Swedish, including the British steam freighter Yorkshire which was traveling with the Allied convoy HG-3, sailing from Gibraltar to Liverpool, England. Hartmann returned his boat to port on 8 November after nearly five weeks at sea.
On 1 January 1940 U-37 was reassigned to the 2nd U-boat Flotilla based at Wilhelmshaven. On 28 January 1940 the U-boat departed for the North Atlantic, with Werner Hartmann in command. As on his previous patrol, Hartmann sank eight ships, this time three British, two Norwegian, one Danish, one French and one Greek. Of these ships, two were in convoy at the time. U-37 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 27 February.
U-37 departed Wilhelmshaven on 30 March for Werner Hartmann's third consecutive patrol, this time around Norway. Again, Hartmann proved successful, sinking three ships; the Norwegian Tosca, the Swedish Sveaborg and the British Stancliffe. After patrolling for over two weeks, the U-boat returned to Wilhelmshaven on 18 April.
Under a new captain, Kapitänleutnant Victor Oehrn, U-37 departed from Wilhelmshaven on 15 May for a patrol around Portugal and Spain. U-37 had her most successful mission, hitting eleven ships, sinking ten of them. Three French ships were sunk, two Greek, two British, one Swedish, one Argentinian, one Finnish; one British ship was damaged. After three and a half weeks at sea, U-37 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 9 June.
The neutral Argentinian ship was the Uruguay, sailing from Rosario to Limerick with a cargo of maize. U-37 surfaced and stopped the Uruguay and examined her papers, then sank her with scuttling charges. Her crew of 28 were left in their lifeboats. Fifteen died, 13 survived.
U-37 sailed from Wilhelmshaven on 1 August, again with Victor Oehrn in command. This week and a half long patrol in the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland resulted in the sinking of a single British ship, the Upwey Grange. U-37 returned to port on 12 August, but rather than head back to Wilhelmshaven, she made for Lorient in France, where the 2nd U-boat Flotilla was now based.
For the first time, U-37 began a patrol from a location other than Germany, in Lorient on 17 August, with Victor Oehrn in command once more. It was to focus on operations off the south-west coast of Ireland. Seven ships were sunk during this voyage; five of which were British, one Norwegian, and one Greek. Of these ships, one was from the convoy OA-220, the British Brookwood, traveling from Britain to the United States, two were from the convoy SC-1, the British sloop HMS Penzance and Blarimore, sailing from Sydney, Australia, to the United Kingdom. After two weeks at sea, U-37 returned to Lorient on 30 August.
On 24 September, U-37 departed Lorient on Victor Oehrn's fourth patrol, in which he would sail to the North Atlantic. During this month long operation U-37 sank six ships, four of which were in convoy at the time of attack, all of which were British. Five of these six ships were sailing under the British flag, while the sixth was from Egypt. The British ship Corrientes was sunk as part of convoy OB-217, sailing from Liverpool to North America. The Heminge was sailing as part of convoy OB-220, also sailing from Liverpool to North America. The British General was sunk while sailing as part of convoy OA-222, sailing from Britain to North America. The fourth ship sunk was the British Stangrant, sailing as part of the convoy HX-77 from Halifax to the United Kingdom. The U-boat returned to Lorient on 22 October.
After over a month in port, U-37 departed with a new captain, Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen on 28 November for operations around north-west Africa and Spain. Seven ships were sunk during this patrol; two French, two Swedish, two British and one Spanish. Of these seven ships, three were in convoy at the time of their sinking. The Swedish Gwalia and Daphne and the British Jeanne M were sailing as part of convoy OG-46 from Britain to Gibraltar. The French vessels, the oiler Rhône and the submarine Sfax belonged to Vichy France and were sunk in error. After five weeks on the high seas, U-37 returned to Lorient on 14 January 1941.
Tenth and eleventh patrols
U-37 left Lorient on 30 January 1941 to patrol off the coast of Portugal. On 8 February she spotted Convoy HG-53. The next day, U-37 sank two British ships, Courland and Estrellano. The third merchant vessel that U-37 sank on her tenth patrol was the British ship Brandenburg, on 10 February. The U-boat then returned to Lorient on 18 February after spending 20 days at sea and sinking 4,781 tons of shipping.
Leaving Lorient for the final time on 27 February 1941, U-37's last patrol took her to the waters south of Iceland. There she sank two vessels, the Greek cargo ship Mentor on 7 March, and the Icelandic trawler Pétursey on the 12th. After spending 24 days at sea, U-37 entered the port of Kiel on 22 March.
On 1 May 1941 U-37 was reassigned to the 26th U-boat Flotilla, based at Pillau, as a training U-boat. She was transferred to the 22nd U-boat Flotilla, based at Gotenhafen on 1 April 1942, and finally to the 4th U-boat Flotilla on 1 July 1944, where she remained until the end of the war. She was scuttled by her crew in May 1945.
Summary of raiding history
|Date||Name of Ship||Nationality||Tonnage||Fate|
|8 September 1939||Vistula||Sweden||1,018||Sunk|
|12 October 1939||Artis||Greece||4,810||Sunk|
|15 October 1939||Vermont||France||5,186||Sunk|
|17 October 1939||Yorkshire||United Kingdom||10,183||Sunk|
|24 October 1939||Ledbury||United Kingdom||3,528||Sunk|
|24 October 1939||Menin Ridge||United Kingdom||2,474||Sunk|
|24 October 1939||Tafna||United Kingdom||4,413||Sunk|
|30 October 1939||Thrasyvoulos||Greece||3,693||Sunk|
|4 February 1940||Hop||Norway||1,365||Sunk|
|4 February 1940||Leo Dawson||United Kingdom||4,330||Sunk|
|10 February 1940||Silja||Norway||1,259||Sunk|
|11 February 1940||Togimo||United Kingdom||290||Sunk|
|15 February 1940||Aase||Denmark||1,206||Sunk|
|17 February 1940||Pyrrhus||United Kingdom||7,418||Sunk|
|18 February 1940||Elin||Greece||4,917||Sunk|
|18 February 1940||P.L.M. 15||France||3,754||Sunk|
|10 April 1940||Sveaborg||Sweden||9,076||Sunk|
|10 April 1940||Tosca||Norway||5,128||Sunk|
|12 April 1940||Stancliffe||United Kingdom||4,511||Sunk|
|19 May 1940||Erik Frisell||Sweden||5,006||Sunk|
|22 May 1940||Dunster Grange||United Kingdom||9,494||Damaged|
|24 May 1940||Kyma||Greece||3,994||Sunk|
|27 May 1940||Sheaf Mead||United Kingdom||5,008||Sunk|
|27 May 1940||Uruguay||Argentina||3,425||Sunk|
|28 May 1940||Brazza||France||10,387||Sunk|
|28 May 1940||Julien||France||177||Sunk|
|28 May 1940||Maria Rosé||France||2,477||Sunk|
|29 May 1940||Telena||United Kingdom||7,406||Sunk|
|1 June 1940||Ioanna||Greece||950||Sunk|
|3 June 1940||Snabb||Finland||2,317||Sunk|
|8 June 1940||Upwey Grange||United Kingdom||9,130||Sunk|
|23 August 1940||Keret||Norway||1,718||Sunk|
|23 August 1940||Keret||United Kingdom||5,242||Sunk|
|24 August 1940||Brookwood||United Kingdom||5,100||Sunk|
|24 August 1940||HMS Penzance||United Kingdom||1,025||Sunk|
|25 August 1940||Blairmore||United Kingdom||4,141||Sunk|
|25 August 1940||Yewcrest||United Kingdom||3,409||Sunk|
|27 August 1940||Theodoros T||Greece||3,409||Sunk|
|27 September 1940||Georges Mabro||Egypt||2,555||Sunk|
|28 September 1940||Corrientes||United Kingdom||6,863||Sunk|
|30 September 1940||Heminge||United Kingdom||2,499||Sunk|
|30 September 1940||Samala||United Kingdom||5,390||Sunk|
|6 October 1940||British General||United Kingdom||6,989||Sunk|
|13 October 1940||Stangrant||United Kingdom||5,804||Sunk|
|1 December 1940||Palmella||United Kingdom||1,578||Sunk|
|2 December 1940||Gwalia||Sweden||1,258||Sunk|
|2 December 1940||Jeanne M.||United Kingdom||2,465||Sunk|
|4 December 1940||Daphne||Sweden||1,513||Sunk|
|16 December 1940||San Carlos||Spain||223||Sunk|
|19 December 1940||Rhône||France||2,785||Sunk|
|19 December 1940||Sfax (Q 182)||France||1,379||Sunk|
|9 February 1941||Courland||United Kingdom||1,325||Sunk|
|9 February 1941||Estrellano||United Kingdom||1,983||Sunk|
|10 February 1941||Brandenburg||United Kingdom||1,473||Sunk|
|7 March 1941||Mentor||Greece||3,050||Sunk|
|12 March 1941||Petursey||Iceland||91||Sunk|
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