German submarine U-352

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Watercolor of U-352
Kapitänleutnant Rathke painted this watercolor of U-352 while held as a POW.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-352
Ordered: 9 October 1939
Builder: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Flensburg
Yard number: 471
Laid down: 11 March 1940
Launched: 7 May 1941
Commissioned: 28 August 1941
Fate: Sunk, 9 May 1942
General characteristics [1]
Class and 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
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
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 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (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
Service record[2][3]
Part of: 3rd U-boat Flotilla
(28 August 1941–9 May 1942)
Commanders: Kptlt. Hellmut Rathke
(28 August 1941–9 May 1942)
Operations: 1st patrol: 15 January–26 February 1942
2nd patrol: 7 April–9 May 1942
Victories: None

German submarine U-352 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 11 March 1940 at the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft yard at Flensburg, launched on 7 May 1941, and commissioned on 28 August 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hellmut Rathke. She was part of the 3rd U-boat Flotilla, and was ready for front-line service by 1 January 1942.[2]

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-352 left Kiel on 15 January 1942, and arrived at Bergen in Norway on the 19th.[3] She left the next day and patrolled south of Iceland without success before sailing to her new home port at Saint-Nazaire in France by 26 February.[4]

2nd patrol[edit]

U-352 left St. Nazaire on 7 April 1942 and sailed across the Atlantic to the coast of the north-eastern United States.[5] There on 9 May 1942, she was sunk by depth charges from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Icarus, south of Morehead City, North Carolina, in position 34°13.67′N 76°33.89′W / 34.22783°N 76.56483°W / 34.22783; -76.56483Coordinates: 34°13.67′N 76°33.89′W / 34.22783°N 76.56483°W / 34.22783; -76.56483.[2][6] Fifteen of the crew were lost, but 33 survived and spent the remainder of the war as prisoners.[2]


U-352 took part in one wolfpack, namely.

  • Hecht (27 January - 4 February 1942)

Dive site[edit]

Wreck diving on the U-352 in 2008.

U-352 lies in about 115 feet (35 m) of water, and sits at a 45-degree list to starboard. The wreck scatter is within a 100-m radius of location above on a sand bottom.[6] This wreck has become an artificial reef that is heavily populated with Hemanthias vivanus.[6] It is a popular scuba diving spot for advanced divers. A replica of the wreck is on display at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Heinz Richter[edit]

Heinz Karl Richter, a Maschinengefreiter (equivalent of a Fireman 3rd Class) who survived the sinking, was found living in Canada and was interviewed for Discovery Channel's special coverage of U-352. He said that Captain Rathke was obsessed with receiving a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal for sinking 100,000 tonnes-worth of enemy ships. Richter said that the captain's obsession eventually led to recklessness, ultimately resulting in the boat's sinking. Richter also said he was the last man out of the U-boat before it sank; those still on board were already dead, or perished in the boat as it sank.


POW survivors from U-352 eating lunch in June 1942

According to documents from the Naval Department, the following are survivors of the sinking:

Name Rank U.S. Navy equivalent
Rathke, Hellmut Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant
Bernard, Oskar Leutnant zur See (Sonderführer) Ensign
Kammerer, Ernst Fähnrich zur See Midshipman
Daehn, Arthur Bootsmaat Coxswain
Neitsch, Hans Bootsmaat Coxswain
Richter, Helmut H. Bootsmaat Coxswain
Kruger, Kurt Funkmaat Radioman 3 cl.
Sorg, Ludwig Funkmaat Radioman 3 cl.
Bollmann, Heinrich Obermaschinist Machinist
Grandke, Walter Obermaschinist Machinist
Brand, August Michael Maschinenmaat Fireman 1 cl.
Reussel, Gerd Maschinenmaat Fireman 1 cl.
Schwarzenberger, Heinz Maschinenmaat Fireman 1 cl.
Thönnissen, Kurt H. Maschinenmaat Fireman 1 cl.
Wesche, Martin Wilhelm Maschinenmaat Fireman 1 cl.
Wessoly, Lothar Maschinenmaat Fireman 1 cl.
Rusch, Gerhard Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2 cl.
Stengel, Otto Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2 cl.
Minzker, Johann Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3 cl.
Richter, Heinz Karl Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3 cl.
Twirdy, Heinrich Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3 cl.
Heinze, Hans Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Henschke, Otto Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Hering, Gerhard Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Herrschaft, Edgar Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Kominek, Franz Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Mattiz, Hans Funkgefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Pickel, Erhard Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Richter, Gerhard Maschinengefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Thiele, Rudolf Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 2 cl.
Link, Wilhelm Matrose Apprentice Seaman
Staron, Edmund Matrose Apprentice Seaman
TOTAL: 33 [7]


  1. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 72-74.
  2. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC U-boat U-352". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-352". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-352 from 20 Jan 1942 to 26 Feb 1942". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-352 from 7 Apr 1942 to 9 May 1942". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Hoyt, JC (2009). "2008 Battle of the Atlantic Survey Methodology". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  7. ^ "U-boat Archive : FINAL REPORT OF INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM U-352 SUNK BY U.S.C.G. ICARUS ON MAY 9, 1942". Retrieved 7 October 2007. 


  • 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. 

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