No Ordinary War


War Hero
Just read the book by Christian Prag, the story of U604. just of interest. The laughing sawfish emblem(9th u boat flottilla) came about when a crewman saw a cartoon in a magazine drawn by the cartoonist Kossatz,and was adopted originally in green, rather than black, which later became popular. Notes 1 All U boats sailing from Kiel ,were not permitted to sail direct to the French ports, but had to go round the North coast of Scotland,2 Crews had no further training after work up, even when the Subs got more technically advanced, Metox etc. WHY?? The Grossadmiral admitted after the war that they only expected that the boats would survive 3 patrols.


War Hero
Few facts for you Scouse.
1,170 U Boats were commisioned most of those were lost
Of all the U Boat men that entered the service between 1939 and 1945 somewhere in the order of 37,000
75.6% or 28,000 lost or dead
13.5% or 5,000 were captured and taken prisoner.
That means only 10.9% finished the war unscathed.
Or 89.1% suffered or died. Not good odds a!!
And we used to moan when they put a snort on at 02:00 in the morning!!


War Hero
scouse said:
All U boats sailing from Kiel ,were not permitted to sail direct to the French ports, but had to go round the North coast of Scotland,2
It was that or transit the Dover Straits.A risky enough business on the surface never mind dived.Plus I expect there first intention was to harass the convoys in the north Atlantic rather than go to France.
I cannot recall the actual figures but I believe that our own S/M crew losses (if not Boat numbers) were of a similar if not higher order, ie 90% plus.

Perhaps some Fact Bosun can find out?

An aside; when SSN 03 visited the Stützpunkt Keil, circa 1970, a couple of their S/M Base CPOs/WOs were actual WW2 vintage U-Boat crew men but/and they all looked after us very well indeed.

(They even invited us back to their Mess for a return ‘Cocktail Party at 9.00 – We said ‘But that is a bit late, isn’t it?’ ‘No, No.’ They said, ‘We mean at 9 o’clock Tomorrow Morning!’ And it was…..

We moved off our boat and were accommodated on one of their accom. ships alongside the U-boat base. We promptly christened it ‘The Altmark’ much to their great amusement, too.

In short a rare but very good SSN run ashore, with mutual respect all around.


Book Reviewer
LOSSES BY YEAR and AREA (Thanks to the Naval History site

(in date order within each year, ctl - constructive total loss)





Far East







Seahorse, Undine, Starfish, Thistle, Tarpon, Sterlet, Unity, Seal, Shark, Salmon, Narwhal, Thames, Spearfish, H.49, Swordfish (total 15)

Odin, Grampus, Orpheus, Phoenix, Oswald, Triad, Rainbow, Regulus, Triton (9)



Snapper, Umpire
Usk, Undaunted, Union, Cachalot, P.32, P.33, Tetrarch, Traveller, Perseus, P.48, Triumph (11)


P.514, Unique, Unbeaten

Tempest, P.38, P.39, Pandora, P.36, Upholder, Urge, Olympus, Thorn, Talisman, Utmost, P.222, P.311 (13)


Tigris, Turbulent, Thunderbolt, Regent, Splendid, Sahib, Parthian, Saracen, Trooper, Usurper, Simoon (11)


Graph, Syrtis
Stonehenge, Stratagem


Shakespeare (ctl), Porpoise, Terrapin (ctl)


War Hero
Quote Prag U Boats sank 3,143 ships totalling 15,8654,453 GRT. Germany had 1,170 U Boats in service betwen 35/45 which 859 sailed on war patrols.Of these 630 never returned 429 were declared as confirmed losses,215 were lost on their first patrols. From approximately 40,000 German U Boat men 30,000 would never return. In plain English for every four outgoing U Boats only one would return. But the tragedy was no less on the opposing side

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