German submarine U-140 (1940)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-140.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-140
Ordered: 25 September 1939
Builder: Deutsche Werke, Kiel
Laid down: 16 November 1939
Launched: 28 June 1940
Commissioned: 7 August 1940
Fate: Scuttled, 2 May 1945
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: IID
Type: Coastal submarine
Displacement: 314 t (309 long tons) surfaced
364 t (358 long tons) submerged
Length: 43.97 m (144 ft 3 in)
Beam: 4.92 m (16 ft 2 in)
Draft: 3.93 m (12 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: 2 × propeller shafts
2 × MWM four-stroke diesel engines, 700 shp (520 kW)
2 × Siemens-Schuckert electric motor, 410 shp (310 kW)
Speed: 12.7 knots (23.5 km/h) surfaced
7.4 knots (13.7 km/h) submerged
Range: 3,450 nautical miles (6,390 km; 3,970 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
56 nmi (104 km; 64 mi) at 4 knots submerged
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 3 officers, 22 men
Service record
Part of:

1st U-boat Flotilla (1940–41)

22nd U-boat Flotilla (1941–45)
  • Kptlt. Hans-Peter Hinsch (August 1940–April 1941)
  • Kptlt. Hans-Jürgen Hellriegel (April–December 1941)
  • Kptlt. Klaus Popp (December 1941–August 1942)
  • Kptlt. Albrecht Markert (September 1942–July 1944)
  • Kptlt. Herbert Zeissier (August–November 1944)*Kptlt. Wolfgang Scherfling (November 1944–May 1945)
Operations: One patrol
Victories: Three ships sunk for a total of 13,204 gross register tons (GRT)
One submarine sunk for a total of 206 tons

German submarine U-140 was a Type IID U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She carried out only one combat patrol, but still managed to see action as a training boat in the summer of 1941. Built at the Kiel shipyards during 1939 and 1940, as a Type IID U-boat, she was too small for major operational work in the Atlantic Ocean, which was now required by the Kriegsmarine as the Battle of the Atlantic expanded.

War patrol[edit]

U-140 only carried out one raiding patrol, under her first captain, Hans-Peter Hinsch. He took her round the north of Scotland in December 1940 following her work-up program, and it was here that she sank her first victim, twelve days into the voyage. Six days later north of Ireland, on 8 December she sank the steel 3-mast barque Penang of neutral Finland, inbound from Stenhouse Bay, South Australia to Cobh in neutral Ireland with a cargo of grain. The Penang and her 18 crew were all lost at 55°15′N 10°09′W / 55.25°N 10.15°W / 55.25; -10.15.[2] Later that day she heard the British freighter Ashcrest broadcast that she needed assistance as her rudder was broken, at 54°35′N 09°20′W / 54.583°N 9.333°W / 54.583; -9.333. U-140 sank Ashcrest with the loss of the entire crew of 37.[3]

She then headed home towards retirement. U-140 was docked, her crew transferred and she was converted into a training boat, designed to operate solely in the Baltic Sea, training submariners for the main U-boat force.

Training boat[edit]

It was during this onerous yet necessary duty that her new captain, Hans-Jürgen Hellriegel, found himself facing a small Soviet submarine on the surface, well into the Baltic, a month after the invasion of the Soviet Union. In a careful attack, U-140 torpedoed and sank her rival with his scratch crew of new recruits. Orders had been pushing U-140 further into the Baltic during the preceding months, with the hope that she might achieve just such a victory.

Following this excitement, U-140 returned to training duties, which she continued for the remainder of the war without further incident, save in the final months, when she was transferred to Wilhelmshaven in a general shipment of equipment and personnel to the West. It was there, on the 2 May 1945 in Jade Bay, that U-140 was scuttled by her crew to prevent her seizure by the advancing British forces. Post-war she was raised and scrapped.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
2 December 1940 Victoria City  United Kingdom 4,739 Sunk
8 December 1940 Penang  Finland 2,816 Sunk
8 December 1940 Ashcrest  United Kingdom 5,652 Sunk
21 July 1941 Submarine M-94  Soviet Navy 206 Sunk


  1. ^ Gröner 1985, p. 67.
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Penang". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ashcrest". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 29 April 2010. 


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German) IV (Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler). ISBN 3-8132-0514-2. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

External links[edit]

  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 140". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - (in German). Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IID boat U-140". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 6 December 2014.