U-1, the first Type II boat
|Ordered:||2 February 1935|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werke, Kiel|
|Laid down:||11 February 1935|
|Launched:||19 July 1935|
|Commissioned:||6 September 1935|
|Struck:||1 August 1944 at Gotenhafen|
|Fate:||Stricken, August 1944. Scrapped 1945|
|Class and type:||IIA coastal submarine|
|Height:||8.60 m (28 ft 3 in)|
|Draught:||3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)|
|Test depth:||80 m (260 ft)|
|Complement:||3 officers, 22 men|
|Victories:||Two ships sunk, total of 2,348 GRT|
German submarine U-3 was a Type IIA U-boat laid down at the Deutsche Werke in Kiel on 11 February 1935 as yard number 238. She was commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on 6 August 1936 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See (Oblt.z.S.) Hans Meckel.
U-3 carried out a total of five combat patrols; she sank two ships while under the command of Joachim Schepke. During April 1940, she was part of the fleet that supported the German invasion of Norway, Operation Weserübung.
German Type II submarines were based on the Finnish submarine Vesikko. U-3 had a displacement of 254 tonnes (250 long tons) when at the surface and 303 tonnes (298 long tons) while submerged. Officially, the standard tonnage was 250 long tons (250 t), however. The U-boat had a total length of 40.90 m (134 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 27.80 m (91 ft 2 in), a beam of 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in), a height of 8.60 m (28 ft 3 in), and a draught of 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two MWM RS 127 S four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engines of 700 metric horsepower (510 kW; 690 shp) for cruising, two Siemens-Schuckert PG VV 322/36 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 360 metric horsepower (260 kW; 360 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 0.85 m (3 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 80–150 metres (260–490 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 6.9 knots (12.8 km/h; 7.9 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 35 nautical miles (65 km; 40 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 1,600 nautical miles (3,000 km; 1,800 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). U-3 was fitted with three 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes at the bow, five torpedoes or up to twelve Type A torpedo mines, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of 25.
1st and 2nd patrols
The boat's first patrol was relatively uneventful.
Her second sortie was toward the British east Anglian coast.
She sank the Danish ship Vendia and the Swedish vessel Gun for a total of 2,348 gross register tons (GRT) on 30 September 1939.
U-3 closed Vendia and as was common practice in the early days of the war, ordered her to stop after a few warning shots were fired. The ship's fate is disputed. The German submariners said the Danish vessel tried to ram the U-boat. The ship's crew were convinced she swung with the strength of the wind. A torpedo was fired which hit the vessel and sank her.
The Gun was attacked in the Skagerrak 30 nmi (56 km; 35 mi) northwest of Hanstholm. By now wary from the experience with Vendia, the U-boat sent a boarding party to the Swedish ship, but was obliged to dive by the arrival of HMS Thistle. U-3 fired a torpedo at the British submarine, which missed; indeed they were not aware they had been targeted. The Thistle left the area and came across a lifeboat from Gun, telling the Swedes in it to return to their ship as she was still afloat. The German boarding party had left the ship in a lifeboat, but were picked up by the Danish merchant ship Dagmar. U-3 recovered them and put a torpedo into the empty Gun.
4th and 5th patrols
Patrol number four was also quiet, but number five was enlivened by another British submarine, HMS Porpoise, firing six torpedoes 10 nmi (19 km; 12 mi) west of Egersund at the U-boat on 16 April 1940. They were originally thought to have been aimed at U-1, but the attack caused no damage.
Summary of raiding history
|30 September 1939||Vendia||Denmark||1,150||Sunk|
|30 September 1939||Gun||Sweden||1,198||Sunk|
- 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.*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.
- Rössler, Eberhard (1979). U-Bootbau bis Ende des 1. Weltkrieges, Konstruktionen für das Ausland und die Jahre 1935 - 1945. Die deutschen U-Boote und ihre Werften. I. Munich: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 3-7637-5213-7.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IIA boat U3". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 November 2006.
- Hofmann, Markus. "U3". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 4 November 2006.
- "The Invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung)". Retrieved 4 November 2006.