German submarine U-625

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U-625 sinking
The U-625 sinking, after being attacked
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-625
Ordered: 15 August 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 601
Laid down: 28 July 1941
Launched: 15 April 1942
Commissioned: 4 June 1942
Fate: Sunk, 10 March 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: 44–52 officers & ratings
Armament:
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 8th U-boat Flotilla
(4 June–30 September 1942)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1–31 October 1942)
11th U-boat Flotilla
(1 November 1942–31 May 1943)
13th U-boat Flotilla
(1 June–31 October 1943)
1st U-boat Flotilla
(1 November 1943–10 March 1944)
Commanders: Kptlt. Hans Benker
(4 June 1942–2 January 1944)
Oblt.z.S. Kurt Sureth
(2–25 January 1944)
Oblt.z.S. Siegfried Straub
(26 January–10 March 1944)
Operations: 1st patrol: 4–29 November 1942
2nd patrol: 30 December 1942–6 February 1943
3rd patrol: 17 March–16 April 1943
4th patrol: 26 April–31 May 1943
5th patrol: 21–28 June 1943
6th patrol: 12–27 July 1943
7th patrol: 7–20 August 1943
8th patrol: 4–8 November 1943
9th patrol: 15 November 1943–6 January 1944
10th patrol: 29 February–10 March 1944
Victories: 3 commercial ships sunk (18,751 GRT)
2 auxiliary warships sunk (1,129 GRT)

U-625 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 28 July 1941 at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg, launched on 15 April 1942, and commissioned on 4 June 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Hans Benker.

After training with 8th U-boat Flotilla, U-625 was transferred to 3rd U-boat Flotilla for front-line service on 1 October 1942. She was soon transferred again, to 11th U-boat Flotilla on 1 November 1942, then again to 13th U-boat Flotilla on 1 June 1943, and finally to 1st U-boat Flotilla on 1 November 1943.

U-625 completed nine patrols, torpedoed three merchant ships, and sank two auxiliary warships with mines. The boat was sunk on 10 March 1944 off the west coast of Ireland by depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland patrol bomber EK591 "2U" from No. 422 Squadron RCAF.

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-625 left Kiel on 1 October 1942 and sailed to Skjomenfjord,[2] before commencing her first war patrol on 4 November. She sailed north to the waters south and east of Spitsbergen, where she sank three ships.[3]

Her first victim was the 5,445 ton British merchant ship Chulmleigh. On 5 November the unescorted vessel had been bombed and damaged by a German Ju 88 aircraft of II./KG 30 (based at Banak, North Cape) and had beached at South Cape, Spitsbergen. The following day, 6 November, at 15:58, U-625 torpedoed the stranded vessel and then wrecked her with gunfire. The crew abandoned ship and landed on an isolated part of the island. They were not rescued until 4 January, by men from the garrison at Barentsburg. Only the master, three crewmen and nine gunners survived, while 36 crewmen members and nine gunners were lost, many to frostbite.[4]

At 22:24 the same day, 6 November, she torpedoed and sank the unescorted 7,455 ton British merchant ship Empire Sky south of Spitsbergen. The master and 40 crew members were lost.[5]

On 23 November, at 00:56, U-625 torpedoed the 5,851 ton British merchant ship Goolistan of Convoy QP-15, west of Bear Island. The U-boat hit the ship with another torpedo at 01:18, and she sank at 01:45. The master and 41 crewmen were lost.[6]

U-625 arrived at Narvik on 29 November 1942 after 26 days at sea.[2]

2nd to 5th patrols[edit]

U-625 '​'s next four patrols in the waters north of Norway, between December 1942 and June 1943, were uneventful, and she had no successes.[7][8][9][10]

6th patrol[edit]

U-625 sailed from Trondheim on 12 July 1943, and headed north and then east into Soviet waters. On 20 July she laid mines in the Yugorsky Strait. On 25 July at 01:40, the 557 ton Soviet naval trawler T-904 (No. 58) struck a mine, which exploded under the boiler room, and sank the ship within two minutes. Ten of her crew of 45 were lost.[11] The U-boat arrived in Narvik on 27 July after a 16 day patrol.[2]

7th patrol[edit]

The U-boat returned to the Kara Sea to lay more mines, sailing from Hammerfest on 7 August, and returning to Narvik on the 20th.[12] At 18:07 on 25 August the 572 ton Soviet Navy salvage vessel ASO-1 Shkval, struck two mines laid by U-625 in the Yugorsky Strait and sank immediately. Only five of her crew of 52 survived.[13]

8th and 9th patrols[edit]

Her next patrol from Trondheim, and lasting from 4–8 November, was uneventful.[14] U-625 departed Trondheim again on 15 November 1943 and headed out into the northern Atlantic, south of Greenland. Having no success, she finally set a course for Brest, France. At 21:38 on 2 January 1944, in the Bay of Biscay, the U-boat was attacked by a Leigh light equipped British Liberator bomber from No. 224 Squadron RAF. U-625 opened fire with her AA guns and scored a hit, wounding the aircraft's radio operator. The U-boat then began to crash-dive. The commander Kptlt. Hans Benker cancelled the order so that he and a crewman could recover the Naxos wire, but the boat continued to dive and Benker and the crewman were killed.[15] The U-boat arrived at Brest on 6 January.[2]

10th patrol[edit]

The U-boat, now under the command of Oblt.z.S. Siegfried Straub, left Brest on 29 February 1944 on her tenth and final patrol.[16] On 10 March, west of Ireland, in position 52°35′N 20°19′W / 52.583°N 20.317°W / 52.583; -20.317Coordinates: 52°35′N 20°19′W / 52.583°N 20.317°W / 52.583; -20.317, she was sunk by depth charges from a Canadian Sunderland patrol bomber EK591 "2U" from No. 422 Squadron RCAF. All 53 hands were lost.[1] "The crew of the Canadian amphibious plane, the Sunderland, reported that it had sunk a German U-boat off the west coast of Ireland and that the crew were swimming around in the water. Pictures of the attack & sinking of U-625, and of some of the crew that escaped in liferafts (not all), were taken by the cameras aboard the Sunderland. The plane circled a few times and headed back to its home base. None of the submarine crew survived; before having a chance to be rescued, they were lost in high seas. Those pictures hung in the office of Sir Winston Churchill for a period during the war; it was the only confirmed proof of a U-boat "kill" by a Canadian coastal squadron during WWII. U-625 was one of 543 German ships that went lost together with its entire crew" (Neitzel & Welzer 2012:261, with two photos on p. 262 of U-625 being attacked and about half of the crew clustered together in the water in one-man rafts.)

Source: Neitzel,Sonke & Welzer, Harald 2012 Soldaten - On Fighting, Killing, and Dying: The Secret World War II Transcripts of German POWs. Translated from the German by Jefferson Chase. Scribe: Melbourne.

Wolf packs[edit]

U-625 took part in 9 wolfpacks, namely.

  • Boreas (19 Nov 1942 - 28 Nov 1942)
  • Nordwind (24 Jan 1943 - 4 Feb 1943)
  • Eisbär (27 Mar 1943 - 15 Apr 1943)
  • Coronel (4 Dec 1943 - 8 Dec 1943)
  • Coronel 1 (8 Dec 1943 - 14 Dec 1943)
  • Coronel 2 (14 Dec 1943 - 17 Dec 1943)
  • Föhr (18 Dec 1943 - 23 Dec 1943)
  • Rügen 6 (23 Dec 1943 - 28 Dec 1943)
  • Preussen (7 Mar 1944 - 10 Mar 1944)

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[17]
6 November 1942 Chulmleigh  United Kingdom 5,445 Sunk
6 November 1942 Empire Sky  United Kingdom 7,455 Sunk
23 November 1942 Goolistan  United Kingdom 5,851 Sunk
25 July 1943 T-904  Soviet Navy 557 Sunk (mine)
25 August 1943 ASO-1 Shkval  Soviet Navy 572 Sunk (mine)

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b "The Type VIIC boat U-625 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "War Patrols by German U-boat U-625 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 4 Nov 1942 to 29 Nov 1942 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Chulmleigh (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Empire Sky (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Goolistan (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 30 Dec 1942 to 6 Feb 1943 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 17 Mar 1943 to 16 Apr 1943 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 26 Apr 1943 to 31 May 1943 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 21 Jun 1943 to 28 Jun 1943 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "T-904 (No 58) (M/S trawler) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 7 Aug 1943 to 20 Aug 1943 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "ASO-1 Shkval (Salvage vessel) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 4 Nov 1943 to 8 Nov 1943 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 15 Nov 1943 to 6 Jan 1944 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-625 from 29 Feb 1944 to 10 Mar 1944 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Ships hit by U-625". uboat.net. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
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. 
  • 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]