German submarine U-1308

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-1308
Ordered: 1 August 1942
Builder: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft
Yard number: 501
Laid down: 16 February 1944
Launched: 22 November 1944
Commissioned: 17 January 1945
Homeport: Stettin
Identification: U-1308
Scuttled: 2 May 1945
Raised: October 1952
Broken up at Neptun Dockyard, Rostock
Badge: Kriegsmarine Ensign
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: VIIC/41
Displacement: 759 tonnes (747 long tons) surfaced
860 t (846 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.72 m (15 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × 6-cylinder diesels
2,800–3,200 hp (2,100–2,400 kW)
Max rpm: 470-490
2 × screw propeller
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44-52 officers and ratings
Sensors and
processing systems:
Passive sonar
Service record[2]
Part of: 4th U-boat Flotilla
17 January 1945—2 May 1945
Identification codes: M 49 103
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Heinrich Besold
17 January 1945—2 May 1945
Operations: 17 January 1945—2 May 1945 Training
No war time patrols

U-1308 was the last Type VII/41 submarine to be laid down, launched and commissioned by Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The Oberkommando der Marine or OKM, (the German naval high command), had decided near the end of World War II to put all of its resources into building newer types of Unterseeboot, such as the types XXI and XXIII. U-1308 was part of a batch of eight U-boats (U-1301 to U-1308) ordered on 1 August 1942 to be built at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Flensburg (54°48′30″N 9°26′07″E / 54.80833°N 9.435173°E / 54.80833; 9.435173). She was laid down on 16 February 1944 and launched on 22 November. The eight boats were commissioned over a 12-month period between February 1944 and 17 January 1945 .

As U-1308 was the last Type VII, the Kriegsmarine fitted her out to be one of the most advanced. U-1308 was one of nine Type VIIs that the Kriegsmarine fitted with an experimental synthetic rubber skin of anechoic tiles known as Alberich, which had been designed to counter the Allies' asdic/sonar devices. U-1308 was also one of two Type VIIC/41s that was equipped with a new design of passive sonar hydrophones, thus increasing detection ranges by approximately 70% over the older designs.

A few days before Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, U-1308 was taken approximately 5 km (2.7 nmi) north-west of Warnemünde and scuttled on 2 May at approximately 54°13′00″N 12°02′00″E / 54.216667°N 12.033333°E / 54.216667; 12.033333. During the final days of Nazi Germany there was a plethora of U-boats which suffered the same fate. In the last week of the war, 28 other boats joined her.


U-1308 '​s emblem was an oak leaf, with an anchor and a knife or dagger. She shared this emblem with U-3, U-29, U-120, U-747 and U-1274.[3]



Heinrich Besold was born on 18 October 1920 in Nürnberg. He entered the navy as Offiziersanwärter (16 September 1939), rising to Fähnrich zur See (1 July 1940), Oberfähnrich zur See (1 July 1941), Leutnant zur See (1 March 1942) and Oberleutnant zur See (1 October 1943). He also served aboard two other U-boats, U-981 between March and May 1944 and U-518 between July and November 1944.[4] He commanded U-1308 during her working-up at the 4th U-boat Flotilla. He was decorated on 29 October 1944 with the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the U-boat War Badge 1939.[5]

Other crew members[edit]

  • Bernhard Hamann[4]
  • Helmut Hoffmann; Born 28 June 1921; Serial/entry UO.10437/40.T.[4]
  • Josef Stumbaum; Born 1926[4]


The bridge was equipped with a UZO (Überwasserzieloptik) pedestal located forward. While making a surface attack, a set of large, heavy binoculars were mounted on top of the pedestal. Information of the bearing to the target was transmitted to the control room, where an electro-mechanical computer calculated the exact angle for firing the torpedoes. Sometime late in World War II, an updated version of the UZO entered service with the Type VIIC boats. U-1308 would have mounted the latest version.
U-1308, like most Type VIIs, IXs and XXIs, was equipped with two periscopes, one for the attack, the second for the purposes of navigation and search. This observation periscope was frequently used during twilight and night attacks, as it let in more light and had better light transmission. The observation periscope had two magnifications - 1.5× and 6×. The attack periscope was used exclusively for that purpose. To make it less visible to the enemy and to reduce the wake, the periscope head and neck-size were keep to a minimum. The attack periscope was fitted with a heating system that served to prevent fogging of the lenses.
U-1308's Direction Finder Antenna Loop was located on the starboard side of the bridge. It was used to detect and get bearings from the radio signals of Allied surface ships. U-1308 would have been outfitted with a late-war version which look slightly different from the earlier model.



Thetis was the name of a floating decoy used by U-Boats to confuse Allied warship radars. The device was stored, dismantled, in the bow compartment, as a pole about 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) long. Assembly usually took place in the conning tower, it could be put together in about four minutes. Later versions could be launched from the standard torpedo tube. When deployed it was extended to a total length of 4 metres (13 ft 1 in), half of which was submerged. The upper half had a series of radar reflectors that were tuned to Allied anti-submarine radar wavelengths to give the same return signal as a U-boat. U-1308 typically carried between 15 and 20 of these decoys.


Electric Motor[edit]

U-1308 was powered by two Siemens-Schuckert Type GGUB 720/8 electric motors. Each motor weighed 8,130 kilograms (17,920 lb), without its fan 7,900 kilograms (17,400 lb). Each rotor weighed 3,200 kilograms (7,100 lb). The Type GGUB 720/8 electric motor could create 1,540 A (560 kW) at between 7.5 Hz (450 RPM) and 10.3 Hz (620 RPM).[6]


U-1308 was the last Type VIIC/41 to be built and would have been fitted with a schnorchel, (This apparatus enhanced the U-boats' performance below the surface and made its position more difficult to detect). Later model Type VIIC/41 boats were built with the device from the start.[7] She would have been constructed with the final version of the schnorchel.


Passive sonar[edit]

U-1308 was one of four Type VIIC/41s to be fitted with a Balkongerät (literally 'Balcony apparatus or equipment'). The Balkongerät was standard on the Type XXI and the Type XXIII. Nonetheless, it was also fitted to several Type VIICs and Type IXs and one Type X.

Anti-sonar coating[edit]

U-1308 was one of nine Type VIIs that the Kriegsmarine fitted with an experimental synthetic rubber skin of anechoic tiles, designed to counter the Allies' sonar devices. The code name Alberich was given to the coating. The OKM named it after the dwarf with the helmet of invisibility in Wagner's Ring Cycles. It was the first coating for any submarine.[8]


FLAK weaponry[edit]

U-1308 would have been mounted with a single 3.7 cm Flakzwilling M43U gun on the rare LM 43U mount. The LM 43U mount was the final design of mount used on U-boats and is only known to be installed on U-boats (U-249, U-826, U-1023, U-1171, U-1305 and U-1306). The 3.7 cm Flak M42U was the marine version of the 3.7 cm Flak used by the Kriegsmarine on Type VII and Type IX U-boats.


  • Five × 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern).
  • 14 × torpedoes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Type VIIC/41". Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "War Patrols by German U-boat U-1308 - Boats -". Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  3. ^ - Emblem database
  4. ^ a b c d "U-Boat Crew Lists". Retrieved 13 December 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ - The Men - The Commander listing
  6. ^ "C.B. 4318, R, Report on "U-570" (HMS "GRAPH") 1943.". Intelligence Division Naval Staff, Admiralty. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Schnorchel". Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Zimmerman, Stan. Submarine Technology for the 21st Century (2nd ed.). Victoria, British Columbia: Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-55212-330-8.
  • 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.