List of all U-boats




Ordered2 Jun 1938
Laid down5 Nov 1939 Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 2)
Launched31 Aug 1940
Commissioned31 Oct 1940Kptlt. Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat (Knights Cross)
31 Oct 1940 - 23 Mar 1942  Kptlt. Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat (Knights Cross)
24 Mar 1942 - 2 May 1942  Oblt. Karl Friederich
8 patrols
31 Oct 1940-31 Jan 1941  7. Flottille (training)
1 Feb 1941-30 Nov 1941  7. Flottille (active service)
1 Dec 1941-2 May 1942  29. Flottille (active service)
Successes4 ships sunk, total tonnage 24,694 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 925 tons
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 123 GRT
1 auxiliary warship damaged, total tonnage 11,402 GRT

Sunk on 2 May 1942 in the Mediterranean east-southeast of Cartagena, Spain, in position 37.12N, 00.01E, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Wishart and HMS Wrestler. 47 dead (all hands lost). (Rainer Kolbicz & Platon Alexiades, January 2012).

Loss position

See the 7 ships hit by U-74 - View the 8 war patrols

Previously recorded fate

  • Sunk 2 May, 1942 in the Mediterranean east of Cartagena, Spain, in position 37.32N, 00.10E, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Wishart, HMS Wrestler and depth charges from a British Catalina aircraft (Sqdn. 202/C).

    The attack of the Catalina was in fact carried out on U-375 which escaped undamaged. (Rainer Kolbicz and Platon Alexiades, January 2012)

Wolfpack operations

U-74 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   West (13 May 1941 - 22 May 1941)
   Brandenburg (15 Sep 1941 - 20 Sep 1941)
   Raubritter (1 Nov 1941 - 6 Nov 1941)

Attacks on this boat and other events

21 May 1941
The boat was fired on by HMS Verbena astern of convoy HX 126 and forced to dive, and over the next four hours subjected to a barrage of some 125 depth charges from HMS Verbena and HMS Burnham until the corvette ran out of depth charges and the sonar contact was lost. Severe damage forced U-74 to return to base.

30 May 1941
Bay of Biscay, approx. 45 miles (72km) SW of Belle-Ile, inbound: U-74 was returning to base on the surface due to chlorine gas from severe damage from depth charging with three survivors from the Bismarck on board when she was attacked by British submarine HMS Sealion. Quick reaction by the deck watch allowed the boat to evade the spread of six torpedoes and make port without further damage.

1 May 1942
14.05 hrs, approx. 30 miles (48km) ESE of Almeria, Spain: Hudson T9387 (233 Sqn RAF/B, pilot PO Vivian E. Camacho, RCAF) on patrol from Gibraltar dropped four 250lb depth charges on U-74. Two were seen to explode ahead of the swirl about 13 seconds after U-74 dived. No damage. (Sources: ADM 199/1782)

1 May 1942
22.22 hrs, approx. 30 miles (48km) SE of Almeria, Spain: HMS Unbroken launched three torpedoes at a U-boat, without success. HMS Georgetown, HMS Vidette and HMS Westcott on A/S patrol east of Gibraltar were subsequently sent to this position but found nothing. This must have been U-74, which was en route to assist the crippled U-573. (Sources: ADM 199/662)

2 May 1942

The sinking of U-74: At 07.40 hrs on 2 May, U-74 was seen the for last time by the Italian submarine Mocenigo (C.C. Paolo Monechi) which exchanged recognition signals with her in position 37°03N/00°15E. The U-boat sent a last radio message at 10.52 hrs and was not heard of again. At this time, U-74 and U-375 were searching for U-573 which had been seriously damaged in an air attack the day before, but managed to reach the Spanish port of Cartagena under own power around noon. At 14.12 hrs U-375 was bombed by Catalina AJ162 (RAF Sqn 202/C, pilot Flt Lt R.Y. Powell) about 55 miles (89km) E of Cartagena, and its sighting report brought HMS Wishart (D 67) (Cdr H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wrestler (D 35) (Lt R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) to the scene. At 16.52 hrs HMS Wishart obtained a firm sonar contact in position 37°16N/00°01E and both destroyers carried out eight attacks until losing contact at 18.49 hrs. HMS Wishart dropped 39 depth charges in four attacks, while HMS Wrestler used her Hedgehog mortar twice and carried out two attacks with a full pattern of 14 depth charges each. Explosions were heard after both Hedgehog attacks and air bubbles were seen for about two minutes after the sixth attack. The destroyers continued to search the area until HMS Wishart had carried out two depth charge attacks at 22.30 hrs on a firm contact located about seven miles from the original attacks. Shortly afterwards a large patch of thin oil was spotted to windward of the attacks. The target of the last two attacks was U-375, which escaped undamaged, but the destroyer's heavy depth charge attacks during the afternoon must have fatally damaged U-74, which sank with all hands about 50 miles (80km) ESE of Cartagena, Spain.

(Sources: ADM 199/1782, ADM 199/1783)

5 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

26 May 1941. Read about U-74's involvement in the last desperate hours of the battleship Bismarck here.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-74 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 3 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

White Axe

Sword with 2 Hammers


Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor

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-74 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 10 Aug 1915 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 24 Nov 1915. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 74 during WWI.