|German submarine U-34 (1936)|
|Ordered:||25 March 1935|
|Builder:||Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel|
|Laid down:||15 September 1935|
|Launched:||17 July 1936|
|Commissioned:||12 September 1936|
|Fate:||Sunk, 5 August 1943|
|Type:||Type VIIA submarine|
626 tonnes (616 long tons) ↑|
745 t (733 long tons) ↓
64.5 m (211 ft 7 in) o/a|
44.5 m (146 ft 0 in) pressure hull
5.85 m (19 ft 2 in) o/a|
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
|Draft:||4.4 m (14 ft 5 in)|
2 × MAN 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines totalling 2,100–2,310 bhp (1,570–1,720 kW). Max rpm: 470–485|
2 × Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW). Max rpm: 322
17 knots (20 mph; 31 km/h) ↑|
8 knots (9.2 mph; 15 km/h) ↓
6,200 nmi (11,500 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h) ↑|
73–94 nmi (135–174 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) ↓
220 m (720 ft)|
Crush depth: 230–250 m (750–820 ft)
|Complement:||42–46 officers and ratings|
• 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)|
• 11 × torpedoes or 22 TMA mines or 33 TMB mines
• 1 × 8.8 cm SK C/35 naval gun (220 rounds)
• 1 × C30 20 mm AA
2nd U-boat Flotilla|
(12 September 1936–30 September 1940)
21st U-boat Flotilla
(1 October–1 November 1940)
24th U-boat Flotilla
(2 November 1940–5 August 1943)
(12 September 1936–14 February 1938)
(4 November–22 December 1936)
(15 February–17 August 1938)
(5 September–28 October 1938)
Kptlt. Wilhelm Rollmann
(26 October 1938–28 September 1940)
Oblt.z.S. Fritz Meyer
(29 September 1940–22 May 1941)
(23 May–19 November 1941)
(20 November 1941–15 June 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Horst-Arno Fenski
(16 June 1942–1 February 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Karl-Heinz Hagenau
(2 February–11 June 1943)
Lt.z.S. Eduard Aust
(12 June–5 August 1943)
19 August–26 September 1939
17 October–12 November 1939
1 January–6 February 1940
11–30 March 1940
3–30 April 1940
22 June–18 July 1940
23 July–3 August 1940
19 commercial ships sunk (91,989 GRT)|
three warships sunk (2,365 GRT)
two commercial ships captured (4,957 GRT)
She was laid down in September 1935, launched in July 1936 and commissioned in September.
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.
Construction and assignments
She was laid down on 15 September 1935 by the Germaniawerft at Kiel as 'werk' 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.
The early years
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 the Pukkastan about 39 mi (63 km) 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 the Kennebec about 70 mi (110 km) southwest of the Scilly Isles.
She also damaged, then captured the Hanonia and her cargo of timber off Norway. The ship had been bound for a British port, but instead she was taken to Kiel and on to Hamburg by a prize crew.
The boat returned to Wilhelmshaven on 26 September.
U-34's second foray was even more fruitful, sinking the Gustav Adolf and the Sea Venture (which had replied to the U-boats' warning shots with fire of her own), both on 20 October 1939. The Bronte on the 27th and the Malabar went to the bottom on the 29th. The boat also captured the Snar in the North Sea on 9 November.
The first victim of this sortie was the 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) west of Lands End.
Less than 24 hours later she had also accounted for the Vapper south of Cape Clear, (southern Ireland).
There followed a steady stream of victories in the same area: the Lucrecia, the Tiiu, the Petamo, the Janna and the Evdoxia. Having run out of torpedoes, U-34 sank the Naftilos with gunfire.
The boat docked at the newly occupied port of Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 18 July.
The sinkings continued; the Vinnemoor on 26 July 1940; the Accra on the same day and in the same attack and the Sambre and the 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 sunk the British unit. There was only one survivor from the 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 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||Fate|
|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||Norway||595||Total loss|
|5 July 1940||HMS Whirlwind||United Kingdom||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||United Kingdom||670||Sunk|
- "The Type VIIA boat U-34 – German U-boats of WWII – uboat.net". www.uboat.net. http://www.uboat.net/boats/u34.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- "War Patrols by German U-boat U-34 – Boats – uboat.net". www.uboat.net. http://www.uboat.net/boats/patrols/u34.html. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 10
- Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. pp. 139 and 140. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
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