German submarine U-129 (1941)

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U-505chicago.jpg
U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-129
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
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 enlisted48 to 56
Armament:
Service record
Part of:
Commanders:
Operations:
  • 1st patrol:
  • 3–30 August 1941
  • 2nd patrol:
  • 27 September – 8 October 1941
  • 3rd patrol:
  • 21 October 1941 – 28 December 1941
  • 4th patrol:
  • 25 January – 5 April 1942
  • 5th patrol:
  • 20 May – 21 August 1942
  • 6th patrol:
  • 28 September 1942 – 6 January 1943
  • 7th patrol:
  • 11 March – 29 May 1943
  • 8th patrol:
  • 27 July – 9 September
  • 9th patrol:
  • 9–11 October 1943; then 12 October – 31 January 1944
  • 10th patrol:
  • 22 March 1944 – 19 July 1944
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.

Her service life began with training in the 4th U-boat Flotilla; she moved to the 2nd Flotilla for operations on 1 July 1941.

She sank 29 ships, a total of 143,748 gross register tons (GRT), on ten patrols.

Design[edit]

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.[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-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.[1]

Service history[edit]

She made the short journey from Kiel, arriving in Horten Naval Base in Norway on 24 July 1941.

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

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 second sortie saw her cross the Bay of Biscay to a point north of the Azores.

Her third patrol was further south, as far south as a similar latitude to Rio de Janeiro, but success continued to elude her.

4th patrol[edit]

Things improved dramatically when as part of Operation Drumbeat,[2] 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[edit]

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.

Her sixth patrol included the sinking of Trafalgar about 1,100 nmi (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of Guadeloupe on 16 October 1942 and West Kebar some 350 nmi (650 km; 400 mi) northeast of Barbados.

7th, 8th and 9th patrols[edit]

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.[3] 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.

10th patrol[edit]

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.

Fate[edit]

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[edit]

Date[4] Name flagcountry Tonnage Fate
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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-129". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-129". WWII U-boat Successes - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

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]

  • 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. 

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