German submarine U-129 (1941)
U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
|Ordered:||7 August 1939|
|Builder:||DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen|
|Laid down:||30 July 1940|
|Launched:||28 February 1941|
|Commissioned:||21 May 1941|
|Fate:||Taken out of service at Lorient 4 July 1944; scuttled on 18 August, raised and broken up, 1946|
|Class and type:||Type IXC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)|
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 44 enlisted48 to 56|
|Victories:||29 commercial ships sunk (143,748 GRT)|
German submarine U-129 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down at the AG Weser yard, Bremen as yard number 992 on 30 July 1940, launched on 28 February 1941 and was commissioned on 21 May with Kapitänleutnant Nicolai Clausen in command.
She sank 29 ships, a total of 143,748 gross register tons (GRT), on ten patrols.
German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-129 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. 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).
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). 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-129 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.
1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols
The boat's first patrol involved her departure from Horten, crossing the North Sea and entering the Atlantic Ocean by passing close to the Faroe Islands on the Icelandic side. She arrived at Lorient (where she would be based for most of her career), in occupied France on 30 August 1941.
Her third patrol was further south, as far south as a similar latitude to Rio de Janeiro, but success continued to elude her.
Things improved dramatically when as part of Operation Drumbeat, she attacked Nordvangen on 20 February; this ship sank in one minute northeast of Trinidad. Staying in the West Indies / northern South America region, she sank another six vessels.
5th and 6th patrols
The submarine returned to her sunshine haunts; included in the toll was Hardwicke Grange, which was sunk with torpedoes and the deck gun north of Puerto Rico on 12 June 1942. She also sank Millinrocket on 17 June off La Isabela, Cuba and a ship from the Soviet Union, Tuapse, in the Gulf of Mexico on 4 July.
7th, 8th and 9th patrols
Patrol number seven saw ships such as the Melbourne Star and Panam consigned to the deep. On the return journey U129 was refuelling from the 'milk cow' supply submarine U-459 when two men were swept overboard. One was recovered fairly swiftly but the other could not be found. Her eighth patrol was west of the Canary Islands and produced no results.
U-129's ninth patrol was divided into two; she departed Lorient on 9 October 1943, but put into Saint-Nazaire on the 11th. A day later she headed for the US east coast, sinking Libertad on 4 December off North Carolina.
The boat began her last operation which at 111 days, was her longest, on 22 March 1944. Steaming south, she encountered Anadyr about 600 nmi (1,100 km; 690 mi) south southeast of Recife in Brazil and sank her.
The boat was taken out of service at Lorient 4 July 1944; she was scuttled on 18 August. She was raised and broken up in 1946.
Summary of raiding history
|20 February 1942||Nordvangen||Norway||2,400||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||George L. Torian||Canada||1,754||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||Lennox||Canada||1,904||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||West Zeda||United States||5,658||Sunk|
|28 February 1942||Bayou||Panama||2,605||Sunk|
|3 March 1942||Mary||United States||5,104||Sunk|
|7 March 1942||Steel Age||United States||6,188||Sunk|
|10 June 1942||L. A. Christensen||Norway||4,362||Sunk|
|12 June 1942||Hardwick Grange||United Kingdom||9,005||Sunk|
|17 June 1942||Millinrocket||United States||3,274||Sunk|
|27 June 1942||Las Choapas||Mexico||2,005||Sunk|
|27 June 1942||Tuxpam||Mexico||7,008||Sunk|
|1 July 1942||Taspe||Soviet Union||6,320||Sunk|
|12 July 1942||Tachirá||United States||2,325||Sunk|
|19 July 1942||Port Antonio||Norway||1,266||Sunk|
|23 July 1942||Onodaga||United States||2,309||Sunk|
|16 October 1942||Trafalgar||Norway||5,542||Sunk|
|23 October 1942||Reuben Tipton||United States||6,829||Sunk|
|30 October 1942||West Kebar||United States||5,620||Sunk|
|5 November 1942||Astrell||Norway||7,595||Sunk|
|5 November 1942||Meton||United States||7,027||Sunk|
|2 April 1943||Melbourne Star||United Kingdom||12,806||Sunk|
|24 April 1943||Santa Catalina||United States||6,507||Sunk|
|4 May 1943||Panam||Panama||7,277||Sunk|
|4 December 1943||Libertad||Cuba||5,441||Sunk|
|6 May 1944||Anadyr||United Kingdom||5,278||Sunk|
|11 May 1944||Empire Heath||United Kingdom||6,643||Sunk|
- Gröner 1991, p. 68.
- Gannon, Michael Operation Drumbeat – the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II, 1990, Harper and Row, ISBN 0-06-016155-8, pp. 129, 489
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- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-129". WWII U-boat Successes - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- 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.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-129". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Hofmann, Markus. "U 129". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 7 December 2014.