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German submarine U-75 (1940)
Career Kriegsmarine Ensign
Name: U-75
Ordered: 2 June 1938
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack
Cost: 4,790,000 Reichsmark
Yard number: 3
Laid down: 15 December 1939
Launched: 18 October 1940
Commissioned: 9 December 1940
Fate: Sunk by a British warship, 28 December 1941
General characteristics
Class & type: Type VIIB U-boat
Displacement: 753 t (741 long tons) ↑
857 t (843 long tons) ↓[1]
Length: 66.5 m (218 ft 2 in) (o/a)
48.8 m (160 ft 1 in) (pressure hull)[1]
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in)
[convert: invalid number] (pressure hull)[1]
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)[1]
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged MAN, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines totalling 2,800–3,200 shp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490 ↑
2 × BBC GG UB 720/8-276 electric motors with 750 shp (560 kW) for 295 rpm ↓[2]
Speed: 17.9 kn (33.2 km/h) ↑
8 kn (15 km/h)[1]
Range: 9,700 nmi (18,000 km) @ 10 knots ↑
90 nmi (170 km) @ 4 knots ↓[1]
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft). Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
1 inflatable rubber boat[2]
Complement: 44 to 48 officers and ratings
Sensors and
processing systems:
FuMO 61 Hohentwiel U
Armament: • 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes: four bow, one stern
• 14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
• 1 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) deck gun with 220 rounds
• 1 × C30 20 mm AA
Service record
Part of: 7th U-boat Flotilla
(19 December 1940–1 October 1941)
23rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 October–28 December 1941)
Commanders: Kptlt. Helmuth Ringelmann
(19 December 1940–28 December 1941)
Operations: 1st patrol:
10 April–12 May 1941
2nd patrol:
29 May–3 July 1941
3rd patrol:
29 July–25 August 1941
4th patrol:
27 September–2 November 1941
5th patrol:
22–28 December 1941
Victories: Seven commercial ships sunk (33,884 GRT); two warships sunk - 744 tons

German submarine U-75 was a Type VIIB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. U-75 was moderately successful in her early career in the Battle of the Atlantic, but in autumn 1941 she was dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea with poor results, leading to the eventual destruction of the boat and her crew.

She was laid down on 15 December 1939 at the Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft (yard), in Bremen as Werk 3, launched on 18 October 1940 and commissioned on 19 December under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Helmuth Ringelmann.

U-75 carried out training with the 7th U-boat Flotilla in December 1941 until March 1941. She then became operational with the same organization until October. After that, she was reassigned to the 23rd flotilla.

War patrols[]

1st patrol[]

Ringelmann was a good sea officer, who made an impact within three weeks of the boat's initial patrol starting, when on 29 April the submarine torpedoed and sank the 10,000 ton liner SS City of Nagpur in the Central North Atlantic Ocean, killing fifteen sailors and one passenger.[3]

2nd and 3rd patrols[]

This success was followed on her second foray with another victim, this time a Dutch freighter, the Elbergen, which went down about 650 nmi (1,200 km) north of the Azores. As the Germans watched her demise, the U-boat was illuminated by a searchlight which was hurriedly extinguished by fire from the boat's AA gun. On her third patrol U-75 sank two British cargo ships - the Harlingen and the Cape Rodney both west of Ireland on 5 August 1941. The latter ship was taken in tow after being hit, but foundered west of Ushant on the 9th. These operations were conducted from the new submarine base at Saint-Nazaire in France, which provided type VII boats like U-75 with a greater patrol range and cruising ability, thus conferring an essential advantage.

4th patrol[]

The boat's fourth patrol was more unusual, requiring her to slip unnoticed through the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean to attack allied shipping operating from Gibraltar, Malta and Egypt. She was accompanied in this task by U-79, U-97, U-331, U-371 and U-559, which together formed the 'Goeben' group, (so-named for the German battleship of the same name which had operated in the Mediterranean in 1914). For these operations, U-75's home base was now Salamis in Greece, where she arrived on 2 November. On the journey there, the boat had taken a successful detour along the Libyan coast to see if she could catch any British resupply convoys. On 12 October she had seen just such a convoy and managed to sink two landing craft with gunfire before she escaped.

5th patrol and loss[]

Her final patrol was from 22 December 1941, and consisted of a similar sweep along the Libyan coast. On 28 December, six days since leaving Salamis, a small coastal convoy was spotted off Mersa Matruh, U-75 launched an attack which sank the small British freighter SS Volo.[4] The convoy's escorts had spotted the U-boat however, and HMS Kipling (F91) ran the submarine down and dropped depth charges on the boat. The explosions forced U-75 to the surface, where 30 of her crew were rescued and taken prisoner by her erstwhile opponent before the boat heeled over and sank, taking 15 men with her, including her only captain.

Summary of raiding career[]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[5]
29 April 1941 SS City of Nagpur  Great Britain 10,146 Sunk
3 June 1941 SS Eibergen  Netherlands 4,801 Sunk
3 August 1941 SS Inversuir  Great Britain 9,456 Sunk
25 June 1941 Schie  Netherlands 1,967 Sunk
5 August 1941 SS Cape Rodney  Great Britain 4,512 Sunk
5 August 1941 SS Harlingen  Great Britain 5,415 Sunk
12 October 1941 HMS TLC-2 (A2)  Great Britain 372 Sunk
12 October 1941 HMS TLC-7 (A7)  Great Britain 372 Sunk
28 November SS Volo  Great Britain 1,587 Sunk

See also[]


  • Gröner, Erich (1990). German Warships, 1815-1945. Conway Maritime Press. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

Coordinates: 31°50′N 26°40′E / 31.833°N 26.667°E / 31.833; 26.667

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