There were just 10 boats built like this type VII. Below is
the story of U36 - one of the ten.
spent the 3 years prior to the Second World War as a school boat –
training Germany’s navy for the unknown horrors ahead.
She was actually patrolling in the North Sea when war was declared
at the beginning of September 1939. She was then transferred to the
‘Saltzwedel’ flotilla in Wilhelmshaven, North Germany, and was put
under the command of KL Wilhelm Fröhlich.
her next patrol, off the coast of Scotland, U36 torpedoed the SS
Truro seriously damaging her.
Truro’s crew had to take to the lifeboats.
According to a report made by Truro’s Captain Egner,
apologised to them, “I am sorry but war is war, I am going to sink your
He duly fired shells and 2 torpedoes and the Truro was no
requested some water for his stranded seamen but U36’s own water
supply was bad.
However, Fröhlich gave them 24 bottles of beer instead.
He also towed the survivors for 1½ hours until he saw a steamer
that could possibly rescue them.
He then cast them off and fired rockets to attract attention.
Unfortunately the steamer continued on its way and Truro’s
men went unnoticed until the next morning when 2 Belgian trawlers came to
claimed her second success 10 days later during the same patrol.
This time it was the 1839-ton SS Silesia that met her fate.
At the end of September 1939 the U-boat returned to base.
2 December 1939 she left on her next and final patrol.
Just 2 days after leaving Kiel, in waters between Norway and
Denmark, the British submarine HMS Salmon, commanded by Lt Cdr
Bickford, fired a torpedo at her.
U36 sank taking all 40 men with her.
could possibly be U36, although she was probably more severely
damaged than is portrayed here. If it is her then she is lying quietly on a sandy bottom in cold and clear Norwegian
wake from HMS Salmon has only just vanished.
Listing slightly, damage can be seen on the port side although her
main wound remains hidden.
She will never surface again but above her she still has 6 long
years of angry fighting to silently witness.
U36 Type VII – Facts and Figures
Total sunk: 2 ships (2813 GRT)
Sunk: 4/12/1939 SW of Farsund