German submarine U-731

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-731
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Laid down: 1 October 1941
Launched: 25 July 1942
Commissioned: 3 October 1942
Fate: Sunk 15 May 1944 near Tangier by British patrol vessels
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement:
  • 769 t (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) (o/a)
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) (pressure hull)
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 bhp) (diesels)
  • 750 PS (550 kW; 740 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
  • 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth:
  • 230 m (750 ft)
  • Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament:
Service record
Identification codes: M 50 791
Commanders:
  • Oblt.z.S. Werner Techand
  • Oblt.z.S. Alexander Graf von Keller
Operations: 4 war patrols
Victories: no ships sunk

German submarine U-731 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 1 October 1941 at the Schichau-Werke yard at Danzig, launched on 25 July 1942, and commissioned on 3 October 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Werner Techand.

Attached to 8th U-boat Flotilla based at Kiel, U-731 completed her training period on 30 April 1943 and was assigned to front-line service.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-731 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[1] 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 AEG GU 460/8–27 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).[1]

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).[1] 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-731 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 an anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[1]

Service history[edit]

On the fourth and final war patrol, U-731 was detected on 15 May 1944 by two Catalinas, P-14 and P-1, of VP-63 off Tangiers, when the U-boat tried to force the Strait of Gibraltar. Two British patrol craft, HMS Kilmarnock and HMS Blackfly, received reports of the U-boat and attacked with hedgehogs. U-731 was sunk in position 35°54′N 5°45′W / 35.900°N 5.750°W / 35.900; -5.750Coordinates: 35°54′N 5°45′W / 35.900°N 5.750°W / 35.900; -5.750; all 54 crew members perished in the attack.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  2. ^ Busch, Röll 1999, p. 236.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]