German submarine U-202

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-202
Ordered: 23 September 1939
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 631
Laid down: 18 March 1940
Launched: 10 February 1941
Commissioned: 22 March 1941
Fate: Sunk by depth charges, 2 June 1943 from a British warship
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement:
  • 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 bhp) (diesels)
  • 750 PS (550 kW; 740 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Range:
  • 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth:
  • 230 m (750 ft)
  • Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament:
Service record[1][2]
Part of:
  • 1st U-boat Flotilla, Training
  • 22 March – 1 June 1941
  • 1st U-boat Flotilla, Front (Operational) Boat
  • 1 June 1941 – 17 February 1943
Identification codes: M 38859
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Hans-Heinz Linder
  • 22 March 1941 — 1 September 1942
  • Kptlt. Günter Poser
  • 2 September 1942 — 2 June 1943
Operations:
  • Nine patrols
  • 1st patrol: 17 June – 23 July 1941
  • 2nd patrol: 11 August – 17 September 1941
  • 3rd patrol: 16 October – 13 November 1941
  • 4th patrol: 13–27 December 1941
  • 5th patrol: 1 March – 26 April 1942
  • 6th patrol: 27 Mary – 25 July 1942
  • 7th patrol: 6 September – 25 October 1942
  • 8th patrol: 12 January – 26 March 1942
  • 9th patrol: 29 April – 2 June 1943
Victories:
  • 9 commercial ships sunk for 34,615 GRT
  • 4 commercials ships damaged (35,427 GRT)

German submarine U-202 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 18 March 1940 by the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 631, launched on 10 February 1941, and commissioned on 22 March under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hans-Heinz Linder.

She sank nine ships totalling 34,615 gross register tons (GRT) and damaged four more totalling 35,427 GRT.

She was sunk on 2 June 1943 in the North Atlantic by depth charges and gunfire from a British warship. 18 men died, there were 30 survivors.[1]

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-202 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[3] She had a total length of 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 50.50 m (165 ft 8 in), a beam of 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 four-stroke, six-cylinder supercharged diesel engines producing a total of 2,800 to 3,200 metric horsepower (2,060 to 2,350 kW; 2,760 to 3,160 shp) for use while surfaced, two AEG GU 460/8–27 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[3]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph).[3] When submerged, the boat could operate for 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-202 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), fourteen torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and an anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[3]

Service history[edit]

Part of the 1st U-boat Flotilla, U-202 conducted nine patrols in the North Atlantic, the last three under the command of Kptlt. Günter Poser; she was a member of ten wolfpacks.

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

U-202's first patrol began when she left Kiel on 17 June 1941; it passed without incident and concluded with her entry into Brest in France on 23 July after 37 days at sea.

She had more success on her second outing; departing Brest on 11 August, attacking and sinking two ships east of Greenland and south of Iceland before returning to Brest on 17 September 1941.

Her third patrol, beginning on 16 October, which was also successful, saw the destruction of the British-registered Flynderborg and Gretavale northeast of Newfoundland. She returned to her French base on 13 November, after a voyage of 29 days.

4th, 5th and 6th patrols[edit]

The submarine's fourth sortie was towards the Moroccan coast. U-202 left Brest on 13 December 1941. She returned empty-handed on 27 December.

Her fifth patrol produced better results, damaging the British ships Athelviscount about 600 nmi (1,100 km; 690 mi) east southeast of Halifax on 22 March 1942 and sinking Loch Don about 500 nmi (930 km; 580 mi) north northeast of Bermuda on 1 April. This patrol was from 1 March to 26 April, a total of 57 days.

Argentine merchant ship Rio Tercero, sunk by the U-202

Her sixth foray, commencing on 27 May, was also successful. On 12 June she landed four saboteurs at Amagansett, New York, on Long Island, as part of Operation Pastorius. The Argentinian Rio Tercero went to the bottom about 120 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) off New York on 22 June, followed by the American City of Birmingham about 250 nmi (460 km; 290 mi) east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on 1 July. The U-boat reached Brest on 25 July, after 60 days.

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

The boat's seventh patrol took in the northern coast of South America, leaving Brest on 6 September 1942. Things did not go well; U-202 was attacked by British aircraft on 8 September while still in the Bay of Biscay and again on 29 September southeast of Trinidad. Although damaged, the U-boat continued her patrol, sinking two ships before returning to base on 25 October.

She sank one ship and damaged three others after commencing her eighth patrol on 12 January 1943. She was attacked south of the Azores on 23 February. The U-boat returned to Brest on 26 March after 74 days away.

Her ninth and final sortie began on 29 April 1943 and came to an end when she was sunk on 2 June 1943.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-202 took part in ten wolfpacks, namely,

  • Grönland (17–27 August 1941)
  • Markgraf (27 August – 11 September 1941)
  • Schlagetot (20 October – 1 November 1941)
  • Raubritter (1–5 November 1941)
  • Delphin (20 January – 9 February 1943)
  • Rochen (9–28 February 1943)
  • Tümmler (1–19 March 1943)
  • Without name (5–10 May 1943)
  • Lech (10–15 May 1943)
  • Donau 2 (15–26 May 1943)

Sinking[edit]

U-202 was detected by 'HF/DF' (radio detection equipment) of ships in the Second Support Group (headed by the British sloop HMS Starling commanded by Captain FJ Walker RN), when she transmitted a daily report. On closing the range, the surface ships found the U-boat with ASDIC (sonar) and attacked. Despite much evasive action, the submarine could not shake off her pursuers. After many hours, U-202 was forced to the surface, where she was engaged by Starling's guns. A volley of depth charges followed which seemed to lift the U-boat out of the water before she sank.

It was a textbook attack that pleased Walker enough to signal 'splice the mainbrace' (issue rum) in celebration.[4]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage (GRT) Fate[5]
27 August 1941 Ladylove  United Kingdom 230 Sunk
11 September 1941 Scania  Sweden 1,999 Sunk
3 November 1941 Flynderborg  United Kingdom 2,022 Sunk
3 November 1941 Gretavale  United Kingdom 4,586 Sunk
22 March 1942 Athelviscount  United Kingdom 8,882 Damaged
1 April 1942 Loch Don  United Kingdom 5,249 Sunk
22 June 1942 Rio Tercero  Argentina 4,864 Sunk
1 July 1942 City of Birmingham  United States 5,861 Sunk
1 October 1942 Achilles  Netherlands 1,815 Sunk
23 February 1943 British Fortitude  United Kingdom 8,482 Damaged
23 February 1943 Empire Norseman  United Kingdom 9,811 Damaged
23 February 1943 Esso Baton Rouge  United States 7,989 Sunk
23 February 1943 Murena  Netherlands 8,252 Damaged

Portrayal in media[edit]

At least three books have been written about the 1942 raid, the 1959 book Eight Spies against America by John Dasch, the 1961 book They Came to Kill by Eugene Rachlis, and the 2004 book "Saboteurs:The Nazi Raid on America," by Michael Dobbs.[6][7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-202". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-202". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  4. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 122.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-202". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Zeiler, Thomas. A Companion to World War II. Wiley. p. 485. ISBN 1118325044. 
  7. ^ "Review: They Came to Kill". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Dobbs, Michael (2005). Saboteurs : the Nazi raid on America (1st Vintage Books ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 1400030420. 

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]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-202". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 202". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 9 December 2014. 

Coordinates: 56°12′N 39°52′W / 56.200°N 39.867°W / 56.200; -39.867