German submarine U-45 (1938)


Bundesarchiv Bild 200-Ub0104, U-45 auf Meilenfahrt.jpg
U-45 conducting speed trials in 1938. Note her number on the conning tower, it was removed at the beginning of the war
Nazi Germany
Name: U-45
Ordered: 21 November 1936
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 580
Laid down: 23 February 1937
Launched: 27 April 1938
Commissioned: 25 June 1938
Fate: Sunk, 14 October 1939, southwest of Ireland. 38 dead, no survivors.
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIB U-boat
  • 753 t (741 long tons) surfaced
  • 857 t (843 long tons) submerged
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in)
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 bhp) (diesels)
  • 750 PS (550 kW; 740 shp) (electric)
  • 8,700 nmi (16,112 km; 10,012 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)surfaced
  • 90 nmi (170 km; 100 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph)
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft). Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40 to 56 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
Service record
Part of:
Commanders: Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar
  • Two:
  • 1st patrol: 19 August – 15 September 1939
  • 2nd patrol: 9–14 October 1939
Victories: Two ships sunk, total tonnage 19,313 GRT

German submarine U-45 was a Type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was ordered on 21 November 1936 and laid down on 23 February 1937 at Germaniawerft in Kiel as yard number 580. She was launched on 27 April 1938 and commissioned on 25 June 1938 under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Alexander Gelhaar.


German Type VIIB submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIA submarines. U-45 had a displacement of 753 tonnes (741 long tons) when at the surface and 857 tonnes (843 long tons) while submerged.[1] She had a total length of 66.50 m (218 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 48.80 m (160 ft 1 in), a beam of 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in), a height of 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in), and a draught of 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 four-stroke, six-cylinder supercharged diesel engines producing a total of 2,800 to 3,200 metric horsepower (2,060 to 2,350 kW; 2,760 to 3,160 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).[1]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17.9 knots (33.2 km/h; 20.6 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph).[1] When submerged, the boat could operate for 90 nautical miles (170 km; 100 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,700 nautical miles (16,100 km; 10,000 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-45 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), fourteen 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.[1]

Service history

During her Kriegsmarine service, U-45 conducted only two war patrols and sank two vessels for a loss of 19,313 gross register tons (GRT).

While operating with others in an attack on an Allied convoy, U-45 was sunk by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Inglefield, Ivanhoe and Intrepid on 14 October 1939 southwest of Ireland.[2][3]

First war patrol

Commissioning of U-45 on 25 June 1938

Her training exercises completed, U-45 left Kiel on her first war patrol on 19 August 1939 (prior to the outbreak of World War II) under the command of Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar. During 28 days at sea no enemy vessels were attacked and the submarine returned to her base at Kiel on 15 September 1939.

Second war patrol

Sailing again on 9 October 1939 under the command of Kptlt. Alexander Gelhaar, U-45 began her second and final war patrol. On 14 October, the U-boat sighted and attacked convoy KJF-3 about 230 nautical miles (430 km; 260 mi) southwest of Ireland. This attack yielded the only two successes by U-45, the 9,205 ton British freighter Lochavon and the 10,108 French merchant ship Bretagne. U-45 also attacked but failed to damage the 10,350 ton British steam merchantman Karamea; the single torpedo fired at this ship detonated prematurely (a common problem early in the war). Survivors of this attack were picked up by HMS Ilex and landed at Plymouth.


U-45 was depth-charged and sunk on 14 October 1939 by HMS Inglefield, HMS Ivanhoe and HMS Intrepid at position 50°58′N 12°57′W / 50.967°N 12.950°W / 50.967; -12.950. All 38 crew members went down with the submarine.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name of ship Nationality Tonnage (GRT) Fate[4]
14 October 1939 Lochavon  United Kingdom 9,205 Sunk
14 October 1939 Bretagne  France 10,108 Sunk


  1. ^ a b c d Gröner, Jung & Maass 1991, pp. 43–44.
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIB boat U-45". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  3. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 61.
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-45". German U-boats of World War II -


  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • 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.
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIB boat U-45". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 45". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - (in German). Retrieved 17 February 2015.

Coordinates: 50°58′N 12°57′W / 50.967°N 12.950°W / 50.967; -12.950