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Type VII U-boats
Types VIIa, b, c, c/41, d, and Flak U-boats
Models featured are Type VIIc U-boats, circa WWII

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Below: U-96 from the film "Das Boot"


Featured in the epic war film "Das Boot" - one of the most gripping and authentic war movies ever made (directed by Wolfgang Petersen), the movie follows a single mission of U-96 (a type VIIc). Depicting both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the hunt, the film portrays the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for comrade and country.


Base either solid brass or wooden pedestals





Below U-564

Fifty-five years after the end of the WWII a unique time capsule of 361 photographs showing a single war patrol of U-564 was found among the possessions of ex-Royal Navy diver Foster Appleyard who had stumbled across the collection in Brest after the Allied liberation of that French port. The photographs - taken for Nazi propaganda purposes by Maat Haring during the summer of 1942to document the elite service and focus on German U-boat heroes such as epitomized by U-564 commander Reinhard Suhren - were published in 2003 in the book “The Hidden Photographs of U-564”. The U-boat, a Type VIIc, made 9 patrols starting in April 1941 and sank or damaged 18 ships (125,351 tons). Sunk itself on June 14, 1943 off Spain by depth charges from a British Whitley aircraft, 18 of the submarine’s crew survived – two of them still living when the book was published.

 





Accurately detailed "free flooding holes" are recessed

 


The 88mm deck gun has its "plug" installed

 



Con tower details were photographed on a smaller scale model.
The larger scale models permit even greater detailing.

 

 

"U-995" (Not shown)

U-955 (a Type VIIc/41) is the only surviving relic of any kind of a Type VII U-boat. Commissioned in Sept 1943, U-955 patrolled mainly in the North Sea and Arctic waters where she sank four Allied ships totaling over 9,000 tons. On May 21st, 1944, U-955 came under attack from a Royal Canadian Air Force Sunderland flying boat resulting in five of the submarine's crew being wounded. No longer sea-worthy, she was  interned at Norway and became one of 3 submarines transferred to the Royal Norwegian Navy.  Renamed Kaura, U-995 served for the next 10 years - including participation in NATO exercises. Decommissioned in 1962, U-995 returned to Germany in 1971 where the Deutscher Marinebund installed her on a concrete cradle in the small seaside town of Laboe on the Baltic coast near Kiel where she serves today as a museum.

 

Any Type VII U-boat - custom model
built as per your chosen type, hull # and circa

Scale 1:120 / ~22"
Price: $1599

1/3 deposit $533

Scale 1:84 / ~32"
Price: $1899

1/3 deposit $633

Scale 1:60 / ~44"
Price: $2199

1/3 deposit $733

We'll contact you for details after you order.

Prices include free world-wide shipping

Fully assembled museum quality wooden desk-top display models custom built as to your designated circa including flagging and personalized brass plate.

With over 650 boats build between 1936 and 1944, the Type VII was the most important submarine in the German Kriegsmarine. Operating mainly in the North Atlantic where they used the "Rudeltaktik", or a simultaneous night attack by several U-Boats, their Allied victims referred to them as "Wolf Packs". Further, their combined torpedo attacks on allied convoys could be turned into coordinated mine laying operations.

The Type VII U-boat could turn tight and dive fast. Shortly after the introduction of the Type VIIa an improved version - the Type VIIb - was built with even better maneuverability. The most built variant was the Type VIIc whose sub-variant Type VIIc/41 was made of thicker steel to increase the diving depth. Both "U-96" and "U-564" were Type VIIc. Other variants included the dedicated mine laying Type VIId and the torpedo supply variant Type VIIf.

Type VIIa

Originating from the Vetehinen design of 1931, the Type VII comprised ten medium sized submarines  (U-27 to U-36, all commissioned from August to December 1936) that were both single-hulled and single-ruddered.

The type was equipped with four bow torpedo tubes and a distinctive externally mounted stern tube. Additionally, large external ballast tanks (to lift the heavy hull for surfacing) gave the Type (and its future variants) a characteristic shape. Able to dive fast and deep with a theoretical crush depth of over 700 feet, the Type was a potent threat to Allied shipping. However, operational combat soon showed up four major weaknesses:
1) engine mountings fractured, forcing boats back to base;
2) the single rudder gave poor underwater maneuverability; 3) the external stern torpedo tube could not be reloaded;
4) and a short range of only 6,200 miles.

Still, when war began in September 1939, the ten Type VIIa U-boats - grouped into the Saltzwedel Flotilla - were at the forefront of combat. The first sinking by a submarine was of the "Athenia" (made by U-30) and days later the aircraft carrier "HMS Courageous" was torpedoed by U-29. Also, the largest ship sunk by any U-boat during WWII was by Hans Jenisch in U-32 when he sank the already damaged "Empress of Britain" in October 1940.

But as the battle extended into the open Atlantic after the capture of French seashore bases, the design's shortcomings became more and more obvious and - by the end of 1940 - the four Type VIIs U-boats that had not been lost in action so far were relegated to training.

Eventually all Type VIIa U-boats but two (U-29 and U-30 which were both scuttled in Kupfermühlen Bay in 1945) were sunk during WWII.

Type VIIb

As the flaws in the original Type VII became apparent, work began on an improved design. Twin rudders were installed with the result that underwater maneuverability increased dramatically. That change meant there was no longer a single rudder stem running thru the middle so now the stern torpedo tube could be housed  in the aftermost compartment and a single reload stored in a pressure resistant canister beneath the decking. On the bow a second canister above that torpedo compartment raised the weapon load to fourteen torpedoes: five in tubes and nine reloads.

The range was increased by over 2000 miles with lengthening the vessel two meters in order to slightly expand of the internal fuel tanks. Furthermore, the external ballast tanks were turned into "self-compensating fuel bunkers" to carry additional fuel. Another marked improvement was adding superchargers to the diesels to improve their performance by 20% and raise the boat's top speed by a knot despite the increase in weight. Finally, to improve ventilation, they were fitted with external ducting - the only recognition feature that distinguishes Bs from the later Cs.

By the outbreak of war, eight boats were ready for action. The type included many of the most famous U-boats of WWII. U-48 sank a total of 54 ships totaling 320,429 tons under 3 separate commanders - including Gunther Prien who slipped into Scapa Flow in October 1939 and sank the battleship "HMS Royal Oak". Otto Kretschmer became the most successful commander (47 ships for 274,333 tons) until his capture on U-99 in 0March 1941. And  Joachim Schepke sank or damaged 41 ships (173,111 tons) using three different U-boats until he was lost in U-100.  24 Type VIIb were commissioned from mid-1938 to early 1940. This type was the most victorious and operated in a time referred to as "The happy days".

Type VIIc

The Type VIIc  increased internal space by adding an extra frame to the central control room in order to house a new active sonar called S-Gerät. This increased space also allowed the conning tower to be enlarged 12" in length and 2" in width.

Other improvements were:
1) two pressure-tight negative buoyancy tanks were included within the saddle tanks to enable the submarine to remain partially flooded and so reduce diving time;
2) engines were upgraded with an oil filtration system for increased reliability;
3) the starboard electrical compressor was replaced by a diesel-powered Junkers model to reduce strain on the densely packed batteries; and
4) all the electrical switches were modernized.

When war started in 1939, 152 VIIc were on order - spread between 13 shipyards, with the first boat being launched in June of 1940. In all, 601 Type VIIc U-boats were built and of those 591 got commissioned (see bottom of page for hull numbers).

The VIIc was the workhorse of the German U-boat force in WWII from 1941 onwards and boats of this type were being built throughout the war - many being fitted with the Schnorkel in 1944 to 1945. The VIIc came into service as the "Happy Days" were almost over and it was this boat that faced final defeat in the Allied anti-submarine campaign of late 1943 to mid-1944.

Type VIIc/41

Constructed by Germany during the mid part of WW II, the new type was an improved version to give greater range as demanded with the opening of operations along the USA Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

Additionally the forecastle was slightly widened and a 5 inch bow extension - named the "Atlantic stem" - was fitted to improve seaworthiness and the ease with which the boat cut through waves.

The first orders for Type VIIc/41 U-boats were placed in October 1941 and applied to Type VIIc U-boats already under construction. However, the first VIIc/41 (U-292) was not commissioned until August 1943. Over 100 Type VIIc/41 U-boats were ordered, although only 91 were completed and commissioned (see page bottom  for hull #s).

 

"Type VIId mine laying U-boats"

Six Type VIId U-boats (U-213 to U-218, commissioned August 1941 to January 1942) were converted from the Type VIIc design into minelayers capable of releasing the powerful moored SMA mines by adding an entire 32-foot long hull section aft of the control room that had 5 vertical shafts - each of which stored 3 SMA mines (total 15 mines). Coupled with the special mine capacity, the Type VIId carried the same torpedo load as the Type VIIc. The first Type VIId was commissioned in August 1941.

"Type VIIf supply U-boats"

During 1941 the Royal Navy devastated Germany's naval surface supply network with the result that Type XIV supply U-boats were constructed to enable combat U-boats to spend longer at sea in action, or to extend their patrol radius. However, while the Type XIV "Milk Cow" could provide fuel, food and other basics, it only had enough storage to deliver 4 torpedoes. Hence the Type VIIf came into being by converting the Type VIIc design with the addition of a 34-foot section aft of the conning tower capable of holding 24 torpedoes, and so give the ammunition needed for total sea re-supply. The first of four VIIf (U-1059 to U-1062) was commissioned in May 1943. Originally the boats were used to run supplies around Norway, before three of the four were sent during 1944 to Penang in the Far East to supply the large Type IXc/40 and Type IXd/42 U-boats that had formed a Far Eastern U-boat presence there. Two of the supply boats were lost delivering their stores and the 3rd was sunk on its return voyage.

"Flak U-boats"

Some type VIIc U-boats had extra anti-aircraft armament added in order give protection to other U-boats heading for the Atlantic - an idea that ultimately failed. These U-boats were U-441, U-256, U-621 and U-953; re-designated as U-Flak1 thru U-Flak4. Another three U-boats converted to Flak submarines were not completed (U-211,  U-263 and U-271). The conversion extended the conning tower forward to provide a third weapon's deck for a shielded quad 20mm Flakvierling, or other AA gun. Then the original two 20mm twins rear of the con tower were sometimes exchanged for another quad Flakvierling. The original single barreled 37mm on the lower Wintergarten deck usually remained although various configurations existed.

The modifications took place in 1943 and the boats became operational in June - initially with excellent success against the surprised RAF pilots. Admiral Dönitz realized their potential and ordered the boats to cross the Bay of Biscay in groups at maximum speed to act as "airplane traps". However, within two months the RAF developed counter-measures whereby they called in surface hunters to assist the aircraft, and the U-flak boats were withdrawn and converted back into normal attack submarines.

 

Comparison of Type VIIa, VIIb, VIIc, VIIc/41, VIId and VIIf  U-boats:
  Type VIIa Type VIIb Type VIIc Type VIIc/41 Type VIId Type VIIf
# built 10 24 601 10 24 601

Length

211.6 218.2 220.1 220.5 252.3 254.7
Beam 19.2 20.3 20.3  20.3 20.9 23.9
Displacement surface/submerged 626
745
753
857
761
871
769
871
965
1080
1084
1181
# of 6-cyl
diesel engines
2 2
supercharged
2
supercharged
2
supercharged
2
supercharged
2
supercharged
Horsepower diesel/battery 2310
750
3200
750
3200
750
3200
750
3200
750
3200
750
Screws/rudders 2 / 1 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2
Speed surfaced 17 knots 17.9 knots 17.7 knots 17.7 knots 16.7 knots 17.6 knots
Speed submerged 8 knots 8 knots 7.6 knots 7.6 knots 7.3 knots 7.9 knots)
Range surfaced
(miles @ speed)
6200 @ 10 kts 8700 @ 10 kts 9700 @ 10 kts 9700 @ 10 kts 13000 @ 10 kts 14700 @ 10 kts
Range submerged 94 @ 4 kts 90 @ 4 kts 80 @ 4 kts 80 @ 4 kts 69 @ 4 kts 75 @ 4 kts
Crush depth 722 feet 722 feet 722 feet 984 feet 656 feet 656 feet
Normal dive time 50 seconds 40 seconds 30 seconds 30 seconds 35 seconds 35 seconds
Crew 42 - 46 men 44 - 48 men 44 - 52 men 44 - 52 men 46 - 52 men 46 - 52 men
Torpedo Tubes 4 bow, 1 deck mounted stern 4 bow**
1 stern***
4 bow,1 stern 4 bow,1 stern 4 bow,1 stern 4 bow,1 stern
Torpedoes
or mines
6 reloads or
22 TMA or
33 TMB
9 reloads or
26 TMA
9 reloads or
26 TMA****
9 reloads or
26 TMA*****
9 reloads and 15 SMA in 5 shafts 9 reloads plus 24 stored torpedoes
Armament varied,
typical is listed
88mm deck gun,
one 20mm AA
88mm, 37mm,
two 20mm
88mm, 37mm,
two twin 20mm
88mm, 37mm,
two twin 20mm
88mm, 37mm,
two twin 20mm
88mm, 37mm,
two twin 20mm
Dinghies stowed 1 under foredeck 1 under foredeck 1 under deck,
4 on deck
1 under deck,
4 on deck
1 under foredeck 1 under foredeck

* except U-83 which had no stern tube
**  U-72, U-78, U-80, U-554 and U-555 only had two forward torpedo tubes
*** U-203, U-331, U-351, U-401, U-431 and U-651 had no stern tube
**** U-88 to U-92, U-333 to U-350, U-352 to U-370, U-374 to U-401, U-404 to U-430,
U-435 to U-450,U-454 to U-458, U-657 to U-686, U-702 to U-750 and U-754 to U-784 had no mine carrying capability
***** All C/41s from U-1271 upwards had no mine carrying capability.

Type VIIa (10 commissioned)
U-27 to U-36

Type VIIb (24 commissioned)
U-45 to U-55, U-73 to U-76, U-83 to U-87 and U-99 to U-102.

Type VIIc (591 commissioned)
U-69 to U-72, U-77 to U-82, U-88 to U-98, U-132 to U-136, U-201 to U-212, U-221 to U-232, U-235 to U-291,
U-301 to U-316, U-331 to U-486, U-551 to U-686, U-701 to U-722, U-731 to U-782, U-821 to U-828, U-901 to U-908 , U-921 to U-930,
U-951 to U-994, U-1051 to U-1058, U-1063 to U-1065, U-1101 to U-1106, U-1131, U-1132 , U-1161, U-1162  and U-1200 to U-1210.

Type VIIc/41 (91 commissioned)
U-292 to U-300, U-317 to U-328, U-827, U-828, U-929, U-930, U-995, U-997 to U-1010, U-1013 to U-1025, U-1063 to U-1065,
U-1103 to U-1110, U-1163 to U-1172, U-1271 to U-1279 and U-1301 to U-1308.

Type VIId (6 commissioned)
U-213 to U-218

Type VIIf (4 commissioned)
U-1059 to U-1062

Museum quality, fully assembled, desk-top display models of German Kriegsmarine U-boats hand-crafted from mahogany wood.
Every ship model is meticulously researched in the initial construction phase to fit your chosen circa and custom built to become a timeless work of art.

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