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German submarine U-40 (1938)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-40.
U-37 at Lorient in 1940
U-37, (an identical U-boat to U-40) at Lorient in 1940
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-40
Ordered: 29 July 1936[1]
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen[1]
Yard number: 945[1]
Laid down: 1 July 1937[1]
Launched: 9 November 1938[1]
Commissioned: 11 February 1939[1]
Fate: Sunk on 13 October 1939 in the English Channel by a mine. 45 men died, three survived[2][3]
General characteristics [4][5]
Class and type: Type IXA submarine
Displacement: 1,032 t (1,016 long tons) surfaced
1,152 t (1,134 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.5 m (251 ft) o/a
58.75 m (192 ft 9 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.51 m (21 ft 4 in) o/a
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 PS (4,340 shp; 3,236 kW)
2 × SSW 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 PS (986 shp; 735 kW)
Speed: 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) surfaced
7.7 knots (14.3 km/h; 8.9 mph) submerged
Range: 10,500 nmi (19,400 km; 12,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
65–78 nmi (120–144 km; 75–90 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
6th U-boat Flotilla
(11 February 1939-13 October 1939)
Identification codes: M 19 297
Commanders: Kptlt. Werner von Schmidt
Kptlt. Wolfgang Barten
Operations: Two
Victories: No ships sunk or damaged

German submarine U-40 was a Type IXA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II.[2]

U-40 was built in Bremen by DeSchiMAG AG Weser as yard number 945. She was launched in November 1938 and commissioned in February 1939.[2]

U-40 conducted two war patrols during her career. Both of which were part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla. During her short time in the war, she sank no ships.

U-40 was sunk on 13 October 1939 by a mine in the English Channel.[2]


U-40 was ordered by the Kriegsmarine on 29 July 1936 (as part of Plan Z and in violation of the Treaty of Versailles). Her kneel was laid down on 1 July 1937. U-40 was launched on 9 November 1938 and commissioned on 11 February 1939 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner von Schmidt.[2]

Like all other Type IXA U-boats, U-40 had 2 MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, that put out 4,400 PS (4,340 shp; 3,236 kW) as well as 2 SSW 2 GU 345/34, double-acting electric motors that produced 1,000 PS (986 shp; 735 kW) and allowed her to travel at 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) while surfaced and 7.7 knots (14.3 km/h; 8.9 mph) submerged. She had a range of 10,500 nmi (19,400 km; 12,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) while on the surface and 65–78 nmi (120–144 km; 75–90 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) while submerged. U-40 had six torpedo tubes (four in the bow, two in the stern). She also carried a total of 22 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedoes and had a 10.5 cm (4.1 in) SK L/45 deck gun with 180 rounds. She was also equipped with 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft guns. U-40 had a crew of forty-eight men, however she could hold up to fifty-six crew members at any given time. After being commissioned and deployed, U-40 was stationed in the German port city of Wilhelmshaven,[5] which to be her home for the rest of her fairly short career.[2]

Service record[edit]


U-40 left Wilhelmshaven on 19 August 1939, before World War II began, for her first patrol. For nearly four weeks she operated off the coast of Gibraltar, before returning home on 18 September that same year.[6] U-40 would once again leave Wilhelmshaven, this time under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Barten, on 10 October 1939. During this patrol, she was to conduct joint operations off the coasts of Portugal and Spain.[7]


On 13 October 1939, U-40 was sunk by a British mine at 50°41′6″N 00°15′1″E / 50.68500°N 0.25028°E / 50.68500; 0.25028.[8] She was to operate as part of the first pack of U-boats in World War II; however, because she left port late, Barten decided to take a shortcut to the U-boat's designated meeting point, southwest of Ireland. This shortcut was through the English Channel, which was festooned with many British naval mines. Choosing to make the voyage nearly three and a half hours after high tide, the mines were not at their lowest point. The boat struck one of these devices and sank immediately to the sea floor. Nevertheless, nine crew members were able to exit through the aft escape hatch. Using escape equipment, they were able to reach the surface; one of the nine died on his journey. Once there, five more died from exposure to the harsh elements of the English Channel. Nearly ten hours after the sinking, the remaining three men were rescued and taken prisoner by HMS Boreas.[2][7][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "U-40 Type IXA". Retrieved 3 April 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXA boat U-40". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Kemp 1999, p. 61.
  4. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 105-6.
  5. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type IXA". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-40 (First patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-40 (Second patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Submarine Casualties Booklet". U.S. Naval Submarine School. 1966. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 


  • 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. 
  • 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: 50°42′N 0°15′E / 50.700°N 0.250°E / 50.700; 0.250