Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Her keel was laid down December 1, 1939 by Blohm + Voss, of Hamburg. She was commissioned December 4, 1940 with Oberleutnant zur See Erich Topp in command. Topp commanded her until September 1942 (receiving a promotion to Kapitänleutnant in the process). He was relieved by Kptlt. Klaus Popp, who commanded the boat until he was relieved in July 1944 by Oblt. Günther Lube. Lube commanded the boat until her loss at the end of the war.
U-552 conducted 15 patrols, sinking 32 ships totalling 165,433 tons and damaging three others totalling 26,910 tons. Her kills included the first US Navy ship lost in World War II, the destroyer USS Reuben James. (This sinking took place six weeks before war was declared between Germany and the United States, but US Navy ships had been escorting convoys and attacking U-boats for months at that time and were considered fair game.)
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