German submarine U-52 (1939)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-52.
U 52.jpg
Although this photograph is undated, it was probably taken pre-war, as U-52 '​s number, here visible on the conning tower, was painted out on the commencement of hostilities
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-52
Ordered: 15 May 1937[1]
Builder: Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel
Cost: 4,439,000 Reichsmark
Yard number: 587
Laid down: 9 March 1937[1]
Launched: 21 December 1938[1]
Commissioned: 4 February 1939[1]
Struck: October 1943
Fate: Scuttled at Danzig, 3 May 1945
Broken up, 1946-7[1]
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 MAN 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 motors 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: 9,700 nmi (17,964 km; 11,163 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)surfaced
90 nautical miles (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: 7th U-boat Flotilla
(4 February–31 May 1939)
(1 September–31 December 1939)
(1 January 1940–31 May 1941)
26th U-boat Flotilla
(1 June–31 March 1942)
24th U-boat Flotilla
(1 April 1940–30 September 1943)
23rd U-boat Flotilla
(1–21 October 1943)

Oblt.z.S. Wolfgang Barten
(4 February–17 September 1939)
Kptlt. Otto Salman
(14 November 1939–9 June 1941)
Kptlt. Helmut Möhlmann
(20 March–15 April 1941)
Kptlt. Otto Salman
(April–June 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Wolf-Rüdiger von Rabenau
(10 June–6 July 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Freiherr Walter von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen
(7 July 1941–13 January 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Friedrich Mumm
(16 January–24 July 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Hermann Rossmann
(25 July 1942 –31 March 1943)

Oblt.z.S. Ernst-August Racky
(1 April–22 October 1943)
Operations: Eight:
1st patrol:
19 August–17 September 1939
2nd patrol:
27 February–4 April 1940
3rd patrol:
7–29 April 1940
4th patrol:
8 June–21 July 1940
5th patrol:
27 July–13 August 1940
6th patrol:
17 November–28 December 1940
7th patrol:
22 January–24 February 1941
8th patrol:
3 April–1 May 1941
Victories: Thirteen vessels sunk (56,333 GRT)

German submarine U-52 was a type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was initially ordered on 15 May 1937, in violation of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, and laid down on 9 March 1938, at the yards of F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel as yard number 587. Launched on 21 December 1938, she was commissioned on 4 February 1939, under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Wolfgang Barten.

U-52 undertook eight war patrols in the Battle of the Atlantic, she sank thirteen ships before being scuttled at Danzig in 1945 and broken up in 1947.

Operational career[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-52 '​s first patrol began with her departure from Kiel on 19 August 1939, well before the outbreak of war. She crossed the North Sea and headed for the Atlantic Ocean via the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The most southerly point of the patrol was reached on 1 September, the same day that Germany began the invasion of Poland.

2nd patrol[edit]

After a series of short trips from Kiel to the German-administered island of Helgoland, (also known as Heligoland) and then Wilhelmshaven, the boat left Helgoland on 27 February 1940 and arrived at Wilhelmshaven on 4 April.

3rd patrol[edit]

Three days later, U-52 began her third sortie. It was very similar to her second; but success continued to elude her. She crossed the North Sea and swept the area between the Faroes and Shetland Islands.

4th patrol[edit]

Having sailed in a southerly direction to the west of Ireland, the boat sank The Monarch 60 nautical miles (110 km; 69 mi) west of Belle Ile in the Bay of Biscay on 19 June 1940. Moving further into the Bay, U-52 came across the Ville de Namur. At first the Germans were under the impression that large wooden structures on deck were for weapons, when they were stables for horses. Nevertheless, the vessel was sunk; she went down in five minutes.

She also sank the Hilda on 21 June and the Thetis A. on 14 July. The latter vessel had already been attacked, but the torpedo used malfunctioned, (a common occurrence in the early months of the war).

5th patrol[edit]

Foray number five was in terms of tonnage sunk, her most successful; she destroyed the Gogovale on 4 August 1940 about 300 nautical miles (560 km; 350 mi) west southwest of Bloody Foreland (County Donegal in Ireland).[2] On about the same day the submarine was badly damaged by British escorts; repairs took four months to implement.

6th patrol[edit]

Her tally rose steadily with the demise of the Tasso and the Goodleigh on the same day (2 December 1940). Both ships went to the bottom about 360 nautical miles (670 km; 410 mi) west of Bloody Foreland.

7th patrol[edit]

Continuing her hunting in mid-Atlantic, U-52 sank the Ringhorn on 4 February 1941 and the Canford Chine about 165 nautical miles (306 km; 190 mi) southwest of Rockall, (a tiny outcrop), on the 10th. There were no survivors from the second ship.

8th patrol[edit]

She sank the Saleier on 10 April 1941. According to '', the ship went down in 15 seconds but there were 63 survivors.

Her last recorded victim was the Ville de Liège, a Belgian-registered vessel which was successfully attacked about 700 nautical miles (1,300 km; 810 mi) east of Cape Farewell, (southern Greenland)[3] on 14 April.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
19 June 1940 The Monarch  United Kingdom 824 Sunk
19 June 1940 Ville de Namur  Belgium 7,463 Sunk
21 June 1940 Hilda  Finland 1,144 Sunk
14 July 1940 Thetis A.  Greece 4,111 Sunk
4 August 1940 Geraldine Mary  United Kingdom 7,244 Sunk
4 August 1940 Gogovale  United Kingdom 4,586 Sunk
4 August 1940 King Alfred  United Kingdom 5,272 Sunk
2 December 1940 Goodleigh  United Kingdom 5,448 Sunk
2 December 1940 Tasso  United Kingdom 1,586 Sunk
4 February 1941 Ringhorn  Norway 1,298 Sunk
10 February 1941 Canford Chine  United Kingdom 3,364 Sunk
10 April 1941 Saleier  Netherlands 6,563 Sunk
14 April 1941 Ville de Liège  Belgium 7,430 Sunk

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e " article on U-76". Uboat Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  2. ^ The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 9
  3. ^ The Times Atlas of the World, p. 55
  • 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]

Coordinates: 54°07′N 10°50′E / 54.117°N 10.833°E / 54.117; 10.833