German submarine U-221
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||15 August 1940|
|Laid down:||16 June 1941|
|Launched:||14 March 1942|
|Commissioned:||9 May 1942|
|Fate:||Sunk by aircraft, 27 September 1943|
|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 × 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 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) 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 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
Various AA guns
|Part of:||5th U-boat Flotilla
7th U-boat Flotilla
(September 1942–September 1943)
|Commanders:||'Oblt.z.S. / Kptlt. Hans-Hartwig Trojer
(May 1942–September 1943)
3 September–22 October 1942
23 November–23 December 1942
27 February–28 March 1943
3 May–27 July 1943
20 –27 September 1943
|Victories:||11 commercial vessels (65,589 GRT)|
Ordered on 15 August 1940 from the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel, she was laid down on 16 June 1941 as 'werk' 651, launched on 14 March 1942 and commissioned on 9 May 1942 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hans-Hartwig Trojer.
U-221 is also credited with the destruction of ten allied landing craft (nine LCMs and one LCT) that were lost aboard the British merchantman Southern Empress when that vessel was torpedoed and sunk on 14 October 1942.
U-221 departed Kristiansand on 3 September 1942 having moved to the Norwegian port a day earlier. Her route took her through the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She claimed her first victim, the Fagersten, about 500 nautical miles (930 km; 580 mi) east of the Belle Isle Strait, in Newfoundland on 13 October. In the same attack, she sank the Ashworth and the Senta. There were no survivors from either vessel.
The next day two more ships fell to the torpedoes of the German U-boat. The Susana went down in six minutes northeast of St. Johns; the Southern Empress was sent to the bottom, taking a deck cargo of ten landing craft with her.
U-221 docked in St Nazaire on 22 October.
The boat's second foray was one of anti-climax and tragedy. Although she scoured the Atlantic west of Ireland, she failed to find any targets. On 8 December U-221 and U-254 collided in heavy fog, resulting in the loss of the latter boat. U-221 was badly damaged. Unable to dive, Oberleutnant Trojer aborted the patrol and returned to St. Nazaire.
Her third sortie was more fruitful. The Jamaica was destroyed on 7 March 1943. This ship took just two minutes to find a watery grave, followed by the Tucurina on the 10th, southeast of Cape Farewell, (Greenland). In the same attack, the U-boat sank the Andrea F. Luckenbach and damaged the Lawton B. Evans (probably due to a dud torpedo).
Retribution was swift; the convoy's escorts from HX-228 caused serious damage to U-221. Repairs were carried out at sea, enabling the boat to sink two more ships on 18 March; the Canadian Star and the Walter Q. Gresham were added to her list of 'kills'.
U-221 only sank one ship on this patrol, the Sandanger; the survivors had a remarkable escape. Occupying the only intact lifeboat, they found themselves in an area of low pressure created by the ship's burning fuel cargo. The flames were split in two by strong winds which also kept them above the men's heads by only a few feet as they rowed clear of the location.
5th patrol and loss
U-221 left St. Nazaire for the last time on 20 September 1943. On the 27th she was attacked by a Handley Page Halifax of No. 58 Squadron RAF with eight depth charges southwest of Ireland. The U-boat was seen to sink by the stern but the aircraft was also hit, forcing the pilot to ditch about three miles from the encounter. Two gunners from the Halifax were lost; the U-boat was sunk with all hands (50 men).
Summary of Raiding Career
|13 October 1942||Ashworth||United Kingdom||5,227||Sunk|
|13 October 1942||Fagersten||Norway||2,342||Sunk|
|13 October 1942||Senta||Norway||3,785||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-508*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-509*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-519*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-522*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-523*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-532*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-537*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-547*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCM-620*||Royal Navy||52||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||HMS LCT-2006*||Royal Navy||291||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||Southern Empress||United Kingdom||12,398||Sunk|
|14 October 1942||Susana||United States||5,929||Sunk|
|7 March 1943||Jamaica||Norway||3,015||Sunk|
|10 March 1943||Andrea F. Luckenbach||United States||6,565||Sunk|
|10 March 1943||Lauton B. Evans||United States||7,197||Damaged|
|10 March 1943||Tucurinca||United Kingdom||5,412||Sunk|
|18 March 1943||Canadian Star||United Kingdom||8,293||Sunk|
|18 March 1943||Walter Q. Gresham||United States||7,191||Sunk|
|18 March 1943||Sandanger||Norway||9,432||Sunk|
* Being carried aboard the Southern Empress