|Ordered||7 Aug 1939|
|Laid down||10 May 1940||AG Weser, Bremen (werk 988)|
|Launched||10 Dec 1940|
|Commissioned||3 Mar 1941||Kptlt. Günther Kuhnke (Knights Cross)|
|Successes||17 ships sunk, total tonnage 82,873 GRT|
The loss of U-125
On the night of May 6 the destroyer HMS Oribi located the U-125 in a heavy fog with its radar set just before 0300 and rammed her while doing something close to 20 knots. The boat was severely damaged and the British believed her to be sunk.
But she did survive and at 0331 Folkers radioed BdU with an urgent request for help and U-552, U-381, U-413 and U-260 were ordered to assist him (U-614 and U-402 also in the area were told to remain on station). The boats searched for the wounded boat until the morning of the 7th.
The corvette HMS Snowflake got a radar contact 0354 and soon the contact had closed to 100 meters! The starlights were turned on and revealed a heavily damaged U-boat and apparently already sinking. The corvette tried to ram but the boat escaped the turn. The crew of U-125 scuttled their boat with 5 explosive charges while almost alongside the HMS Snowflake and waited in the water to be rescued. Another corvette HMS Sunflower did reach the scene about this time. The commander of the corvette radioed the escort commander in HMS Tay but was given the shocking reply:
- "Not approved to pick up survivors".
The corvettes HMS Sunflower and HMS Snowflake then turned towards the convoy leaving the men in the water. Kptlt. Folkers and his crew of 54 men died during that night.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-125 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.
There was another U-125 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 26 May 1918 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 4 Sep 1918. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 125 during WWI.