German submarine U-652
|Ordered:||9 October 1939|
|Laid down:||5 February 1940|
|Launched:||7 February 1941|
|Commissioned:||3 April 1941|
|Fate:||Scuttled, 2 June 1942|
|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:||15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) 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 & ratings|
|Armament:||5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
Various AA guns
|Part of:||3rd U-boat Flotilla
(3 April 1941 – 31 December 1941)
29th U-boat Flotilla
(1 January 1942 – 2 June 1942)
|Commanders:||Oblt.z.S. Georg-Werner Fraatz
(3 April 1941 – 2 June 1942)
|Operations:||1st patrol: 23 July–7 August 1941
2nd patrol: 23 August–18 September 1941
3rd patrol: 1 November–12 December 1941
4th patrol: 14 December 1941–1 January 1942
5th patrol: 21 February –1 March 1942
6th patrol: 12–14 March 1942
7th patrol: 18–31 March 1942
8th patrol: 25 May–2 June 1942
|Victories:||2 commercial ships sunk (8,152 GRT)
1 auxiliary warship sunk (558 GRT)
2 warships sunk (2,740 GRT)
2 commercial ships damaged (9,918 GRT)
1 auxiliary warship damaged (10,917 GRT)
German submarine U-652 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 5 February 1940 at the Howaldtswerke yard at Hamburg, launched on 7 February 1941, and commissioned on 3 April 1941 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Georg-Werner Fraatz.
Attached to 3rd U-boat Flotilla based at Kiel, U-652 completed her training period on 30 June 1941 and was assigned to front-line service. In September 1941 she was involved in the "Greer Incident", attacking and being counter-attacked by the supposedly neutral American destroyer Greer (DD-145), an incident that brought the United States closer to war with Germany. U-652 was transferred to 29th U-boat Flotilla based at La Spezia, Italy on 1 January 1942. The U-boat was scuttled on 2 June 1942.
U-652 left Kiel on 19 June 1941 and sailed to Bökfjord near Kirkenes, via Horten and Trondheim, arriving on 22 July. Her first combat patrol began the next day, on 23 July, patrolling the coast of the Kola Peninsula. There on 6 August at 19:00 she torpedoed and sank the 558 ton Soviet despatch vessel PS-70 seven miles off Cape Teriberka, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Murmansk. The 12 survivors from the crew of 57 were rescued by motorboats sent from the nearby coast. This was the first U-boat success in the Arctic Sea.
The U-boat returned to Kirkenes on 7 August after 16 days at sea, and after two days headed for Trondheim, arriving there on 13 August.
As part of wolfpack Grönland, at 00:44 on 26 August the U-boat fired a spread of three torpedoes at a British naval convoy running south-south-east and observed a hit on the 10,917 ton auxiliary minelayer HMS Southern Prince, which soon came to a halt. Another torpedo was fired at the vessel at 00:53, but missed. The destroyers HMS Lightning and Lamerton sailed from Scapa Flow to assist the damaged ship and escorted her to The Minches. She was repaired at Belfast.
As part of wolfpack Markgraf, on 10 September at 04:52 U-652 fired two single torpedoes at ships of Convoy SC 42 north-east of Cape Farewell, and damaged two British ships. The 6,508 ton tanker Tahchee caught fire and was abandoned. The crew later reboarded the vessel and managed to put out the fire. The ship was towed to Reykjavík by HMCS Orillia and after repairs was towed to the Tyne, repaired and returned to service in November 1942. The 3,410 ton merchant ship Baron Pentland remained afloat due her cargo of timber despite a broken back, but was later torpedoed and sunk by U-372 on 19 September.
The Greer incident
On 4 September 1941, off Iceland, the American destroyer Greer (DD-145) received a signal from a British bomber that a German submarine was in the vicinity. Greer made sonar contact, and pursued the U-652 at close range. The aircraft dropped four depth charges, and soon after the U-boat fired a torpedo at the US warship, perhaps believing she had launched the attack. Oblt.z.S. Fraatz also misidentified the destroyer as "one of the 50 American vessels that are now sailing for England". A two-hour battle ensued, during which Greer dropped 19 depth charges, and the U-boat fired another torpedo, without result. President Roosevelt used this event in his campaign to convince the US to go to war, and the "undeclared war" between U-boats and US escorts escalated dramatically.
U-652 left Lorient on 1 November 1941, and headed out into the mid-Atlantic, before sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. There, south of the Balearic Islands, on 9 December she hit the 1,595 ton Vichy French merchant ship Saint Denis with a single torpedo, which sank her immediately.
The U-boat departed Messina on 14 December 1941 and sailed around Greece into the Aegean Sea. There at 21:34 on 19 December she torpedoed the unescorted 6,557 ton Soviet tanker Varlaam Avanesov, which sank two hours later 2.5 miles off Cape Babakale, Çanakkale Province, Turkey. The survivors abandoned ship in lifeboats, reached the Turkish coast and were later repatriated. The U-boat arrived at La Spezia on 1 January 1942, where she joined 29th U-boat Flotilla.
5th & 6th patrols
Departing Salamis on 18 March 1942 U-652 headed for the coast of North Africa. There on 20 March at 10:54 she fired four torpedoes at the 1,050 ton British Type II Hunt class destroyer HMS Heythrop about 40 miles north-east of Bardia. One torpedo hit Heythrop, which was taken in tow by HMS Eridge towards Tobruk, but she foundered five hours later.
On 26 March at 02:27 the U-boat fired a spread of four torpedoes at the 1,690 ton British J class destroyer HMS Jaguar north-east of Sollum. Two of the torpedoes struck the ship in the bows, and she caught fire and sank in a short time. From her complement of 246, only 53 survived.
The U-boat left Pola on 25 May 1942 on her final patrol, and returned to the North African coast. On 2 June 1942 U-652 was severely damaged by depth charges dropped by a British Swordfish torpedo bomber from 815 Naval Air Squadron, and was scuttled in the Gulf of Sollum, in position Coordinates: , by torpedoes from U-81. There were no casualties from her crew of 46.
Summary of Raiding Career
|6 August 1941||PS-70||Soviet Navy||558||Sunk|
|26 August 1941||HMS Southern Prince (M47)||Royal Navy||10,917||Damaged|
|10 September 1941||Tahchee||United Kingdom||6,508||Damaged|
|10 September 1941||Baron Pentland||United Kingdom||3,410||Damaged|
|9 December 1941||Saint Denis||Free France||1,595||Sunk|
|19 December 1941||Varlaam Avanesov||Soviet Union||6,557||Sunk|
|20 March 1942||HMS Heythrop (L85)||Royal Navy||1,050||Sunk|
|26 March 1942||HMS Jaguar (F34)||Royal Navy||1,690||Sunk|
- "The Type VIIC boat U-652 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "War Patrols by German U-boat U-652 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 23 Jul 1941 to 7 Aug 1941 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "PS-70 (Despatch vessel) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "HMS Southern Prince (Auxiliary minelayer) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Tahchee (Steam tanker) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Baron Pentland (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 1 Nov 1941 to 12 Dec 1941 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Saint Denis (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 14 Dec 1941 to 1 Jan 1942 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Varlaam Avanesov (Motor tanker) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 21 Feb 1942 to 1 Mar 1942 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 12 Mar 1942 to 14 Mar 1942 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 18 Mar 1942 to 31 Mar 1942 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "HMS Heythrop (L 85) (Destroyer) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "HMS Jaguar (F 34) (Destroyer) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "Patrol of U-boat U-652 from 25 May 1942 to 2 Jun 1942 - U-boat patrols - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 U 652". u-boot-archiv.de. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- Roosevelt's Fireside Chat 18: On The Greer Incident (September 11, 1941) - Miller Center of Public Affairs (audio and transcript)