German submarine U-377

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-377
Ordered: 16 October 1939
Builder: Howaldtswerke, Kiel
Yard number: 8
Laid down: 8 April 1940
Launched: 15 August 1941
Commissioned: 2 October 1941
Fate: Sunk, January 1944
General characteristics
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 × GL RP 137/c 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
Armament:
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 6th U-boat Flotilla
(2 October 1941–30 June 1942)
11th U-boat Flotilla
(1 July 1942–28 February 1943)
9th U-boat Flotilla
(1 March 1943–17 January 1944)
Identification codes: M 16 791
Commanders: Kptlt. Otto Köhler
(2 October 1941–2 August 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Kluth
(3 August 1943–17 January 1944)
Lt.z.S. Ernst-August Gerke (acting)
(22 September 1943–10 October 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol: 14–28 February 1942
2nd patrol: 6–19 March 1942
3rd patrol: 5–19 April 1942
4th patrol: 25–29 May 1942
5th patrol: 18–25 July 1942
6th patrol: 30 August–24 September 1942
7th patrol: 7–24 October 1942
8th patrol: 30 January–18 March 1943
9th patrol: 15 April–7 June 1943
10th patrol: 26–30 August 1943
11th patrol: 15 December 1943–17 January 1944
Victories: None

German submarine U-377 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 8 April 1940 at the Howaldtswerke yard in Kiel, launched on 15 August 1941, and commissioned on 2 October 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Otto Köhler.

U-377 was attached to the 6th U-boat Flotilla, and was ready for front-line service from 1 February 1942. She served with the 11th U-boat Flotilla based in Norway from July 1942, and was transferred to the 9th U-boat Flotilla based in France on 1 March 1943. She sailed on 11 war patrols between February 1942 and January 1944, but sank no ships, before she was sunk with the loss of all hands in January 1944 south-west of Ireland, possibly by one of her own homing torpedoes or possibly by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Wanderer and the frigate HMS Glenarm.

Service history[edit]

Norway[edit]

U-377 sailed from Kiel on 14 February 1942 and patrolled along the coast of Norway before arriving at Narvik on 28 February.[3] This was her home port for the rest of the year, she sailed on a series of six patrols in the Barents Sea, without success.[2]

On 30 January 1943 U-377 left Bergen and sailed out into the Atlantic, patrolling south of Greenland, before arriving at Brest in France on 18 March, having been transferred to the 9th U-boat Flotilla.[4]

France[edit]

U-377 sailed from Brest on 15 April, out into the mid-Atlantic, and patrolled for 54 days, before returning to base on 7 June.[5]

On 2 August 1943 her commander, Otto Köhler, left the boat and was replaced by Oberleutnant zur See Gerhard Kluth.[1] Kluth's first patrol was quite eventful, as her first two attempts were cut short; U-377 sailed from Brest on 26 August 1943, but returned on the 30th; she sailed again on 6 September 1943, returning the next day. Finally she set out again on 9 September,[2] joining other U-boats in mid-Atlantic. On 22 September, the U-boat was attacked by a B-24 Liberator, wounding the commander. The U-boat returned to port under the command of the I WO. Leutnant zur See Ernst-August Gerke.[1]

Loss[edit]

U-377 departed from Brest on 15 December 1943, with Kluth back in command, sailing out into mid-Atlantic.[6] She made her last radio report on 15 January 1944, claiming to have attacked an unidentified search group with homing torpedoes. The BdU ("U-boat Command") expected the U-boat to head back to France on or about 29 January, so when she had failed to arrive by 10 February, she was listed as missing from 4 February 1944. After the war the Allied Assessment Committee were unable to attribute the loss of U-377 to any known anti-submarine attack, and the U-boat was officially recorded as "lost to unknown cause". The Kriegsmarine had received at least two partially corrupted unsigned coded emergency messages around the time of the U-boat's disappearance, leading to a theory that U-377 had been sunk by one of its own Zaunkoenig T-5 acoustic torpedoes. This explanation has been generally accepted post-war.[7][8] However, an attack by the British destroyer HMS Wanderer and frigate HMS Glenarm at 49°39′N 20°10′W / 49.650°N 20.167°W / 49.650; -20.167Coordinates: 49°39′N 20°10′W / 49.650°N 20.167°W / 49.650; -20.167, on 17 January took place two days and about 220 nautical miles (410 km; 250 mi) from U-377 '​s last known position (where she would have been, had she been on course and sailing at the most economical speed, as ordered) and recent research suggests that this was the U-boat's fate.[9]

Wolf packs[edit]

U-377 took part in 15 wolfpacks, namely.

  • Aufnahme (7 Mar 1942 - 11 Mar 1942)
  • Blücher (11 Mar 1942 - 18 Mar 1942)
  • Bums (6 Apr 1942 - 14 Apr 1942)
  • Blutrausch (15 Apr 1942 - 17 Apr 1942)
  • Trägertod (12 Sep 1942 - 21 Sep 1942)
  • Ritter (11 Feb 1943 - 21 Feb 1943)
  • Neptun (22 Feb 1943 - 2 Mar 1943)
  • Amsel (22 Apr 1943 - 3 May 1943)
  • Amsel 2 (3 May 1943 - 6 May 1943)
  • Elbe (7 May 1943 - 10 May 1943)
  • Elbe 2 (10 May 1943 - 14 May 1943)
  • Leuthen (15 Sep 1943 - 22 Sep 1943)
  • Borkum (24 Dec 1943 - 3 Jan 1944)
  • Borkum 3 (3 Jan 1944 - 13 Jan 1944)
  • Rügen (13 Jan 1944 - 17 Jan 1944)

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c "The Type VIIC U-boat U-377". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "War Patrols by German U-boat U-377". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Patrol of U-377 (14 to 28 Feb 1942)". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Patrol of U-377 (30 Jan to 18 Mar 1943)". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "Patrol of U-377 (15 Apr to 7 Jun 1943)". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Patrol of U-377 (15 Dec 1943 to 17 Jan 1944)". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Paul Kemp, U-Boats Destroyed (1997) ISBN 1 85409 515 3, p164
  8. ^ Axel Niestle, U-Boat Losses during World War II (1998) ISBN 1 85367 352 8, p59
  9. ^ Axel Niestlé. "The Loss of U-305, U-377 and U-641". ubootwaffe.net. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
Bibliography
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. Cassell Military Classics. pp. 219, 220. ISBN 0-304-35203-9. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]