German submarine U-381
|Ordered:||16 October 1939|
|Builder:||Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel|
|Laid down:||26 April 1941|
|Launched:||14 January 1942|
|Commissioned:||25 February 1942|
|Fate:||Went missing south of Greenland, May 1943|
|Class and type:||Type VIIC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
German submarine U-381 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She failed to return in May 1943 and was declared missing in unknown circumstances.
The boat was laid down on 26 April 1941 at the Howaldtswerke in Kiel as yard number 12, launched on 14 January 1942 and commissioned on 25 February; Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm-Heinrich Graf von Pückler und Limburg was her CO throughout her career.
She did not sink any ships.
Sunk by HMS Duncan (escorting convoy SC130 Halifax to Liverpool) commanded by Captain Peter Gretton. [source: The Battle of the Atlantic by Jonathan Dimbleby, 2015 (Penguin Books) Chpt20]
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-381 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. She had a total length of 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 50.50 m (165 ft 8 in), a beam of 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 four-stroke, six-cylinder supercharged diesel engines producing a total of 2,800 to 3,200 metric horsepower (2,060 to 2,350 kW; 2,760 to 3,160 shp) for use while surfaced, two Garbe, Lahmeyer & Co. RP 137/c double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-381 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), fourteen torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
U381's first sortie took her from Kiel to a point three-quarters of the way across the Atlantic before steaming empty-handed to St. Nazaire in France.
Her next patrol was no better, starting and finishing in St. Nazaire between 19 December 1942 and 19 February 1943, (a total of 63 days at sea). She was unsuccessfully attacked on the return leg west of Portugal by a Catalina flying boat of No. 202 Squadron RAF.
3rd patrol and loss
U-381's third patrol ended abruptly after 52 days when she was sunk with the loss of all hands on 21 May 1943 (probably). She was lost in mid-Atlantic (south of Greenland) through unknown circumstances.
U-381 took part in nine wolfpacks, namely.
- Panther (11–20 October 1942)
- Veilchen (20 October – 5 November 1942)
- Delphin (26 December 1942 – 14 February 1943)
- Adler (11–13 April 1943)
- Meise (13–27 April 1943)
- Star (27 April – 4 May 1943)
- Fink (4–6 May 1943)
- Inn (11–15 May 1943)
- Donau 1 (15–21 May 1943)
- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6.
- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German). IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2.
- Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. Cassell Military Classics. p. 212. ISBN 0-304-35203-9.
- Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-381". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 December 2014.