German submarine U-55 (1939)
German submarine U-55 was a Type VIIB U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...
of the German
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...
during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
. She was ordered 16 July 1937 and laid down on 2 November 1938 at Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...
Germaniawerft in Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...
. Launched on 19 October 1939, she went into service on 21 November 1939 under the command of Werner Heidel.
Wartime ActivityU-55 began its first and only war patrol on January 16, 1940, under the command of Werner Heidel, who had previously sunk two ships in . U-55 sank four small freighters sailing independently, then attacked the convoy OA-80G on January 29. U-55 sank two more ships before coming under concerted attack from the convoy's escorts, supported by a Coastal Command Short Sunderland
The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers. It took its service name from the town and port of Sunderland in northeast England....
. After a sustained depth charge
A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...
attack the U-55 surfaced and carried out a running gun battle before her deck gun jammed. Heidel ordered the ship abandoned, then apparently went down with the ship. The remainder of the crew was rescued by the escorts. The British awarded official credit for sinking the U-55 to the sloop , destroyer and the Sunderland.
|18 January 1940||Foxen||Sweden||1,304||Sunk|
|19 January 1940||Telnes||Norway||1,694||Sunk|
|22 January 1940||Segovia||Norway|||1,387||Sunk|
|23 January 1940||Andalusia||Sweden||1,357||Sunk|
|30 January 1940||Keramiai||Greece||5,085||Sunk|
|30 January 1940||Vaclite||United Kingdom||5,026||Sunk|