German submarine U-109 (1940)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-109.
A black-and-white photo showing a submarine parallel to a row boat.
U-107, a U-boat identical to U-109
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-109
Ordered: 24 May 1938[1]
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 972[1]
Laid down: 9 March 1940[1]
Launched: 14 September 1940[1]
Commissioned: 5 December 1940[1]
Fate: Sunk by aircraft, all crew lost.[2][3]
General characteristics [4][5]
Class & type: Type IXB U-boat
Displacement: 1,051 t (1,034 long tons) surfaced
1,178 t (1,159 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.5 m (251 ft) o/a
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in) overall
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: Diesel/Electric
2 × MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged 9 cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,300kW)
2 × SSW 2 GU 345/34 double acting electric motors, 1000 hp (740kW)
Speed: 18.2 kn (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) surfaced
7.3 kn (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged
Range: 12,000 nmi (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56 officers and ratings
Armament:
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
2nd U-boat Flotilla
Commanders: Hans-Georg Fischer
Heinrich Bleichrodt
Joachim Schramm
Operations: Nine
Victories: 12 ships sunk for a total of 86,517 gross register tons (GRT)
1 ship damaged for a total of 6,548 GRT

The German submarine U-109 was a Type IXB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II. She conducted nine war-patrols, sinking 12 ships and damaging one.[2] All but one of these successes were during the six patrols she carried out under the command of the U-boat ace, Heinrich Bleichrodt.[6]

On 4 May 1943, she was sunk with all hands by a B-24 Liberator, operated by 86 Squadron RAF.[2]

Construction and design[edit]

Construction[edit]

U-109 was ordered by the Kriegsmarine on 24 May 1938 (as part of Plan Z and in violation of the Treaty of Versailles). Her keel was laid down on 9 March 1940 by DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen as yard number 972. U-109 was launched on 14 September 1940 and commissioned on 5 December under the command of Hans-Georg Fischer.[2]

Design[edit]

Like all Type IXB submarines, U-109 had a total output of 4,400 hp (3,281 kW) on the surface and 1,000 hp (746 kW) while submerged. As a result, she could reach a maximum speed of 18.2 kn (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) while surfaced and 7.3 kn (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged. She had a range of 12,000 nmi (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) while on the surface and 64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) while submerged. She was equipped with six torpedo tubes (four in the bow, two in the stern) and carried a total of 22 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedoes. The submarine could also be equipped with 44 TMA mines. U-109 '​s main deck gun was a 10.5 cm (4.1 in) C/32 deck gun on a Utofmounting with 180 rounds. The last piece of armament that U-109 was equipped with the standard 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun. U-109s complement was 52 men but could carry up to 56 crew members at any given time. After being commissioned and deployed, U-109 was stationed in the German port city of Kiel.[5]

Service history[edit]

U-109 conducted a total of nine war patrols in her career and sank 12 enemy vessels for a total of 79,969 gross register tons (GRT). She also damaged one other of 6,548 GRT.

First patrol[edit]

Following training exercises with the 2nd U-boat Flotilla from 5 December 1940 to 30 April 1941, U-109 was transferred to front-line service, still as a member of the 2. Unterseebootsflottille on 1 May. U-109 left Kiel on 6 May. For 24 days, she roamed the North Sea and eventually the North Atlantic in search of Allied convoys heading to Britain. It was here that she claimed her first enemy vessel, the British steam merchantman Harpagus, which was torpedoed and sunk on 24 May, a loss of 5,173 tons. Following this victory, U-109 entered the German occupied port of Lorient in France. This city was to remain her home base for the remainder of her career.[7]

Second and third patrols[edit]

U-109 '​s second and third patrols took place without any victories. Her second voyage[8] began on 28 June 1941 when she left her home port of Lorient. For 51 days, she travelled south past Cape Verde in search of any Allied convoys off the coast of Africa. Having not found any, U-109 returned to Lorient on 17 August.[9]

Her third patrol was much like her second. Having left Lorient on 5 October 1941, she proceeded to travel north into the North Atlantic. The U-boat travelled as far west as Nova Scotia and as far north as Labrador before heading back, arriving in Lorient on 18 November after spending 45 days at sea and without sinking any vessels.[10]

Fourth patrol[edit]

U-109 '​s fourth patrol was much more successful than her last two. The U-boat left Lorient on 27 December 1941 and for 59 days she travelled to the eastern seaboard of the United States in search of Allied shipping as part of Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat).[11] On 23 January 1942, she sank her first enemy vessel when she torpedoed the British merchant vessel, Thirlby. On 1 February, U-109 sank another British vessel, Tacoma Star. These victories were followed by the sinking of the Canadian Montrolite on 5 February and the Panamanian Halcyon on 6 February. Following these victories, U-109 returned to Lorient on 23 February 1942,[12] she was reported by the BBC to be sunk and the crew taken prisoner.[13]

Fifth patrol[edit]

Her fifth patrol was also eventful. Having left Lorient on 25 March 1942, the U-boat headed to the southern coast of the United States. On 20 April, she sank the British merchant vessel Harpagon. This was followed by the damaging of the British ship La Paz off the coast of Florida on 1 May. Two days later, on 3 May, U-109 torpedoed and sank the Dutch vessel Laertes. She returned to Lorient on 3 June 1942, after 72 days at sea.[14]

Sixth patrol[edit]

Much like her second patrol, U-109 '​s sixth foray took place off the coast of Africa. For 81 days, she traveled as far south as the Gold Coast and sank five enemy vessels: the Norwegian Arthur W. Sewall on 7 August; and a further four British vessels, Vimeira on 11 August, Ocean Might on 3 September, Tuscan Star on 6 September and Peterton on 17 September. U-109 then returned to Lorient on 6 October 1942.[15]

Seventh and eighth patrols[edit]

U-109 '​s remaining patrols were without any victories. The U-boat left Lorient on 28 November 1942 and traveled south off the northern coast of South America. 57 days later, on 23 January 1943, she returned to Lorient without any victories.[16]

Her eighth patrol was much the same. The submarine left port on 3 March and travelled as far south as the Azores, circled the island chain and returned to Lorient on 1 April after 30 days at sea and without sighting any enemy vessels.[17]

Loss[edit]

U-109 '​s ninth and last war patrol took place from 28 April 1943, when she left Lorient, on 4 May. She was sunk by four depth charges from a RAF Liberator aircraft (89 Squadron) south of Ireland. The aircraft was flying to a rendezvous with an Allied convoy when it detected the boat with its H2S radar, north-east of the Azores. The U-boat was seen to surface before slowly sinking, apparently with enough time for the crew to abandon her, although none were seen to emerge from her hatches. It is assumed that all 52 of her crew went down with her.[18]

Wolf Packs[edit]

U-109 took part in 4 wolfpacks, namely.

  • West (13 May 1941 - 23 May 1941)
  • Süd (22 Jul 1941 - 5 Aug 1941)
  • Mordbrenner (16 Oct 1941 - 3 Nov 1941)
  • Wohlgemut (12 Mar 1943 - 18 Mar 1943)

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[19]
23 January 1941 Thirlby  United Kingdom 4,877 Sunk
1 February 1941 Tacoma Star  United Kingdom 7,924 Sunk
5 February 1941 Montrolite  Canada 11,309 Sunk
6 February 1941 Halcyon  Panama 3,531 Sunk
20 April 1941 La Paz  United Kingdom 6,548 Damaged
3 May 1941 Laertes  Netherlands 5,825 Sunk
7 August 1941 Arthur W. Sewall  Norway 6,030 Sunk
11 August 1941 Vimeira  United Kingdom 5,728 Sunk
3 September 1941 Ocean Might  United Kingdom 7,173 Sunk
6 September 1941 Tuscan Star  United Kingdom 11,449 Sunk
17 September 1941 Peterton  United Kingdom 5,221 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e "U-109 Type IXB". ubootwaffe.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-109". German U-boats of WWII. Uboat.net. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. p. 115. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  4. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 105-7.
  5. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type IXB". U-Boat War in World War II. Uboat.net. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-109". German U-boats of WWII. Uboat.net. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (First patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Brooks, Geoffrey The Secret Diary of a U-boat Orion (1996) ISBN 0-7528-1116-9
  9. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Second patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Third patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Brooks, p 112
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Fourth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Brooks, p 134
  14. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Fifth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Sixth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Seventh patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  17. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Eighth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  18. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-109 (Ninth patrol)". U-boat patrols. Uboat.net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  19. ^ "Ships hit by U-101". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
Bibliography
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German) IV (Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler). ISBN 3-8132-0514-2. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 

Coordinates: 47°13′N 22°24′W / 47.22°N 22.40°W / 47.22; -22.40