German submarine U-451

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Type VIIC U995
U-995, a Type VIIC U-boat at the German navy memorial at Laboe. U-451 was almost identical
Name: U-451
Ordered: 30 October 1939[1]
Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel[1]
Yard number: Werk 282
Laid down: 18 May 1940[1]
Launched: 5 March 1941[1]
Commissioned: 3 May 1941[1]
Fate: Sunk 21 December 1941 in the Atlantic Ocean at position 35°55′N 6°8′W / 35.917°N 6.133°W / 35.917; -6.133Coordinates: 35°55′N 6°8′W / 35.917°N 6.133°W / 35.917; -6.133, by depth charges from a British Swordfish aircraft (Sqdn. 812/A). 44 dead and 1 survivor northwest of Tangier[1][2][3]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged[4]
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull[4]
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull[4]
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)[4]
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)[4]
Installed power: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F 46 diesel engines,[5] totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490[4]
2 × BBC GG UB 720/8 electric motors,[5] totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296[4]
Propulsion: 2 shafts
2 × 1.23 m (4 ft 0 in) propellers[5]
Speed: 17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) surfaced
7.6 knots (8.7 mph; 14.1 km/h) submerged[4]
Range: 85,000 nautical miles (157,000 km; 98,000 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged[4]
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
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

The German submarine U-451 was a Type VIIC U-boat in the service of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

Commissioned on 3 May 1941, with Korvettenkapitän Eberhard Hoffmann in command, she was assigned from then until 1 July to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla for training, and from 1 July 1941 to 21 December, she remained with the 3rd flotilla for operations.

She carried out four patrols before being lost in action.[1]

Operational career[edit]

The boat set-off from Kiel and moved into Norwegian waters between 23 June and 24 July 1941.

1st and 2nd patrols[edit]

She departed Kirkenes in the far north on 30 July 1941, patrolled the Barents Sea and sank one warship of 550 tons, the Soviet corvette Zhemchug (No 27), on 10 August.[6] She returned to Kirkenes on 12 August.

Her second patrol, between 19 August and 12 September 1941, lasted 25 days. She then returned to Kiel.

3rd and 4th patrols[edit]

Starting from Kiel on 25 November 1941, she sailed to Lorient in occupied France, arriving on 12 December.

Her fourth and final sortie began on 15 December 1941, taking her from Lorient, through the Bay of Biscay to a point in mid-Atlantic north of the Azores. She then turned toward the Mediterranean.


She was sunk off Tangier, Morocco, on the night of 21 December 1941 by a Fairey Swordfish Mk. I, V4431, flying with 812 Naval Air Squadron from RNAS North Front, Gibraltar.[2] U-451 was first detected by Air-to-Surface Vessel radar (ASV) at a range of 3-1/2 miles and about 18 miles NW of Cape Spartel. "The Swordfish closed the contact and sighted the U-Boat on the surface steering to the eastward. Three depth charges were dropped ahead of the U-Boat and across her bows. The centre depth charge of the stick, set at 25 feet, exploded immediately under the U-Boat, which was not seen again. The details of the U-Boat's disappearance could not be observed as U 451 was enveloped in the spray of the depth-charge explosions. Two large oil patches were seen, each 300 yards in diameter." The sole surviving crew member, Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Walter Köhler, stated that he was on the bridge with three ratings at the time of the attack, and that the noise of the diesel engines obscured the sound of the attacking aircraft until the moment of weapons release. He was unable to get inside the vessel before the hatch was closed. "He stated that the U-boat then sank bows down. The prisoner flung himself into the water and swam for an hour and a half before he was picked up by Myosotis."[7]


  • Gröner, Erich (1985). "U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher". Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 III (Koblenz: Bernard&Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-451". German U-boats of WWII. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Laws, Allan, "Fairey Swordfish: The Fleet Air Arm's enigmatic warrior", International Air Power Review, Volume 27, AIRTime Publishing Inc., Westport, Connecticut, 2010, ISSN 1473-9917, page 133.
  3. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, pp. 76-77.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gröner, p. 72.
  5. ^ a b c Gröner, p. 74.
  6. ^
  7. ^