German submarine U-441

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-441
Ordered: 5 January 1940
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Yard number: 1492
Laid down: 15 October 1940
Launched: 13 December 1941
Commissioned: 21 February 1942
Fate: Sunk, 8 June 1944
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: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: As U-441 : 44–52 officers and ratings
As U-flak 1 : 67 officers and ratings
Armament: As U-441
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
As U-Flak 1
2 × quad Flakvierling 38 20 mm guns
1 × 3.7 cm gun
Additional MG 42 machine guns
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(21 February–30 September 1942)
1st U-boat Flotilla
(1 October 1942–8 June 1944)
Commanders: Kptlt. Klaus Hartmann
(21 February 1942–15 May 1943)
(6 August 1943–8 June 1944)
Kptlt. Götz von Hartmann
(16 May 1943–5 August 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol: 17 September–7 November 1942
2nd patrol: 7 December 1942–22 January 1943
3rd patrol: 27 February–11 April 1943
4th patrol: 22–25 May 1943
5th patrol: 8–13 July 1943
6th patrol: 17 October–8 November 1943
7th patrol: 18 January–14 March 1944
8th patrol: 20–27 May 1944
9th patrol: 6–8 Jun 1944
Victories: One commercial ship sunk (7,051 GRT)

German submarine U-441 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II, which served for a short time as an anti-aircraft submarine under the designation U-flak 1.

The submarine was laid down on 15 October 1940 at the Schichau-Werke in Danzig as yard number 1462, launched on 13 December 1941 and commissioned on 21 February 1942, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Klaus Hartmann.

U-441 first served with the 5th U-boat Flotilla, a training unit, and then operationally with the 1st flotilla from 1 October 1942.

Service history[edit]

1st and 2nd patrols[edit]

Her first patrol took her from Kiel, Germany to Brest in occupied France, via Trondheim in Norway and the mid-Atlantic, between 17 September and 7 November 1942, spending 38 days at sea.[3][4]

Her second patrol, sailing from Brest (where she was based for the rest of her career), on 7 December 1942, again took her out into the mid-Atlantic where on 27 December she sank the Dutch 7,051 ton cargo ship Soekaboemi, part of Convoy ON 154. The ship had been wrecked and abandoned after being struck by a torpedo from U-356 hours before.[5] The U-boat returned to Brest on 22 January 1943.[6]

3rd patrol, conversion and 4th patrol[edit]

U-441 departed on 27 February 1943 for another Atlantic patrol, but had no success. On 20 March the boat was attacked by a Sunderland aircraft west of Ireland and slightly damaged. She returned to Brest on 11 April after 44 days at sea.[7]

In April–May 1943, in recognition of the air threat, U-441 was converted into the first of four U-flak boats, which were designed to be surface escorts for attack U-boats operating from the French Atlantic bases and intended to lure unsuspecting aircraft into a deadly trap. The U-flak boats had greatly increased anti-aircraft firepower, U-441 was fitted with additional gun platforms forward and aft of the conning tower, which served as a base for two four-barrelled Flakvierling 20 mm flak guns and one 3.7 cm weapon, as well as a number of MG 42 machine guns. U-441 was redesignated U-flak 1. The increased anti-aircraft capability required additional personnel, so crew numbers were increased from 44-48 men to 67.[1]

As Kptlt. Klaus Hartmann was seriously ill, U-flak 1 sailed from Brest on 22 May 1943 under the command of Kptlt. Götz von Hartmann, formerly of U-563. It was not long before the new configuration was put to the test. At 20:50 on the 24th, the flak boat was attacked by a Sunderland of 228 squadron RAF in the Bay of Biscay. Despite being hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire, the aircraft managed to drop five depth charges before it crashed into the sea; the attack wounded one crewman and extensively damaged U-Flak 1 which returned to base the next day.[8]

5th patrol[edit]

Her second patrol as a U-flak boat began on 8 July 1943. On the 12th the boat was strafed by three Beaufighter aircraft from No. 248 Squadron RAF. Ten men were killed and thirteen others wounded, including all of the officers. Marine-Stabsarzt Dr. Paul Pfaffinger, an experienced U-boat doctor took command, and brought the boat safely back to Brest, subsequently being awarded the Deutsche Kreuz in Gold. By this time the U-flak boats were considered a failure and U-flak 1 was converted back to her original configuration and reverted to U-441.

6th, 7th and 8th patrols[edit]

With Kptlt. Klaus Hartmann returning to command the U-441, she made three unsuccessful patrols between October 1943 and May 1944.[9] The only incident of note was when she was unsuccessfully attacked by an unknown aircraft on 2 March 1944.[10][11]

9th patrol and sinking[edit]

U-441 sailed from Brest for the final time on 6 June 1944, ("D-Day"), and headed into the English Channel. There, on 7 June she was involved in the shooting down of a Canadian Vickers Wellington, although other U-boats, such as U-413 or U-740, are also mentioned in the sources. On 8 June she was sunk with all hands, 30 nautical miles (56 km; 35 mi) off Ushant, in the approximate position 48°27′N 05°47′W / 48.450°N 5.783°W / 48.450; -5.783Coordinates: 48°27′N 05°47′W / 48.450°N 5.783°W / 48.450; -5.783, by depth charges dropped from a Liberator of 224 squadron, RAF.

Wolf packs[edit]

U-441 took part in 13 wolfpacks, namely.

  • Panther (10 Oct 1942 - 16 Oct 1942)
  • Puma (16 Oct 1942 - 29 Oct 1942)
  • Spitz (22 Dec 1942 - 28 Dec 1942)
  • Falke (28 Dec 1942 - 14 Jan 1943)
  • Neuland (6 Mar 1943 - 13 Mar 1943)
  • Dränger (14 Mar 1943 - 20 Mar 1943)
  • Seewolf (21 Mar 1943 - 28 Mar 1943)
  • Schill (25 Oct 1943 - 31 Oct 1943)
  • Hinein (26 Jan 1944 - 3 Feb 1944)
  • Igel 1 (3 Feb 1944 - 17 Feb 1944)
  • Hai 1 (17 Feb 1944 - 22 Feb 1944)
  • Preussen (22 Feb 1944 - 1 Mar 1944)
  • Dragoner (21 May 1944 - 28 May 1944)

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[12]
27 December 1942 Soekaboemi  Netherlands 7,051 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes
Bibliography
  • 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. 
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. Cassell Military Classics. p. 135. 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. 
  • Bishop, Chris (2006). Kriegsmarine U-Boats, 1939-45. London: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-904687-96-2. 

External links[edit]