|Ordered||29 Jul 1936|
|Laid down||15 Mar 1937||AG Weser, Bremen (werk 942)|
|Launched||14 May 1938|
|Commissioned||4 Aug 1938||Kptlt. Heinrich Schuch|
|Successes||53 ships sunk, total tonnage 200,063 GRT|
2 warships sunk, total tonnage 2,404 tons
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 9,494 GRT
Scuttled 5 May 1945 in Sonderburg Bay in position 54.55N, 09.47E, wreck broken up in 1946.
Attacks on this boat and other events
24 Oct 1939
Between 11.47 and 12.12 hrs, the boat was depth charged by several aircraft after attacking Tafna about 100 miles (161km) WSW of Gibraltar. U-37 dived to 105m (345ft) and was not damaged by the depth charges, which exploded far above. Hartmann wisely decided to run silent at a depth of 80m (263ft) and ordered most of the crew to lie down and rest, because shortly afterwards HMS Keppel, HMS Vidette and HMS Watchman arrived from Gibraltar and began an anti-submarine sweep of the area. At 16.45 hrs HMS Keppel dropped a full pattern of five depth charges set for 250ft (76m) after obtaining a good Asdic contact in position 36°03N/07°33,5W, and observed an air bubble and possibly oil rise to the surface afterwards, but failed to regain contact. The Germans had switched off the hydrophones and were caught off guard by the accurate detonations, which were felt as severe blows in the boat, which then dived to 95m (312ft). At 18.20 hrs HMS Watchman dropped a single depth charge set for 150ft (46m) from the port thrower on an Asdic contact in position 36°02N/07°18W, and lost contact after dropping the remaining four depth charges of the pattern in a follow up attack. Hartmann heard these detonate at some distance, but knew that they could not stay submerged all night as the crew had already begun to breathe through potash cartridges, so ordered the boat to be prepared for scuttling before surfacing with all guns manned at 21.45 hrs. However, the destroyers were no longer nearby and the boat was able to leave the area undetected, heading SW with a deck gun out of action due to the breech plug being jammed in place by extreme pressure at depth.(Sources: KTB U-37, ADM 199/145)
3 Nov 1939
The boat suffered slight damage after an air attack.
2 Aug 1940
15.08 hrs, North Sea SW of Norway: U-37 (Oehrn) and U-38 (Liebe) were sailing together when they were attacked by a Coastal Command Hudson (220 Sqdn RAF), whose pilot thought he had attacked a single submarine. No damage.
16.00 hrs, 56.15N, 02.35E: following an earlier unsuccessful attempt to waylay U-34, Dutch submarine O-22 (J.W. Ort) sighted either U-37 or U-38, and after difficulty getting into a firing position fired two torpedoes from the extreme range of 3600m (3,937 yds) at 16.20. Both missed, and the U-boat remained unaware of the attack.
24 Aug 1940
The boat was hit by both surface escorts and aircraft in mid-Atlantic and forced to abort to France. Date is approximate. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 180)
4 recorded attacks on this boat.
General notes on this boat
8 Feb 1941. U-37 located convoy HG 53 late on 8 Feb 1941. She opened attack on the 9th and sank three ships over the next two days, also calling in Fw Condor aircraft from 2/KG 40 which sank another five ships on the 9th. The heavy cruiser Hipper was also vectored to the position, but by the time she arrived on the 11th there only remained a solitary straggler for her to sink.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-37 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.
We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.
There was another U-37 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 25 Aug 1914 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 9 Dec 1914. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 37 during WWI.