German submarine U-45 (1938)

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Bundesarchiv Bild 200-Ub0104, U-45 auf Meilenfahrt.jpg
U-45 conducting speed trials in 1938. Note her number on the conning tower, it was removed at the beginning of the war
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-45
Ordered: 21 November 1936
Builder: Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel
Laid down: 23 February 1937
Launched: 27 April 1938
Commissioned: 25 June 1938
Fate: Sunk, 14 October 1939, southwest of Ireland. 38 dead, no survivors.
General characteristics
Class & type: Type VIIB U-boat
Displacement: 753 t (741 long tons) surfaced
857 t (843 long tons) submerged
Length: 66.5 m (218 ft 2 in) o/a
48.8 m (160 ft 1 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) overall
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6 cylinder, 4-stroke F46 diesel engines totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW) Max rpm: 470-490 surfaced
2 × BBC GG UB 720/8 electric engines totalling 750 shp (560 kW) submerged
Speed: 17.9 knots (33.2 km/h; 20.6 mph)
8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Range: 8,700 nmi (16,112 km; 10,012 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)surfaced
90 nmi (170 km; 100 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph)
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft). Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44 to 48 officers and ratings
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
7th U-boat Flotilla (Front Boat)
Commanders: Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar
Operations: Two:
1st patrol:
19 August 1939–15 September 1939
2nd patrol:
9 Oct 1939–14 October 1939
Victories: Two ships sunk, total tonnage 19,313 GRT

German submarine U-45 was a Type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was ordered on 21 November 1936 and laid down on 23 February 1937 at F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel as yard number 580. She was launched on 27 April 1938 and commissioned on 25 June 1938 under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Alexander Gelhaar.

During her Kriegsmarine service, U-45 conducted only two war patrols and sank two vessels for a loss of 19,313 gross register tons (GRT).

While operating with others in an attack on an Allied convoy, U-45 was sunk by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Inglefield, Ivanhoe and Intrepid on 14 October 1939 southwest of Ireland.[1][2]

First war patrol[edit]

Commissioning of U-45 on 25 June 1938

Her training exercises completed, U-45 left Kiel on her first war patrol on 19 August 1939 (prior to the outbreak of World War II) under the command of Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar. During 28 days at sea no enemy vessels were attacked and the submarine returned to her base at Kiel on 15 September 1939.

Second war patrol[edit]

Sailing again on 9 October 1939 under the command of Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar, U-45 began her second and final war patrol. On 14 October, the U-boat sighted and attacked convoy KJF-3 about 230 nautical miles (430 km; 260 mi) southwest of Ireland. This attack yielded the only two successes by U-45, the 9,205 British freighter Lochavon and the 10,108 French merchant ship Bretagne. U-45 also attacked but failed to damage the 10,350 ton British steam merchantman Karamea; the single torpedo fired at this ship detonated prematurely (a common problem early in the war). Survivors of this attack were picked up by HMS Ilex and landed at Plymouth.


U-45 was depth-charged and sunk on 14 October 1939 by HMS Inglefield, HMS Ivanhoe and HMS Intrepid at position 50°58′N 12°57′W / 50.967°N 12.950°W / 50.967; -12.950. All 38 crew members went down with the submarine.

Summary of Raiding Career[3][edit]

Date Name of ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
14 October 1939 Lochavon  United Kingdom 9,205 Sunk
14 October 1939 Bretagne  France 10,108 Sunk


  1. ^ "The Type VIIB boat U-45 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  2. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. p. 61. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  3. ^ Ships hit by U-45 - U-boat Successes - German U-boats -
  • 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. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°58′N 12°57′W / 50.967°N 12.950°W / 50.967; -12.950