German submarine U-20 (1936)

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U-9 IWM HU 1012.jpg
U-9, a typical Type IIB boat
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-20
Ordered: 2 February 1935
Builder:
Yard number: 550
Laid down: 1 August 1935
Launched: 14 January 1936
Commissioned: 1 February 1936
Fate: Scuttled 10 September 1944, off the coast of Turkey in the Black Sea[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: IIB coastal submarine
Displacement:
  • 279 t (275 long tons) surfaced
  • 328 t (323 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in) (o/a)
  • 4.00 m (13 ft 1 in) (pressure hull)
Height: 8.60 m (28 ft 3 in)
Draught: 3.90 m (12 ft 10 in)
Installed power:
  • 700 PS (510 kW; 690 bhp) (diesels)
  • 410 PS (300 kW; 400 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Range:
  • 1,800 nmi (3,300 km; 2,100 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
  • 35–43 nmi (65–80 km; 40–49 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 3 officers, 22 men
Armament:
Service record
Part of:
Identification codes: M 29 241
Commanders:
  • Hans Eckermann
  • Karl-Heinz Moehle
  • Harro von Klot-Heydenfeldt
  • Heinrich Driver
  • Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
  • Ottokar Arnold Paulshen
  • Herbert Schauenburg
  • Wolfgang Sträter
  • Kurt Nölke
  • Clemens Schöler
  • Karl Grafen
Operations:
  • 16;
  • 1st patrol:
  • 24–31 August 1939
  • 2nd patrol:
  • 29 September – 17 October 1939
  • 3rd patrol:
  • 18–24 November 1939
  • 4th patrol:
  • 7–13 December 1939
  • 5th patrol:
  • 6–16 January 1940
  • 6th patrol:
  • a. 21–21 January 1940
  • b. 23–31 January 1940
  • c. 4–4 February 1940
  • 7th patrol:
  • 27 February – 4 March 1940
  • 8th patrol:
  • 14–20 March 1940
  • 9th patrol:
  • 22–29 June 1943
  • 10th patrol:
  • 11 July – 7 August 1943
  • 11th patrol:
  • a. 16–22 September 1943
  • b. 24 September–12 October 1943
  • 12th patrol:
  • 8 November – 9 December 1943
  • 13th patrol:
  • 1–26 January 1944
  • 14th patrol:
  • a. 22 February – 1 March 1944
  • b. 2–27 March 1944
  • 15th patrol:
  • 11 June – 11 July 1944
  • 16th patrol:
  • 19 August – 10 September 1944
Victories:
  • 13 ships sunk for a total of 30,067 GRT
  • One ship damaged, of 1,846 GRT.
  • Two ships declared a total loss for a total of 8,446 GRT

German submarine U-20 was a Type IIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. Her keel was laid down on 1 August 1935, by Germaniawerft of Kiel as yard number 550. She was commissioned on 1 February 1936. During World War II, she conducted operations against enemy shipping.

U-20 went on 16 war patrols, sinking 16 ships totalling 39,637 GRT and damaging one more of 1,846 GRT.

Design[edit]

German Type IIB submarines were enlarged versions of the original Type IIs. U-20 had a displacement of 279 tonnes (275 long tons) when at the surface and 328 tonnes (323 long tons) while submerged. Officially, the standard tonnage was 250 long tons (250 t), however.[2] The U-boat had a total length of 42.70 m (140 ft 1 in), a pressure hull length of 28.20 m (92 ft 6 in), a beam of 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in), a height of 8.60 m (28 ft 3 in), and a draught of 3.90 m (12 ft 10 in). The submarine was powered by two MWM RS 127 S four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engines of 700 metric horsepower (510 kW; 690 shp) for cruising, two Siemens-Schuckert PG VV 322/36 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 460 metric horsepower (340 kW; 450 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 0.85 m (3 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 80–150 metres (260–490 ft).[2]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph).[2] When submerged, the boat could operate for 35–42 nautical miles (65–78 km; 40–48 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 3,800 nautical miles (7,000 km; 4,400 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). U-20 was fitted with three 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes at the bow, five torpedoes or up to twelve Type A torpedo mines, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of twentyfive.[2]

Operational history[edit]

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

U-20's first three patrols involved observation (in August 1939) and the laying of mines in the North Sea and off the British east coast. She would start in Kiel and finish in Wilhelmshaven; then reverse the process.

4th and 5th patrols[edit]

She sank Magnus about 40 nmi (74 km; 46 mi) east northeast of Peterhead in Scotland. The ship went down in 90 seconds; there was only one survivor. She also sank Ionian and Willowpool in November and December respectively, with mines laid in November.

The boat sank Sylvia northeast of Aberdeen on her fifth sortie on 13 October 1940.

6th - 8th patrols[edit]

U-20 sank a steady number of ships on her sixth and seventh patrols, (her eighth foray was relatively quiet), but a series of changes were on the way.

She was transferred to the U-Ausbildungsflottille as a school boat on 1 May 1940, then the Black Sea, avoiding the heavy British presence at Gibraltar and throughout the Mediterranean by being transported in sections along the Danube to the Romanian port of Galați. She was then re-assembled by the Romanians at the Galați shipyard and sent to her new home in the Black Sea so she could serve with the 30th U-boat Flotilla.[3]

9th and 10th patrols[edit]

The boat's first patrol in the new environment, but her ninth overall, almost ended in disaster when she tried to torpedo a Soviet submarine chaser; the vessel responded by dropping eight depth charges. U-20 was obliged to stay submerged for four hours and returned to base with various mechanical failures.

Near the end of sally number ten, a crew member from U-19 who had been taken sick, was transferred to U-20 on 4 August 1943. The boat docked at Constanta on the 7th.

11th - 14th patrols[edit]

These patrols were conducted between Constanta and Sevastopol. U-20 sank the Soviet Vaijan Kutur'e on 16 January 1944 off Cape Anakria.

15th patrol[edit]

The boat sank Pestel on 19 June 1944 off Trabzon. The Soviets reported that this ship was sunk in Turkish territorial waters.

She also sank the Soviet landing craft DB-26 on 26 June with gunfire and demolition charges.

16th patrol and fate[edit]

She was scuttled on 10 September 1944, in the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey.[1]

On 3 February 2008, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that U-20 had been discovered by Selçuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, in 80 feet (24 m) of water off the coast of the Turkish city of Karasu.[4]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[5]
29 November 1939 Ionian  United Kingdom 3,114 Sunk (mine)
9 December 1939 Magnus  Denmark 1,339 Sunk
10 December 1939 Føina  Norway 1,674 Sunk
10 December 1939 Willowpool  United Kingdom 4,815 Sunk (mine)
13 January 1940 Sylvia  Sweden 1,524 Sunk
27 January 1940 England  Denmark 2,319 Sunk
27 January 1940 Faro  Norway 844 Total loss
27 January 1940 Friedensborg  Denmark 2,094 Sunk
27 January 1940 Hosanger  Denmark 1,591 Sunk
29 February 1940 Maria Rosa  Italy 4,211 Sunk
1 March 1940 Mirella  Italy 5,340 Sunk
29 November 1943 Peredovik  Soviet Union 1,846 Damaged
16 January 1944 Vaijan Kutur'e  Soviet Union 7,602 Total loss
7 April 1944 Rion  Soviet Union 184 Sunk (mine)
19 June 1944 Pestel  Soviet Union 1,850 Sunk
24 June 1944 DB-26  Soviet Navy 9 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kemp 1999, p. 217.
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 39–40.
  3. ^ Steel and Ice: The U-boat Battle in the Arctic and Black Sea 1941-45, Chapter 5 - The Black Sea: War in the South 1942-43, 5th page
  4. ^ Adolf Hitler's "Lost fleet" found in Black Sea, The Telegraph, Retrieved 2010-12-27
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-20". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6. 
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German). IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2. 
  • Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°10′N 30°47′E / 41.167°N 30.783°E / 41.167; 30.783