List of all U-boats

U-552

Type

VIIC

 
Ordered25 Sep 1939
Laid down1 Dec 1939 Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 528)
Launched14 Sep 1940
Commissioned4 Dec 1940Oblt. Erich Topp (Oak Leaves with Swords)
Commanders
4 Dec 1940 - 8 Sep 1942  KrvKpt. Erich Topp (Knights Cross)
9 Sep 1942 - 10 Jul 1944  Kptlt. Klaus Popp
11 Jul 1944 - 2 May 1945  Oblt. Günther Lube
Career
15 patrols
4 Dec 1940-1 Feb 1941  7. Flottille (training)
1 Feb 1941-30 Apr 1944  7. Flottille (active service)
1 May 1944-2 May 1945  22. Flottille (school boat)
Successes30 ships sunk, total tonnage 163,756 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 520 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,190 tons
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 26,910 GRT
Fate

Scuttled on 2 May 1945 at Wilhelmshaven, in position 53.51N, 08.10E.

Final location

See the 35 ships hit by U-552 - View the 15 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-552 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Brandenburg (15 Sep 1941 - 26 Sep 1941)
   Stosstrupp (30 Oct 1941 - 4 Nov 1941)
   Störtebecker (15 Nov 1941 - 19 Nov 1941)
   Benecke (19 Nov 1941 - 22 Nov 1941)
   Seydlitz (27 Dec 1941 - 6 Jan 1942)
   Ziethen (6 Jan 1942 - 19 Jan 1942)
   Endrass (12 Jun 1942 - 17 Jun 1942)
   Wolf (13 Jul 1942 - 30 Jul 1942)
   Pirat (30 Jul 1942 - 3 Aug 1942)
   Steinbrinck (3 Aug 1942 - 4 Aug 1942)
   Meise (11 Apr 1943 - 27 Apr 1943)
   Star (27 Apr 1943 - 4 May 1943)
   Fink (4 May 1943 - 6 May 1943)
   Naab (12 May 1943 - 15 May 1943)
   Donau 2 (15 May 1943 - 19 May 1943)
   Mosel (19 May 1943 - 24 May 1943)
   Siegfried (22 Oct 1943 - 27 Oct 1943)
   Siegfried 2 (27 Oct 1943 - 30 Oct 1943)
   Jahn (30 Oct 1943 - 2 Nov 1943)
   Tirpitz 3 (2 Nov 1943 - 8 Nov 1943)
   Eisenhart 5 (9 Nov 1943 - 15 Nov 1943)

Attacks on this boat and other events

21 Feb 1941
The boat was attacked by an aircraft in the North Atlantic, suffering some damage.

28 Apr 1941
After torpedoing a ship in convoy HX 121 south of Iceland, U-552 was depth charged in five separate attacks from the escorting destroyers HMS Maori and HMS Inglefield, forcing the boat to remain submerged for hours until the convoy was out of range. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 272)

18 Jun 1941
After locating an inbound convoy Topp attempted to attack and bring in other boats, but was driven off by the escorts. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 307)

1 Oct 1941
A Hudson bomber dropped one bomb which caused minor damage.

17 Jan 1942
U-552 was attacked by a "destroyer" after firing torpedoes at a freighter escorted by 2 "destroyers". The boat escaped undamaged. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 471)

20 Nov 1942
While enroute to the USA to be refitted at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the Dutch submarine HrMs K XIV (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Geijs) attacked U-552 south of the Cape Verde Islands in position 13º05N, 25º50W. K XIV launched four torpedoes from distance of around 900m. The torpedoes were from old stores in the Netherlands East Indies and ran close to the surface, were detected by the Germans and missed their target as the U-boat took evasive action.

27 May 1943
Mid Atlantic: a British B-24 Liberator bomber (RAF Sqdn 59, pilot H.A.L. Moran) made two passes before the boat escaped, dropping a total of eight depth charges. Despite severe damage, the boat survived and managed to reach port on June 13. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 340)

7 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

31 Oct 1941.

The first US Navy ship lost in the Atlantic

On 31 October 1941 U-552 was hunting the eastbound convoy HX 156, and at roughly 0525 hrs torpedoed one of the escorts. The ship's magazine exploded and the ship sank rapidly, with 100 from the crew of 144 going down with her. She was the destroyer USS Reuben James, and was the first US Navy ship lost in hostile action in WWII.

This occurred nearly six weeks before war was declared between Germany and the United States, although US Navy ships had been escorting convoys and attacking U-boats for months before that.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-552 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 1 emblem entry for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.


The Running Devil - U-552

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


Q-ships versus U-boats

Beyer, Kenneth


German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel


Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay


U-Boat Operations of the Second World War - Vol 2

Wynn, Kenneth


Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay


The Approaching Storm

Chewning, Alpheus J.