German submarine U-87 (1941)

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U 87 Kriegsmarine.jpg
U-87 breaking surface in rough sea off Heligoland
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-87
Ordered: 9 June 1938
Builder: Flender Werke AG
Yard number: 283
Laid down: 18 April 1940
Launched: 21 June 1941
Commissioned: 19 August 1941
Fate: Sunk by Canadian warships, 4 March 1943
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIB submarine
Displacement: 753 tonnes (741 long tons) surfaced
857 t (843 long tons) submerged
Length: 66.6 m (218 ft 6 in) o/a
48.8 m (160 ft 1 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 × AEG GU 460/8-276 electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW). Max rpm: 295
Speed: 17.9 knots (33.2 km/h; 20.6 mph) surfaced
8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
Range: 9,400 nmi (17,400 km; 10,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
90 nmi (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
Armament: 4 × 53.3 cm (21 in) bow torpedo tubes
12 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) deck gun with 220 rounds
1 × C30 20 mm AA
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 6th U-boat Flotilla
Commanders: Kptlt. Joachim Berger
(19 August 1941–4 March 1943)
Operations: Five
1st patrol:
24 December 1941–30 January 1942
2nd patrol:
22 February– 27 March 1942
3rd patrol:
19 May–8 July 1942
4th patrol:
31 August–20 November 1942
5th patrol:
9 January–4 March 1943
Victories: Five ships sunk - 38,014 GRT

German submarine U-87 was a Type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 18 April 1940 at the Flender Werke (yard) at Lübeck as 'werk' 283 and launched on 21 June 1941. She was commissioned on 21 June under the command of Kapitänleutnant Joachim Berger. U-87 trained with 6th U-boat Flotilla until 1 December 1941, when she was put on front-line service.

U-87 sank five ships in her one-year career; she was a member of five wolfpacks.

She was sunk off the coast of Leixões in Portugal during her fifth combat patrol, in March 1943, by warships of the Canadian Navy.[1]

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-87 sailed from Kiel on 24 December 1941, and headed out into the Atlantic via the North Sea. On the evening of 31 December, the boat encountered the Cardita, which was straggling behind convoy HX-166, bound for Shellhaven. A single torpedo hit the vessel, resulting in the deaths of twenty-seven crew members. The thirty-three survivors were picked up on 3 January by HMS Onslow and HMS Sabre.

Meanwhile, U-87 completed her voyage around the British isles and crossed the Atlantic, where on 17 January, the submersible struck again. A Norwegian vessel, the Nyholt, was nearing the completion of convoy ON-52's journey from Reykjavík to New York. While passing the Newfoundland coast, the Nyholt was struck amidships after she left the safety of her convoy, which had been harassed by U-86 and U-553 over the previous two days. Attempting to divert further from their course to reach Newfoundland, U-87 reacted poorly to the movement and four subsequent torpedoes missed. Another two hits failed to sink the tanker, and U-87 was forced to surface for its crew to fire the deck gun as the ship's crew took to their lifeboats, not to be rescued for another nine days.

U-87 was damaged by gunfire from the tanker, and re-crossed the Atlantic, to arrive at La Pallice in France on 30 January 1942 after 38 days at sea.[3]

2nd patrol[edit]

U-87 sailed on 22 February 1942 for a second trip to the east coast of North America, but was held in the Western Approaches to support an attack by the German battleship Tirpitz on convoy PQ 12. Neither Tirpitz nor U-87 sank any ships; the submarine returned to France, but to St. Nazaire on 27 March.[4]

3rd patrol[edit]

U-87 sailed on 19 May 1942 and laid a field of 15 TMB mines off Boston. No ships were lost in the minefield; the Allies remained unaware of the mines until after the war. After reloading her tubes with torpedoes, U-87 sank the 8,400-ton British freighter SS Port Nicholson and the 5,900-ton American cargo liner Cherokee from convoy XB 25 on 15 June. Eighty-six military personnel drowned. The Port Nicholson was documented to be carrying about 1,707,000 troy ounces of platinum.[5] On 22 June U-87 was damaged off Halifax Harbour, by depth charges from Lockheed Hudson aircraft of 11 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force. The boat was unable to continue the patrol and returned to port on 8 July.[6]

4th patrol[edit]

U-87 sailed on 31 August 1942 to patrol off Freetown, where she sank the 7,400-ton British freighter Agapenor before docking in Brest on 20 November 1942.[7]

5th patrol and loss[edit]

U-87 sailed on 9 January 1943, and was sunk by depth charges from Canadian warships, the corvette HMCS Shediac and the destroyer HMCS St. Croix during an unsuccessful 4 March attack on convoy KMS 10G.[8]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
31 December 1941 Cardita  UK 8,237 Sunk
17 January 1942 Nyholt  Norway 8,087 Sunk
16 June 1942 Cherokee  USA 5,896 Sunk
16 June 1942 Port Nicholson  UK 8,402 Sunk
11 October 1942 Agapenor  UK 7,392 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIB boat U-87 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-87 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942 (1996) Random House ISBN 0-394-58839-8 p.472
  4. ^ Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942 (1996) Random House ISBN 0-394-58839-8 pp.551–552
  5. ^ "SS Port Nicholson – Sunk Off Cape Cod in 1942, a $3 Billion Shipwreck?". The Old Salt Blog. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942 (1996) Random House ISBN 0-394-58839-8 pp.602–603
  7. ^ Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted, 1942–1945 (1998) Random House ISBN 0-679-45742-9 p.69
  8. ^ The Type VIIB boat U-87 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net
Bibliography
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). "U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher". Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 III (Koblenz: Bernard&Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 41°36′N 13°31′W / 41.600°N 13.517°W / 41.600; -13.517