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Home » U-Boat Insignia & Emblems

U-Boat Insignia & Emblems

U-boat Insignia and Emblems
Submarine Icons

U-boat insignias and emblems were popularly sported by U-boat crews during the war. Emblems and insignias were an expression of individualism or they could also sometimes be representative of some sort of feature of meaning connected to their boat. Propaganda and superstitious influence also came into play, with some sporting the clover for good luck, or cupid for a good shot. One of the more well known emblems is the golden horseshoe by Otto Kretschmer. The horseshoe was welded with the opening facing downwards for good luck, and ironically, the destroyer that sank his boat, also bored a horseshoe for good luck, but it was facing upwards.

Before the war, U-boat numerals were painted in large white letters about 1.5 meters tall on the conning tower. At the outbreak of war, however, these numeral markings were discontinued and all boats were painted an overall neutral gray in order to keep the enemy guessing about the deployment of the U-boat force. It didn't take long however, before U-boat crews began adopting insignias and emblems as a means of self expression and individualism.

In addition to U-Boat emblems, each graduating class from U-Boat academy also chose an emblem. The crew of 1936 chose the Olympic Rings, in reference to the 1936 Olympic Games in Munich. An upright dagger through a wedding ring was chosen for the crew of 1937, and was characterized as "First win, then marry!". Even U-boat flotillas had emblems. The 7th U-flotilla adopted the snorting bull after Gunther Prien's boat while the 9th flotilla had the laughing sawfish as its emblem.

However, not all boats had emblems, while some boats had more than one emblem. For example, a boat could display its flotilla emblem, the graduating class emblem and the boat's individual emblem. When a new commander took over a boat, he would just add his own emblem rather than replace the existing emblem and risk losing the old luck. U-boat insignias were also worn on uniforms, sewn onto caps and even imprinted on items such as mugs and badges.

With the advent of the true submarine, such as the Types XXI and XXIII, which spent most of their time underwater, these boats rarely surfaced and thus together with it, the colorful naval tradition of the U-Boat insignias began to fade out.

Out of around 1100 U-boats sent into combat during the war, almost 900 boats are showcased here for your reference. Use the links below to find the boat you are interested in, and if is not here, then chances are the boat doesn't have an emblem or insignia.

Contents of this chapter
U-2 to U-22 U-23 to U-33 U-34 to U-49 U-50 to U-61 U-62 to U-71
U-72 to U-81 U-82 to U-92 U-93 to U-103 U-105 to U-118 U-119 to U-132
U-133 to U-146 U-147 to U-156 U-159 to U-170 U-171 to U-181 U-183 to U-193
U-194 to U-204 U-205 to U-215 U-216 to U-228 U-230 to U-242 U-244 to U-257
U-258 to U-268 U-269 to U-281 U-282 to U-293 U-294 to U-307 U-308 to U-320
U-321 to U-334 U-335 to U-350 U-351 to U-360 U-362 to U-375 U-376 to U-386
U-387 to U-400 U-402 to U-411 U-412 to U-423 U-425 to U-436 U-437 to U-446
U-447 to U-458 U-459 to U-471 U-472 to U-488 U-489 to U-509 U-510 to U-520
U-521 to U-532 U-533 to U-544 U-545 to U-554 U-555 to U-564 U-565 to U-574
U-575 to U-587 U-588 to U-597 U-598 to U-609 U-610 to U-622 U-624 to U-635
U-636 to U-651 U-652 to U-665 U-666 to U-678 U-679 to U-708 U-709 to U-721
U-722 to U-740 U-741 to U-752 U-753 to U-763 U-764 to U-793 U-794 to U-843
U-844 to U-854 U-857 to U-868 U-869 to U-880 U-889 to U-928 U-951 to U-960
U-961 to U-971 U-972 to U-985 U-986 to U-999 U-1002 to U-1013 U-1014 to U-1028
U-1051 to U-1103 U-1104 to U-1172 U-1192 to U-1206 U-1208 to U-1228 U-1229 to U-1277
U-1279 to U-1407 U-2324 to U-2509 U-2512 to U-2524 U-2525 to U-2541 U-2546 to U-3011
U-3012 to U-3027 U-3028 to U-3044 U-3057 to U-3517 U-4703 to U-4711

U-995 German Type VIIC U-Boat Illustrated Gallery
Explore the last surviving German Type VIIC U-boat with over 600 Walkaround photos, videos, schematic plans, authentic sounds and a virtual tour. For modelers, researchers, and u-boat fans. Click here now.

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Use the navigation links above to search for the boat you are interested in. Each page contains 10 U-boat insignias and emblems.

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