German submarine U-68 (1940)
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||7 August 1939|
|Builder:||AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||20 April 1940|
|Launched:||22 October 1940|
|Commissioned:||1 February 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk 10 April 1944 north-west of Madeira, Portugal. 56 dead and 1 survivor|
|Type:||Type IXC submarine|
|Displacement:||1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
|Length:||76.8 m (252 ft 0 in) overall
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
|Beam:||6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) overall
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
|Height:||9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)|
|Draft:||4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,000 hp (2,983 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
|Speed:||18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
|Range:||24,880 nmi (46,080 km; 28,630 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
117 nautical miles (217 km; 135 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||48 to 56|
|Armament:||6 × torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)
22 × 55 cm (22 in) torpedoes
1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun (110 rounds)
|Commanders||Krvkpt. Karl-Freidrich Merten
(11 February 1941–21 January 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Albert Lauzemis
(21 January–16 June 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Ekkehard Scherraus
(14 June–July 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Seehausen
(July–29 July 1943)
Oblt.z.S. Albert Lauzemis
(30 July 1943–10 April 1944)
30 June–1 August 1941
11 September–25 December 1941
11 February–13 April 1942
14 May –10 July 1942
3 February–7 May 1943
12–16 June 1943
14 August–15 August 1943
8 September–23 December 1943
22 March–10 April 1944
|Victories||32 ships sunk (197,453 GRT)
one auxillary warship sunk (545 GRT)
German submarine U-68 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 20 April 1940 at the AG Weser yard at Bremen as yard number 987, launched on 22 October and commissioned on 1 January 1941 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Karl-Friedrich Merten as part of 2nd U-boat Flotilla.
U-68 left Kiel on 30 June 1941 for the Atlantic Ocean via the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She was unsuccessfully attacked with 24 depth charges by the British corvette HMS Rhododendrun west northwest of Cape Finisterre in Spain. She docked at the port of Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 1 August. She would be based there for the rest of her career.
Heading for the south Atlantic, the boat came across the Silverbelle southwest of the Canary Islands and sank her on 22 September 1941. A month later, she sank the Darkdale while the unfortunate ship was at anchor in Jamestown harbour, St. Helena on 22 October. Her third victim, the Hazelside, was destroyed on the 28th, 600 nautical miles (1,100 km; 690 mi) southeast of St. Helena. U-68 also sank the Bradford City west of South West Africa (now Namibia) on 1 November. The U-boat collided with the stricken ship while diving underneath her. The submarine's bow was bent.
Nevertheless, the submarine returned to Lorient on 25 December.
U-68's third sortie was also conducted off the west coast of Africa. She sank the Helenus on 3 March 1942 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) south of Freetown in Sierra Leone, followed by the Baluchstan on the 8th. The boat's crew were kept busy, sinking the Baron Newlands on the 16th and the Ile de Batz on the 17th; all the vessels met their end in the vicinity of Liberia.
On the night of 10 June, northeast of the Panama Canal, she torpedoed the 8,600-ton British freighter Surrey. 5,000 tons of dynamite in the cargo detonated after the ship sank. The shock wave lifted the U-boat out of the water as if she had suffered a torpedo hit; both diesel engines and the gyrocompass were disabled.
Another victim was the Port Montreal. She was sunk with what Merten noted in the boat's war diary as a lucky [torpedo] hit.
In all, U-68 sank seven ships during this patrol before returning to Lorient on 10 July.
The submarine left Lorient on her fifth patrol on 20 August 1942. She would not see her base again until December. At 109 days, this was to be her longest and most successful sally. Heading once more into the South Atlantic, she attacked and sank the Trevilley east northeast of Ascension Island on 12 September. The Master and Chief Officer were taken prisoner.
She travelled further south, sinking ships such as the Gaasterkerk on 8 October and the Sarthe on the same date, both in the area of the Cape of Good Hope. She also disposed of the Belgian Fighter on the 9th.
Turning for home on 16 October, she sank the City of Cairo on 6 November. U-68 returned a month later to Lorient on 6 December.
The boat's sixth patrol in the first half of 1943 was again to northern South America. Having sunk two ships, she was attacked by a US Mariner flying boat on 2 April; damage was slight.
7th and 8th patrols
Patrol number eight was relatively uneventful.
The boat returned to her most successful hunting ground - the South Atlantic. In another mammoth patrol (107 days), she sank four more ships.
One of them, the Norwegian tanker Litiopa, had numerous torpedoes and rounds from the deck gun fired at her, but stubbornly refused to succumb. Having been initially encountered at night on 21 October 1943, it was not until the following day that she sank.
The Litiopa's sole escort was the mine-sweeping trawler HMS Orfasy. She was sunk relatively easily on 21 October before the attack on the tanker.
The other two ships were the New Columbia, (sunk southwest of Bingerville, Ivory Coast) on 31 October and the French Fort de Vaux on 30 November. The latter vessel met her end after 'Aphrodite' radar decoys had been used to lure the escort vessels away.
U-68's inbound route took her close to the northwest Spanish coast. She docked at Lorient on 23 December 1943.
10th patrol and loss
The boat left Lorient for the last time on 22 March 1944. On 10 April, she was sunk northwest of the Portuguese island of Madeira, by depth charges and rockets from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft from the United States escort carrier Guadalcanal. U-68 was lost at position Coordinates: .
56 men died; there was one survivor.
Summary of Raiding Career
|22 September 1941||Silverbelle||United Kingdom||5,302||Sunk|
|22 September 1941||Darkdale||United Kingdom||8,145||Sunk|
|28 October 1941||Hazelside||United Kingdom||5,297||Sunk|
|1 November 1941||Bradford City||United Kingdom||4,953||Sunk|
|3 March 1942||Helerus||United Kingdom||7,366||Sunk|
|8 March 1942||Baluchistan||United Kingdom||6,992||Sunk|
|16 March 1942||Baron Newlands||United Kingdom||3,386||Sunk|
|17 March 1942||Allende||United Kingdom||5,081||Sunk|
|17 March 1942||Ile de Batz||United Kingdom||5,755||Sunk|
|17 March 1942||Scottish Prince||United Kingdom||4,917||Sunk|
|30 March 1942||Muncaster Castle||United Kingdom||5,853||Sunk|
|5 June 1942||L.J. Drake||United States||6,693||Sunk|
|5 June 1942||C.O. Stillman||Panama||16,436||Sunk|
|10 June 1942||Ardenvohr||United Kingdom||5,025||Sunk|
|10 June 1942||Port Montreal||United Kingdom||5,882||Sunk|
|10 June 1942||Surrey||United Kingdom||8,581||Sunk|
|15 June 1942||Frimaire||Free France||9,242||Sunk|
|23 June 1942||Arnaga||Panama||2,345||Sunk|
|12 September 1942||Trevilley||United Kingdom||5,298||Sunk|
|15 September 1942||Breedijk||Netherlands||6,861||Sunk|
|8 October 1942||Gaasterkerk||Netherlands||8,679||Sunk|
|8 October 1942||Koumoundouros||Greece||3,598||Sunk|
|8 October 1942||Sarthe||United Kingdom||5,271||Sunk|
|8 October 1942||Swiftsure||United States||8,207||Sunk|
|9 October 1942||Belgian Fighter||Belgium||5,403||Sunk|
|9 October 1942||Examelia||United States||4,981||Sunk|
|6 November 1942||City of Cairo||United Kingdom||8,034||Sunk|
|13 March 1943||Ceres||Netherlands||2,680||Sunk|
|13 March 1943||Cities Service Missouri||United States||7,506||Sunk|
|21 October 1943||HMT Orfasy||Royal Navy||545||Sunk|
|22 October 1943||Litiopa||Norway||5,356||Sunk|
|31 October 1943||New Columbia||United Kingdom||6,574||Sunk|
|30 November 1943||Fort de Vaux||Free France||5,186||Sunk|
|Total amount of tonnage:||201,430 tons|
- U68 at Uboat.net
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