TRUMPETER # 06081 1/48 DKM U-BOAT TYPE VIIC U-552
U-552 was a Type VIIC U-Boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 1 December 1939 at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as yard number 528, launched on 14 September 1940 and went into service on 4 December 1940. U-552 was nicknamed the Roter Teufel ("Red Devil") after its mascot of a grinning devil which was painted on the conning tower. She was one of the more successful of her class, operating for over three years of continual service and sinking or damaging 30 Allied ships and was a member of 21 wolf packs.
U-552 was involved in two controversial actions: in October 1941 she sank the USS Reuben James, the first US Navy warship to be lost in World War II; this was at a time when the US was still officially neutral, and caused a diplomatic row. In April 1942 she sank the freighter SS David H. Atwiter off the US seaboard in a particularly brutal attack, characterized as a naval atrocity. U-552 had an unusually long service life, surviving to the end of World War II; after evacuating from her French base during the spring of 1944 she operated on training duties in the Baltic Sea until 2 May 1945, when her crew scuttled her in Helgoland Bight, to prevent her falling into enemy hands.
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