German submarine U-34 (1936)
U-33, a typical Type VIIA boat
|Ordered:||25 March 1935|
|Laid down:||15 September 1935|
|Launched:||17 July 1936|
|Commissioned:||12 September 1936|
|Fate:||Sunk, 5 August 1943|
|Class and type:||Type VIIA submarine|
|Height:||9.50 m (31 ft 2 in)|
|Draught:||4.37 m (14 ft 4 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
U-34 is known alongside U-33 to take action in the Spanish Civil War executing Operation Ursula. As a result, U-34 became the first German submarine to sink another vessel since the end of World War I in 1918. During World War II 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.
As one of the first ten German Type VII submarines later designated as Type VIIA submarines, U-34 had a displacement of 626 tonnes (616 long tons) when at the surface and 745 tonnes (733 long tons) while submerged. She had a total length of 64.51 m (211 ft 8 in), a pressure hull length of 45.50 m (149 ft 3 in), a beam of 5.85 m (19 ft 2 in), a height of 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in), and a draught of 4.37 m (14 ft 4 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 6 V 40/46 four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 2,100 to 2,310 metric horsepower (1,540 to 1,700 kW; 2,070 to 2,280 shp) for use while surfaced, two BBC GG UB 720/8 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 73–94 nautical miles (135–174 km; 84–108 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 6,200 nautical miles (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-34 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), eleven torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and an anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
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.
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.
Spanish Civil War
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.
World War II
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 nmi (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 nmi (130 km; 81 mi) southwest of the Scilly Isles.
The boat returned to Wilhelmshaven on 26 September.
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.
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 Portmagee. 13 died of exposure. The 20 survivors were so weak that they had to be carried ashore.on the 28th. The survivors were eventually rescued by Michael Casey, a fisherman from Kerry, who towed them to
4th and 5th patrols
Patrol number four, in March 1940, was through the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. It was remarkable only for its lack of 'kills'.
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 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) west of Lands End.
There followed a steady stream of victories in the same area: Lucrecia, Tiiu, Petamo, Janna and Evdoxia. Having run out of torpedoes, U-34 sank Naftilos with gunfire.
The boat docked at the newly occupied port of Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 18 July.
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 sink the British unit. There was only one survivor from Spearfish, he was captured by the Germans.
She was sunk at 21:55 on 5 August 1943 at Memel (today's Klaipėda in Lithuania), in the Baltic, in position Coordinates: 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.
Summary of raiding history
|Date||Name of Ship||Nationality||Tonnage[Note 1]||Fate|
|12 December 1936||C-3||Spanish Republic||925||Sunk|
|7 September 1939||Pukkastan||United Kingdom||5,809||Sunk|
|8 September 1939||Kennebec||United Kingdom||5,548||Sunk|
|24 September 1939||Hanonia||Estonia||1,781||Captured|
|20 October 1939||Gustav Adolf||Sweden||926||Sunk|
|20 October 1939||Sea Venture||United Kingdom||2,327||Sunk|
|27 October 1939||Bronte||United Kingdom||5,137||Sunk|
|29 October 1939||Malabar||United Kingdom||7,976||Sunk|
|9 November 1939||Snar||Norway||3,176||Captured|
|20 January 1940||Caroni River||United Kingdom||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||United Kingdom||9,337||Sunk|
|26 July 1940||Vinemoor||United Kingdom||9,337||Sunk|
|27 July 1940||Sambre||United Kingdom||5,260||Sunk|
|27 July 1940||Thiara||United Kingdom||5,267||Sunk|
|1 August 1940||HMS Spearfish||Royal Navy||670||Sunk|
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