German submarine U-481

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-481
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: Deutsche Werke, Kiel
Yard number: 316
Laid down: 6 February 1943
Launched: 25 September 1943
Commissioned: 10 November 1943
Fate: Surrendered, 8 May 1945
Sunk, 30 November 1945
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) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(10 November 1943–31 July 1944)
8th U-boat Flotilla
(1 August 1944–8 May 1945)
Commanders: Oblt.z.S.. Ewald Pick
(10 November 1943–29 February 1944)
Kptlt. Klaus Andersen
(1 March 1944–19 May 1945)
Oblt.z.S.. Gustav Bischoff (acting)
(28 December 1944)
Operations: 1st patrol: 5 July–4 August 1944
2nd patrol: 10–21 August 1944
3rd patrol: 16 September–26 October 1944
4th patrol: 2 November–22 December 1944
5th patrol: 7 April–4 May 1945
Victories: Four commercial ships sunk (1,165 GRT)
three warships sunk (160 GRT)
one warship damaged (26 GRT)

German submarine U-481 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 6 February 1943 at the Deutsche Werke yard in Kiel, launched on 25 September 1943, and commissioned on 10 November 1943 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Ewald Pick.

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-481 left Kiel on 19 June 1944 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Klaus Andersen, and sailed to Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia) via Helsinki.[2] She departed Reval on her first war patrol on 5 July and sailed east into the Gulf of Finland to Soviet waters. On 30 July she attacked a group of Soviet Navy coastal minesweepers with torpedoes, sinking two (KT-804 and KT-807) and damaging another (KT-806). On the same day the U-boat was attacked while in Narva Bay by two Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik aircraft from the 35th Assault Air Regiment (35. ShAP), and managed to damage one enough to force the pilot to ditch his aircraft. The U-boat arrived back at Reval on 4 August.[3]

2nd patrol[edit]

U-481 sailed again from Reval on 10 August 1944, and patrolled Soviet waters with no success, before arriving at Königsberg in East Prussia, on 21 August.[4]

3rd patrol[edit]

Departing Königsberg on 16 September 1944, the U-boat patrolled the Baltic,[2] and on 15 October sank three small Finnish Galeas sailing barges (Dan, Endla and Maria) off Osmussaar, Estonia, with shell-fire, before arriving at Danzig (now Gdansk) on 26 October.[5]

4th patrol[edit]

U-481 sailed from Danzig on 2 November 1944, returning to the Gulf of Finland,[2] and on 9 November off Cape Pakri she torpedoed and shelled the Soviet 1,000 ton barge 112600, sinking her.[6] On 28 November she sank the Soviet 108 ton coastal minesweeper T-387 in the same area.[7] The U-boat returned to Danzig on 22 December.

5th patrol[edit]

After returning to Kiel to be fitted with a 'schnorchel' in February 1945,[1] the U-boat sailed for Horten in Norway, making her final patrol along the Norwegian coast from 7 April to 4 May, finally arriving at Narvik only a few days before the German surrender. On 12 May all U-boats in the Narvik area were ordered by the Allies to sail to Skjomenfjord to avoid conflicts with the Norwegians. On 15 May four ships; the fleet tender Grille with the staff of FdU Norwegen on board, the fleet oiler Kärnten, and the depot ships Huascaran and Stella Polaris, and fifteen U-boats including U-481, sailed for Trondheim, but were intercepted after two days by the Royal Navy's 9th Escort Group and officially capitulated. The ships were allowed to proceed to Trondheim, but all the U-boats were escorted to Loch Eriboll, Scotland, arriving on 19 May. Later transferred to Loch Ryan, U-481 was sunk at position in 56°11′N 10°00′W / 56.183°N 10.000°W / 56.183; -10.000Coordinates: 56°11′N 10°00′W / 56.183°N 10.000°W / 56.183; -10.000 as part of "Operation Deadlight" on 30 November 1945.[1]

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
30 July 1944 KT-804  Soviet Navy 26 Sunk
30 July 1944 KT-806  Soviet Navy 26 Damaged
30 July 1944 KT-807  Soviet Navy 26 Sunk
15 October 1944 Dan  Finland 47 Sunk
15 October 1944 Endla  Finland 68 Sunk
15 October 1944 Maria  Finland 50 Sunk
19 November 1944 112600  Soviet Union 1,000 Sunk
28 November 1944 T-387  Soviet Navy 108 Sunk


  • 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. 
  • U-Boat Fact File, Midland Publishing, Great Britain: 1998.

External links[edit]