German submarine U-373
|Ordered:||23 September 1939|
|Laid down:||8 December 1939|
|Launched:||5 April 1941|
|Commissioned:||22 May 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by a British aircraft in the Bay of Biscay, June 1944|
|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 M6V 40/46 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
|Part of:||3rd U-boat Flotilla
(22 May–1 September 1941)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 September 1941–8 June 1944)
|Commanders:||Kptlt. Paul-Karl Loeser
(22 May 1941–25 September 1943)
Oblt. Detlef von Lehsten
(26 September 1943–8 June 1944
|Operations:||1st patrol: 4 September–2 October 1941
2nd patrol: 31 October–21 November 1941
3rd patrol: 25 December 1941–15 January 1942
a. 25 February–26 February 1942
b. 1 March–17 April 1942
5th patrol: 18 May–8 July 1942
6th patrol: 6 August–4 October 1942
22 November 1942–3 January 1943
8th patrol: 25 February–13 April 1943
9th patrol: 7 July–16 August 1943
a. 27–29 September 1943
b. 2– 4 October 1943
c. 6 October–26 November 1943
a. 26–28 December 1943
b. 1–5 January 1944
12th patrol:16–18 March 1944
13th patrol: 7–8 June 1944
|Victories:||Three ships sunk, 10,263 GRT|
She carried out thirteen patrols before being sunk by a British aircraft in June 1944 in the Bay of Biscay.*
She was a member of 16 wolfpacks.
She sank three ships.
The submarine was laid down on 8 December 1939 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft at Kiel as 'Werk 3, launched on 5 April 1941 and commissioned on 22 May under the command of Kapitänleutnant Paul-Karl Loser.
The boat's first patrol was preceded by short trips between Kiel in Germany and Horten and Trondheim in Norway in July and August 1941. Her first patrol proper commenced with her departure from Trondheim on 4 September. Negotiation of the 'gap' separating Iceland and the Faroe Islands was followed by sweeps southeast of Greenland. The submarine then docked at Brest in occupied France on 2 October.
2nd - 5th patrols
U-373's initial patrols were fairly routine. All that changed on the second part of her fourth sortie when she sank the Mount Lycabettus off the eastern United States/Canadian coast on 17 March 1942. On the 22nd, she sank the Thursobank east of Chesapeake Bay. The surviving Chinese crewmen from this ship were arrested for mutiny immediately after landing. It was alleged that they had denied the British officers a share of the food and warm clothing.
6th, 7th and 8th patrols
On 24 July 1943, the submarine was attacked west of Madeira by Avenger and Wildcat aircraft from the escort carrier USS Santee. Two men were killed, another seven were wounded. The boat was damaged by a FIDO homing torpedo, but was able to carry-on with her patrol.
10th and 11th patrols
During the third part of a three-part patrol on 10 November 1943, a lookout broke his arm while the submarine fought bad weather.
U-373 had a lucky escape when she was attacked by a British Vickers Wellington of No. 612 Squadron RAF on 3 January 1944 in the Bay of Biscay. A second aircraft, a Liberator of 224 Squadron joined in. On tying up in Brest, two unexploded depth charges were discovered lodged in the conning tower. The boat was compelled to put to sea once more to jettison her unwanted extra 'cargo' in another hazardous operation.
12th and 13th patrols and loss
The boat left Brest for the last time on 7 June 1944. The following day, she was sunk by a British Liberator of 224 Squadron in the Bay of Biscay. The same aircraft sank U-441 20 minutes later.
Four men died in U-373; there were 47 survivors.
Summary of raiding history
|17 March 1942||Mount Lycabettus||Greece||4,292||Sunk|
|22 March 1942||Thursobank||United Kingdom||5,575||Sunk|
|24 June 1942||John R. Williams||USA||396||Sunk (Mine)|
- Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, pp. 194-195
- "The Type VIIC boat U-373 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "War Patrols by German U-boat U-373 - Boats - uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 15.