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German submarine U-44 (1939)
U-37 at Lorient in 1940
U-37, (an identical U-boat to U-44) at Lorient in 1940
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-44
Ordered: 21 November 1936[1]
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen[1]
Yard number: 949[1]
Laid down: 15 September 1938[1]
Launched: 5 August 1939[1]
Commissioned: 4 November 1939[1]
Fate: Sunk by a mine on 13 March 1940 off the coast of the Netherlands.
All crew members were lost[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: 47
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
Identification codes: M 05 024
Commanders: Krvtkpt. Ludwig Mathes
(4 November–13 March 1940)
Operations: Two
1st patrol:
6 January–9 February 1940
2nd patrol:
13 March 1940
Victories: Eight ships sunk, total 30,885 gross register tons (GRT)

German submarine U-44 was a Type IXA U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II.[2] She was ordered in November 1936 and laid down in September 1938 in Bremen. She was launched in August 1939 and commissioned in November.[2]

During her service in the Kriegsmarine, U-44 conducted only two war patrols and sank a total of eight enemy vessels for a loss of 30,885 GRT. On 13 March 1940, she struck a mine that was located in field Number 7 off the north coast of the Netherlands. All 47 of her 's crew members went down with the submarine.[2]


U-44 was ordered by the Kriegsmarine on 21 November 1936 (as part of Plan Z and in violation of the Treaty of Versailles). She was laid down on 15 September 1938 by AG Weser, in Bremen as Werk 949. U-44 was launched on 5 August 1939 and commissioned on 4 November of that same year under the command of Korvettenkapitän Ludwig Mathes.[2]

U-44 had two MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, that put out 4,400 hp (3,281 kW) as well as two 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-44 had six torpedo tubes (four in the bow, two in the stern). She also carried a total of 22 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes and had a 105 mm/45 deck gun with 110 rounds. She was equipped with the standard 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun. U-44 had a crew of forty seven men, however she could hold up to fifty six. After being commissioned and deployed, U-44 was stationed in the German port of Wilhelmshaven. This city was to be her home for the rest of her short career.[4][5]


U-44 had a very short operational life. During her service with the Kriegsmarine, she took part in only two combat patrols. After training exercises with the 6th U-boat Flotilla from 4 November to 31 December 1939, U-44 was assigned as the front boat for the 2nd U-boat Flotilla on 1 January 1940. She was to remain a part of this flotilla until her loss.

First patrol

The first of U-44's two patrols began on 6 January 1940 when she left Wilhelmshaven for the North Sea, eventually circumnavigating the British Isles, travelling as far south as the Bay of Biscay and Portugal. It was in these two locations that U-44 sank her first (and last) merchant ships. Following these victories, she headed north again, travelling just north of the coast of Scotland and back into the North Sea. She then returned to Wilhelmshaven, arriving there on 9 February 1940. Over a period of thirty-five days, U-44 sank eight merchant ships, for a total loss of 30,885 tons.[7]

Second patrol

Unlike her first outing, U-44's second patrol was a disaster, not even lasting through the first day. After spending more than a month in Wilhelmshaven, she began her second patrol on 13 March 1940. A few hours after leaving port, U-44 entered minefield Number 7, just off of the northern coast of the Netherlands. This particular minefield was laid by the British destroyers HMS Esk, Express, Icarus, Faulknor and Impulsive. Upon entering the minefield, U-44 struck one of the devices and sank at 54°14′N 5°07′E / 54.233°N 5.117°E / 54.233; 5.117Coordinates: 54°14′N 5°07′E / 54.233°N 5.117°E / 54.233; 5.117. All forty-seven of her crew were lost.[2][8]

Previously recorded fate

Sunk by HMS Fortune on 20 March 1940.[9]

Summary of raiding career

During her service, U-44 sank eight commercial ships for a loss of 30,885 GRT. All of these ships were sunk during her first patrol.[10]

Date[10] Ship[10] Nationality[10] Tonnage[10] Fate[10]
15 January 1940 Arendskerk  Netherlands 7,906 sunk
15 January 1940 Fagerheim  Norway 1,590 sunk
16 January 1940 Panachrandros  Greece 4,661 sunk
18 January 1940 Canadian Reefer  Denmark 1,831 sunk
20 January 1940 Ekatontarchos Dracoulis  Greece 5,329 sunk
24 January 1940 Tourny  France 3,819 sunk
25 January 1940 Alsacien  France 2,769 sunk
28 January 1940 Flora  Greece 2,980 sunk


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "U-44 Type IXA". Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "U-44". German U-boats of WWII. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  3. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. p. 64. 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 3 April 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Type IX U-Boat". German U-boat. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  6. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  7. "Patrol info for U-44 (First patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  8. "Patrol info for U-44 (Second patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 "Ships hit by U-44". U-boat Successes. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 

See also

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