German submarine U-138 (1940)

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-138
Ordered: 25 September 1939
Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel
Laid down: 16 November 1939
Launched: 18 May 1940
Commissioned: 27 June 1940
Fate: Sunk 18 June 1941 west of Cadiz, in position 36.04N, 07.29W, by depth charges from British warships. 27 survivors (no casualties).
General characteristics
Class & type: Type IID Diesel-electric submarine
Displacement: 314 Tons (Surfaced)
364 Tons (Submerged)
Length: 144 feet 3 inches (44.0 m)
Beam: 16 feet 2 inches (4.9 m)
Draught: 12 feet 11 inches (3.9 m)

2 × MWM RS127S 6-cylinder diesel engines, 700 hp (522 kW)

2 × SSW PGVV322/26 double-acting electric motors, 402 hp (300 kW)
Speed: 12.7 knots (23.5 km/h) (Surfaced)
7.4 knots (13.7 km/h) (Submerged)
Range: 5,650 mi (4,910 nmi; 9,090 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h) (Surfaced)
56 miles at 4 knots (7.4 km/h) (Submerged)
Test depth: 492 feet (150 m)
Complement: 22-24
Armament: 3 × torpedo tubes (bow), 5 torpedoes
1 × 20mm anti-aircraft gun
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
1st U-boat Flotilla (1940)
22nd U-boat Flotilla (1941)
Commanders: Obtlt. Wolfgang Lüth
Peter Lohmeyer
Oblt.z.S. Franz Gramitsky
Operations: Five:
1st patrol:
10–26 September 1940
2nd patrol:
8–19 October 1940
3rd patrol:
5 November–1 December 1940
4th patrol:
12–27 May 1941
5th patrol:
12 –18 June 1941
Victories: Six ships sunk for a total of 48,564 gross register tons (GRT)
One ship damaged (6,993 GRT)

German submarine U-138 was a Type IID U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine in World War II. Her keel was laid down on 16 November 1939 by Deutsche Werke in Kiel as 'werk' 267. She was launched on 18 May 1940 and commissioned on 27 June 1940 with Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Lüth in command.

U-138 conducted five patrols, sinking six ships totalling 48,564 gross register tons (GRT) and damaged one vessel of 6,993 GRT.

She was sunk in June 1941 by British warships west of Cadiz in Spain. There were no casualties from her crew of 27.

Operational career[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-138 departed Kiel on her first patrol on 10 September 1940. Her route took her through the Kattegat and Skagerrak before entering the North Sea. She then reached her area of operations off western Scotland and northern Northern Ireland after negotiating the gap between the Faoroe and Shetland Islands.

Her first victim was the New Sevilla, quickly followed by the Boka and the City of Simla. The three ships all went down 52 nautical miles (96 km; 60 mi) northwest of Rathlin Island on 20 September. The following day, she hit the Empire Adventure. The ship sank while under tow by HMS Superman.

The boat docked in Lorient on the French Atlantic coast on 26 September.

2nd patrol[edit]

For her second foray, U-137 sank the Bonheur and damaged the British Glory on 15 October 1940 northwest of the Butt of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The British Glory was repaired and returned to service in January 1942.

3rd patrol[edit]

Patrol number three involved another passage west of the British Isles so that the submarine could safely dock in Kiel, but she did not add to her score.

4th patrol[edit]

The boat returned to Lorient on 27 May 1941, having sunk the Javanese Princess on the 20th.

5th patrol[edit]

U-138 was sunk by the British destroyers HMS Faulknor, Fearless, Forester, Foresight and Foxhound west of Cadiz in Spain on 18 June 1941. There were no casualties amongst her crew of 27.

Summary of raiding History[edit]

Date Ship Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Fate[1]
20 September 1940 Boka  Panama 5,560 Sunk
20 September 1940 City of Simla  UK 10,138 Sunk
20 September 1940 New Sevilla  UK 13,801 Sunk
21 September 1940 Empire Adventure  UK 5,145 Sunk
15 October 1940 Bonheuer  UK 5,327 Sunk
15 October 1940 British Glory  UK 6,993 Damaged
15 May 1941 Javanese Princess  UK 8,593 Sunk


External links[edit]