List of all U-boats




Ordered29 Jul 1936
Laid down2 Jun 1937 AG Weser, Bremen (werk 944)
Launched22 Sep 1938
Commissioned10 Dec 1938Kptlt. Gerhard Glattes
10 Dec 1938 - 14 Sep 1939  Kptlt. Gerhard Glattes
1 patrol
10 Dec 1938-31 Aug 1939  6. Flottille (active service)
1 Sep 1939-14 Sep 1939  6. Flottille (active service)
SuccessesNo ships sunk or damaged

Sunk on 14 September 1939 in the North Atlantic west of Hebrides, in position 58.32N, 11.49W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Foxhound and HMS Firedrake. 44 survivors (no casualties).

Loss position

View the 1 war patrol

General notes on this boat

14 Sep 1939. U-39 was the first U-boat sunk in the war, following an unsuccessful attack against the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (91) (premature magnetic-pistol torpedo detonation).

KTB/SKL * reported on 22 Sept. 1939: n

c) U-Bootskrieg Atlantik: U 53, U 32 Rückmarsch angetreten. Es stehen daher nur noch 2 U-Boote (U 31, U 35) im Operationsgebiet. Von U 39 liegen keine Nachrichten vor. Boot müsste planmässig bereits in die Heimat zurückgekehrt sein: das Fehlen jeglicher Nachricht von U 39 (Kommandant Kapitänleutnant- Glattes ) trotz mehrfacher Standortnachfrage gibt zu ernsten Besorgnissen Anlass. Im Zusammenhang mit dem Schicksal des Bootes verdient eine englische Rundfunknachricht über Eintreffen der ersten gefangenen deutschen Mari- neangehörigen auf einem Londoner Bahnhof Beachtung.

U-boat-war Atlantic: U-53, U-32 heading back. Only two U-boats (U 31, U 35) remain in the operational area. There has been no word from U-39. According to plan, this U-boat should have returned home by now; the lack of response from U-39 (Commander Kapitänleutnant Glattes) in spite of multiple requests to transmit location is cause for grave concern. The fate of the U-boat may well be linked to a British radio transmission regarding the arrival of the first German Navy prisoner at a London railway station.

* SKL = Seekriegsleitung = German Supreme Naval Command

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-39 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-39 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 26 Sep 1914 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 13 Jan 1915. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 39 during WWI.

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