SM U-72

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History
German Empire
Name: U-72
Ordered: 6 January 1915
Builder: AG Vulkan, Hamburg
Launched: 31 October 1915
Commissioned: 26 January 1916
Fate: 1 November 1918 - Scuttled during the evacuation of Cattaro in position 42°30′N 18°41′E / 42.500°N 18.683°E / 42.500; 18.683[1]
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: German Type UE I submarine
Displacement:
  • 755 t (743 long tons) surfaced
  • 832 t (819 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 5.90 m (19 ft 4 in) (o/a)
  • 5.00 m (16 ft 5 in) (pressure hull)
Height: 8.25 m (27 ft 1 in)
Draught: 4.86 m (15 ft 11 in)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 900 PS (662 kW; 888 shp) surfaced
  • 2 × 900 PS (662 kW; 888 shp) submerged
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2× 1.38 m (4 ft 6 in) propellers
Speed:
  • 10.6 knots (19.6 km/h; 12.2 mph) surfaced
  • 7.9 knots (14.6 km/h; 9.1 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 7,880 nmi (14,590 km; 9,070 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) surfaced
  • 83 nmi (154 km; 96 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 50 m (164 ft 1 in)
Complement: 4 officers, 28 enlisted
Armament:
Service record
Part of:
  • Imperial German Navy
  • I Flotilla
  • 11 April – 17 September 1916
  • Pola/Mittelmeer II Flotilla
  • 17 September 1916 – 1 November 1918
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Ernst Krafft[3]
  • 28 January 1916 – 17 July 1917
  • Kptlt. Johannes Feldkirchner[4]
  • 18 July – 5 November 1917
  • Oblt.z.S. Erich Schulze[5]
  • 6 November – 31 December 1917
  • Oblt.z.S. Hermann Bohm[6]
  • 1 January – 31 October 1918
Operations: 4 patrols
Victories:
  • 21 ships sunk (38,596 GRT)
  • 5 ships damaged (21,513 GRT)[1]

SM U-72 was one of 329 submarines serving in the Imperial German Navy in World War I. U-72 was engaged in the commerce war in First Battle of the Atlantic.

Design[edit]

German Type UE I submarines were preceded by the longer Type U 66 submarines. U-72 had a displacement of 755 tonnes (743 long tons) when at the surface and 832 tonnes (819 long tons) while submerged.[2] She had a total length of 56.80 m (186 ft 4 in), a pressure hull length of 46.66 m (153 ft 1 in), a beam of 5.90 m (19 ft 4 in), a height of 8.25 m (27 ft 1 in), and a draught of 4.86 m (15 ft 11 in). The submarine was powered by two 900 metric horsepower (660 kW; 890 shp) engines for use while surfaced, and two 900 metric horsepower (660 kW; 890 shp) engines for use while submerged. She had two propeller shafts. She was capable of operating at depths of up to 50 metres (160 ft).[2]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 10.6 knots (19.6 km/h; 12.2 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.9 knots (14.6 km/h; 9.1 mph).[2] When submerged, she could operate for 83 nautical miles (154 km; 96 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 7,880 nautical miles (14,590 km; 9,070 mi) at 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). U-72 was fitted with two 50 centimetres (20 in) torpedo tubes (one at the port bow and one starboard stern), four torpedoes, and one 8.8 centimetres (3.46 in) deck gun. She had a complement of thirty-two (twenty-eight crew members and four officers).[2]

Operations[edit]

U-72 left the stocks at Hamburg (AG Vulcan) in March 1916, joined the Kiel School, and first entered North Sea on 11 April 1916. Attached 1st Half Flotilla, under the command of Kaptlt. Krafft.[7]

  • 15–21 April 1916. Cruise in North Sea. Returned with defects.
  • 23–2 May 1916. ? Cruise in North Sea.
  • 21 June to 4 July 1916. Northabout. Laid mines off Cape Wrath.
  • 20 August - ? 15 September 1916. Northabout to Mediterranean. Laid mines off Lisbon, Oran and Cape Blanc. On arriving at Cattaro joined the Pola-Cattaro Flotilla.
  • Of U-72's operations in the Mediterranean, little is known after her arrival in September 1916.
  • On a cruise from the middle of February 1917 until 6 March 1917, she sank 4 steamers and stopped British hospital ship, Dunluce Castle. She damaged SS Megantic and was later unsuccessfully attacked by armed trawlers.
  • U-72 was reported as not having cruised, with the above exception, after January 1917, and was regarded as a lame duck. Indeed of her class, U-71 to U-80 (all minelayers), U-80 was the only boat not continually in dockyard hands. At the end of October 1918, U-72 was blown up at evacuation of Cattaro.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[8]
7 September 1916 Achaia  United Kingdom 2,733 Sunk
7 September 1916 Hiso  Norway 1,562 Sunk
7 September 1916 Doreen  Royal Navy 9 Sunk
7 September 1916 Allegro  Royal Navy 7 Sunk
7 September 1916 Griffin  Royal Navy 10 Sunk
7 September 1916 Puffin  Royal Navy 10 Damaged
19 November 1916 Maria Di Pompei  Kingdom of Italy 286 Sunk
23 November 1916 Margherita F.  Kingdom of Italy 44 Sunk
26 November 1916 Christoforos  Greece 3,674 Sunk
27 November 1916 Salvatore Ciampa  Kingdom of Italy 1,728 Sunk
2 December 1916 Palermo  Kingdom of Italy 9,203 Sunk
11 December 1916 Jeanne  Kingdom of Italy 534 Sunk
14 December 1916 Caledonia  United Kingdom 7,572 Damaged
3 June 1917 Manin B.  Kingdom of Italy 249 Sunk
7 June 1917 Errington Court  United Kingdom 4,461 Damaged
8 June 1917 Cheltonian  United Kingdom 4,426 Sunk
8 June 1917 Felicina  Kingdom of Italy 165 Sunk
9 June 1917 Bravore  Norway 1,650 Sunk
9 June 1917 General Laurie  United Kingdom 238 Sunk
9 June 1917 Montebello  Kingdom of Italy 2,603 Sunk
13 June 1917 Santo  Kingdom of Italy 622 Sunk
13 June 1917 Biagio  Kingdom of Italy 276 Sunk
25 June 1917 Southern  United Kingdom 5,694 Damaged
7 July 1917 Shigizan Maru  Japan 2,828 Sunk
1 August 1917 Rokeby  United Kingdom 3,786 Damaged
4 August 1917 British Monarch  United Kingdom 5,749 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 Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: U 72". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Gröner 1991, pp. 10-11.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Ernst Krafft (Royal House Order of Hohenzollern)". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Johannes Feldkirchner". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Erich Schulze". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Hermann Bohm". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  7. ^ HW 7/3, Room 40, History of German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. National Archives, Kew.
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U 72". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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.