German submarine U-156 (1941)
Conning tower emblem of U-156
|Ordered:||25 September 1939|
|Builder:||AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||11 October 1940|
|Launched:||21 May 1941|
|Commissioned:||4 September 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk on 8 March 1943|
|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 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) 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)
4th U-boat Flotilla
(September 4–December 31, 1941)
2nd U-boat Flotilla (January 1, 1942–March 8, 1943)
|Victories:||20 ships sunk for a total of 97,504 gross register tons (GRT)
Three ships damaged for a total of 18,811 GRT
One warship damaged for a total of 1,190 tons
The German submarine U-156 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. The keel for this boat was laid on 11 October 1940 at the AG Weser yard in Bremen, Germany, as 'werk' 998.
She was commissioned on 4 September 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Hartenstein (Knight's Cross) and took part in five patrols which included attacks on shipping and the refinery on the island of Aruba, as well as the sinking of the ocean liner Laconia west of Africa and torpedoing and damaging the American destroyer USS Blakeley'.
The city of Plauen, Hartenstein's home city, adopted the submarine within the then popular sponsorship programme (Patenschaftsprogramm), organising gifts and holidays for the crew.
Built and commissioned in Bremen, the boat conducted her first patrol during which her crew trained from September 1941, at the end of which she arrived at her operations base in Lorient, France, in December 1941.
During her three operational patrols in 1942, U-156 sank 20 ships for a total of 97,504 gross register tons (GRT), three ships were damaged for a total of 18,811 GRT and one warship was damaged for a total of 1,190 tons.
During its second patrol, U-156 participated in Operation Neuland, which intended to disrupt traffic in the Caribbean and included an attack on the oil refinery at Aruba.
At the beginning of the attack, ordered by captain Hartenstein, on the Lago Oil and Transport Company San Nicolaas refinery in Aruba island, the deck gun exploded because the cap or tampion in the muzzle of the gun, which prevented water from entering the barrel, was not removed before firing. This accident saved what was at the time the world’s largest refinery.
As a result of the accident, Matrosengefreiter (equivalent to Able Seaman or Leading Seaman) Heinrich Bussinger was killed, and Gunnery Officer Dietrich von dem Borne lost his right leg in the explosion. He was taken below and the boat submerged and left the waters off the coast of Aruba. Von dem Borne was put ashore on the island of Martinique for medical treatment and survived the war. That stop at a Vichy France owned territory in the Caribbean accelerated the decay of the full diplomatic recognition between that power and the U.S.A.
On 12 September 1942, U-156 hit the British troopship Laconia on the starboard side with a torpedo. The troopship, carrying 463 officers and crew, 80 civilians, 286 British Army soldiers, 1,793 Italian prisoners of war, and 103 Polish soldiers (guards) off the coast of West Africa, was hit by a second torpedo on Number Two hold and sank. After realising that the passengers were primarily POWs and civilians the U-boat started rescue operations while flying the Red Cross flag. A U.S. Army Air Corps bomber flying out of a secret South Atlantic airbase on Ascension Island attacked the U-boat. The U-boat abandoned the rescue effort and left the survivors to drift to Africa. Over half the survivors died. This incident led to German Admiral Dönitz issuing the Triton Null signal on 17 September 1942, which came to be known as the "Laconia Order"; the signal forbade submarine commanders from rescuing survivors from torpedoed ships.
During her fifth patrol, in which she sank no shipping and made no attacks, U-156 was attacked twice, during the second of which she was sunk east of the island of Barbados, in position Coordinates: , by depth charges dropped from a PBY Catalina (VP-53/P-1) on 8 March 1943. All 53 hands were lost.
U-156 is credited with the sinking of 20 ships (including the motor boat Letitia Porter on board Koenjit), for a total of 97,504 GRT, further damaging three ships of 18,811 GRT and damaging one warship, the USS Blakeley, of 1,190 tons.
|Date||Time||Name of Ship||Nationality||Tonnage||Fate and location|
|16 February 1942||08.01||Pedernales||UK||4,317||damaged at|
|16 February 1942||08.03||Oranjestad||UK||2,396||sunk at|
|16 February 1942||09.43||Arkansas||USA||6,452||damaged at|
|20 February 1942||11.31||Delplata||USA||5,127||sunk at|
|25 February 1942||02.19||La Carrière||UK||5,685||sunk at|
|27 February 1942||10.35||Macgregor||UK||2,498||sunk at|
|28 February 1942||11.17||Oregon||USA||7,017||sunk at|
|13 May 1942||03.58||Koenjit||Netherlands||4,551||sunk at|
|13 May 1942||03.58||Letitia Porter||Netherlands||15||sunk at|
|13 May 1942||22.05||City of Melbourne||UK||6,630||sunk at|
|15 May 1942||02.54||Siljestad||Norway||4,301||sunk at|
|15 May 1942||20.59||Kupa||Yugoslavia||4,382||sunk at|
|17 May 1942||21.04||Barrdale||UK||5,072||sunk at|
|18 May 1942||10.18||Quaker City||USA||4,961||sunk at|
|18 May 1942||18.52||San Eliseo||UK||8,042||damaged at|
|21 May 1942||18.29||Presidente Trujillo||Dominican Republic||1,668||sunk at|
|25 May 1942||15.52||USS Blakeley||USA||1,190||damaged at|
|29 May 1942||01.03||Norman Prince||UK||1,913||sunk at|
|1 June 1942||23.51||Alegrete||Brazil||5,970||sunk at|
|3 June 1942||09.26||Lillian||UK||80||sunk at|
|24 June 1942||08.10||USS Willimantic||US Navy||4,857||sunk at|
|27 August 1942||01.00||Clan Macwhirter||UK||5,941||sunk at|
|12 September 1942||22.07||RMS Laconia||UK||19,695||sunk at|
|19 September 1942||15.46||Quebec City||UK||4,745||sunk at|
U-156 (foreground) and U-507 (background) on 15 September 1942
- Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
- Doenitz, Grand Admiral Karl Memoirs, Ten Years and Twenty Days: Frontline Books, 1990, p. 255.
- Röll 2011, pp. 153–154
- Röll, Hans-Joachim (2011). Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartenstein: Mit U 156 auf Feindfahrt und der Fall "Laconia" (in German). Würzburg, Germany: Flechsig. ISBN 978-3-8035-0012-0.