German submarine U-124 (1940)
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||15 December 1937|
|Builder:||AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||11 August 1939|
|Launched:||9 March 1940|
|Commissioned:||11 June 1940|
|Fate:||Sunk by British warships west of Portugal, April 1943|
|Class & type:||Type IXB U-boat|
|Displacement:||1,051 tons surfaced
1,178 tons submerged
|Length:||76.5 m (251 ft) overall
58.7 m (193 ft) pressure hull
|Beam:||6.8 m (22 ft) overall
4.4 m (14 ft) pressure hull
|Draught:||4.7 m (15 ft)|
|Propulsion:||Diesel/Electric, 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9 cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,300 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (750 kW)
|Speed:||18.2 knots (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged
|Range:||22,200 km (13,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
118 km (73 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||48 to 56 officers and ratings|
6 × 53.3 cm (21.0 in) Torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern)
2nd U-boat Flotilla (Training)
2nd U-boat Flotilla (Front or operational boat)
|Commanders:||Kptlt. Georg-Whilhelm Schulz
Krvkpt. Johann Mohr
19 August–16 September 1940
5 October–13 November 1940
16 December 1940–22 January 1941
23 February–1 May 1941
10 July–25 August 1941
16 September–1 October 1941
30 October–29 December 1941
21 February–10 April 1942
4 May–26 June 1942
25 November 1942–13 February 1943
27 March–2 April 1943
|Victories:||46 ships sunk for a total of 219,862 gross register tons (GRT)
two warships sunk of 5,775 tons
four ships damaged for a total of 30,067 GRT
German submarine U-124 (nickname "Edelweisseboot") was a Type IXB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She operated in the Atlantic as part of the 2nd U-boat flotilla, both west of Scotland and east of the eastern US coast. She was also present off northern South America.
She was sunk with all hands west of Portugal in 1943.
U-124 was laid down on 11 August 1939 at the AG Weser yard in Bremen as 'werk' 956. She was launched on 9 March 1940 and commissioned on 11 June, with Kapitänleutnant Georg-Wilhelm Schulz in command. He was relieved on 8 September 1941 by Korvettenkapitän Johann Mohr. He remained in command until the boat's loss in 1943.
U-124 conducted 11 war patrols, sinking 46 ships, totalling 219,862 gross register tons (GRT) and sinking two warships, totaling 5,775 tons. She also damaged four ships, totalling 30,067 GRT. She was a member of two wolfpacks.
U-124's first patrol began with her departure from Wilhelmshaven on 19 August 1940. Her route took her across the North Sea and through the 'gap' between the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She attacked three ships northwest of Scotland; the Stakesby, the Harpalyce and the Firecrest, all on the 25th. To avoid retaliation from HMS Godetia, the boat dived to 90 m (300 ft). The Royal Navy Flower-class corvette dropped 12 depth charges. Striking rocks on the sea-bed, the boat lay there for an hour, the corvette lost contact, but the collision had damaged three of her torpedo tubes. As a result, she spent the rest of the patrol reporting on the weather.
The submarine docked at Lorient on the French Atlantic coast, on 16 September.
U-124's second foray was conducted further northwest of the Scottish mainland. Her first victim was the Trevisa; sunk on 16 October 1940 218 nautical miles (404 km; 251 mi) west of Rockall. The next day, 17 October, the Royal Navy River-class submarine HMS Clyde fired three torpedoes at her. All missed, and U-124 remained unaware of the attack.
U-124 went on to sink another four ships; the Cubano, the Sulaco (there was only one survivor) both on 20 October, the Rutland on the 31st and the Empire Bison on 1 November. The latter ship's four survivors, on a raft when the U-boat came to investigate, played dead as they did not wish to be taken prisoner.
On her third sortie, U-124 'only' managed to boost her score by one, sinking the Empire Thunder north-northeast of Rockall on 6 January 1941.
On her fourth patrol the boat sank 11 ships, four on the same day north of the Cape Verde Islands on 8 March 1941; the Nardana, the Hindpool, the Tielbank and the Lahore . She then destroyed another seven vessels southwest of Freetown, in Sierra Leone. They were: the Umona on 30 March, the Marlene on 4 April, the Portadoc on 7 April, the Tweed a day later, the Aegeon on the 11th, the St. Helena on the 12th and the Corinthic on the 13th. The Corinthic was first struck by a dud torpedo, but another functioned correctly and sank the ship.
U-124 drew a blank on her fifth sortie, failing to destroy a single target. She scoured the central Atlantic southwest of Gibraltar, but found nothing.
She was back in the money for her sixth patrol. Mohr, (her new commander), rather ambitiously claimed two ships totalling 15,000 tons sunk and a third vessel of 8,000 tons damaged. The reality was rather different. The Baltallin (1,303 tons) on 20 September 1941 and the Empire Moat (2,922 tons) also on the 20th, were both lost from Convoy OG-74; they went down north northheast of the Azores.
In addition, the Empire Stream was sunk on 25 September. Among the dead were two stowaways. A final effort on 26 September accounted for three more ships, also near the Azores: the Petrel, the Cortes and the Siremalm, (there were no survivors from the latter vessel).
U-124 returned to Lorient on 1 October.
After almost a month in her base, U-124 started her seventh patrol on 30 October 1941. On 24 November, she was engaged by the Royal Navy Danae-class cruiser HMS Dunedin which, with two consorts, had been searching for the Armed Merchant Raider Atlantis and her supply ship Python. Dunedin was hit by two torpedoes, despite being outside the theoretical range of the U-boat's projectiles and sank 17 minutes later. 419 men died; there were 67 survivors.
The submarine remained in the South Atlantic and sank the US Sagadahoc on 3 December. She was the fourth and last of the so-called neutral ships to meet her end. Her demise followed a six hour chase and her lights not being set correctly.
U-124 was shelled by the coastal battery at Fort Thornton, Georgetown on Ascension Island on 9 December; no damage was sustained.
A change of operational area saw the boat deploy to the Eastern United States seaboard following the success of Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag); leaving Lorient on 21 February 1942. Like the original 'drumbeaters', Mohr found the US defences easy to penetrate.
The boat scored her first victory before reaching her destination; sinking the British Resource about 230 miles (370 km) north of Bermuda on 14 March.
She then sank seven ships and damaged two more – all in March. One of them, the E. M. Clark, was hit in such a way that her whistle sounded continuously until the ship went down. Another, the Esso Nashville, was hit by a torpedo which failed to detonate, but a subsequent torpedo broke the tanker's back. She was held together only by deck plates and piping. The bow and stern sections soon separated, and the bow soon sank. The stern was towed to Baltimore where it was fitted with a new fore-part and the ship returned to service in March 1943.
Two more ships were hit before U-124 returned to Lorient. It was her most successful patrol; 68,215 tons of shipping was lost or incapacitated.
It was back to the mid-Atlantic for the boat's ninth patrol, beginning on 4 May 1942. Four ships met their end on the 12th. U-124's next victim was the Free French corvette Mimosa which was sunk with heavy loss of life on 9 June. Many of the casualties came from St. Pierre et Miquelon. The impact of the sinking had a lasting effect in the community.
Two more ships were sunk before the boat returned to Lorient on 26 June.
Another change of operational zone, this time to the northern coastal area of South America. The submarine left Lorient on 25 November 1942. She sank the Trewloras about 50 miles (80 km) east of Port of Spain, Trinidad on 28 December.
The boat was attacked by a US Catalina flying boat on 1 January 1943 east of Port of Spain. No damage was caused.
She sank four more ships; the Broad Arrow, the Birmingham City, the Collingsworth and the Minotaur, all on the 9th. Collingsworth's helmsman swung the ship to port so hard that one torpedo missed by about 10 feet (3 m). Unfortunately this torpedo then hit the Minotaur despite strenuous evasive action by her helmsman.
11th patrol and loss
U-124 left Lorient for the last time on 27 March 1943. Heading southwest, she had hardly left the Bay of Biscay when she was attacked and sunk by two British warships, the Flower-class corvette HMS Stonecrop and Black Swan-class sloop HMS Black Swan west of Oporto in Portugal.
All 53 crew members died.
Summary of raiding history
|25 August 1940||Firecrest||UK||5,394||Sunk|
|25 August 1940||Harpalyce||UK||5,619||Sunk|
|25 August 1940||Stakesby||UK||3,900||Damaged|
|16 October 1940||Trevisa||Canada||1,813||Sunk|
|20 October 1940||Cubano||Norway||5,810||Sunk|
|20 October 1940||Sulaco||UK||5,389||Sunk|
|31 October 1940||Rutland||UK||1,437||Sunk|
|1 November 1940||Empire Bison||UK||5,612||Sunk|
|6 January 1941||Empire Thunder||UK||5,965||Sunk|
|8 March 1941||Hindpool||UK||4,897||Sunk|
|8 March 1941||Lahore||UK||5,304||Sunk|
|8 March 1941||Nardana||UK||7,974||Sunk|
|8 March 1941||Tielbank||UK||5,984||Sunk|
|30 March 1941||Umona||UK||3,767||Sunk|
|4 April 1941||Marlene||UK||6,507||Sunk|
|7 April 1941||Portadoc||Canada||1,746||Sunk|
|8 April 1941||Tweed||UK||2,697||Sunk|
|11 April 1941||Aegeon||Greece||5,285||Sunk|
|12 April 1941||St. Helena||UK||4,313||Sunk|
|13 April 1941||Corinthic||UK||4,823||Sunk|
|4 July 1941||Auditor||UK||5,444||Sunk|
|20 September 1941||Baltallin||UK||1,303||Damaged|
|20 September 1941||Empire Moat||UK||2,922||Sunk|
|25 September 1941||Empire Stream||UK||2,922||Sunk|
|26 September 1941||Cortes||UK||1,374||Sunk|
|26 September 1941||Petrel||UK||1,354||Sunk|
|26 September 1941||Siremalm||Norway||2,468||Sunk|
|26 November 1941||HMS Dunedin||UK||4,850||Sunk|
|3 December 1941||Sagadahoc||USA||6,725||Sunk|
|14 March 1942||British Resource||UK||7,209||Sunk|
|17 March 1942||Acme||USA||6,878||Damaged|
|17 March 1942||Ceiba||Honduras||1,698||Sunk|
|18 March 1942||E. M. Clark||USA||9,647||Sunk|
|18 March 1942||Kassandra Louloudis||Greece||5,106||Sunk|
|19 March 1942||SS Papoose||USA||5,939||Sunk|
|19 March 1942||W. E. Hutton||USA||7,076||Sunk|
|21 March 1942||AtlanticSun||USA||11,355||Damaged|
|21 March 1942||Esso Nashville||USA||7,934||Damaged|
|23 March 1942||Naeco||USA||5,373||Sunk|
|12 May 1942||Cristales||UK||5,389||Sunk|
|12 May 1942||Empire Dell||UK||2,609||Sunk|
|12 May 1942||Llandover||UK||4,959||Sunk|
|12 May 1942||Mount Parnes||UK||4,371||Sunk|
|9 June 1942||FFL Mimosa||France||925||Sunk|
|12 June 1942||Dartford||UK||4,093||Sunk|
|18 June 1942||Seattle Spirit||USA||5,627||Sunk|
|28 June 1942||Treworlas||UK||4,692||Sunk|
|9 January 1943||Birmingham City||USA||6,194||Sunk|
|9 January 1943||Broad Arrow||USA||7,178||Sunk|
|9 January 1943||Collingsworth||USA||5,101||Sunk|
|9 January 1943||Minotaur||USA||4,554||Sunk|
|2 April 1943||Gogra||UK||5,190||Sunk|
|2 April 1943||Katha||UK||4,357||Sunk|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to U-124.|
- Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
- Michael Gannon, Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-boat Attacks Along the American Coast In World War II, New York: Harper Perennial, 1991, p. 23
- Gannon, Michael (1990). Operation Drumbeat – the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II. New York: Harper and Row. p. 308. ISBN 0060161558.
- "WWII U-boat Successes Ships hit by U-124". Retrieved 2 January 2013.