The main area patrolled by U-47 was the North Atlantic sector; it was a wide expanse of ocean, and patrol missions were to take U-boat crews thousands of miles away from home. In the early days of the war when Prien was active, U-boat crews did not venture much further west than 20 degrees, keeping much of their operations restricted to either the waters west of France and, during the period of the transatlantic convoys, in the area west of Ireland and south of Iceland.
However, as the war progressed and as submarine technology improved, the Atlantic-based U-boats were to make their way as far west as the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
The map above indicates the main area of the North Atlantic in which U-47 patrolled; the red dotted line mark the path of the route taken by the major North Atlantic convoys.
U-47 carried out 10 separate patrol missions, spending a total of 238 days at sea until its sinking on 7 March 1941. Over this period, it accounted for thirty-two enemy vessels, thirty-one of which were merchant ships (not counting shared successes). Details of U-47's patrol missions are listed on a number of pages along with details of its victims; just click the links below or click the "next" link at the bottom of the page to move through the patrols chronologically.
At the beginning of 1939, U-47 conducted daily trial runs, first in the bay, and then in the Baltic Sea, under the command of the recently promoted Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien. During May and June 1939, U-47 took part in the Atlantic war games in the Bay of Biscay. These convoy exercises were under the command of Prien's former commander on the U-26, Werner Hartmann. Prien proved to be the most aggressive, and achieved the best results during these war games. During July 1939, torpedo exercises were conducted in the Baltic Sea.
Wartime Patrol Details
- Patrol 01 - 19.08.1939-15.09.1939
- Patrol 02 - 08.10.1939-21.10.1939
- Patrol 03 - 16.11.1939-18.12.1939
- Patrol 04 - 11.03.1940-29.03.1940
- Patrol 05 - 03.04.1940-26.04.1940
- Patrol 06 - 03.06.1940-06.07.1940
- Patrol 07 - 26.08.1940-25.09.1940
- Patrol 08 - 14.10.1940-23.10.1940
- Patrol 09 - 03.11.1940-06.12.1940
- Patrol 10 - 20.02.1941-07.03.1941
You can now also view an interactive map showing the location of all the vessels sunk by U-47 during its ten wartime patrols. Tonnages for merchant vessels are listed in gross registered tons (grt) while those for warships are listed in long tons (lt).