German submarine U-126 (1940)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-126.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-126
Ordered: 7 August 1939
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 989
Laid down: 1 June 1940
Launched: 31 December 1940
Commissioned: 22 March 1941
Fate: Sunk by a British aircraft, 3 June 1943[1]
General characteristics [2]
Type: Type IXC submarine
Displacement: 1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in) overall
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: 2 × MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,000 hp (2,983 kW)
2 × SSW 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
Range: 13,450 nmi (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56
Armament:
Service record
Part of: 2nd U-boat Flotilla
(22 March 1941–3 July 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Ernst Bauer
(22 March 1941–28 February 1943)
Obtlt.z.S. Siegfried Kietz
(1 March 1943–3 July 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol:
5 July–24 August 1941
2nd patrol:
24 September–13 December 1941
3rd patrol:
2 February 1942–29 March 1942
4th patrol:
25 April–25 July 1942
5th patrol:
19 September–7 January 1943
6th patrol:
20 March 1943–3 July 1943
Victories: 24 commercial ships sunk (111,564 GRT)
one warship sunk - 450 tons
five ships damaged - 37,501 GRT
two ships declared a total loss - 14,173 GRT

German submarine U-126 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. In six patrols, she sank 25 ships for a total of 112,489 gross register tons (GRT). She was laid down at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard in Bremen as yard number 989 on 1 June 1940, launched on 31 December and commissioned on 22 March 1941 under Kapitänleutnant Ernst Bauer.

The submarine commenced her service with the 2nd U-boat Flotilla, an organization she would stay with, both for training and operations.[3]

Operational career[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-126 opened her account by damaging the British Canadian Star about 650 nmi (1,200 km; 750 mi) west of Lands End on 20 July 1941. She had missed with torpedoes and decided to use her guns instead, but accurate return fire from the merchantman (many merchant ships had some form of defensive armament fitted), drove her off before she could finish the job. A week later, things improved when she sank Erato on 27 July, west of northwest Spain. She used her deck gun again to sink the schooner Robert Max on 4 August east of the Azores. She sank the Yugoslavian Sud using the deck gun once more, but in conjunction with the Italian submarine Marconi on 14 August northeast of the Azores.

2nd patrol[edit]

The boat was rewarded with two sinkings on 10 October 1941 northeast of the Cape Verde islands; Nailsea Manor was carrying HMS LCT-102 as deck cargo when she was attacked. U-126 also sank Lehigh about 82 nmi (152 km; 94 mi) off Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the 19th and Peru on 13 November, southwest of Cape Palmas (Liberia).

She assisted survivors from the German commerce raider Atlantis on the 22nd.[4]

3rd patrol[edit]

The boat was also successful in early 1942 as part of Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag),[5] the German assault on merchant shipping along the US coast. She sank many vessels, beginning with Gunny on 2 March about 200 nmi (370 km; 230 mi) south of the Bermudas and finished with Olga on the 12th. One ship that did not sink was Colabee. She was attacked on the 13th about 10 nmi (19 km; 12 mi) off Cape Guajaba, Cuba. The ship ran aground after being torpedoed and abandoned with her engines still running. She was salvaged, repaired and returned to service.

4th patrol[edit]

There was drama after the sinking of the Norwegian tanker Høegh Giant on 3 June 1942 about 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi) east of Guyana. The ship's master was questioned by the German sailors, but when he did not understand what was being said, the Germans fired over a lifeboat, wounding one man.[6]

Other vessels were attacked in the area of the Caribbean and the West Indies, using torpedoes and the deck gun.

5th patrol[edit]

Patrol number five was the boat's longest - 111 days. The voyage took the submarine to west Africa. On 1 November 1942, she sank the Liberty ship George Thatcher about 100 nmi (190 km; 120 mi) from the coast at Gabon. She was also successful in sinking New Toronto on the 5th 24 nmi (44 km; 28 mi) from Kotonou; her cargo included 75 live cows.

6th patrol and loss[edit]

One of U-126 '​s victims on this patrol was Flora MacDonald, which was torpedoed on 30 May 1943 south of Freetown in Sierra Leone. The ship did not sink, but after being beached and the cargo salvaged, she burned for 16 days and was subsequently declared a total loss. The U-boat also hit Standella on 2 June. The submarine was attacked by an aircraft (the source does not give the type), off Freetown on the 15th.

The boat was sunk by a Vickers Wellington of No. 172 Squadron RAF, on 3 July 1943, off Cape Ortegal, Spain. There were no survivors from the 55 man crew.[3][7]

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date[8] Name Flag Tonnage Fate
20 July 1941 Canadian Star  United Kingdom 8,293 Damaged
27 July 1941 Erato  United Kingdom 5,102 Sunk
27 July 1941 Inga I  Norway 1,304 Sunk
4 August 1941 Robert Max  United Kingdom 172 Sunk
14 August 1941 Sud  Yugoslavia 2,589 Sunk
10 October 1941 HMS LCT-102*  Royal Navy 450 Sunk
10 October 1941 Nailsea Manor  United Kingdom 4,926 Sunk
19 October 1941 Lehigh  United States 4,983 Sunk
20 October 1941 British Mariner  United Kingdom 6,996 Total loss
13 November 1941 Peru  United Kingdom 6,981 Sunk
2 March 1942 Gunny  Norway 2,362 Sunk
5 March 1942 Mariana  United States 3,110 Sunk
7 March 1942 Barbara  United States 4,637 Sunk
7 March 1942 Cardonia  United States 5,104 Sunk
8 March 1942 Esso Bolivar  Panama 10,389 Damaged
9 March 1942 Hanseat  Panama 8,241 Sunk
12 March 1942 Olga  United States 2,496 Sunk
12 March 1942 Texan  United States Navy 7,005 Sunk
13 March 1942 Colabee  United States 5,518 Damaged
3 June 1942 Høegh Giant  Norway 10,990 Sunk
15 June 1942 Dutch Princess  United Kingdom 125 Sunk
16 June 1942 Arkansan  United States 6,997 Sunk
16 June 1942 Kohuku  United States 6,062 Sunk
27 June 1942 Leiv Erikson  Norway 9,952 Sunk
29 June 1942 Mona Marie  Canada 126 Sunk
1 July 1942 Warrior  United States 7,551 Sunk
3 July 1942 Gulfbee  United States 7,104 Damaged
1 November 1942 George Thatcher  United States 7,104 Sunk
4 November 1942 Oued Grou  United Kingdom 792 Sunk
5 May 1943 New Toronto  United Kingdom 6,568 Sunk
30 May 1943 Flora MacDonald  United States 7,177 Total loss
2 June 1943 Standella  United Kingdom 6,197 Damaged

 • Being carried aboard Nailsea Manor as deck cargo

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 127
  2. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 105-6.
  3. ^ a b "The Type IXC boat U-126 - German U-boats of WWII". uboat.net. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Gannon, Michael - Operation Drumbeat - the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II, 1990, Harper and Row publishers, ISBN 0-06-016155-8, p. 439.
  5. ^ Gannon, p. 489.
  6. ^ Høegh Giant: Norwegian Motor tanker, Ships hit by U-boats, U-Boat.net.
  7. ^ Kemp, p. 127
  8. ^ "Ships hit by U-126 - U-boat Successes - German U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
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. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°30′N 45°20′W / 52.500°N 45.333°W / 52.500; -45.333