German submarine U-202

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Name: U-202
Laid down: 18 March 1940
Launched: 10 February 1941
Commissioned: 22 March 1941
Fate: Sunk by depth charges, 2 June 1943 from a British warship
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 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
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × AEG electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296.
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) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 km (43 nmi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
Various AA guns
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 1st U-boat Flotilla, Training
(22 March–1 June 1941)
1st U-boat Flotilla, Front (Operational) Boat
(1 June 1941–17 February 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Hans-Heinz Linder,
(22 March 1941—1 September 1942)
Kptlt. Günter Poser
(2 September 1942—2 June 1943)
Operations: Nine patrols
1st patrol:
17 June–23 July 1941
2nd patrol:
11 August–17 September 1941
3rd patrol:
16 October–13 November 1941
4th patrol:
13–27 December 1941
5th patrol:
1 March–26 April 1942
6th patrol:
27 Mary–25 July 1942
7th patrol:
6 September–25 October 1942
8th patrol:
12 January–26 March 1942
9th patrol:
29 April–2 June 1943
Victories: Nine commercial ships sunk for 34,615 (GRT)
Four commercials ships damaged (35,427 GRT)

German submarine U-202 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 18 March 1940 by the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as 'werk' 631, launched on 10 February 1941, and commissioned on 22 March under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hans-Heinz Linder.

She sank nine ships totalling 34,615 gross register tons (GRT) and damaged four more totalling 35,427 GRT.

She was sunk on 2 June 1943 in the North Atlantic by depth charges and gunfire from a British warship. 18 men died, there were 30 survivors.[1]

Operational career[edit]

Part of the 1st U-boat Flotilla, U-202 conducted nine patrols in the North Atlantic, the last three under the command of Kptlt. Günter Poser; she was a member of ten wolfpacks.

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

U-202's first patrol began when she left Kiel on 17 June 1941; it passed without incident and concluded with her entry into Brest in France on 23 July after 37 days at sea.

She had more success on her second outing; departing Brest on 11 August, attacking and sinking two ships east of Greenland and south of Iceland before returning to Brest on 17 September 1941.

Her third patrol, beginning on 16 October, which was also successful, saw the destruction of the British-registered Flynderborg and the Gretavale northeast of Newfoundland. She returned to her French base on 13 November, after a voyage of 29 days.

4th, 5th and 6th patrols[edit]

The submarine's fourth sortie was towards the Moroccan coast. U-202 left Brest on 13 December 1941. She returned empty-handed on 27 December.

Her fifth patrol produced better results, damaging the British ships Athelviscount about 600 nmi (1,100 km) east southeast of Halifax on 22 March 1942 and sinking the Loch Don about 500 nmi (930 km) north northeast of Bermuda on 1 April. This patrol was from 1 March to 26 April, a total of 57 days.

Argentine merchant ship Rio Tercero, sunk by the U-202

Her sixth foray, commencing on 27 May, was also successful. On 12 June she landed four saboteurs at Amagansett, New York, on Long Island, as part of Operation Pastorius. The Argentinian Rio Tercero went to the bottom about 120 nmi (220 km) off New York on 22 June, followed by the American City of Birmingham about 250 nmi (460 km) east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on 1 July. The U-boat reached Brest on 25 July, after 60 days.

7th, 8th and 9th patrols[edit]

The boat's seventh patrol took in the northern coast of South America, leaving Brest on 6 September 1942. Things did not go well; U-202 was attacked by British aircraft on 8 September while still in the Bay of Biscay and again on 29 September southeast of Trinidad. Although damaged, the U-boat continued her patrol, sinking two ships before returning to base on 25 October.

She sank one ship and damaged three others after commencing her eighth patrol on 12 January 1943. She was attacked south of the Azores on 23 February. The U-boat returned to Brest on 26 March after 74 days away.

Her ninth and final sortie began on 29 April 1943 and came to an end when she was sunk on 2 June 1943.


U-202 was detected by 'HF/DF' (radio detection equipment) of ships in the Second Support Group (headed by the British sloop HMS Starling commanded by Captain FJ Walker RN), when she transmitted a daily report. On closing the range, the surface ships found the U-boat with ASDIC (sonar) and attacked. Despite much evasive action, the submarine could not shake off her pursuers. After many hours, U-202 was forced to the surface where she was engaged by Starling's guns. A volley of depth charges followed which seemed to lift the U-boat out of the water before she sank.

It was a text-book attack that pleased Walker enough to signal 'splice the mainbrace' (issue rum) in celebration.[3]

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage (GRT) Fate[4]
27 August 1941 Ladylove  United Kingdom 230 Sunk
11 September 1941 Scania  Sweden 1,999 Sunk
3 November 1941 Flynderborg  United Kingdom 2,022 Sunk
3 November 1941 Gretavale  United Kingdom 4,586 Sunk
22 March 1942 Athelviscount  United Kingdom 8,882 Damaged
1 April 1942 Loch Don  United Kingdom 5,249 Sunk
22 June 1942 Rio Tercero  Argentina 4,864 Sunk
1 July 1942 City of Birmingham  United States 5,861 Sunk
1 October 1942 Achilles  Netherlands 1,815 Sunk
23 February 1943 British Fortitude  United Kingdom 8,482 Damaged
23 February 1943 Empire Norseman  United Kingdom 9,811 Damaged
23 February 1943 Esso Baton Rouge  United States 7,989 Sunk
23 February 1943 Murena  Netherlands 8,252 Damaged

Portrayal in media[edit]

At least three books have been written about the 1942 raid, the 1959 book Eight Spies against America by John Dasch, the 1961 book They Came to Kill by Eugene Rachlis, and the 2004 book "Saboteurs:The Nazi Raid on America," by Michael Dobbs.[5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Type VIIC boat U-202 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "War Patrols by German U-boat U-202 - Boats -". Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1999, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 122.
  4. ^ date 1 February 2013
  5. ^ Zeiler, Thomas. A Companion to World War II. Wiley. p. 485. ISBN 1118325044. 
  6. ^ "Review: They Came to Kill". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Dobbs, Michael (2005). Saboteurs : the Nazi raid on America (1st Vintage Books ed. ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 1400030420. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°12′N 39°52′W / 56.200°N 39.867°W / 56.200; -39.867