Prien Killed When U-47 Sunk by Own Torpedo

Kapitänleutnant Prien 6534-40
Kapitänleutnant Gunther Prien photo taken September 1939 German National Archive


According to Harry Harry Cooper, owner of CEO of the U-Boat research organization Sharkhunters, some years ago a special panel of Bundesmarine officers headed by Flotillenadmiral Otto Kretschmer  (who belonged to Sharkhunters) evaluated all the data from not only the German side, but also the data from the Royal Navy side that was not available during the war.

It was proven absolutely that U-47 sank herself with a circular running torpedo. According to logbooks, position reports and individual memories of veterans who participated in that convoy action, U-47 was on the opposite side of the battlefield from HMS Wolverine, making it impossible for HMS Wolverine to have sunk U-47.

This panel concluded that U-47 was sunk by a circular run of her own torpedo. So what was HMS Wolverine doing at this time? According to the findings of the group headed by Kretschmer, it was determined that HMS Wolverine was attacking *U-A commanded by Eckermann, whose KTB (logbook) recorded the beating they received in that area at that time, making it obvious that it was U-A and not U-47 under attack from HMS Wolverine.

This all happened in the North Atlantic seventy-five years ago.


Official Worldwide Publication of U-Boat History

*UA was a type VII U-boat being built for Turkey hence the designation U (unterseeboot) A (Ausland) or “foreign country.” The Germans kept it since war broke out but being Germans they had already named it so they didn’t change the very odd name.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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