German submarine U-204

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-204
Ordered: 23 September 1939
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 663
Laid down: 22 April 1940
Launched: 23 January 1941
Commissioned: 8 March 1941
Fate: Sunk by British warships, 19 October 1941
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
  • 8 March – 1 May 1941
  • 1st U-boat Flotilla, Front (Operational) Boat
  • 1 May – 19 October 1941
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Walter Kell,
  • 8 March – 19 October 1941
Operations: Three patrols
Victories:
  • Four commercial ships sunk (17,360 GRT)
  • one warship sunk (1,060 tons)

German submarine U-204 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 22 April 1940 by the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 633, launched on 23 January 1941 and commissioned on 8 March under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Walter Kell.

She was sunk in October 1941 by British warships.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-204 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-204 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-204 carried out three patrols in the North Atlantic.

1st patrol[edit]

U-204's first patrol began when she left Kiel on 24 May 1941; she travelled through the gap between Greenland and Iceland (the Denmark Strait) and sank the Icelandic fishing boat Holsteinn with gunfire, south of Iceland on 31 May - Kell did not want news of the U-boat's presence to be broadcast. She then sank Mercier east of Newfoundland on 10 June. She docked at Brest in occupied France, on the 27th.

2nd patrol[edit]

Nearly a month passed before the boat sortied once again. On 2 August she spotted Allied convoy SL81 and called for support, when U-401 arrived the following day, they attacked together but without success.[4] On 18 Aug she joined a wolfpack searching for Convoy OG 71 and shortly after 0100 the next day she struck HNoMS Bath with two torpedo's into the starboard side of her engine room and causing the destroyer to sink within three minutes at about 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi) southwest of Ireland. Eighty four of Baths crew including her CO Lieutenant Commander Frederik Melsom were killed plus two others later died after rescue; the death toll was compounded by the fact that two depth charges exploded when the vessel went down.[5]

3rd patrol and loss[edit]

Having left Brest on 20 September 1941, she sank the Spanish sailing ship Aingeru Guardakoa with a single torpedo on 14 October, thinking she was a British submarine chaser. She then sank Inverlee on the 19th. On the same day, she fell victim to a British anti-submarine sweep from Gibraltar. She was sunk by depth charges from the corvette HMS Mallow and the sloop HMS Rochester.

Forty-six men died; there were no survivors.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-204 took part in three wolfpacks, namely.

  • West (5–16 June 1941)
  • Kurfürst (16–20 June 1941)
  • Breslau (5–19 October 1941)

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[6]
31 May 1941 Holsteinn  Iceland 16 Sunk
10 June 1941 Mercier  Belgium 7,886 Sunk
19 August 1941 HNoMS Bath  Royal Norwegian Navy 1,060 Sunk
14 October 1941 Aingeru Guardakoa  Spain 300 Sunk
19 October 1941 Inverlee  United Kingdom 9,158 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-204". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrols by U-204". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  4. ^ "HMS Wanderer (D74)". Naval-history.net. Retrieved 16 Jan 2013. 
  5. ^ Edwards (2009), p.22-23
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-204". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 
  • Edwards, Bernard (2009). The Cruel Sea Retold. South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84415-863-8. 
  • 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 VIIC boat U-204". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 204". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 9 December 2014. 

Coordinates: 35°46′N 6°02′W / 35.767°N 6.033°W / 35.767; -6.033