Military Wiki
German submarine U-46 (1938)
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-46
Ordered: 21 November 1936
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Cost: 4,439,000 Reichsmark
Yard number: 581
Laid down: 24 February 1937
Launched: 10 September 1938
Commissioned: 2 November 1938
Decommissioned: 1 October 1943
Fate: Scuttled on 4 May 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Type VIIB U-boat
Displacement: 753 t (741 long tons) ↑
857 t (843 long tons) ↓
Length: 66.5 m (218 ft 2 in) o/a
48.8 m (160 ft 1 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) overall
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6 cylinder, 4-stroke F46 diesel engines totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW) Max rpm: 470-490 ↑
2 × BBC GG UB 720/8 electric engines totalling 750 shp (560 kW) ↓
Speed: 17.9 kn (33.2 km/h)
8 kn (15 km/h)
Range: 8,700 nmi (16,112 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)↑
90 nmi (170 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h)
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft). Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44 to 48 officers and ratings
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
7th U-boat Flotilla
(2 November–31 August 1939)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 September–31 December 1939)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 January 1940–1 September 1941
26th U-boat Flotilla
(2 September–31 March 1942)
24th U-boat Flotilla
(1 April–1 July 1942)
24th U-boat Flotilla
(1 September 1942–1 October 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Herbert Sohler
(2 November–21 May 1940)
Kptlt. Engelbert Endrass
(22 May–24 September 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Peter-Ottmar Grau
(October–19 November 1941)
Oblt.z.S. Konstantin von Puttkamer
(20 November–March 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Kurt Neubert
(March–April 1942)
Ernst von Witzendorff
(20 April–May 1942)
Ltn. Franz Saar
(May–June 1942
Oblt.z.S. Joachim Knecht
(August 1942–30 April 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Erich Jewinski
(1 May–October 1943)
Operations: Thirteen
1st patrol:
19 August–15 September 1939
2nd patrol:
3 October–7 November 1939
3rd patrol:
19 December 1939–10 January 1940
4th patrol:
29 February–1 March 1940
5th patrol:
11 March–23 April 1940
6th patrol:
1 June–1 July 1940
7th patrol:
8 August–6 September 1940
8th patrol:
23 –29 September 1940
9th patrol:
13–29 October 1940
10th patrol:
12 February–4 March 1941
11th patrol:
15 March–10 April 1941
12th patrol:
15 May–13 June 1941
13th patrol:26 July–26 August 1941
Victories: 20 ships sunk, total 85,792 gross register tons (GRT);
two auxiliary warships sunk, for 35,284 GRT;
four ships damaged, for 25,491 GRT;
one ship declared a total loss, for 2,080 GRT

German submarine U-46 was a Type VIIB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. She had a highly successful career during the war.

Construction and commissioning

U-46 was ordered on 21 November 1936 and laid down on 24 February 1937 at Germaniawerft, Kiel, becoming Werk 581. She was launched on 10 September 1938 and commissioned under her first commander, Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Herbert Sohler, on 2 November of that year. Sohler commanded her during her working up with the 7th U-boat Flotilla, she then became a front boat with that flotilla. She set out from Kiel on her first war patrol on 19 August 1939 in the North Sea, returning on 15 September.[1]


Sohler replaced by Endrass

On 13 April 1940 during the battles around Narvik, Norway U-46 was depth charged and severely damaged by British destroyers supporting HMS Warspite.[1] Sohler eventually commanded U-46 for six war patrols, but failed to score any successes against enemy shipping. He was removed from command on 21 May 1940 and was replaced by Engelbert Endrass the following day. Endrass had been Günther Prien's First Officer aboard U-47 when they had infiltrated Scapa Flow and sunk the battleship HMS Royal Oak. U-46 was to be his first command.[citation needed]

Initial successes

Endrass left Kiel on 1 June to patrol the North Sea and into the Atlantic. He was immediately successful, on 6 June U-46 scored her first kill, the armed merchant cruiser Carinthia. Endrass followed this up with the Finnish merchant ship SS Margareta on 9 June. On 11 June he damaged the MV Athelprince; the following day he sank the SS Barbara Marie and the SS Willowbank. His final kill was the Greek SS Elpis on 17 June. U-46 returned to Kiel on 1 July after 31 days at sea, during which five ships had been sunk for 35,347 tons and another for 8,782 tons, had been damaged.[1]

HMS Triad

U-46 relocated to Bergen in August. On 3 August she was spotted by the British submarine HMS Triad. Triad surfaced and attacked U-46 with her 102mm gun at 2230 hours. Endrass dived, pursued by Triad but the two submarines subsequently lost contact. U-46 sailed again on 8 August. It was another highly successful patrol. On 16 August she damaged the Dutch ship SS Alcinous and on 20 August torpedoed the Greek SS vessel Leonidas M. Valmas. The ship was declared a total loss. On 27 August U-46 sank the armed merchant cruiser HMS Dunvegan Castle, followed by the SS Ville de Hasselt on 31 August, the SS Thornlea on 2 September and the SS Luimneach, an Irish steamship sailing under a neutral flag, on 4 September. There are differences in the accounts given by the captains. Endrass claimed that Captain Eric Jones and his crew "lost their heads completely" at the shot across the bows from his U-boat.[2] Jones was an experienced captain. The Luimneach had survived twelve aerial attacks during the Spanish Civil War. Following an inquiry on 4 March 1941, Dönitz concluded that the U-boat acted correctly in sinking an abandoned ship.[3] U-46 returned to Lorient on the French Atlantic coast on 6 September, having sunk five ships for 29,883 tons and damaged another for 6,189 tons.[1]

Convoy interception

Her next patrol from Saint Nazaire (also in France), only lasted seven days but claimed two ships sunk on 26 September, the SS Coast Wings and the SS Siljan for a combined total of 3,920 tons. U-46 sailed again on 13 October. During this patrol she was involved in wolfpack attacks against the inbound convoys SC 7 and HX 79. She sank the SS Beatus, SS Convallaria and SS Gunborg from SC-7 on 18 October and the SS Ruperra and SS Janus from HX-79 on 19 October and 20 October respectively. On 25 October U-46 was attacked by three Lockheed Hudsons of No. 233 Squadron RAF, fatally wounding one of the crew. U-46 put into Kiel on 29 October after 17 days at sea, during which she had sunk 22,966 tons of shipping.[1]

Her next patrol took her from Kiel on 12 February 1941 to St. Nazaire where she arrived on 4 March after 21 days at sea, during which she had not attacked any ships. Her next patrol was more successful. On 29 March the SS Liguria was sunk, followed by the SS Castor on 31 March and the SS British Reliance on 2 April. The SS Alderpool was damaged on 3 April; U-46 returned to port, having sunk three ships for 17,465 tons and damaged another for 4,313 tons. The next patrol damaged the SS Ensis on 8 June and sank the SS Phidias on 9 June. The damaged Ensis had rammed her attacker, damaging U-46’s conning tower and periscope, the patrol was aborted. Endrass carried out his last patrol with U-46 from 26 July until 26 August but did not attack any ships.[1]

Withdrawal from active service and scuttling

After Endrass left the boat on 24 September, U-46 was designated as a training boat with the 26th U-boat Flotilla. She came under a number of commanders: Peter-Ottmar Grau, Konstantin von Puttkamer, Kurt Neubert, Ernst von Witzendorff, Franz Saar, Joachim Knecht and Erich Jewinski, and was moved to the 24th U-boat Flotilla in April 1942. She was decommissioned at Neustadt in October 1943.[citation needed] As the end of the war approached, she was scuttled on 4 May 1945 in Kupfermühlen Bay.[1] She had sunk 20 merchant ships for a total of 85,792 GRT, two auxiliary warships for a total of 35,284 GRT and damaged another five ships, one of which was later written off.[citation needed]

Summary of raiding history[4]


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Career
  2. Robertson, Terence (1956, reprinted 1971, 1977). Night raider of the Atlantic. Dutton. pp. 85. ISBN 978-0-345-27103-7. 
  3. Forde, Frank (2000) [1981]. The Long Watch. Dublin: New Island. pp. 66–69. ISBN 1-902602-42-0. 

Coordinates: 54°50′N 9°29′E / 54.833°N 9.483°E / 54.833; 9.483

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