List of all U-boats




Ordered2 Feb 1935
Laid down5 Aug 1935 Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel (werk 251)
Launched28 Apr 1936
Commissioned16 May 1936Kptlt. Heinz Beduhn
1 May 1936 - 29 Sep 1937  Kptlt. Heinz Beduhn
30 Sep 1937 - 11 Oct 1939   Hannes Weingärtner
8 Oct 1937 - 17 Oct 1939  Kptlt. Udo Behrens
12 Oct 1939 - 25 Oct 1939  Kptlt. Horst Wellner
3 patrols
1 May 1936-1 Aug 1939  3. Flottille (active service)
1 Sep 1939-25 Oct 1939  3. Flottille (active service)
Successes1 ship sunk, total tonnage 3,378 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 57 GRT

Scuttled 25 October 1939 in the English Channel east of Dover, in position 51.09N, 01.28E, following heavy damage by a British mine. 28 dead (all hands lost).

Loss position

See the 2 ships hit by U-16 - View the 3 war patrols

U-16 sent its last radio message at 04.15 hours on 25 October 1939 while returning from a minelaying operation off Folkestone, stating the intention to scuttle the heavily damaged U-boat. The wreck was discovered by British forces aground on the Goodwin Sands later that day and briefly investigated by RN divers who found it with conning tower just awash and extensively damaged forward. A salvage attempt failed due to poor weather and was not repeated because the wreck was full of silt and eventually disappeared in shifting sands. No survivors were found and in the following weeks the bodies of 19 crew members, all wearing a life saving apparatus, were recovered or washed ashore, most between Dungeness and Hythe, the commanding officer and five men at the French coast near Dunkirk and one man on the Dutch island Ameland.

It seems the U-boat was detected passing the St. Margaret's Bay indicator loop around noon on 24 October and HMS Puffin was sent to investigate, dropping three single depth charges on a possible contact during the afternoon followed up by a pattern dropped by HMS Cayton Wyke. Earlier reports credited the sinking of U-16 to these depth charge attacks, but the extensive damage of the wreck indicates that the U-boat struck a mine in the Dover-Calais barrage, possibly after evading the attacks mentioned above.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-16 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

Media links

U-Boat Operations of the Second World War - Vol 1

Wynn, Kenneth

German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel

Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay

There was another U-16 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 29 Aug 1911 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 28 Dec 1911. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 16 during WWI.