German submarine U-862

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Career (Germany)
Name: U-862
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1068
Laid down: 15 August 1942
Launched: 8 June 1943
Commissioned: 7 October 1943
Fate: Taken over by Japan, 6 May 1945
Career (Japan)
Name: I-502
Acquired: 6 May 1945
Commissioned: 15 July 1945
Fate: Surrendered, August 1945
Scuttled, 13 February 1946
General characteristics
Type: Type IXD2 submarine
Displacement: 1,610 t (1,580 long tons) surfaced
1,799 t (1,771 long tons) submerged
Length: 87.6 m (287 ft 5 in) o/a
68.5 m (224 ft 9 in) pressure hull
Beam: 7.5 m (24 ft 7 in) o/a
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 10.2 m (33 ft 6 in)
Draft: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 20.8 knots (38.5 km/h) surfaced
6.9 knots (12.8 km/h) submerged
Range: 12,750 nmi (23,610 km; 14,670 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
213 nautical miles (394 km; 245 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 55 to 63
Armament: 6 × torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)
22 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedoes
1 × Utof 105 mm/45 deck gun (110 rounds)
AA guns
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 4th U-boat Flotilla
(7 October 1943–30 April 1944)
12th U-boat Flotilla
(1 May–30 September 1944)
33rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 October 1944–6 May 1945)
Commanders: KrvKpt. Heinrich Timm
(7 October 1943–8 May 1945)
Operations: 1st patrol: 3 June–9 September 1944
2nd patrol: 18 November 1944–15 February 1945
Victories: 7 commercial ships sunk (42,374 GRT)

German submarine U-862 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. After Germany's surrender in May 1945, U-862 put into Singapore and was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy under the name I-502.[1]

U-862 was laid down on 15 August 1942 by AG Weser of Bremen. She was commissioned on 7 October 1943 with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Timm in command. Timm commanded U-862 for her entire career in the Kriegsmarine, receiving a promotion to Korvettenkapitän on 1 July 1944. U-862 conducted two patrols, sinking seven ships totalling 42,374 tons.[1]

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-862 was one of the most travelled of all U-boats. She sailed from Germany in May 1944 and eventually reached Penang, in Japanese-controlled Malaya, in September 1944. Penang was the base for the 33rd U-boat Flotilla, code-named Monsun Gruppe ("Monsoon Group").

On the way there, she launched a T5/G7es Zaunkönig I acoustic homing torpedo at a tanker. The Zaunkönig came around full circle to home in on U-862. Only an emergency crash dive saved the U-boat from her own torpedo. She also shot down an Allied PBY Catalina aircraft H of RAF 265 squadron on 20 August 1944 and then escaped an intense search for her. She sank several merchant ships in the Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar.

2nd patrol[edit]

U-862 departed for her second war patrol from Batavia in the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies in December 1944. She sailed down the west coast of Australia, across the Great Australian Bight, around the southern coast of Tasmania and then north towards Sydney where she sank the U.S.-registered Liberty ship Robert J. Walker on 25 December 1944. She then travelled around New Zealand and entered the port of Napier at night undetected.[3] This has given birth to an urban legend in New Zealand, where it is said that the captain of the U-862 sent sailors ashore at night to steal fresh milk from a farm. This may arise from a joke made by Captain Timm to Air Vice Marshal Sir Rochford Hughes in the late 1950s.[4] U862's voyage to New Zealand was portrayed in a stage comedy U Boat Down Under which was written and directed by Peter Tait and performed at Downstage Theatre, Wellington from 27 July to 5 Augusut 2006.[5]

U-862 then returned to the Indian Ocean. On 6 February 1945, about 1,520 km (820 nm) south-west of Fremantle, U-862 sank the U.S.-registered Liberty ship, Peter Silvester, which was loaded with mules bound for Burma.

U-862 was also a trial boat for the FuMo 65 Hohentwiel radar system. This was cranked out of a casing on the port side of the conning tower and rose on a mast. The aerial was hand trained onto targets whilst the U-boat was at the surface. The radar had a range up to 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi) and was very effective where there was little risk from air attack on the U-boat.

Transfer to Japan[edit]

When Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, she put into Singapore and was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy. On 15 July 1945 she became the IJN submarine I-502. The I-502 surrendered at Singapore in August 1945 and was scuttled in the Strait of Malacca at 03°05′N 100°38′E / 3.083°N 100.633°E / 3.083; 100.633Coordinates: 03°05′N 100°38′E / 3.083°N 100.633°E / 3.083; 100.633 on 13 February 1946.[1]

The German crew of U-862 suffered no casualties, and some returned to Germany several years after the war. Others who were interned at Kinmel Camp, Bodelwyddan, North Wales, remained in Wales and settled in the neighbouring communities of Rhyl, Rhuddlan and Prestatyn, due to the risks of returning to the Soviet occupied areas of Germany after the war. Two of the crew are buried at the new cemetery at Rhuddlan, North Wales, on nearby plots.

Raiding career[edit]

Date Ship name Nationality Tonnage (GRT) Position Deaths Cargo & passengers
25 July 1944 Robin Goodfellow  United States 6,885 20°03′S 14°21′W / 20.050°S 14.350°W / -20.050; -14.350 68
(no survivors)
8,602 tons of chrome ore
13 August 1944 Radbury  United Kingdom 3,614 24°20′S 41°45′E / 24.333°S 41.750°E / -24.333; 41.750 23 4-5,000 tons of coal
16 August 1944 Empire Lancer  United Kingdom 7,037 15°00′S 44°00′E / 15.000°S 44.000°E / -15.000; 44.000 42 2,000 tons of copper
1,000 tons of military stores
18 August 1944 Nairung  United Kingdom 5,414 15°00′S 42°00′E / 15.000°S 42.000°E / -15.000; 42.000 92
(no survivors)
General cargo, including ammunition
19 August 1944 Wayfarer  United Kingdom 5,068 14°30′S 42°20′E / 14.500°S 42.333°E / -14.500; 42.333 51 3,000 tons of copper
2,000 tons of coal
24 December 1944 Robert J. Walker  United States 7,180 36°35′S 150°43′E / 36.583°S 150.717°E / -36.583; 150.717 2 Ballast
6 February 1945 Peter Silvester  United States 7,176 34°19′S 99°37′E / 34.317°S 99.617°E / -34.317; 99.617 33 2,700 tons of US Army supplies
317 mules
107 soldiers

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d "The Type IXD2 boat U-862 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "War Patrols by German U-boat U-862 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  3. ^ According to U-Boat Far from Home, U-862 entered Gisborne Port - not Napier
  4. ^ Stevens, David (1997). U-Boat Far from Home. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-267-2. 
  5. ^ http://www.theatreview.org.nz/reviews/review.php?id=293
Bibliography

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