German submarine U-87 (1941)
U-87 breaking surface in rough sea off Heligoland
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||9 June 1938|
|Builder:||Flender Werke AG|
|Laid down:||18 April 1940|
|Launched:||21 June 1941|
|Commissioned:||19 August 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by Canadian warships, 4 March 1943|
|Class & type:||Type VIIB|
|Displacement:||753 tons surfaced
857 tons submerged
|Length:||Overall 66.6 m
pressure hull 48.8 m
|Beam:||Overall 6.2 m
pressure hull 4.7 m
|Propulsion:||two supercharged MAN, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totalling 2,800 – 3,200bhp(2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470–490.|
|Speed:||17.9 knots (33.2 km/h; 20.6 mph) surfaced<br8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged|
|Range:||surfaced 16,095 km
submerged: 175 km
|Test depth:||230 m (754 ft). Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–967 ft)|
|Complement:||44 to 48 officers and ratings|
|Armament:||5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes: 4 bow, 1 stern
14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) deck gun with 220 rounds
1 × C30 20 mm AA
|Part of:||6th U-boat Flotilla|
|Commanders:||Kptlt. Joachim Berger
(19 August 1941–4 March 1943)
24 December 1941–30 January 1942
22 February– 27 March 1942
19 May–8 July 1942
31 August–20 November 1942
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.
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 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.
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. On 22 June U-87 was damaged off Halifax Harbour by depth charges from Canadian Air Force 11 Squadron Lockheed Hudson aircraft. The boat was unable to continue the patrol, and returned to port on 8 July.
5th patrol and loss
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.
Summary of raiding history
|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|
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIB boat U-87 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-87 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
- Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942 (1996) Random House ISBN 0-394-58839-8 p.472
- Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942 (1996) Random House ISBN 0-394-58839-8 pp.551–552
- "SS Port Nicholson – Sunk Off Cape Cod in 1942, a $3 Billion Shipwreck?". The Old Salt Blog. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939–1942 (1996) Random House ISBN 0-394-58839-8 pp.602–603
- Blair, Clay Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted, 1942–1945 (1998) Random House ISBN 0-679-45742-9 p.69