German submarine U-77 (1940)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-77.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-77
Ordered: 25 January 1939
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack
Yard number: 5
Laid down: 28 March 1940
Launched: 23 November 1940
Commissioned: 18 January 1941
Fate: Sunk, 28 March 1943, off Calpe, Spain by British aircraft
General characteristics
Class & type: Type VIIC
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: 4.72 m (15 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft, 6-cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines totalling 2,800–3,200 hp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
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 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44-52 officers and ratings
Armament:
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
7th U-boat Flotilla
23rd U-boat Flotilla
29th U-boat Flotilla
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Heinrich Schonder
(18 January 1941–2 September 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Otto Hartman
(2 September 1942–28 March 1943)
Operations: Eleven
1st patrol:
29 May–7 July 1941
2nd patrol:
2 August–10 September 1941
3rd patrol:
11 October–13 November 1941
4th patrol:
10–19 December 1941
5th patrol:
28 March–3 April 1942
6th patrol:
a. 6–17 June 1942
b. 23 June–9 July 1942
7th patrol:
16 July–21 August 1942
8th patrol:
12 October–1 November 1942
9th patrol:
3 November–5 December 1942
10th patrol:
26 January–10 February 1943
11th patrol:
3–28 March 1943
Victories: 14 commercial ships sunk (31,186 GRT);
one warship sunk - 1,050 tons;
two ships damaged - 5,384 GRT;
two warships damaged - 2,880 tons;
one ship a total loss

German submarine U-77 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built by the Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack. Her keel was laid down on 28 March 1940, by Bremer Vulkan of Bremen-Vegesack, Germany as yard number 5. She was launched on 23 November 1940 and commissioned on 18 January 1941, with Oberleutnant zur See Heinrich Schonder in command until September 1942, when he was succeeded by Oblt.z.S. Otto Hartmann, who remained in charge until the U-boat's loss.[1]

The boat was sunk on 28 March 1943 off Calpe, Spain, by two British aircraft.

Operational history[edit]

U-77 conducted 11 patrols, sinking 15 ships totalling 32,236 GRT and damaging two others, totalling 5,384 GRT. She also damaged two warships totalling 2,880 tons and caused one ship of 5,222 GRT to be declared a total loss.[1] She was a member of six wolfpacks.

1st patrol[edit]

U-77 departed Kiel on 29 May 1941. Her route took in the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

She sank the Tresillian on 13 June southeast of Cape Race ( Newfoundland ). Using her deck gun, she fired 87 rounds, scoring 60-65 hits; but it needed a torpedo to administer the coup de grâce. She then sank the Arakaka, a weather ship, on the 22nd, 450 nautical miles (830 km; 520 mi) east of St. Johns. There were no survivors. It was a similar story with the Anna Bulgaris south of Cape Farewell, (Greenland).

U-77 docked in St. Nazaire in occupied France on 7 July.

2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

The boat's second foray began with her departure from St. Nazaire on 2 August 1941, but despite covering large tracts of the Atlantic, she returned to the French base on 10 September empty-handed.

For her third sortie, U-77 once more found the cupboard bare west of Ireland and the Bay of Biscay. Nothing.

4th patrol[edit]

U-77's next patrol was divided into two. Part one was into the Mediterranean. Leaving St. Nazaire on 10 December 1941, she slipped past the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar and entered Messina in northeast Sicily on the 19th.

On the way, she sank the Empire Barracuda 34 nautical miles (63 km; 39 mi) from Cape Trafalgar [before the Gibraltar experience], on the 15th.

Part two involved the boat's attack on the British destroyer HMS Kimberley off Tobruk on 12 January 1942. The warship's stern was blown off, but she was towed to Alexandria for temporary repairs before more permanent restoration was carried out in Bombay. The ship returned to service in January 1944.

The submarine docked at Salamis in Greece on 14 January.

5th patrol[edit]

U-77 was attacked by a Fairey Swordfish north northeast of Sidi Barrani on 1 April 1942. The damage inflicted meant the boat was unable to dive. She returned to Salamis on the 3rd.

6th patrol[edit]

Having moved to La Spezia in northwest Italy in April, U-77 departed the port for the initial portion of a two-part patrol on 6 June 1942. She sank the destroyer HMS Grove north of Sollum on the 12th. This was during Operation Vigorous, [a supply convoy to Malta].

The U-boat was unsuccessfully attacked by HMS Thrasher, a British T-class submarine, off what today is the Israeli coast on 4 July. (Note: there is some confusion over this incident as the U-boat's own page on 'uboat.net' also puts her further west on that day and does not mention an attack).

U-77 finished the patrol in Salamis on 9 July.

7th and 8th patrols[edit]

Departing Salamis on 16 July 1942, her only victory was the Greek sailing ship Vassilliki, which she sank with 10 rounds from the deck gun east of Cyprus on the 22nd.

In late August, the boat briefly moved to Pola (or Pula) in Croatia at the 'top' of the Adriatic, from where she sortied on 12 October 1942 before steaming to La Spezia once more on 1 November.

9th patrol[edit]

U-77 torpedoed the sloop HMS Stork on 12 November 1942 but was attacked by the corvettes HMS Lotus and Poppy the following day northeast of Algiers. The slightly damaged U-boat returned to La Spezia on 5 December.

10th patrol[edit]

U-77 sank two more ships - the Empire Banner and the Empire Webster, both on 7 February 1943 west of Algiers. She had departed La Spezia on 26 January and returned there on 10 February.

11th patrol and loss[edit]

German Military Cemetery in Cuacos de Yuste. In the foreground, the graves of two of members of the submarine crew. In 1983, all the German soldiers and sailors buried in Spain from the WWI and WWII were exhumed from their graves and buried in this cemetery. The corpses of the U-77 were taken from the cemetery of Alicante to their final resting place in Cuacos.

The boat departed La Spezia for the last time on 3 March 1943. On the 28th, she was sunk south of Cape Nao in Spain (off Calpe, in the province of Alicante)[2] by depth charges from two British Lockheed Hudsons of 48 and 233 Squadrons, RAF, based on Gibraltar.

38 men died; there were nine survivors.[2] They were rescued by a Spanish fishing vessel. The bodies of the dead sailors were recovered during the following days and buried in the cemetery of Alicante.

Summary of Raiding History[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[3]
13 June 1941 SS Tresillian  United Kingdom 4,743 Sunk
22 June 1941 SS Arakaka  United Kingdom 2,379 Sunk
25 June 1941 SS Anna Bulgaris Greece Greece 4,603 Sunk
15 December 1941 SS Empire Barracuda  United Kingdom 4,972 Sunk
12 January 1942 HMS Kimberley (F50)  Royal Navy 1,690 Damaged
12 June 1942 HMS Grove (L77)  Royal Navy 1,050 Sunk
22 July 1942 Vassiliki * Greece Greece 140 Sunk
24 July 1942 Toufic El Rahman * Syria Syria 30 Sunk
30 July 1942 Fany * Egypt Egypt 43 Sunk
1 August 1942 St. Simon * Egypt Egypt 100 Sunk
6 August 1942 Adnan * Egypt Egypt 155 Damaged
6 August 1942 Ezzet * Egypt Egypt 158 Sunk
10 August 1942 Kharouf * United Kingdom Palestine 158 Sunk
16 August 1942 Daniel * United Kingdom Palestine 100 Sunk
20 August 1942 Mahrous * Syria Syria 18 Sunk
12 November 1942 HMS Stork (L81)  Royal Navy 1,190 Damaged
7 February 1943 SS Empire Banner  United Kingdom 6,999 Sunk
7 February 1943 SS Empire Webster  United Kingdom 7,043 Sunk
16 March 1943 SS Hadleigh  United Kingdom 5,222 Total loss
16 March 1943 MV Merchant Prince  United Kingdom 5,229 Damaged

* Sailing vessel

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
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. 

External links[edit]