Military Wiki
SM U-40 (Germany)
Career (German Empire)
Name: U-40
Ordered: 12 June 1912
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Laid down: 3 April 1913
Launched: 22 October 1914
Commissioned: 14 February 1915
Fate: Sunk 23 June 1915 off the Scottish coast. 29 dead.
General characteristics
Class & type: German Type U 31 submarine
Displacement: 685 tons (surfaced)
878 tons (submerged)
971 tons (total)
Length: 64.70 m (overall)
52.36 m (pressure hull)
Beam: 6.32 m (overall)
4.05 m (pressure hull)
Height: 7.68 m
Draught: 3.56 m
Propulsion: Diesel (2 x 950 PS)
Electric (2 x 600 PS)
1850 hp (surfaced)
1200 hp (submerged)
Speed: 16.4 knots (surfaced)
9.7 knots (submerged)
Range: 8790 miles @ 8 kn (surfaced) 80 miles @ 5 kn(submerged)[1]
Test depth: 50 m
Complement: 4 officers
31 crewmen
Service record
Part of: II. Flotilla, Imperial German Navy
Commanders: Gerhardt Fürbringer
Operations: 1
Victories: none

SM U-40 was a German Type U 31 U-boat of the German Imperial Navy (German language: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I.

Her construction was ordered on 12 June 1912 and her keel was laid down on 3 April 1913 by Germaniawerft of Kiel. She was launched on 22 October 1914 and commissioned on 14 February 1915 under the command of Gerhardt Fürbringer. Second officer was lieutenant Rudolf Jauch (of the Jauch family).

U-40 conducted one patrol, without sinking a ship.


On the morning of 23 June 1915 U-40 stopped the trawler Taranaki in the North Sea. Taranaki was in fact a decoy vessel, or "Q-ship", and was connected to the submerged submarine C24 by a combined tow line and telephone cable. When U-40 stopped the trawler, Taranaki telephoned the situation to C24. When C24 tried to slip the tow line, however, the release mechanism failed, and C24 had to manoeuvre into an attacking position with a hundred fathoms of chain hanging from her bow. Her commander, Lieutenant Frederick Henry Taylor, was able to adjust her trim and avoid fouling the chain in the propellers and fired a single torpedo that struck U-40 amidships. The U-boat sank instantly, only three men in the conning tower surviving to be picked up by the Taranaki.

Wreck discovery

The reported location of the sinking varied. According to some sources it was "50 mi (80 km) southeast of Aberdeen".[4] Others suggested it was "east of the Firth of Forth".[5]

However in March 2009 the Scottish company Marine Quest announced that divers from their company had discovered the wreck of the U-40[6] approximately 40 mi (64 km) off Eyemouth, Berwickshire, Scotland, "miles from where it was recorded as going down".[7]


  1. type U31
  2. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "U-Boats (1905-18)", in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare, "(Phoebus Publishing, 1978), Volume 23, p.2534.
  3. Fitzsimons, p.2575; he mistakenly identifies it as 86mm p.2534.
  4. Gibson, R.H.; Maurice Prendergast (2002). The German Submarine War 1914-1918. Periscope Publishing Ltd.. p. 46. ISBN 1-904381-08-1. 
  5. Messimer, Dwight R. (2002). Verschollen: World War I U-boat Losses. Naval Institute Press. p. 60. ISBN 1-55750-475-X. 
  6. Footage unveils U-boat secrets - BBC (30 March 2009). Includes footage of the wreck.
  7. McIntosh, Lindsay (27 March 2009). "North Sea U-boat recovered ater 100 years". 


  • Spindler, Arno (1932,1933,1934,1941/1964,1966). Der Handelskrieg mit U-Booten. 5 Vols. Berlin: Mittler & Sohn. Vols. 4+5, dealing with 1917+18, are very hard to find: Guildhall Library, London, has them all, also Vol. 1-3 in an English translation: The submarine war against commerce. 
  • Beesly, Patrick (1982). Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914-1918. London: H Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-10864-2. 
  • Halpern, Paul G. (1995). A Naval History of World War I. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85728-498-0. 
  • Roessler, Eberhard (1997). Die Unterseeboote der Kaiserlichen Marine. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-5963-7. 
  • Schroeder, Joachim (2002). Die U-Boote des Kaisers. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 978-3-7637-6235-4. 
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2008). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. Vol I., The Fleet in Action. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-76-3. 
  • Koerver, Hans Joachim (2009). Room 40: German Naval Warfare 1914-1918. Vol II., The Fleet in Being. Steinbach: LIS Reinisch. ISBN 978-3-902433-77-0. 

External links

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