U-boot VIIC

German type VII submarine


Before 1945, Gdańsk’s shipyards (which later merged into Gdańsk Shipyard) built merchant and war ships of various complexity and technological advancement. An important part of the production included building warships for the German navy; these are symbolised by the U-boats that were also a testament to the Gdańsk shipyards’ technological capabilities.

Most of the German World War II submarines were type VII vessels. The F. Schichau Shipyard produced 64 of them, and then-Gdańsk Shipyard—22.

Technical specifications (1942):

displacement: ca. 750 / 850 t

dimensions: 67.1 total x 6.2 x 4.8 m

propulsion:  2 diesel engines, 2,800 hp / 2 electric motors, 750 hp

speed: 17.0 / 7.6 knots

armament: one 88 mm gun, light anti-aircraft guns, five 533 mm torpedo tubes (14 torpedoes total);

crew: ca. 50

Over 700 type VII submarines were built in 1935-1944 (different versions).


Submarines (U-boats) were Germany’s most dangerous weapon on the seas during World War I. Their construction began in 1906 and by the time the war broke out, 37 such warships had been built by German shipyards. As many as 19 of these were built in Gdańsk’s Imperial Shipyard. The most famous was the U-9, which sank three British armoured cruisers with a total displacement of 36,000 tonnes  in a daring attack on 22 September 1914; almost 1500 British sailors were killed. On 7 May 1915, another Gdańsk-built submarine, the U-20, sank the transatlantic liner Lusitania, killing US citizens, which outraged the American public and with time led to the USA joining the war.

The German U-boats were destroyed after the war and Germany was prohibited from having and building submarines. Germany’s answer was to set up a design office in the Netherlands called Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (IvS), where their engineers continued to design such vessels. This meant that in 1935, when Germany revoked the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, it was able to immediately begin to build state-of-the-art submarines.

The IvS engineers designed many classes of warships, including a battlecruiser for the Netherlands (which eventually did not get built), minesweepers for Romania (four warships built) and coastal battleships for Finland (two warships built). However, IvS’s most important designs were submarines built in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Spain, which turned out to be prototypes for German submarines (including type VII U-boats) that wrought havoc among the Allied fleets in World War II,.

The type VII U-boats were the most numerous type of German submarine in World War II. Their origin dates back to the first half of the 1930s when IvS designed a medium-sized E-1 submarine for Spain. They were based on UB-III submarines built for the German navy in 1916-1919. The E-1 was built in Spain in 1932 and then sold to Turkey. But the experience gained during its construction and tests served to design the U-25 and U-26, which were launched in 1936 for the German Kriegsmarine and which in turn became a model for the improved U-boats known as type VII.

In World War II, type VII U-boats were often upgraded in many different ways, for example by removing the 88 mm gun, increasing the amount of light anti-aircraft guns and installing ever more modern electronic equipment, for example radar emissions detectors.

The type VII U-boats proved so successful that by 1944 over 700 such vessels were built in various versions; with a further 46 that remained incomplete. The majority, almost 600, were VIIC version vessels, including the U-606, sunk on 22 February 1942 by the Polish warship the ORP Burza, and the U-407, sunk on 19 September 1944 by ships which included the ORP Garland. This type also included the U-378, which sank the ORP Orkan on 8 October 1943.


Submarines (U-boats) were Germany’s most dangerous weapon on the seas during World War I. Their construction began in 1906 and by the time the war broke out, 37 such warships had been built by German shipyards. As many as 19 of these were built in Gdańsk’s Imperial Shipyard. The most famous was the U-9, which sank three British armoured cruisers with a total displacement of 36,000 tonnes in a daring attack on 22 September 1914; almost 1500 British sailors were killed. On 7 May 1915, another Gdańsk-built submarine, the U-20, sank the transatlantic liner Lusitania, killing US citizens, which outraged the American public and with time led to the USA joining the war.

The German U-boats were destroyed after the war and Germany was prohibited from having and building submarines. Germany’s answer was to set up a design office in the Netherlands called Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (IvS), where their engineers continued to design such vessels. This meant that in 1935, when Germany revoked the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, it was able to immediately begin to build state-of-the-art submarines.

The IvS engineers designed many classes of warships, including a battlecruiser for the Netherlands (which eventually did not get built), minesweepers for Romania (four warships built) and coastal battleships for Finland (two warships built). However, IvS’s most important designs were submarines built in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Spain, which turned out to be prototypes for German submarines (including type VII U-boats) that wrought havoc among the Allied fleets in World War II,.

The type VII U-boats were the most numerous type of German submarine in World War II. Their origin dates back to the first half of the 1930s when IvS designed a medium-sized E-1 submarine for Spain. They were based on UB-III submarines built for the German navy in 1916-1919. The E-1 was built in Spain in 1932 and then sold to Turkey. But the experience gained during its construction and tests served to design the U-25 and U-26, which were launched in 1936 for the German Kriegsmarine and which in turn became a model for the improved U-boats known as type VII.

In World War II, type VII U-boats were often upgraded in many different ways, for example by removing the 88 mm gun, increasing the amount of light anti-aircraft guns and installing ever more modern electronic equipment, for example radar emissions detectors.

The type VII U-boats proved so successful that by 1944 over 700 such vessels were built in various versions; with a further 46 that remained incomplete. The majority, almost 600, were VIIC version vessels, including the U-606, sunk on 22 February 1942 by the Polish warship the ORP Burza, and the U-407, sunk on 19 September 1944 by ships which included the ORP Garland. This type also included the U-378, which sank the ORP Orkan on 8 October 1943.

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