List of all U-boats




Ordered21 Nov 1936
Laid down15 Aug 1938 AG Weser, Bremen (werk 948)
Launched23 May 1939
Commissioned26 Aug 1939Kptlt. Wilhelm Ambrosius
26 Aug 1939 - 20 Oct 1940  Kptlt. Wilhelm Ambrosius (German Cross in Gold)
21 Oct 1940 - 11 Apr 1942  Kptlt. Wolfgang Lüth (Knights Cross)
19 Mar 1942 - 30 Jul 1943  Oblt. Hans-Joachim Schwantke
14 patrols
26 Aug 1939-31 Oct 1939  6. Flottille (training)
1 Nov 1939-31 Dec 1939  6. Flottille (active service)
1 Jan 1940-30 Jul 1943  2. Flottille (active service)
Successes21 ships sunk, total tonnage 117,036 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 10,350 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 9,131 GRT

Sunk on 30 July 1943 in the North Atlantic south-west of the Azores, in position 34.57N, 35.11W, by a Fido homing torpedo from an Avenger aircraft (VC-29 USN/T-13), assisted by a Wildcat aircraft (VC-29 USN/F-2), of the US escort carrier USS Santee. 55 dead (all hands lost).

Loss position

See the 23 ships hit by U-43 - View the 14 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-43 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Rösing (12 Jun 1940 - 15 Jun 1940)
   West (17 May 1941 - 16 Jun 1941)
   Kurfürst (16 Jun 1941 - 20 Jun 1941)
   Grönland (10 Aug 1941 - 27 Aug 1941)
   Markgraf (27 Aug 1941 - 12 Sep 1941)
   Steuben (14 Nov 1941 - 2 Dec 1941)
   Wolf (13 Jul 1942 - 30 Jul 1942)
   Pirat (31 Jul 1942 - 3 Aug 1942)
   Rochen (27 Jan 1943 - 28 Feb 1943)
   Tümmler (1 Mar 1943 - 19 Mar 1943)

Attacks on this boat and other events

16 Nov 1939
After sinking the British merchantman Arlington Court from convoy SL 7, escorts depth-charged the boat for 20 hours, causing severe damage (U-41 was also hunted at the same time). (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 119)

22 Nov 1939
Following her successful attack on French convoy 14 BS, escorts dropped 23 depth charges on U-43. No damage. (Sources: Ritschel)

8 Dec 1939
The boat was attacked by an aircraft at 09.31 hrs, suffering severe damage. This was the third attack during this patrol. U-43 reached base at Wilhelmshaven 6 days later. (Sources: KTB)

22 Apr 1940
U-43 was bombed by two Hudson bombers in the North Sea, suffering slight damage.

28 May 1940
SW of Lands End, Cornwall: The boat missed the British steam merchant Alca with a torpedo and then opened fire with the deck gun. The steamer returned fire, but neither side scored any hits and the boat soon broke off the attack. (Sources: Ritschel)

30 Nov 1941
After sinking two British merchantmen from convoy OS 12, the boat was driven under and depth charged for several hours, but managed to escape unharmed. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 409)

19 Jul 1943
21.25 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: U-43 and U-403 were attacked by British Liberator Mk.V BZ772 (RAF Sqdn 86/J, pilot F/L W. Roxburgh, DFC). U-403 immediately began to dive, covered by U-43, which fought off a first attack and then dived too. The aircraft suffered some damage and one of the crew was wounded, but the pilot nevertheless dropped two Fido homing torpedoes into the wash and observed a possible hit. Both boats were unharmed, and apparently misinterpreted the sounds of detonation as a crashing aircraft. The Germans claimed to have shot down the aircraft, but it in fact returned to base. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

7 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

4 Feb 1941. The boat flooded through an open valve and sank while docked at Lorient, and was subsequently out of action for three months.

Men lost from the boat

31 Mar 1940
U-43 lost a man overboard in the Atlantic. [I WO Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Wilhelm Behrens]

  Related: For more info on such losses see - Men lost from U-boats -

U-boat Emblems

We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

V and Star


Media links

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 1

Wynn, Kenneth

Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay

The Survivor

Herlin, Hans

There was another U-43 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 26 Sep 1914 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 30 Apr 1915. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 43 during WWI.

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