German submarine U-173

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U-505chicago.jpg
U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-173
Ordered: 23 December 1939
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1013
Laid down: 21 December 1940
Launched: 11 August 1941
Commissioned: 15 November 1941
Fate: Sunk, 16 November 1942[1]
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:
  • F.Kapt. Heinz-Ehler Beuke
    • 15 November 1941 – October 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Hans-Adolf Schweichel
    • October 1942 – 16 November 1942
Operations: Two
Victories:
  • One auxiliary warship sunk, of (9,359 GRT)
  • two auxiliary warships damaged, (18,285 tons)
  • one warship damaged, (1,630 tons)

German submarine U-173 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She was laid down at the DeSchiMAG AG Weser yard in Bremen as yard number 1013, launched on 11 August 1941 and commissioned on 15 November with Fregattenkapitän Heinz-Ehler Beuke in command.

U-173 began her service career with training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla. She was reassigned to the 2nd flotilla for operations on 1 July 1942.

Design[edit]

German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-173 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.[2] 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).[2]

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).[2] 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-173 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) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[2]

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

The boat departed Kiel on 15 June 1942, moved through the North Sea and negotiated the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She crossed the Atlantic Ocean and entered the Caribbean Sea. She entered Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 20 September.

2nd patrol[edit]

The submarine attempted the disruption of the Operation Torch landings (the invasion of North Africa) on 11 November 1942. She attacked convoy UGF-1 which was at anchor in Fedhala Roads. She hit three ships, sinking the USS Joseph Hewes and damaging two more. One of the damaged vessels, the destroyer USS Hambleton, was towed to nearby Casablanca where Seabees cut the ship in two, removed about forty feet of hull, then joined the two halves together again; she survived the war.

A few days later and further north, U-173 torpedoed but did not sink, the USS Electra, on 15 November. This vessel also survived the war, not being broken up until 1974.

Loss[edit]

The boat was sunk by depth charges from the American destroyers Woolsey, Swanson, and Quick in the Atlantic Ocean off Casablanca (33°40′N 7°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583Coordinates: 33°40′N 7°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583) on 16 November 1942.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[3]
11 November 1942 USS Hambleton  United States Navy 1,630 Damaged
11 November 1942 USS Joseph Hewes  United States Navy 9,359 Sunk
11 November 1942 USS Winooski  United States Navy 10,172 Damaged
15 November 1942 USS Electra  United States Navy 8,113 Damaged

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 96.
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-173". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 

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. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]

  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 173". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-173". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.