World War II’s Deadliest German U-Boat Attacks

During World War II, German U-boats dealt significant damage to Allied shipping. The submarines used stealth and strategic tactics, augmented by intelligence gathered on merchant vessels, to inflict maximum destruction. These U-boats strategically targeted ships, causing disruptions across the Atlantic Ocean’s shipping lanes. While the Allies labored to refine their strategies to counter this menace, the toll from these assaults amounted to the loss of thousands of lives.

To identify the ships that German U-boats sank during WWII that resulted in the greatest loss of life, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 25 ships with the greatest loss of life during WWII (lost to U-boats), a list compiled by, an online database of ships sunk during the world wars. The 25 ships are ordered by how many lives were lost from the sinking. Supplemental information on the type of each ship, their size (in terms of tonnage), nationality, and when they were sunk also came from

On September 12, 1942, the British troop transport Laconia fell prey to the German sub U-156. Full of civilians, military personnel, and prisoners of war, the ship was torpedoed, leading to an estimated loss of 1,658 lives—mostly Italian POWs—out of a complement of around 2,740. The U-boat commander then attempted to rescue the survivors, but still-afloat allied ships continued to attempt to sink the sub, despite the survivors clearly visible in lifeboats. This angered the Germans and led to the Laconia Order, which forbade U-boats from attempting to rescue the crews of the sunk vessels.

The Arandora Star’s demise occurred near the Irish coast in early July 1940, as it fell victim to torpedoes fired by the German U-47. Laden with approximately 1,200 Italian and German civilian internees, the ship suffered a loss of over 800 lives in the sinking. (Also see, This is the nation with the most military submarines: see where the US ranks.)

This list encompasses a a variety of vessel types, including both military and civilian craft. All were sunk within the European Theater or the Mediterranean/African Theater, with sinking dates spanning from as early as 1939 to the conclusion of 1944. (Also see: The Fate of Every American Aircraft Carrier in World War II.)

These tragic occurrences underscore the profound devastation inflicted by the German U-boat fleet during WWII. The magnitude of loss was staggering and, in certain instances, indiscriminate, impacting both military personnel and civilians aboard these ill-fated vessels.

Here is a look at the largest losses of life brought upon by U-boats.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Source: Read Full Article