List of all U-boats




Ordered2 Jun 1938
Laid down5 Nov 1939 Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 1)
Launched27 Jul 1940
Commissioned30 Sep 1940Kptlt. Helmut Rosenbaum (Knights Cross)
30 Sep 1940 - 10 Sep 1942  Kptlt. Helmut Rosenbaum (Knights Cross)
1 Oct 1942 - 16 Dec 1943  Oblt. Horst Deckert (German Cross in Gold)
15 patrols
30 Sep 1940-31 Jan 1941  7. Flottille (training)
1 Feb 1941-1 Jan 1942  7. Flottille (active service)
1 Jan 1942-16 Dec 1943  29. Flottille (active service)
Successes8 ships sunk, total tonnage 43,945 GRT
4 warships sunk, total tonnage 22,947 tons (lost aboard transport ships)
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 22,928 GRT

Sunk on 16 December 1943 in the Mediterranean north of Oran, in position 36.07N, 00.50W, by depth charges and gunfire from the US destroyers USS Woolsey and USS Trippe. 16 dead and 34 survivors.

Loss position

See the 15 ships hit by U-73 - View the 15 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-73 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   West (31 May 1941 - 16 Jun 1941)
   Kurfürst (16 Jun 1941 - 20 Jun 1941)
   Grönland (12 Aug 1941 - 27 Aug 1941)
   Reissewolf (21 Oct 1941 - 31 Oct 1941)
   Wal (10 Nov 1942 - 15 Nov 1942)

Attacks on this boat and other events

22 Mar 1942
11.50 hrs, about 50 miles northwest of Derna, Libya: the boat was attacked by Blenheim MkIV Z7793 (RAF Sqdn 203/M, pilot P/O Beresford-Peirse). U-73 crash-dived on sighting the aircraft (misidentified as a Beaufort), but the four 250lb A/S bombs dropped caused severe damage that left the boat temporarily unable to dive and forced Rosenbaum to abort the patrol. (Sources: KTB U-73/ORB 203 Sqn RAF)

5 Dec 1942
The boat was damaged so severely by an aircraft attack in the Mediterranean that she had to return to base.

27 Dec 1942
07.15 hrs, NW of Algiers: British Wellington bomber LA971 (RAF Sqdn 179/T, pilot F/L A.H. Comfort) attacked using the Leigh Light following radar contact, but the boat, forewarned by Metox, immediately opened fire with the AA guns, scoring hits on the port engine. Four depth charges dropped missed, and the Wellington (misidentified as a Beaufort) was forced to make for the coast, reaching Tafaraoui only after jettisoning all loose equipment. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

27 Dec 1942
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:British Hudson bomber AM638 (RAF Sqdn 500/M, pilot P/O J.R. Pugh)

08.17 hrs, Mediterranean, NW of Algiers: flak hits to the cockpit area and starboard engine during the initial strafing run caused four depth charges dropped by the aircraft to fall wide by 80 to 250m (87 -273 yds), causing only light damage. The aircraft attempted to reach the coast some 50 miles (80 km) distant, but had to ditch only three minutes after the attack. The crew of four were rescued from their dinghy in the afternoon of the same day by a Walrus flying boat (700 Sqdn FAA, pilot Sub Lt Neil Fuller) escorted by Hudsons from 500 and 608 Sqdns RAF).

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

27 Jun 1943
The boat was forced to return to base due to heavy damage from depth charging by escorts in the Mediterranean.

30 Oct 1943
The target of the torpedo fired by the British submarine HMS Ultimatum on 30 Oct 1943 in the Mediterranean SE of Toulon, France in position 43.04N, 05.57E, formerly credited with sinking U-431, was actually U-73, which escaped unscathed.

(Sources: 1987-11-01, FDS/NHB)

13 Dec 1943
During an attack against convoy GUS 24 in the Mediterranean, U-73 was rammed by a destroyer, resulting in the loss of the Flakvierling quadruple AA gun.

7 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

11 Aug 1942. U-73 sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle in position 38.05N, 03.02E.
Radiogram sent by U-73 on 11 Aug, 1942:
Geleit - 15 Zerstörer und Geleitboote, 2 Kreuzer, 9 bis 10 Frachter, 1 Flugzeugträger, 1 Schlachtschiff wahrscheinlich. Fächerschuß auf Flugzeugträger. Vier Treffer aus 500 Meter Entfernung. Starke Sinkgeräusche.
- Alles klar! -
(Convoy - 15 destroyers and escort ships, 2 cruisers, 9 to 10 freighters, one aircraft carrier, probably one battleship. Fan shot at aircraft carrier. 4 hits from 500m distance. Loud sinking noises.
- Everything ok -

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-73 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 3 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.


An Axe with "USA" text

Shield with Castle and Bird of Prey

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

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

Red Duster, White Ensign

Cameron, Ian

There was another U-73 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 16 Jun 1915 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 9 Oct 1915. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 73 during WWI.

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