German submarine U-118 (1941)
U-118 under attack by aircraft from USS Bogue
|Ordered:||31 January 1939|
|Builder:||Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel|
|Laid down:||1 March 1940|
|Launched:||3 May 1941|
|Commissioned:||23 September 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk on 12 June 1943 by US aircraft|
|General characteristics |
|Class & type:||Type XB submarine minelayer|
|Displacement:||1,763 long tons (1,791 t) surfaced
2,177 long tons (2,212 t) submerged
|Length:||89.80 m (294 ft 7 in) o/a
70.90 m (232 ft 7 in) pressure hull
|Beam:||9.20 m (30 ft 2 in) o/a
4.75 m (15 ft 7 in) pressure hull
|Height:||10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.71 m (15 ft 5 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 × diesel engines, 4,800 hp (3,600 kW)
2 × electric motors, 1,100 hp (820 kW)
|Speed:||17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) surfaced
7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) submerged
|Range:||18,450 nmi (34,170 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
93 nmi (172 km) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
|Test depth:||Calculated crush depth: 220 m (720 ft)|
|Armament:||• 2 × 53.3 cm (21 in) stern torpedo tubes
• 15 × G7e torpedoes
• 66 × SMA mines
• 1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun (200 rounds)
|Part of:||2nd U-boat Flotilla
(26 July 1941–31 January 1942)
1st U-boat Flotilla
(1 February 1942–6 October 1942)
|Commanders:||Krvkpt. Werner Czygan
(6 December 1941–12 June 1943)
19 September–16 October 1942
12 November–13 December 1942
25 January–26 February 1943
25 May–12 June 1943
|Victories:||Three ships sunk (14,064 GRT)
One warship sunk - 925 tons
Two ships damaged - 11,945 GRT
She was ordered on 31 January 1939 and laid down on 1 March 1940 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, as 'werk' 617. She was launched on 23 September 1941 and commissioned on 6 December under the command of Korvettenkapitän Werner Czygan.
After a period of training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla, U-118 was assigned to the front-line as part of the 10th U-boat Flotilla on 1 October 1942. She was reassigned to the 12th flotilla a month later on 1 November. She was a member of three wolfpacks.
U-118 sank three merchant vessels and a warship; a total of 14,989 tons of shipping in three patrols. She also damaged two others, for a total of 11,945 tons.
U-118's first patrol began on 19 September 1942 with her departure from Kiel. Her route took her across the North Sea, through the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and into the Atlantic Ocean. The boat was attacked south of Iceland by an aircraft on 29 September which caused only slight damage. She reached her destination, which was Lorient in occupied France, on 16 October.
She carried out a short transit voyage from Lorient to Brest on 12 and 13 December 1942.
The boat's third patrol was the longest, but most successful. Departing Brest on 25 January 1943, she sailed west of Gibraltar, where she sank the Baltonia, the Empire Mordred and the Mary Slessor on 7 February and damaged the Duero with a mine on the 10th. She was also responsible for the sinking of the corvette HMCS Weyburn on 22 February. The Canadian ship struck a mine that U-118 had laid on the 1st. Despite best efforts by the crew to remove depth charge primers, two exploded when the ship sank, killing men in the water and disabling a nearby destroyer. She returned to France, to Bordeaux, on 26 February.
4th patrol and loss
U-118 had been at sea less than a month when she was attacked by two aircraft west of the Canary Islands followed by a further eight planes from the carrier USS Bogue. Following a heavy expenditure of bombs, .50" and .30" ammunition; the U-boat exploded into two parts, oil and debris were flung into the air. 16 men survived to be picked up by the escort vessel USS Osmond Ingram.
Summary of raiding history
|7 February 1943||Baltonia||UK||2,013||Sunk (Mine)|
|7 February 1943||Empire Mordred||UK||7,024||Sunk (Mine)|
|7 February 1943||Mary Slessor||UK||5,027||Sunk (Mine)|
|10 February 1943||Duero||Spain||2,008||Damaged (Mine)|
|22 February 1943||HMCS Weyburn||Canada||925||Sunk (Mine)|
|22 February 1943||Thorsholm||Norway||9,937||Damaged (Mine)|
- Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. pp. 124-125. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
- Kemp, pp. 124-125.
- "Type XB Mine-laying boats - German U-boat Types of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
- "The Type XB boat U-118 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "War Patrols by German U-boat U-118 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- U-118 at u-boot-archiv.de (German)