Since it’s development in 1933/34 the German Type VII class submarine design proved to be very successful. During the war a total of 703 Type VII submarines in different variants were built; VIIA, VIIB, VIIC, VIIC/41, VIIC/42, VIID, VIIF.
This Type VIIC/41 Kriegsmarine submarine is a modified Type VIIC version, which had a stronger outer hull and lighter machinere than the latter to compensate for the weight. This even lead to this type being slightly lighter than the Type VIIC, with all the benefits in range and fuel/battery consumption. A total of 91 Type VIIC/41 were built.
U-boat Type VIIC/41 Technical data
This Type VIIC/41 has a length of 67,2 meters, is 6,2 meters wide and has a height of 9,6 meters including the tower. These measures could vary depending on the Type VII version. It’s maximum diving depth was 240 meters while a 120 meters was recommended.
The submarine was propelled by two MAN 6 cylinder 1400hp diesel engines and two 370hp BBC electro engines, giving the submarine a surface speed of 17 knots and 7,6 knots submerged.
Type VIIC/41 Range
The range of the Type VIIC/41 was 10.000 nautical miles at 7 knots on the surface and 130 nautical miles at 2 knots when submerged. It’s limited range submerged made the submarines very vulnerable to air attacks, which claimed a heavy toll on the German submarines when the range of the Allied aircraft extended.
U-boat “Schnorchel” or Snorkel
For this reason some Type VIIC submarines were fitted with a “Schnorchel” (German) in the latter years of WW2, which was a snorkel device enabling the submarine to operate it’s diesel engines while submerged. Although this gave them increased range being submerged, it also had downsides. The speed of the submarine was limited to prevent breaking the tube. Also the tube sticking out of the water and the diesel fumes coming out could easily be spotted, especially in clear weather. At the surface the tube left what was known as a “periscope feather”, a small v-shaped wave clearly visible in calm seas.
Some early British radar models could pick up the snorkel or periscope too at distances under a thousand meters.
The U995 is also fitted with a snorkel, as can be seen from the clamp at the front left of the tower. The snorkel tube is folded away in a compartment in the deck on it’s port side. In some pictures the tube can be seen lying in the space in the deck, but here it seems to be missing. Perhaps for restoration purposes.
Type VIIC/41 Armament
Type VIIC/41 was armed with four torpedo tubes at the bow and one at it’s rear. It could carry up to 12 torpedo’s or 26 to 39 sea mines, although later in the war the possibility to carry seas mines was left out for this submarine type.
At the back of the submarine tower it carried a 37mm deck gun and two double barreled Anti Aircraft 20mm guns.
Submarine U-995 was deployed from 1943 by the Kriegsmarine until the end of the war. Thereafter, the submarine was used by the Norwegian Navy until 1965 when it was given back to Germany. Since 1972, the boat is exhibited here in Laboe.
You can visit this Type VIIC/41 submarine on the beach at Laboe, North Germany. You have to pay an admission fee to view the interior, which is absolutely worth it.
Because the submarine is displayed on the beach, you can walk all the way around it and see many of the details. The torpedo hatches are covered for corrosion reasons, but you can still see where the openings have been.
Inside the U-boat you get a vivid picture of life on this type of U-boat and, if you get lucky and the boat is crowded with other curious visitors, you can experience it firsthand too.