German submarine U-158 (1941)
U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
|Ordered:||25 September 1939|
|Builder:||DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||1 October 1940|
|Launched:||21 June 1941|
|Commissioned:||25 September 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk 30 June 1942, west of Bermuda, by a US aircraft|
|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 enlisted|
Her keel was laid down on 1 November 1940 by DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen as yard number 1000. She was commissioned on 25 September 1941, with Kapitänleutnant Erwin Rostin (Knights Cross) in command.
German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-158 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-158 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.
U-158 departed the German administered island of Helgoland, (sometimes spelt 'Heligoland'), for her first patrol on 7 February 1942. Her route took her north of the British Isles, through the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and into the Atlantic Ocean.
Her first victim was Empire Celt, sunk about 420 nmi (780 km; 480 mi) south southeast of St Johns on 24 February. The ship broke in two after being hit, the stern section was last seen on 4 March. In the same attack, the U-boat also damaged Diloma. This tanker was able to proceed under her own power at reduced speed. She was repaired in Baltimore and returned to service in June 1942.
The submarine then moved further down the US east coast. She sank another four ships and damaged one more, they were: Finnanger (1 March), Caribsea (11 March), John D. Gill (13 March), Olean (damaged on 15 March) and Ario (also on 15 March).
John D. Gill was another tanker; her cargo did not ignite on being hit by a torpedo. Instead, the surrounding water was turned into a blazing inferno by a seaman who subsequently threw a life ring overboard, its built-in carbide lamp had functioned. Almost half the crew died.
Having caused so much mayhem, the boat sailed for France, arriving at Lorient on 31 March 1942.
For her second foray, U-158 moved into the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico in May 1942. On the way she sank Darina about 500 nmi (930 km; 580 mi) east southeast of Bermuda on 4 May and Frank B. Baird on the 22nd.
Following the sinking of Knoxville City on 2 June, the survivors in their lifeboats declined an offer of help from Jamaica as they thought the German submarine was still nearby.
The Hermis, despite being hit by two torpedoes on the 7th, maintained a speed of eight knots due to the engines still running. The U-boat surfaced and shelled the ship. She was observed some twelve hours later with her stern out of the water; she eventually sank shortly afterward.
U-158 was sunk on 30 June 1942, west of the Bermudas, in position Coordinates: , by depth charges from a PBM Mariner aircraft commanded by Richard Schreder of United States Navy Squadron VP-74. None of her 54 crewmen on board survived the sinking.
Summary of raiding history
|24 February 1942||Diloma||United Kingdom||8,146||Damaged|
|24 February 1942||Empire Celt||United Kingdom||8,032||Sunk|
|1 March 1942||Finnager||Norway||9,551||Sunk|
|11 March 1942||Caribsea||United States||2,609||Sunk|
|13 March 1942||John D. Gill||United States||11,641||Sunk|
|15 March 1942||Ario||United States||6,952||Sunk|
|15 March 1942||Olean||United States||7,118||Damaged|
|20 May 1942||Darina||United Kingdom||8,113||Sunk|
|22 May 1942||Frank D. Baird||Canada||1,748||Sunk|
|2 June 1942||Knoxville City||United States||5,686||Sunk|
|4 June 1942||Nidarnes||Norway||2,647||Sunk|
|5 June 1942||Velma Lykes||United States||2,572||Sunk|
|7 June 1942||Hermis||Panama||5,234||Sunk|
|11 June 1942||Sheherazade||Panama||13,467||Sunk|
|12 June 1942||Cities Service Toledo||United States||8,192||Sunk|
|17 June 1942||Moira||Norway||1,560||Sunk|
|17 June 1942||San Blas||Panama||3,601||Sunk|
|23 June 1942||Major General Henry Gibbins||United States Navy||5,766||Sunk|
|23 June 1942||Everalda||Latvia||3,950||Sunk|
- Kemp 1999, p. 83.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-158". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Gröner 1991, p. 68.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-158". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "John D. Gill". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War patrols of German U-boat U-153". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-158". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- 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.
- Kemp, Paul (1999). Ships hit by U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.