Only one out of every four men serving on U-boats survived
THE GERMAN NAVY commenced World War II with fifty-six submarines, of which only twenty four were suitable for operations in the Atlantic. In the five and a half years of the war, German shipyards built 1,156 U-boats, of which 784 were lost from enemy action or other causes. In terms of human lives, 28,000 German U-boat crew of the total 40,900 men recruited into the service lost their lives and 5,000 were taken prisoners of war. When the war ended, 156 U-boats surrendered, 221 were scuttled by their own crews and two escaped to Argentina. German U-boats in World War II operated in all oceans of the world and were responsible for sinking enemy ships in areas as far distant as the Dutch East Indies and the Arctic Ocean.