German submarine U-34 (1936)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-34.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-34
Ordered: 25 March 1935
Builder: Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel
Cost: 4,189,000 Reichsmark
Yard number: 557
Laid down: 15 September 1935
Launched: 17 July 1936
Commissioned: 12 September 1936
Fate: Sunk, 5 August 1943
General characteristics [1][2]
Type: Type VIIA submarine
Displacement: 626 tonnes (616 long tons) surfaced
745 t (733 long tons) submerged
Length: 64.51 m (211 ft 8 in) o/a
45.5 m (149 ft 3 in) pressure hull
Beam: 5.85 m (19 ft 2 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.4 m (14 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines, totaling 2,100–2,310 bhp (1,570–1,720 kW). Max rpm: 470-485
2 × BBC GG UB 720/8 electric motors, totaling 750 shp (560 kW). Max rpm: 322
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) surfaced
8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
Range: 6,200 nautical miles (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
73–94 nautical miles (135–174 km; 84–108 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 220 m (720 ft)
Crush depth: 230–250 m (750–820 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
11 × torpedoes or 22 TMA mines or 33 TMB mines
1 × 8.8 cm SK C/35 naval gun (220 rounds)
1 × 2 cm C/30 AA
Service record[3][4]
Part of: 2nd U-boat Flotilla
(12 September 1936–30 September 1940)
21st U-boat Flotilla
(1 October–1 November 1940)
24th U-boat Flotilla
(2 November 1940–5 August 1943)
Commanders: Ernst Sobe
(12 September 1936–14 February 1938)
Harald Grosse
(4 November–22 December 1936)
Hans Pauckstadt
(15 February–17 August 1938)
Hans Pauckstadt
(5 September–28 October 1938)
Kptlt. Wilhelm Rollmann
(26 October 1938–28 September 1940)
Oblt.z.S. Fritz Meyer
(29 September 1940–22 May 1941)
Karl-Otto Schultz
(23 May–19 November 1941)
Gerhard Remus
(20 November 1941–15 June 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Horst-Arno Fenski
(16 June 1942–1 February 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Karl-Heinz Hagenau
(2 February–11 June 1943)
Lt.z.S. Eduard Aust
(12 June–5 August 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol:
19 August–26 September 1939
2nd patrol:
17 October–12 November 1939
3rd patrol:
1 January–6 February 1940
4th patrol:
11–30 March 1940
5th patrol:
3–30 April 1940
6th patrol:
22 June–18 July 1940
7th patrol:
23 July–3 August 1940
Victories: 19 commercial ships sunk (91,989 GRT)
three warships sunk (2,365 GRT)
two commercial ships captured (4,957 GRT)

German submarine U-34 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She was laid down in September 1935, launched in July 1936 and commissioned in September.

The boat carried out seven patrols, sinking 22 ships and capturing two more. She was sunk in a collision in the Baltic in August 1943.

Construction and assignments[edit]

She was laid down on 15 September 1935 by the Germaniawerft at Kiel as yard number 557, launched on 17 July 1936 and commissioned on 12 September 1936 under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Ernst Sobe.[3]

U-34 was, after commissioning, a part of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla until September 1940. She was then sent to the 21st flotilla for less than a month. She spent almost the next three years with the 24th flotilla.

Service history[edit]

The early years[edit]

U-34 took part in Operation Ursula—the German submarine operation in support of Franco's naval forces during the Spanish Civil War. Under the command of Kptlt. Harald Grosse, she sank the Spanish Republican Navy submarine C-3 on 12 December 1936.[3]

World War II[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

The U-boat left Wilhelmshaven (which was to be her base until July 1940), on 19 August 1939. Her route took her across the North Sea to the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She entered the Atlantic Ocean on about the 24th and headed south, to the west of Ireland. On 7 September she sank Pukkastan about 39 nautical miles (72 km; 45 mi) southwest of Bishop Rock after getting the ship to stop with two rounds fired across her bows with the deck gun.

The next day she repeated the exercise and sank Kennebec about 70 nautical miles (130 km; 81 mi) southwest of the Scilly Isles.

She also damaged, then captured Hanonia and her cargo of timber off Norway. The ship had been bound for a British port, but instead she was taken to Kiel and on to Hamburg by a prize crew.

The boat returned to Wilhelmshaven on 26 September.

2nd patrol[edit]

U-34's second foray was even more fruitful, sinking Gustav Adolf and Sea Venture (which had replied to the U-boats' warning shots with fire of her own), both on 20 October 1939. Bronte on the 27th and Malabar went to the bottom on the 29th. The boat also captured Snar in the North Sea on 9 November.

3rd patrol[edit]

The first victim of this sortie was Caroni River in Falmouth Bay on 20 January 1940.

The next was the neutral, clearly marked and fully lit, Greek merchantman Eleni Stathatou at 48°29′N 8°20′W / 48.49°N 8.34°W / 48.49; -8.34 on the 28th. The survivors were eventually rescued by Michael Casey, a fisherman from Kerry, who towed them to Portmagee. 13 died of exposure. The 20 survivors were so weak that they had to be carried ashore.

4th and 5th patrols[edit]

Patrol number four, in March 1940, was through the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. It was remarkable only for its lack of 'kills'.

U-34 torpedoed the already scuttled Norwegian minelayer HNoMS Frøya on 13 April 1940 near Søtvika to prevent her salvage.

6th patrol[edit]

The boat used the so-called Faroes/Shetland 'gap' (which she had cleared by 26 June 1940), to enter the Atlantic; she had left Wilhelmshaven on the 22nd. On 5 July she sank the British destroyer HMS Whirlwind 120 nautical miles (220 km; 140 mi) west of Lands End.

Less than 24 hours later she had also accounted for the Vapper south of Cape Clear, (southern Ireland).[5]

There followed a steady stream of victories in the same area: the Lucrecia, the Tiiu, the Petamo, the Janna and the Evdoxia. Having run out of torpedoes, U-34 sank the Naftilos with gunfire.

The boat docked at the newly occupied port of Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 18 July.

7th patrol[edit]

The sinkings continued; Vinnemoor on 26 July 1940; Accra on the same day and in the same attack and Sambre and Thiara, both on the 27th. Returning to Germany, the boat came across the British submarine Spearfish. Using her last torpedo, the U-boat managed to sunk the British unit. There was only one survivor from the Spearfish, he was captured by the Germans.

Fate[edit]

She was sunk at 21:55 on 5 August 1943 at Memel (today's Klaipėda in Lithuania), in the Baltic, in position 55°42′N 21°09′E / 55.700°N 21.150°E / 55.700; 21.150 after a collision with the U-boat tender Lech. Four men died, although 39 survived. The boat was raised on 24 August but stricken on 8 September 1943.[6]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name of Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[7]
7 September 1939 Pukkastan  UK 5,809 Sunk
8 September 1939 Kennebec  UK 5,548 Sunk
24 September 1939 Hanonia  Estonia 1,781 Captured
20 October 1939 Gustav Adolf  Sweden 926 Sunk
20 October 1939 Sea Venture  UK 2,327 Sunk
27 October 1939 Bronte  UK 5,137 Sunk
29 October 1939 Malabar  UK 7,976 Sunk
9 November 1939 Snar  Norway 3,176 Captured
20 January 1940 Caroni River  UK 7,807 Sunk (mine)
28 January 1940 Eleni Stathatou  Greece 5,625 Sunk
13 April 1940 HNoMS Frøya  Royal Norwegian Navy 595 Total loss
5 July 1940 HMS Whirlwind  Royal Navy 1,100 Sunk
6 July 1940 Vapper  Estonia 4,543 Sunk
7 July 1940 Lucrecia  Netherlands 2,584 Sunk
9 July 1940 Tiiu  Estonia 1,865 Sunk
10 July 1940 Petsamo  Finland 4,596 Sunk
11 July 1940 Janna  Norway 2,197 Sunk
15 July 1940 Evdoxia  Greece 2,018 Sunk
17 July 1940 Naftilos  Greece 3,531 Sunk
26 July 1940 Accra  UK 9,337 Sunk
26 July 1940 Vinemoor  UK 9,337 Sunk
27 July 1940 Sambre  UK 5,260 Sunk
27 July 1940 Thiara  UK 5,267 Sunk
1 August 1940 HMS Spearfish  Royal Navy 670 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type VIIA". U-Boat War in World War II. Uboat.net. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Type VII U-Boat". German U-boat. Uboataces.com. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Type VIIA boat U-34 – German U-boats of WWII – uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  4. ^ "War Patrols by German U-boat U-34 – Boats – uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  5. ^ The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 10
  6. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. pp. 139 and 140. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  7. ^ Ships hit by U-34 - U-boat Successes - German U-boats - uboat.net
Bibliography
  • 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. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]