German submarine U-44 (1939)

German submarine U-44 was a Type IXA[3] U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II.[1] She was ordered in November 1936 and laid down in September 1938 in Bremen. She was launched in August 1939 and commissioned in November.[1]

U37 Lorient 1940.jpg
U-37, (an identical U-boat to U-44) at Lorient in 1940
Nazi Germany
Name: U-44
Ordered: 21 November 1936
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 949
Laid down: 15 September 1938
Launched: 5 August 1939
Commissioned: 4 November 1939
Fate: Sunk by a mine on 13 March 1940 off the coast of the Netherlands. All crew members were lost[1][2]
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXA submarine
  • 1,032 t (1,016 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,153 t (1,135 long tons) submerged
  • 6.51 m (21 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.40 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.40 m (30 ft 10 in)
Draught: 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
  • 10,500 nmi (19,400 km; 12,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 65–78 nmi (120–144 km; 75–90 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Service record
Part of:
Identification codes: M 13 206
  • Two
  • 1st patrol:
  • 6 January – 9 February 1940
  • 2nd patrol:
  • 13 March 1940
Victories: Eight ships sunk, total 30,885 GRT

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 crew members went down with the submarine.[1]


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 yard number 949. U-44 was launched on 5 August 1939 and commissioned on 4 November of that same year under the command of Kapitänleutnant Ludwig Mathes.[1]


As one of the eight original German Type IX submarines, later designated IXA, U-44 had a displacement of 1,032 tonnes (1,016 long tons) when at the surface and 1,153 tonnes (1,135 long tons) while submerged.[4] The U-boat had a total length of 76.50 m (251 ft), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.51 m (21 ft 4 in), a height of 9.40 m (30 ft 10 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 metric horsepower (740 kW; 990 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[4]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.7 knots (14.3 km/h; 8.9 mph).[4] When submerged, the boat could operate for 65–78 nautical miles (120–144 km; 75–90 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 10,500 nautical miles (19,400 km; 12,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-44 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[4]

Service historyEdit

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 patrolEdit

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 GRT.[5]

Second patrolEdit

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.[1][6]

Previously recorded fateEdit

Sunk by HMS Fortune on 20 March 1940.[1]

Summary of raiding historyEdit

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.[7]

Date[7] Ship[7] Nationality[7] Tonnage[7] Fate[7]
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. ^ a b c d e f g Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXA boat U-44". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  2. ^ Kemp, Paul (1997). U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. Arms and Armour. p. 64. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type IXA". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-44 (First patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-44 (Second patrol)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-44". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 22 February 2010.


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6.
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German). IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2.
  • Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.

External linksEdit

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXA boat U-44". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 44". Deutsche U-Boote 1935–1945 – (in German). Retrieved 31 January 2015.