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German submarine U-40 (1938)
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: 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]
Type: Type IXA submarine
Displacement: 1,032 t (1,016 long tons) surfaced
1,152 t (1,134 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.6 m (251 ft 4 in) o/a
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.5 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 M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced
7.7 knots (14.3 km/h) submerged
Range: 19,425 nmi (35,975 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
144 nmi (267 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56
Armament: • 6 × torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)
• 22 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes
• 1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun[6] (110 rounds)
• AA guns
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 the Nazi German Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II.[2]

U-40 was built in Bremen by AG Weser as "Werk 945" (Construction project 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 M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, that put out 4,400 hp (3,281 kW) as well as 2 SSW GU345/34, double-acting electric motors that produced 1,000 hp (746 kW) and allowed her to travel at 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) while surfaced and 7.7 knots (14.3 km/h) submerged. She had a range of 19,425 nmi (35,975 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) while on the surface and 144 nmi (267 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) while submerged. U-40 had six torpedo tubes (four in the bow, two in the stern). She also carried a total of 22 x 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes and had a Utof 105 mm/45 deck gun with 110 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,[4][5] which to be her home for the rest of her fairly short career.[2]

Service record


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.[7] 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.[8]


On 13 October 1939, U-40 was sunk by a British mine.[9] 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][8][10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "U-40 Type IXA". Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-40". German U-Boats of World War II. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  3. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. p. 61. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  4. 4.0 4.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type IXA". U-Boat War in World War II. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Type IX U-Boat". German U-boat. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  6. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  7. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-40 (First patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-40 (Second patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  9. "Submarine Casualties Booklet". U.S. Naval Submarine School. 1966. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  10. Kemp, p. 61.

External links

Coordinates: 50°42′N 0°15′E / 50.7°N 0.25°E / 50.7; 0.25

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