German submarine U-257

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Name: U-257
Ordered: 23 December 1939
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack
Yard number: 22
Laid down: 22 February 1941
Launched: 19 November 1941
Commissioned: 14 January 1942
Fate: Sunk in February 1944[1]
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: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
150 km (81 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[2][3]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(14 January–30 September 1942)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 October 1942–24 February 1944)
Commanders: Kptlt. Heinz Rahe
(14 January 1942–24 February 1944)
Operations: 1st patrol:
21 September–18 October 1942
2nd patrol:
7 December–14 December 1942
3rd patrol:br> <22 December 1942–12 February 1943
4th patrol:
14 March–7 May 1943
5th patrol:
12 June–14 September 1943
6th patrol:
2 January–24 February 1944
Victories: None

German submarine U-257 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down at the Bremer Vulkan yard at Bremen-Vegesack on 22 February 1941 as 'werk' 22. She was launched on 19 November and commissioned on 14 January 1942 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinz Rahe.

U-257 was assigned to the 5th U-Boat Flotilla for training, then transferred to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla for operational service.

She was sunk by Allied warships in mid-Atlantic in February 1944.

Service history[edit]

The boat carried out six patrols, but did not sink or damage any ships. She was a member of seven wolfpacks.

1st patrol[edit]

U-256's first patrol began on 21 September 1942 from Bergen in Norway. Her route took her across the North Sea, through the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands and into the Atlantic Ocean. She docked at La Pallice in occupied France, on 18 October.

2nd, 3rd and 4th patrols[edit]

These sorties passed without major incident.

5th patrol[edit]

The boat was attacked from the air twice in one day. U-257, in the company of U-600 and U-615 was transitting the Bay of Biscay, outbound on 14 June 1943, when a Sunderland flying boat of 228 Squadron RAF unsuccessfully depth charged the three boats. In the afternoon, it was much the same story, but this time a Whitley from No. 10 OTU was involved. One man from the U-boat's crew was wounded. A second Whitley from the same unit arrived, but could only exchange fire with the submarine as it had expended all its depth charges in a previous engagement, the boat escaped.

6th patrol and loss[edit]

The submarine had moved to St. Nazaire; she departed from this French Atlantic port on 2 January 1944. On 24 February, she was attacked and sunk in mid-Atlantic by the Canadian frigate HMCS Waskesiu, assisted by HMS Nene. (A former crew member from the Waskesiu has stated that Nene merely picked survivors up). Thirty men died in the sinking, there were nineteen survivors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 171
  2. ^ "The Type VIIC boat U-257 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "War Patrols by German U-boat U-257 - Boats -". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°19′N 26°00′W / 47.317°N 26.000°W / 47.317; -26.000