German submarine U-4 (1935)

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-4
Ordered: 2 February 1935
Builder: Deutsche Werke, Kiel
Cost: 1,500,000 Reichsmark
Yard number: 239
Laid down: 11 February 1935
Launched: 31 July 1935
Commissioned: 17 August 1935
Fate: Stricken 1 August 1944, Gotenhafen, scrapped in 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: IIA coastal submarine
Displacement:
  • 254 t (250 long tons) surfaced
  • 303 t (298 long tons) submerged
  • 381 t (375 long tons) total
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: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 700 PS (510 kW; 690 shp) (diesels)
  • 360 PS (260 kW; 360 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Range:
  • 1,050 nmi (1,940 km; 1,210 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
  • 35 nmi (65 km; 40 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 13 167
Commanders:
  • Oblt.z.S. Hannes Weingärtner
  • 17 August 1935 - 29 September 1937
  • Kptlt. Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky
  • 30 September 1937 - 28 October 1938
  • Kptlt. Harro von Klot-Heydenfeldt
  • 29 October 1938 - 16 January 1940
  • Oblt.z.S. Hans-Peter Hinsch
  • 17 January - 7 July 1940
  • Oblt.z.S. Heinz-Otto Schultze
  • 8 June - 28 July 1940
  • Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
  • 8 June 1940 - 2 February 1941
  • Oblt.z.S. Hinrich-Oscar Bernbeck
  • 3 February - 8 December 1941
  • Oblt.z.S. Wolfgang Leimkühler
  • 9 December 1941 - 15 June 1942
  • Lt.z.S. Friedrich-Wilhelm Marienfeld
  • 16 June 1942 - 23 January 1943
  • Joachim Düppe
  • 24 January - 31 May 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Paul Sander
  • 1 June - 22 August 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Herbert Mumm
  • 23 August 1943 - May 1944
  • Oblt.z.S. Hubert Rieger
  • May - 9 July 1944[1]
Operations:
  • Four:
  • 1st patrol: 4–14 September 1939
  • 2nd patrol: 19–29 September 1939
  • 3rd patrol: 16–29 March 1939
  • 4th patrol: 4–14 April 1940
Victories:
  • Three ships sunk for a total of 5,133 GRT
  • one warship sunk of 1,090 tons

German submarine U-4 was a Type IIA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine before and during World War II. She was one of the longest lasting German submarines of the period, primarily since half of her time was spent on training duties in the Baltic Sea.

Commissioned on 17 August 1935, she was one of the first batch of Type IIA boats constructed following the Anglo-German Naval Agreement that repealed the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War and stated that Germany was not permitted to possess submarines. Built at the Deutsche Werke in Kiel as yard number 239, she was a highly sought after command before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Once the war had begun however, she rapidly became obsolete. Before she was superseded, she carried out four combat patrols, mainly in support of the Norwegian campaign.

Design[edit]

German Type II submarines were based on the Finnish submarine Vesikko. U-4 had a displacement of 254 tonnes (250 long tons) when at the surface and 303 tonnes (298 long tons) while submerged. Officially, the standard tonnage was 250 long tons (250 t), however.[2] The U-boat had a total length of 40.90 m (134 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 27.80 m (91 ft 2 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 3.83 m (12 ft 7 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 360 metric horsepower (260 kW; 360 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 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 6.9 knots (12.8 km/h; 7.9 mph).[2] When submerged, the boat could operate for 35 nautical miles (65 km; 40 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 1,600 nautical miles (3,000 km; 1,800 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). U-4 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 25.[2]

War patrols[edit]

1st and 2nd patrols[edit]

U-4 departed Wilhelmshaven for her first patrol on 4 September 1939, in the aftermath of the declaration of war. Given her small size, she only covered the area to the south of Norway and into the North Sea west of Denmark and along the Dutch coast, and returned unsuccessful on 14 September. A second patrol later in the month yielded greater dividends, when she spotted three neutral vessels heading to Britain through the North Sea and sank them on consecutive days; the Martti Ragnar on the 22nd, the Walma on the 23rd and the Gertrud Bratt on the 24th.

3rd and 4th patrols[edit]

Her later two patrols were both in support of the German invasion of Norway. It was during this operation that she was able to sink the British submarine Thistle. The engagement was a lengthy one, as U-4 was a small coastal craft with poor endurance. When Thistle attacked and missed U-4 on 9 April, it gave the German submarine a chance to evade and hunt her attacker, finally catching and sinking the British vessel as she recharged her batteries on the surface a day later.

The Baltic[edit]

Once Norway was subdued, it became increasingly obvious that U-4 and her sisters were not capable of either outfighting or outrunning enemy craft, neither did they possess the range and endurance necessary to have a major impact on Allied shipping. In response, on 1 July 1940, these boats were relegated to the 21st U-boat Flotilla, and served until 1944 as training craft in the Baltic Sea. Although some of her sisters saw action later against the Soviets, U-4 did not, eventually being retired from all service at Gotenhafen (now known as Gdynia in Poland), on 1 August 1944, and then scrapped for parts sometime in 1945.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[3]
22 September 1939 SS Martti Ragnar  Finland 2,262 Sunk
23 September 1939 SS Walma  Finland 1,361 Sunk
24 September 1939 SS Gertrud Bratt  Sweden 1,510 Sunk
10 April 1940 HMS Thistle (N24)  Royal Navy 1,090 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Busch & Röll 1999, p. 283.
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 39–40.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-4". 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IIA boat U-4". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 4". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 2014-12-06. 

Coordinates: 54°32′N 18°33′E / 54.533°N 18.550°E / 54.533; 18.550