German submarine U-214
|Ordered:||16 February 1940|
|Laid down:||5 October 1940|
|Launched:||18 September 1941|
|Commissioned:||1 November 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk, 26 July 1944, by a British warship|
|Class and type:||Type VIID submarine|
|Height:||9.70 m (31 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||5.01 m (16 ft 5 in)|
|Crew:||4 officers, 40 enlisted|
|Identification codes:||M 31 973|
Laid down on 5 October 1940 by Germaniawerft in Kiel, the boat was commissioned on 1 November 1941 with Kapitänleutnant Günther Reeder (Crew 35) in command. She trained with the 5th U-boat Flotilla from 1 November 1941 until 30 April 1942, and was then assigned to the 9th U-boat Flotilla from 1 May 1942. She was sunk on 26 July 1944 by a British warship.
The wreck of U-214 was found by the archaeologist Innes McCartney in 2006 at the location reported by the Allies after the war.
As one of the six German Type VIID submarines, U-214 had a displacement of 965 tonnes (950 long tons) when at the surface and 1,080 tonnes (1,060 long tons) while submerged. She had a total length of 76.90 m (252 ft 4 in), a pressure hull length of 59.80 m (196 ft 2 in), a beam of 6.38 m (20 ft 11 in), a height of 9.70 m (31 ft 10 in), and a draught of 5.01 m (16 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 supercharged four-stroke, six-cylinder 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 460/8-276 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 shaft horsepower (760 PS; 560 kW) 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).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 16–16.7 knots (29.6–30.9 km/h; 18.4–19.2 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 69 nautical miles (128 km; 79 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 11,200 nautical miles (20,700 km; 12,900 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-14 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), twelve torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and an anti-aircraft gun, in addition to five mine tubes with fifteen SMA mines. The boat had a complement of between forty-four.
1st and 2nd patrol
U-214 sailed from Kiel on 18 May 1942, arriving at Kristiansand in Norway on the 20th. She sailed the next day, heading for Brest in France. On 22 May while in the North Sea, she was attacked by an aircraft, and slightly damaged by three bombs. The U-boat arrived at Lorient, also in France, on 2 June, and sailed to Brest the next day.
Her second patrol began on 13 June, but on 16 June at 03:44, she was strafed, three depth charges were also dropped by a Leigh light-equipped aircraft in the Bay of Biscay. A second attack was fought off with her flak defenses, but the U-boat sustained damage which forced her to return to Lorient on 17 June.
Not until her third patrol did U-214 score a victory. On 9 August 1942 she sailed from Brest, and on 18 August attacked Convoy SL-118, west of Portugal, sinking the 6,318 ton Dutch cargo ship Balingkar and the 7,522 ton British cargo ship Hatarana. She also damaged the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cheshire (F18). She returned to Brest on 9 October after 62 days at sea.
4th and 5th patrols
U-214's fourth patrol took her to the Caribbean Sea where she attacked the 4,426 ton unescorted Polish merchant ship Paderewski with torpedoes 40 nautical miles (74 km; 46 mi) off Trinidad, before sinking her with gunfire. The U-boat returned to her homeport on 24 February 1943 after a voyage of 87 days.
U-214's fifth patrol was cut short when she was attacked on 7 May 1943 by a British Halifax bomber of 58 Squadron RAF in the Bay of Biscay, after only three days at sea. The U-boat crash-dived, suffering only minor damage, but her commander Kptlt. Günther Reeder was severely wounded, resulting in first Officer Oberleutnant zur See Rupprecht Stock (Crew IV/37) bringing the U-boat safely back to base.
Now under Stock's command, U-214 sailed from Brest on 18 May 1943, and headed for the coast of West Africa. There, on 20 June, the American 6,507 ton merchant ship Santa Maria struck a mine laid by U-214 five nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) west of Dakar, blowing off her bows. After abandoning ship, she was later re-boarded by her crew and towed to Dakar for repairs. The U-boat arrived back at Brest on 26 June.
U-214's seventh patrol took her to the waters off Panama. While outbound on 9 September, 92 nautical miles (170 km; 106 mi) south-west of Santa Maria, Azores, she was attacked by an American Grumman TBF Avenger aircraft from the escort carrier Croatan (CVE-25). The aircraft approached by radar and dropped four depth charges, but was damaged in the air intake and the bomb bay by the U-boat's flak. One depth charge hit the U-boat, but bounced off and exploded without damaging her.
On 8 October, five miles off Colón, U-214 laid a field of 15 mines. One of these may have sunk the United States Navy submarine USS Dorado (SS-248) on or about 14 October. On 12 October, the boat was attacked twice, but not damaged, by an aircraft of US Navy Patrol Squadron 210. U-214 returned home on 30 November after 101 days at sea. 
8th and 9th patrol
U-214's next patrol, from 19 February – 29 April 1944, took her south to the west African coast, but without success. The U-boat was then fitted with a schnorkel before returning to active service. U-214 headed north into the shallow waters of the English Channel on 11 June, under the command of the newly promoted Kapitänleutnant Stock, however she had no successes, and the patrol was curtailed after the U-boat was attacked by a British B-24 Liberator of 224 Squadron, sustaining damage which forced her to return to Brest on 2 July.
10th patrol and loss
U-214 sailed from Brest on 22 July 1944 under the command of 21-year-old Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Conrad (Crew XII/39), one of the youngest U-boat commanders of World War II. After only five days, on 26 July, the U-boat was sunk in the English Channel at Coordinates: by depth charges from the Captain-class frigate HMS Cooke. All 48 hands were lost.
U-214 took part in two wolfpacks, namely.
- Blücher (14–28 August 1942)
- Iltis (6–23 September 1942)
Summary of raiding history
|Date||Ship Name||Nationality||Tonnage[Note 1]||Fate|
|18 August 1942||Balingkar||Netherlands||6,318||Sunk|
|18 August 1942||Hatarana||United Kingdom||7,522||Sunk|
|18 August 1942||HMS Cheshire||Royal Navy||10,552||Damaged|
|30 December 1942||Paderwski||Poland||4,426||Sunk|
|20 June 1943||Santa Maria||United States||6,507||Damaged (Mine)|
|14 October 1943||USS Dorado||United States Navy||1,525||Sunk (mine)|
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- McCartney, Innes (2002). Lost Patrols: Submarine Wrecks of the English Channel.
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