German submarine U-2342
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||20 September 1943|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werft, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||29 August 1944|
|Launched:||22 October 1944|
|Commissioned:||11 November 1944|
|Fate:||Sunk by mine, 26 December 1944|
|Class & type:||Type XXIII submarine|
32nd U-boat Flotilla
|Commanders:||Oblt.z.S. Berchtold Schad von Mittelbiberbach|
German submarine U-2342 was a short-lived Type XXIII U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during the Second World War. She was built at Hamburg during 1944 as a modern Type XXIII "Elektroboote", a small coastal class designed to strike ships along the coastlines of Britain and liberated Europe, particularly the English Channel, although none ever served there. U-2342 was placed under the command of Oblt.z.S. Berchtold Schad von Mittelbiberbach, an ex-Marine Sergeant Major who received a rapid promotion in the final months of 1944. She was his first submarine experience.
The fate of U-2342 was not unusual, as the seas around the German coastline were subject to very heavy allied air attack during the final two years of the war, with the Royal Air Force seeking to restrict German movement by sowing thousands of air-dropped naval mines. This tactic delayed the production and training of new boats and disrupted coastal shipping. It also wrecked a number of new boats, including U-2342, before they had a chance to enter the Battle of the Atlantic.
U-2342 was travelling in a convoy of ten boats taking essential supplies and personnel to Norway on Boxing Day 1944. The operation was highly secret, and submarines were used to disguise it from any prying reconnaissance aircraft. Whilst just north of Swinemünde, U-2342 activated an air-dropped mine and fell out of the convoy, slowly sinking as the other boats carried on their passage northwards. Rescue vessels found some of the crew, but seven sailors, including the boat's captain were not found, lost in the explosion.
Demolition experts blew up the wreck in 1954 to clear the seaway, and parts were taken to shore, where they were broken up for scrap.
- 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.
- Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9.