German submarine U-128 (1941)

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U-128 17-5-43.jpg
Air attack on U-128
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-128
Ordered: 7 August 1939
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen
Laid down: 10 July 1940
Launched: 20 February 1941
Commissioned: 12 May 1941 by Ulrich Heyse
Fate: Sunk, 17 May 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXC submarine
Displacement:
  • 1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in) o/a
  • 4.40 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Range:
  • 13,450 nmi (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Armament:

German submarine U-128 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was sunk 17 May 1943, by American action.

Design[edit]

German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-128 had a displacement of 1,120 tonnes (1,100 long tons) when at the surface and 1,232 tonnes (1,213 long tons) while submerged.[1] The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 metric horsepower (740 kW; 990 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 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 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph).[1] When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,450 nautical miles (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-128 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[1]

Service history[edit]

Ordered on 7 August 1939 from DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen, U-128 was laid down on 10 July 1940, launched on 20 February 1941 and commissioned by Kapitänleutnant Ulrich Heyse on 12 May 1941.

The boat was a training vessel in the second flotilla until 30 November 1941 based in Wilhelmshaven. She was then based in Lorient.

During her six completed war patrols, U-128 sank 12 ships, for a total of 83,639 tons. On 1 March 1943 command was transferred to Kptlt. Hermann Steinert, who commanded her until her loss a few months later.

Fate[edit]

On 17 May 1943, while operating in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco, two Mariner flying boats, PBM 74-P5 and PBM-74-P6 of the US Navy Patrol Squadron VP-74, made U-128 surface with depth charges. Two US Navy destroyers (USS Jouett and Moffett) also hit her with 5-inch gunfire. The crew opened the submarine's seacocks as they abandoned ship, scuttling the submarine. The final toll was seven dead but there were 47 survivors.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Position Deaths
19 February 1942 Pan Massachusetts  United States 8,202 28°27′N 80°08′W / 28.450°N 80.133°W / 28.450; -80.133 20
22 February 1942 Cities Service Empire  United States 8,103 28°25′N 80°02′W / 28.417°N 80.033°W / 28.417; -80.033 14
5 March 1942 O.A. Knudsen  Norway 11,007 26°17′N 75°50′W / 26.283°N 75.833°W / 26.283; -75.833 2
13 May 1942 Denpark  United Kingdom 3,491 22°28′N 28°10′W / 22.467°N 28.167°W / 22.467; -28.167 21
8 June 1942 South Africa  Norway 9,234 12°47′N 49°44′W / 12.783°N 49.733°W / 12.783; -49.733 6
21 June 1942 West Ira  United States 5,681 12°28′N 57°05′W / 12.467°N 57.083°W / 12.467; -57.083 1
23 June 1942 Andrea Brøvig  Norway 10,173 12°10′N 59°10′W / 12.167°N 59.167°W / 12.167; -59.167 0
27 June 1942 Polybius  United States 7,041 10°55′N 57°40′W / 10.917°N 57.667°W / 10.917; -57.667 10
8 November 1942 Maloja  Norway 6,400 11°58′N 27°08′W / 11.967°N 27.133°W / 11.967; -27.133 2
10 November 1942 Cerinthus  United Kingdom 3,878 12°27′N 27°45′W / 12.450°N 27.750°W / 12.450; -27.750 20
10 November 1942 Start Point  United Kingdom 5,293 13°12′N 27°27′W / 13.200°N 27.450°W / 13.200; -27.450 2
5 December 1942 Teesbank  United Kingdom 5,136 03°33′N 29°35′W / 3.550°N 29.583°W / 3.550; -29.583 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 
  • 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]

  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 128". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-128". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 

Coordinates: 10°00′00″N 35°34′59″W / 10.000°N 35.583°W / 10.000; -35.583