Unterseeboot 47

October 1939. U-47 returns to port after sinking . The battlecruiser  is seen in the background.
October 1939. U-47 returns to port after sinking HMS Royal Oak. The battlecruiser Scharnhorst is seen in the background.

Unterseeboot 47 (U-47) was a German type VII B U-Boat (submarine). She was laid down on February 25 1937 at Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel and went into service on December 17 1938.

U-47 had a displacement of 761 metric tons, 865 tons submerged. She was powered by two 1400 PS (1 MW) diesel engines and two 375 PS (280 kW) electric motors. Her speed was 17 knots (31 km/h) on the surface and 7.6 knots (14 km/h) submerged. Her underwater armament consisted of four torpedo tubes in the bow and one torpedo tube in the stern. The deck artillery consisted of an 88 mm gun and a 20 mm machine gun. The vessel's range was 6500 nautical miles (12,000 km).

U-47 became famous when, on October 14 1939, under the command of Günther Prien, she entered the base of the British home fleet at Scapa Flow, and sank HMS Royal Oak.

U-47 carried out ten combat patrols and spent a total of 238 days at sea. She sank 30 enemy merchant ships (164,953 tons) and damaged eight more. She did lose a sailor, Heinrich Mantyk, overboard on September 5th 1940.




Confirmed kills by the U-47 included:

Convoy Ships


She was once thought to have been sunk by the British destroyer HMS Wolverine west of Ireland, but it turned out that the ship destroyed there was actually the U-A. To date, there is no record of what happened to the U-47 or her 45 crewmen, though a variety of possibilities exist, including mines, a mechanical failure, a victim of her own torpedoes or possibly a later attack that didn't confirm any kills - by the corvette team of HMS Camellia and HMS Arbutus.


Missing image
The Crew of the U-47

The crewlist of those presumed dead, aboard the U-47 during her fated North Atlantic patrol in the spring of 1941


   * Günther Prien, Korvettenkapitän


   * 1st Watch Officer: Erich Sander, Oberleutnant
   * 2nd Watch Officer: Martin Stephan, Leutnant 
   * Lead Engineer: Hans Bothmann, Oberleutnant  
   * Helmsman: Hans Sammann, Obersteuermann
   * Guest: Karl-Eglof Freiherr von Schnurbein, Korvettenkapitän


   * Heinrich Biermann, Obergefreiter
   * Karl Bilstein, Gefreiter
   * Gustav Böhm, Stabsmaschinist
   * Karl Brand, Matrose
   * Friedrich Engelmann, Matrose
   * Dietmar Frings, Fähnrich
   * Heinz Göseke, Gefreiter
   * Karl-Heinz Gundlach, Matrose
   * Willy Hass, Obergefreiter
   * Heinrich Heinz, Matrose
   * Heinrich Hentrop, Matrose
   * Gerhard Heyer, Obergefreiter
   * Franz Hirtl, Obergefreiter
   * M. Hönemann, Obermaschinist
   * Gerhard Hötzer, Obergefreiter
   * Willi Jahnkow, Gefreiter
   * Heinz Kläbisch, Gefreiter
   * Ewald Küsel, Gefreiter
   * Paul Leidig, Obergefreiter
   * Andreas Lösch, Obergefreiter
   * Hans Löhr, Obergefreiter
   * Gottfried Notsch, Obergefreiter
   * Iwan Oldekop, Fähnrich z. See
   * Helmut Pauss, Obergefreiter
   * Josef Reimann, Matrose
   * Emil Renken, Obergefreiter
   * August Ronshausen, Oberbootsmannmaat
   * H. Rutschmann, Matrose
   * K. Schnarchendorf, Matrose
   * Hans Scholz, Gefreiter
   * Heinz Schweitzer, Obergefreiter
   * Karl Steinhagen, Matrose
   * Peter Thewes, Matrose
   * Max Thomsen, Obergrefreiter
   * Freidrich Weiser, Obergefreiter
   * Gustav Werder, Obermaschinist
   * Bruno Wiensczyk, Obergefreiter
   * Fritz Zapf, Gefeiter
   * Albert Zöller, Obergrefreiter

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