German submarine U-159 (1941)
U-159 (left) returning to Lorient, U-107 (right), 12 July 1942
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||23 December 1939|
|Builder:||AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||11 November 1940|
|Launched:||1 July 1941|
|Commissioned:||4 October 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk on 28 July 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
(4 October 1941–30 April 1942)
10th U-boat Flotilla
(1 May 1942–28 July 1943)
|Commanders:||Kptlt. Helmut Witte
(4 October 1941–6 June 1943)
Oblt.z.S. (R) Heinz Beckmann
(7 June 1943–28 July 1943)
|Victories:||22 ships sunk for a total of 119,554 gross register tons (GRT)
one ship damaged of 265 gross register tons (GRT)
German submarine U-159 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 down on 11 November 1940 at the AG Weser yard in Bremen, Germany as yard number 1009. She was launched on 1 July 1941 and commissioned on 4 October under the command of Kapitänleutnant Helmut Witte (Knight's Cross).
The U-boat's service began with training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla. She then moved to the 10th flotilla on 1 May 1942 for operations. She sank 22 ships, totalling 119,554 tons and damaged one more, of 265 tons.
She was sunk by an American aircraft in July 1943.
1st and 2nd patrols
The submarine's first patrol took her from Kiel on 22 April 1942, across the North Sea and into the Atlantic Ocean through the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at Lorient, in occupied France, on 3 May. She would be based at this Atlantic port for the rest of her career.
U-159's second sortie proved to be successful, sinking ships such as the Montenol on 21 May 1942 140 nautical miles (260 km; 160 mi) east southeast of Santa Maria, in the Azores. She also attacked the Illinois, which with a cargo of 8,000 tons of manganese ore, sank in 40 seconds. The U-boat's deck gun got plenty of use, sinking the Sally on 5 June and the Flora on the 18th. On another occasion, due to rough seas, the weapon could not be used in the attack on the Brazilian sailing ship Paracury; her 20mm AA gun was used instead. Holes at the waterline were shot into the vessel, which capsized but did not sink. The wreck was subsequently recovered and repaired.
The boat was attacked by a Leigh Light equipped Vickers Wellington aircraft of No. 172 Squadron RAF on 13 July 1942. She was severely damaged and barely managed to reach Lorient, some 12 hours later.
Her third foray was to the South Atlantic and at 135 days, her longest and most destructive. Attacking and sinking among others, the Boringia, theEmpire Nomad and the Ross. The boat was attacked by a SAAF [South African Air Force] Lockheed Ventura on 10 October 1942; only minor damage was sustained. She also torpedoed and sank the La Salle on 7 November 1942. When the ships' cargo of ammunition exploded, it was heard at the Cape Point lighthouse, more than 300 nautical miles (560 km; 350 mi) away. Another of her victims, the Star of Scotland, (which despite the name was registered in the US), was a steel sailing ship which was attacked and sunk with the deck gun about 900 nautical miles (1,700 km; 1,000 mi) west of Luderitz Bay, South Africa. Her master was to be taken away as a prisoner, but he was returned to his men after he pointed out to the submariners that he was the only man who could navigate.
Another "Star", the Star of Suez, was sunk. Amongst the floating debris were 45 aircraft tyres, a 20 hp electric motor and 120 grapefruits; they were recovered by U-159. Another U-boat, U-134, which had been thwarted in her attempt to get into an attacking position in time, also managed to rescue some aircraft tyres and spare parts for cars.
On her fourth patrol, U-159 sank the Silverbeech on 28 March 1943 south of the Canary Islands. The U-boat was attacked by aircraft (she was one of eight), off the coast of Spanish, (now Western) Sahara.
5th patrol and loss
Summary of Raiding Career
|21 May 1942||Montenol||United Kingdom||2,646||Sunk|
|21 May 1942||New Brunswick||United Kingdom||6,529||Sunk|
|2 June 1942||Illinois||United States||5,447||Sunk|
|5 June 1942||Paracury||Brazil||265||Damaged|
|5 June 1942||Sally||Honduras||150||Sunk|
|7 June 1942||Edith||United States||3,382||Sunk|
|11 June 1942||Fort Good Hope||United Kingdom||7,130||Sunk|
|13 June 1942||Sixaola||United States||4,693||Sunk|
|13 June 1942||Solon Turman||United States||6,762||Sunk|
|18 June 1942||Ante Matkovic||Yugoslavia||2,710||Sunk|
|22 June 1942||E.J. Sadler||United States||9,639||Sunk|
|7 October 1942||Boringia||United Kingdom||5,821||Sunk|
|8 October 1942||Clan Mactavish||United Kingdom||7,631||Sunk|
|9 October 1942||Coloradan||United States||6,557||Sunk|
|13 October 1942||Empire Nomad||United Kingdom||7,167||Sunk|
|29 October 1942||Laplace||United Kingdom||7,327||Sunk|
|29 October 1942||Ross||United Kingdom||4,978||Sunk|
|7 November 1942||La Salle||United States||5,462||Sunk|
|13 November 1942||Star of Scotland||United States||2,290||Sunk|
|13 November 1942||City of Bombay||United Kingdom||7,140||Sunk|
|15 December 1942||Star of Suez||Egypt||4,999||Sunk|
|16 December 1942||East Wales||United Kingdom||4,538||Sunk|
|28 March 1943||Silverbeech||United Kingdom||5,319||Sunk|
- 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.