German submarine U-221

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-221
Ordered: 15 August 1940
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 651
Laid down: 16 June 1941
Launched: 14 March 1942
Commissioned: 9 May 1942
Fate: Sunk by aircraft, 27 September 1943
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 × 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
Service record
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(May–August 1942)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(September 1942–September 1943)
Commanders: 'Oblt.z.S. / Kptlt. Hans-Hartwig Trojer
(May 1942–September 1943)
Operations: Five patrols:
1st patrol:
3 September–22 October 1942
2nd patrol:
23 November–23 December 1942
3rd patrol:
27 February–28 March 1943
4th patrol:
3 May–27 July 1943
5th patrol:
20 –27 September 1943
Victories: 11 commercial vessels (65,589 GRT)

German submarine U-221 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

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.

A member of twelve wolfpacks, she sank a total of 11 ships for a total of 65,589 gross register tons (GRT) in five patrols.

Operational career[edit]

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.

1st patrol[edit]

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.

2nd patrol[edit]

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.

3rd patrol[edit]

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'.

4th patrol[edit]

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[edit]

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).[1][2]

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate
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

See also[edit]

U-254

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://uboat.net/boats/u221.htm
  2. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1999, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 147.


Coordinates: 47°0′N 18°0′E / 47.000°N 18.000°E / 47.000; 18.000