Pre-war photograph of U-32. Note the boat's number on the conning tower which was erased on the commencement of hostilities
|Ordered:||1 April 1935|
|Builder:||DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||15 March 1936|
|Launched:||25 February 1937|
|Commissioned:||15 April 1937|
|Fate:||Sunk, 30 October 1940|
|Class and type:||Type VIIA submarine|
|Height:||9.50 m (31 ft 2 in)|
|Draught:||4.37 m (14 ft 4 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
|Sensors and |
|Identification codes:||M 00 459|
Her keel was laid down on 15 March 1936 by DeSchiMAG AG Weser of Bremen as yard number 913. She was launched on 25 February 1937 and commissioned on 15 April with Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Werner Lott in command. On 15 August 1937, Lott was relieved by Korvettenkapitän (K.Kapt.) Paul Büchel and on 12 February 1940 Oberleutnant zur See (Oblt.z.S.) Hans Jenisch took over, he was in charge of the boat until her loss.
As one of the first ten German Type VII submarines later designated as Type VIIA submarines, U-32 had a displacement of 626 tonnes (616 long tons) when at the surface and 745 tonnes (733 long tons) while submerged. She had a total length of 64.51 m (211 ft 8 in), a pressure hull length of 45.50 m (149 ft 3 in), a beam of 5.85 m (19 ft 2 in), a height of 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in), and a draught of 4.37 m (14 ft 4 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 6 V 40/46 four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 2,100 to 2,310 metric horsepower (1,540 to 1,700 kW; 2,070 to 2,280 shp) for use while surfaced, two BBC GG UB 720/8 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 73–94 nautical miles (135–174 km; 84–108 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 6,200 nautical miles (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-32 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), eleven torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and an anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
U-32 conducted nine patrols, sinking 20 ships, for a total of 116,836 gross register tons (GRT) and damaging five more, totalling 40,274 GRT. On 28 October 1940 U-32, under the command of Hans Jenisch, sank the 42,348-ton liner Empress of Britain, which had been previously damaged by German bombs. Empress was the largest ship sunk by a U-boat.
U-32 was sunk northwest of Ireland, in position Coordinates: , by depth charges from the British destroyers Harvester and Highlander on 30 October 1940. Nine crew members were killed; 33 survived and became prisoners of war, including Jenisch. Jenisch then spent six and a half years in British captivity before returning to Germany in June 1947.
U-32 took part in one wolfpack, namely.
- Prien (12–17 June 1940)
Summary of raiding history
|Date||Name of Ship||Nationality||Tonnage[Note 1]||Fate|
|18 September 1939||Kensington Court||United Kingdom||4,863||Sunk|
|28 September 1939||Jern||Norway||875||Sunk|
|5 October 1939||Marwarri||United Kingdom||8,063||Damaged (mine)|
|6 October 1939||Lochgoil||United Kingdom||9,462||Damaged (mine)|
|31 December 1939||Luna||Norway||959||Sunk|
|2 March 1940||Lagaholm||Sweden||2,818||Sunk|
|18 June 1940||Altair||Norway||1,522||Sunk|
|18 June 1940||Nuevo Ons||Spain||108||Sunk|
|18 June 1940||Sálvora||Spain||108||Sunk|
|19 June 1940||Labud||Yugoslavia||5,334||Sunk|
|22 June 1940||Eli Knudsen||Norway||9,026||Sunk|
|30 August 1940||Chelsea||United Kingdom||4,804||Sunk|
|30 August 1940||Mill Hill||United Kingdom||4,318||Sunk|
|30 August 1940||Norne||Norway||3,971||Sunk|
|1 September 1940||HMS Fiji||Royal Navy||8,000||Damaged|
|22 September 1940||Collegian||United Kingdom||7,886||Damaged|
|25 September 1940||Mabriton||United Kingdom||6,694||Sunk|
|26 September 1940||Corrientes||United Kingdom||6,863||Damaged|
|26 September 1940||Darcoila||United Kingdom||4,084||Sunk|
|26 September 1940||Tancred||Norway||6,094||Sunk|
|28 September 1940||Empire Ocelot||United Kingdom||5,759||Sunk|
|29 September 1940||Bassa||United Kingdom||5,267||Sunk|
|30 September 1940||Haulerwijk||Netherlands||3,278||Sunk|
|2 October 1940||Kayeson||United Kingdom||4,606||Sunk|
|28 October 1940||Empress of Britain||United Kingdom||42,348||Sunk|
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- Kemp 1997, p. 67.
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