German submarine U-85 (1941)
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||9 June 1938|
|Builder:||Flender Werke, Lübeck|
|Laid down:||18 December 1939|
|Launched:||10 April 1941|
|Commissioned:||7 June 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by USS Roper, 14 April 1942|
|Class and type:||Type VIIB U-boat|
|Displacement:||753 t (741 long tons) surfaced
857 t (843 long tons) submerged
|Length:||66.5 m (218 ft 2 in) (o/a)
48.8 m (160 ft 1 in) (pressure hull)
|Beam:||6.2 m (20 ft 4 in)
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) (pressure hull)
|Draught:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 × supercharged MAN, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines totalling 2,800–3,200 shp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490 surfaced
2 × BBC GG UB 720/8-276 electric motors with 750 shp (560 kW) for 295 rpm submerged
|Speed:||17.9 knots (33.2 km/h; 20.6 mph) surfaced
8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
|Range:||9,700 nmi (18,000 km; 11,200 mi) at 10 knots surfaced
90 nautical miles (170 km; 100 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
|Test depth:||220 m (720 ft)
Crush depth: 230–250 m (750–820 ft)
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
|Part of:||3rd U-boat Flotilla
(7 June 1941–14 April 1942)
|Commanders:||Oblt.z.S. Eberhard Greger
(7 June 1941–14 April 1942)
28 August–18 September 1941
16 October–27 November 1941
8 January–23 February 1942
21 March–14 April 1942
|Victories:||Three commercial ships sunk (15,060 GRT)|
She was laid down at the Flender Werke in Lübeck on 18 December 1939 as yard number 281. Launched on 10 April 1941, she was commissioned on 7 June and assigned to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Eberhard Greger.
She docked at St. Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast on 18 September.
U-85 's second patrol started and finished in Lorient, but was unremarkable.
4th patrol and loss
Having left St. Nazaire on 21 March 1942, the u-boat probably sank the Chr. Knudson on 10 April. U-85 was herself sunk with all hands on 14 April off the United States coast near Cape Hatteras by gunfire from the US destroyer USS Roper. She was the first German U-boat loss of "Operation Drumbeat" (Paukenschlag), Germany's U-boat offensive off the eastern seaboard of the United States in 1942.
U-85 took part in four wolfpacks, namely.
- Markgraf (1–11 September 1941)
- Schlagetot (20 October – 1 November 1941)
- Raubritter (1–17 November 1941)
- Störtebecker (17–22 November 1941)
U-85 was operating within visual distance of Bodie Island Light at midnight on 13 April 1942 when Roper detected the submarine on British Type 286 radar at a range of 2,700 yards (2,500 m). The boat attempted to run south on the surface and fired her stern torpedo at Roper when the range closed to 700 yards. Roper evaded the torpedo and U-85 turned sharply to starboard when the range closed to 300 yards. Roper illuminated the U-boat with her searchlight and observed men on deck near the gun whose firing arc had just been cleared by the course change. Roper raked U-85 with machine gun fire and scored a hit with a 3"/50 caliber gun. She then dropped a pattern of 11 depth charges where U-85 had disappeared beneath the surface.
Numerous men were observed in the water, but no rescue attempt was made until daylight. By then, there were no survivors among the 29 bodies floating in life jackets. Some of the bodies were wearing civilian clothes, carrying wallets with United States currency and identification cards. The bodies were fingerprinted, photographed and buried in a night-time military ceremony at the Hampton National Cemetery. U-85 lies in less than 100 ft (30 m) of water; the United States Navy briefly attempted to salvage her. More recent investigation by sport divers has raised questions about Navy reports on the wreck.
The hatch of U-85 is on display in the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum; the submarine herself still serves as an attraction for divers. The Labrador current influences the site and visibility can be low. The majority of the debris lies within a 100 metres (330 ft) radius of the wreck.
The Enigma machine was recovered from the wreck by private divers (Jim Bunch, Roger & Rich Hunting) and in 2003 the German government agreed to allow the machine to be displayed at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, in Hatteras, North Carolina.
Summary of raiding career
|10 September 1941||Thistleglen||United Kingdom||4,748||Sunk|
|9 February 1942||Empire Fusilier||United Kingdom||5,408||Sunk|
|10 April 1942||Chr. Knudsen||Norway||4,904||Sunk|
- Gröner 1990, p. 71.
- Gröner 1990, p. 74.
- Rouse, Parke, Jr., "Under the Cloak of Night", United States Naval Institute Proceedings, June 1982, pp. 74–75
- Rouse suggests U-85 had been preparing to launch a raft of spies when discovered by Roper.
- Blair, Clay, Jr. Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939–1942 Random House (1996) p.543
- "Wreck of the U-85".
- Hoyt, JC (2009). "2008 Battle of the Atlantic Survey Methodology". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Miles Hadley, Naval Historical Center. Home Found for "Enigmatic" WW II U-boat Relic. 5 April 2003.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-85". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- 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.
- Bishop, Chris (2006). Kriegsmarine U-Boats, 1939–45. London: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-904687-96-2.*Hickam, Homer "Torpedo Junction" Naval Institute Press
- Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 18151945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4.
- Uboat Archive – U-85
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIB boat U-85". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Hofmann, Markus. "U 85". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- U-85 Crew List.[dead link]
- Hampton National Cemetery at Find a Grave