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U-Boat Type VII C
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U-Boat Type VII-C: "U743"

Type VIIC

Arguably the most famous U-Boat type of the Second World War, the Type VIIC came about not through any perceived deficiency in the VIIB design, but by a desire for increased internal space. As production of the VIIB proceeded, a new active sonar S-Gerät (Such Gerät, or Special Apparatus) was nearing projected completion and strongly desired to be fitted within new U-boats. While the VIIB was the perfect weapon for what Dönitz perceived as the backbone of his burgeoning U-boat service, it did not have enough internal space to carry the S-Gerät. Thus was born the Type VIIC. An extra frame was added to the central control room adding 30cm to either side of the periscope housing. This increased space for the new sonar equipment also allowed the conning tower to be enlarged 30cm in length and 6cm in width. Two pressure-tight negative buoyancy tanks (Untertriebzelle), one either flank, were included within the saddle tanks to enable improved diving time in combat by remaining partially flooded. The engines were also upgraded, an oil filtration system introduced to prolong the life of diesel lubricants and increase engine reliability. Also the starboard electrical compressor was replaced by a diesel-powered Junkers model, reducing the strain on the densely packed batteries. Finally, improved AEG-designed knob-switch electrical control system was introduced to replace the archaic BBC knife-switch system used on the VIIB. The first batch of Type VIICs (U93 - U100, although confusingly U99 and U100 were reallocated to VIIB boats, their numerical designation increased to fool the Allies into believeing there were more U-boats than actually were on strength) were ordered from Germaniawerft on 30 May 1938, U93 launched on 8 June 1940. In December 1938 further renegotiating of the Anglo-German naval agreement allowed many more VIIC units to begin construction, before Hitler renounced any intention of abiding by this treaty and the brakes were taken off production orders. By the end of 1939 after war had broken out, 144 additional VIICs were on order, spread between thirteen different shipyards. Ironically the S-Gerät - sole reason for the enhanced design - was deemed unready for installation and the Type VIICs sailed without it. Despite the fact that with the increased size there was no increase in performance, in fact a minor decrease in submerged range, the Type VIIC became the standard design, frequently modified as war progressed, but the firm backbone upon which Dönitz hung all hopes for his assault on the Allied convoy routes.

Specifications:
Displacement: 761 tons/865 tons (surfaced/submerged). Submerged - fully loaded and manned - 1070 tons.

Length: 67.1 m
Beam: 6.2m
Draught: 4.74m (Keel to Bridge: 9.6m)

Diving depth/Theoretical crush depth: 150m/250m

Diving Time: 30 seconds (normal)

Engines: U79-U82, U90, U132-U136: 2 supercharged MAN, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totalling 2,800 - 3,200bhp. Max rpm: 470-490.
All others: 2 supercharged Germaniawerft, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totalling 2,800 - 3,200bhp. Max rpm: 470-490.

Motors:
U69-72, U89, U93-U98, U201-U212, U221-U232, U235-U300, U331-U348, U351-U374, U431-U450, U731-U750, U1051-U1058, U1063, U1068, U1191-U1210: 2 AEG GU 460/8-276 electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.
U77-82, U88, U90-92, U132-U136, U401, U451, U452, U551-U650, U751, U821-840, U929-U936, U951-U994, U1026-U1050: 2 BBC (Brown Boveri & Co) GG UB 720/8 electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.
U301-U316, U329, U330, U375-U400, U701-U730, U752-U782, U1131, U1132: 2 GL (Garbe Lahmeyer) RP 137/c electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.
U349, U350, U402-U430, U453-U458, U465-U486, U651-U698, U901-U912, U921-U928, U1101-U1106, U1161-U1162: 2 SSW (Siemens-Schuckert-Werke) GU 343/38-8 electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.

Batteries:
U69-U72, U77-U80, U88-U90, U93-U95, U98, U99-102, U132, U133, U135, U136, U201-U212, U221-U226, U228-U232, U238-U240, U244, U25, U248, U251-U255, U257-U286, U291, U301-U304, U306-U313, U329-U345, U352-U366, U372, U374, U376, U378-U392, U401-U404, U406, U408-U412, U414-U419, U421-U425, U431-U434, U436-U440, U442-U449, U451, U452, U454-U458, U456, U466-U472, U474, U551, U553, U556, U557, U559, U560, U562-U571, U573-U583, U585, U587-U591, U594-U599, U602-U607, U609-U617, U619-U624, U626-U638, U640, U642-U668, U670-U675, U682, U684-U698, U701, U702, U710-U713, U715-U717, U720, U723-U743, U751-U757, U759-U762, U764, U769-U771, U777-U782, U905, U907, U922, U951-U957, U960, U963, U964, U967-U994, U1053, U1104, U1131, U1133-1146, U1201-U1206, U1208, U1209: 2 X 62-cell AFA 33 MAL 800 W, producing 9160 amp hours.
All others: 2 X 62-cell AFA 33 MAL 800 E, producing 9160 amp hours.

A small number of boats operated with some batteries of each type, the difference between them being the casing of the individual battery cells only.

Speed: 17 -17.7kts/7.6kts (surfaced/submerged)

Range (nm/kts) 8,500/10 surfaced (combined diesel electric drive range 9,700nm@10kts); 80/4 submerged.

Armament:
5 X 53.3cm TT (9 reloads, or 26 TMA or 39 TMB mines) - except: U72, U78, U80, U554, U555 each only had two forward torpedo tubes. U203, U331, U351, U401, U431, U651 had no stern tube. U88-U92, U333-U350, U352-U370, U374-U401, U404-U430, U435-U450, U454-U458, U657-U686, U702-U750, U754-U784 and all C/41s from U1271 upwards, had no mine carrying capability.
1 X 8.8cm C35/L45deck gun (removed from requirements during 1942)

Several different flak weaponry combinations were used by the Type VIIC, becoming more prevalent as the war progressed. The following combinations illustrate some of these:
1. 1 X 2cm C30 AA gun
2. 1 X 2cm C30 and 2 X MG151 machine guns
3. 2 X 2cm C30 (on twin LC30/37 mounting) and 4 X MG151 machine guns (2 X 2)
4. 1 X 2cm C30 and 4 X Breda machine guns (2 X 2)
5. 2 X 2cm C30 AA weapons, one on each Wintergarten level.
6. 4 X 2cm C38 (2 X 2 on upper wintergarten) and 4 X 2cm C38 Vierling (lower level)
7. 4 X 2cm C38 (2 X 2 on upper wintergarten) and 1 X 3.7cm automatic flak

There were many variations, some official some not, as Allied aircraft became the principle threat to U-boat activity.

Crew: up to 60 (4/56)

Stored boats: One dinghy stowed under forward casing forward of torpedo loading hatch. Four 5-man liferafts held in watertight canisters on fore-casing (1944 onwards).

Builders (completed boats only):
U69-U72, U93-U98, U201-U212, U221-U232, U235-U250, U1051-U1058, U1063-U1065 Germaniawerft, Kiel.
U77-U82, U132-U136, U251-U291 Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack.
U88-U92, U301-U316, U903, U904 Flenderwerft, Lübeck.
U331-U350, U1101-U1106 Nordsee-Werke, Emden
U351-U370 Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft, Flensburg
U371-U400, U651-U686, U1131, U1132, Howaldtswerke, Kiel
U401-U430, U1161, U1162, Danziger Werft, Danzig
U431-U450, U731-U750, U825-U828, U1200 -U1210, F Schichau, Danzig
U451-U486, Deutsche Werke, Kiel
U551-U650, U951-U994, Blohm und Voss, Hamburg
U701-U722, U905-U908, H C Stülcken, Hamburg
U751-U782, Kaiserliche Marinewerft, Wilhelmshaven
U821 - U824, Stettiner Oderwerke, Stettin
U901, U902, Stettiner Vulcan Werke (also finishing work on U903-U908)
U921-U930, Neptun-Werft, Rostock

Type VIIC/41

By 1941 the war had gone global with Japan's attack on the United States and Hitler's subsequent declaration of war against President Roosevelt. With the opening of U-boat operations along the US Atlantic coast and within the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico (all planned for early 1942) considerable thought was given to how best to modify the basic Type VIIC design, allowing improved performance and greater range while not upsetting current construction projects with any real change to the boat structural design. Type VIIC/41 was the result. The primary changes were to the boat's weight, pressure hull thickness and bow. In February 1942 SKL/Ib had asked Oberleutnant (Ing) Kiesewalter (Chief Engineer on the Type IXC U157) to compile a memorandum entitled: 'Technical Development of the U-boat in the Light of War Operations'. Keisewalter was mainly concerned with the fact that combat conditions would soon outpace current U-boat designs, an increased diving depth to escape depth charging a focus of his ideas: "If we cannot actually succeed in concealing U-boats from detection by ultrasonics, then only two possibilities remain: either one dives to 300 metres and waits until depth charging is over, or one must be equipped with an attacking weapon such as an acoustic torpedo with which to destroy the pursuer…At [300 metres] the effect of depth charges is greatly restricted and, furthermore, the time it takes for depth charges to descend to such a depth enables a boat to take avoiding action" Thus the VIIC design had various power and electrical systems replaced by smaller more compact designs saving a total of 11.5 tons of hull weight. This saved weight was then used to increase the thickness of the pressure hull from 18.5mm to 21mm, extending the test diving depth from 150 metres to 180 metres and the theoretical hull failure depth (frequently exceeded!) from 250 metres to 300. Coupled with this the forecastle was slightly widened and a 13cm extension to the bow - named the 'Atlantic stem' - fitted to improve seaworthiness and decrease water resistance. The first orders for the VIIC/41 were placed on 14 October 1941, applied to Type VIICs already under construction to utilise the new materials. However, the first VIIC/41, U293, was not launched until 30 July 1943.

Specifications:
Displacement: 759 tons/860 tons (surfaced/submerged). Submerged - fully loaded and manned - 1070 tons.

Length: 67.2 m
Beam: 6.2m
Draught: 4.74m (Keel to Bridge: 9.6m)

Diving depth/Theoretical crush depth: 180m/300m

Diving Time: 30 seconds (normal)

Engines:
2 supercharged Germaniawerft, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totalling 2,800 - 3,200bhp. Max rpm: 470-490.

Motors:
U1191-U1199, U1271-U1279, U1301-U1308: 2 AEG GU 460/8-276 electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.
U995-U1025: 2 BBC (Brown Boveri & Co) GG UB 720/8 electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.
U317-U328: 2 GL (Garbe Lahmeyer) RP 137/c electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296.
U1107-U1110, U1163-U1170: 2 SSW (Siemens-Schuckert-Werke) GU 343/38-8 electric motors, totalling 750shp. Max rpm: 296. Batteries:
U320, U328, U1166, U1168, U1169, U1171, U1172, U1192, U1194, U1196-U1199, U1272, U1306: 2 X 62-cell AFA 33 MAL 800 W, producing 9160 amp hours.
All others: 2 X 62-cell AFA 33 MAL 800 E, producing 9160 amp hours.

A small number of boats operated with some batteries of each type, the difference between them being the casing of the individual battery cells only.

Speed: 17 -17.7kts/7.6kts (surfaced/submerged)

Range (nm/kts) 8,500/10 surfaced (combined diesel electric drive range 9,700nm@10kts); 80/4 submerged.

Armament:
5 X 53.3cm TT (9 reloads, or 26 TMA or 39 TMB mines) - except: All C/41s from U1271 upwards, had no mine carrying capability.

Again, several different flak weaponry combinations were used by the Type VIIC, becoming more prevalent as the war progressed. The following combinations illustrate some of these:
1. 2 X 2cm C30 AA weapons, one on each Wintergarten level.
2. 4 X 2cm C38 (2 X 2 on upper wintergarten) and 4 X 2cm C38 Vierling (lower level)
3. 4 X 2cm C38 (2 X 2 on upper wintergarten) and 1 X 3.7cm automatic flak

There were many variations, some official some not, as Allied aircraft became the principle threat to U-boat activity.

Crew: up to 60 (4/56)

Stored boats: One dinghy stowed under forward casing forward of torpedo loading hatch. Four 5-man liferafts held in watertight canisters on fore-casing (1944 onwards)

Builders (completed boats only):
U317-U318 Flenderwerft, Lübeck.
U995-U1025 Blohm und Voss, Hamburg
U1107-U1110 Nordsee-Werke, Emden
U1163-U1172 Danziger Werft, Danzig
U1191-U1199 F Schichau, Danzig
U1271-U1279 Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack