German submarine U-129 (1941)
|Ordered:||7 August 1939|
|Builder:||AG Weser in Bremen|
|Laid down:||30 July 1940|
|Launched:||28 February 1941|
|Commissioned:||21 May 1941|
|Fate:||Taken out of service at Lorient 4 July 1944; scuttled on 18 August, raised and broken up, 1946|
|Type:||Type IXC submarine|
|Displacement:||1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
|Length:||76.8 m (252 ft 0 in) overall
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
|Beam:||6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) overall
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
|Height:||9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)|
|Draft:||4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,000 hp (2,983 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
|Speed:||18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
|Range:||24,880 nmi (46,080 km; 28,630 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
117 nautical miles (217 km; 135 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||48 to 56|
|Armament:||6 × torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern)
22 × 55 cm (22 in) torpedoes
1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun (110 rounds)
|Part of:||4th U-boat Flotilla
(21 May 1941–30 June 1941)
2nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 July 1941–1 July 1944)
|Commanders:||Kptlt. Nicolai Clausen
(21 May 1941–13 May 1942)
Krvkpt. Hans Witt
(14 May 1942–8 July 1943)
Oberleutnant zur See Richard von Harpe
(12 July 1943–19 July 1944)
3 August–30 August 1941
27 September–8 October 1941
21 October 1941–28 December 1941
25 January–5 April 1942
20 May–21 August 1942
28 September 1942–6 January 1943
11 March–29 May 1943
27 July–9 September
9 October–11 October 1943; then 12 October–31 January 1944
22 March 1944–19 July 1944
|Victories:||29 commercial ships sunk (143,748 GRT)|
German submarine U-129 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down at the AG Weser yard, Bremen as 'werk' 992 on 30 July 1940, launched on 28 February 1941 and was commissioned on 21 May with Kapitänleutnant Nicolai Clausen in command.
She sank 29 ships, a total of 143,748 tons, on ten patrols.
1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols
The boat's first patrol involved her departure from Horten, crossing the North Sea and entering the Atlantic Ocean by passing close to the Faroe Islands on the Icelandic side. She arrived at Lorient (where she would be based for most of her career), in occupied France on 30 August 1941.
Her third patrol was further south, as far south as a similar latitude to Rio De Janeiro, but success continued to elude her.
Things improved dramatically when as part of Operation Drumbeat, she attacked the Nordvangen on 20 February; this ship sank in one minute northeast of Trinidad. Staying in the West Indies / northern South America region, she sank another six vessels.
5th and 6th patrols
The submarine returned to her sunshine haunts; included in the toll was the Hardwicke Grange, which was sunk with torpedoes and the deck gun north of Puerto Rico on 12 June 1942. She also sank the Millinrocket on 17 June off La Isabela, Cuba and a ship from the Soviet Union, the Tuapse, in the Gulf of Mexico on 4 July.
Her sixth patrol included the sinking of the Trafalgar about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of Guadeloupe on 16 October 1942 and the West Kebar some 350 nautical miles (650 km; 400 mi) northeast of Barbados.
7th, 8th and 9th patrols
Patrol number seven saw ships such as the Melbourne Star and the Panam consigned to the deep. On the return journey U129 was refuelling from the 'milk cow' supply submarine U-459 when two men were swept overboard. One was recovered fairly swiftly but the other could not be found. Her eighth patrol was west of the Canary Islands and produced no results.
U-129's ninth patrol was divided into two; she departed Lorient on 9 October 1943, but put into Saint-Nazaire on the 11th. A day later she headed for the US east coast, sinking the Libertad on 4 December off North Carolina.
The boat began her last operation which at 111 days, was her longest, on 22 March 1944. Steaming south, she encountered the Anadyr about 600 nautical miles (1,100 km; 690 mi) south southeast of Recife in Brazil and sank her.
The boat was taken out of service at Lorient 4 July 1944; she was scuttled on 18 August. She was raised and broken up in 1946.
Summary of raiding history
|20 February 1942||Nordvangen||Norway||2,400||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||George L. Torian||Canada||1,754||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||Lennox||Canada||1,904||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||West Zeda||United States||5,658||Sunk|
|28 February 1942||Bayou||Panama||2,605||Sunk|
|3 March 1942||Mary||United States||5,104||Sunk|
|7 March 1942||Steel Age||United States||6,188||Sunk|
|10 June 1942||L. A. Christensen||Norway||4,362||Sunk|
|12 June 1942||Hardwick Grange||United Kingdom||9,005||Sunk|
|17 June 1942||Millinrocket||United States||3,274||Sunk|
|27 June 1942||Las Choapas||Mexico||2,005||Sunk|
|27 June 1942||Tuxpam||Mexico||7,008||Sunk|
|1 July 1942||Taspe||Soviet Union||6,320||Sunk|
|12 July 1942||Tachirá||United States||2,325||Sunk|
|19 July 1942||Port Antonio||Norway||1,266||Sunk|
|23 July 1942||Onodaga||United States||2,309||Sunk|
|16 October 1942||Trafalgar||Norway||5,542||Sunk|
|23 October 1942||Reuben Tipton||United States||6,829||Sunk|
|30 October 1942||West Kebar||United States||5,620||Sunk|
|5 November 1942||Astrell||Norway||7,595||Sunk|
|5 November 1942||Meton||United States||7,027||Sunk|
|2 April 1943||Melbourne Star||United Kingdom||12,806||Sunk|
|24 April 1943||Santa Catalina||United States||6,507||Sunk|
|4 May 1943||Panam||Panama||7,277||Sunk|
|4 December 1943||Libertad||Cuba||5,441||Sunk|
|6 May 1944||Anadyr||United Kingdom||5,278||Sunk|
|11 May 1944||Empire Heath||United Kingdom||6,643||Sunk|
- Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp. 248, 249
- 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, ISBN 0-06-016155-8, pp. 129, 489
- Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2014). "Patrol info for U-129". U-boat patrols. uboat.net.
- Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2014). "Ships hit by U-129". WWII U-boat Successes. uboat.net. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- U-129 at u-boot-archiv.de (German)