German submarine U-1 (1935)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-1.
Prewar picture of U-1
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-1
Ordered: 2 February 1935[1]
Builder: Deutsche Werke, Kiel[2]
Cost: 1,500,000 Reichsmark[3]
Yard number: 236[2]
Laid down: 11 February 1935[2]
Launched: 15 June 1935[2]
Commissioned: 29 June 1935[2]
Identification: M 27 893[1]
Fate: Probably sunk 6 April 1940 west of Helgoland by a British mine. 24 dead[4]
General characteristics
Class & type: IIA
Type: Coastal submarine
Displacement: 254 t (250 long tons) surfaced
303 t (298 long tons) submerged
Length: 40.9 m (134 ft 2 in)
Beam: 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in)
Draft: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × propeller shafts
2 × MWM four-stroke diesel engines, 700 shp (520 kW)
2 × Siemens-Schuckert double-acting electric motor, 360 shp (270 kW)
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h) surfaced
6.9 knots (12.8 km/h) submerged
Range: 1,050 nautical miles (1,940 km; 1,210 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
35 nmi (65 km; 40 mi) at 4 knots submerged
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 3 officers, 22 men
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
U-Boat training flotilla
Identification codes: M 27 893
Commanders: Kptlt. Klaus Ewerth
(29 June 1935–30 September 1936)
Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar
(1 October 1936–2 February 1938)
K.Kapt. Jürgen Deecke
(29 October 1938–6 April 1940)
Operations: Two:
1st patrol:
15–29 March 1940
2nd patrol:
4–6 April 1940
Victories: None

German submarine U-1 was the first U-boat (or submarine) built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine following Adolf Hitler's abrogation of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1935, which banned Germany possessing a submarine force.

A Type IIA U-boat, she was built at the Deutsche Werke shipyards in Kiel, yard number 236. Her keel being laid on 11 February 1935 amid celebration. She was completed on 29 June 1935 after a very rapid construction, and was manned by crews trained in the Netherlands.

Service history[edit]

Her pre-war service was unremarkable, but she did gain a reputation as a poor ship. Her rapid construction, combined with the inadequacy of the technology which was used to create her, made her uncomfortable, leaky and slow. When war came, there were already plans to shelve her and her immediate sisters of the Type II class for use as training boats only.

Despite this however, owing to a shortage of available units she sailed on 29 March 1940 against British shipping operating off Norway, close to the limit of her effective operating range. She failed to find a target, but was sent out again on 4 April, in preparation for Operation Weserübung (the invasion of Norway).


U-1 sent a brief radio signal on 6 April, giving her position, before she disappeared. The cause of her loss is unknown, but she was scheduled to sail through a minefield laid unknown to the Germans by the British submarine Narwhal that same day. U-1 may have also been sunk by the British submarine Porpoise, which reported launching a torpedo at an unidentified enemy submarine (subsequently thought to be U-3),[5] on 16 April following the invasion.

She was the first of over 1,000 U-boats to serve during the Battle of the Atlantic, and one of over 700 to be lost at sea.

See also[edit]


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1997). Der U-Boot-Bau auf deutschen Werften. Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939-1945 (in German) II (Hamburg: Mittler). ISBN 3-8132-0509-6. 
  • 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. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1997). U-Boats Destroyed, German submarine losses in the World Wars. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 
  • Rössler, Eberhard (1979). U-Bootbau bis Ende des 1. Weltkrieges, Konstruktionen für das Ausland und die Jahre 1935 - 1945. Die deutschen U-Boote und ihre Werften (in German) I (Munich: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-5213-7. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°14′N 5°07′E / 54.233°N 5.117°E / 54.233; 5.117