German submarine U-230

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Nazi Germany
Name: U-230
Ordered: 7 December 1940
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Laid down: 25 November 1941
Launched: 10 September 1942
Commissioned: 24 October 1942
Fate: Blown up by her crew August 1944 when the Allies landed near Toulon, France[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: Type VIIC submarine
  • 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
  • 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)
Draft: 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)
  • 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

U-230 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

She was laid down on 25 November 1941 at the Krupp yard in Kiel as yard number 600, launched on 10 September and commissioned on 24 October 1942 with Kapitänleutnant Paul Siegmann in command. Her First Officer, during her first three war patrols, was Herbert Werner, author of the best-selling book Iron Coffins. She carried out three patrols and was a member of three wolfpacks before moving to the Mediterranean. She was scuttled there by her crew when the Allies landed near Toulon, France in August 1944.[1]


German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-230 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[2] 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).[2]

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).[2] 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-230 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.[2]

Service history[edit]

First patrol[edit]

U-230‍ '​s initial sortie began on 4 February 1943, when she left Kiel, arriving at Bergen on 9th; she departed from Bergen on 11 February[3] for a war patrol east of Newfoundland with group Burggraf.[4]

The bad weather and difficult sea conditions encountered are described by Werner in his book: The weather was so bad that personnel on watch on the bridge were forced to wear rubber diving suits and eye masks. They had to be secured to the wildly pitching and yawing U-boat by steel belts. Below, it was no better, with bodies being hurled in all directions.[5][6]

Burggraf had no success and was disbanded on 5 March, with U-230 and others forming the nucleus of group Westmark.[7]

On 6 March U-230 joined group Westmark; that day U-405 made contact with convoy SC 121, a slow eastbound convoy of 59 ships.[8] and U-230 (with U-591 engaged that night, sinking the freighter Egyptian.[9][10] Over the next three days, Westmark kept in contact, and a total of eight ships were sunk, but Seigmann and U-230 had no further success. On 10 March BdU called off the attack.[11]

On 11 March Westmark was disbanded and U-230 returned to base, arriving at Brest on 31 March.[3]

Second patrol[edit]

U-230 set out for her second patrol on 24 April 1943. She was initially accompanied by U-456. After safely negoiating the Bay of Biscay, the boat joined group Drossel,[12] a twelve-boat pack instructed to attack south-bound convoys supplying Allied forces in North Africa. Drossel was assisted by reconnaissance flights by air force Condors which reported two convoys on 3 May; one of 24 to 27 “barges” (actually large Landing Craft) and another southbound convoy of eleven ships bound for West Africa.[13] During a disastrous attack on the LCTs where no hits were scored, two U-boats were lost in a collision, and a couple of nights later two others damaged in a second collision.[13]

On 6 May U-607 sighted SL 128, north-bound from West Africa, and all remaining Drossel boats moved to intercept. One ship was sunk by U-89 that night and U-456 was damaged in counter-attacks. U-230 had no success but Seigmann continued to shadow the convoy until the operation was cancelled by BdU on 7 May.[14]

The remaining Drossel boats were then instructed to move north-westwards to assist groups in the North Atlantic.[14] On 9 May the five Drossel boats joined the U-boats of Rhein and Elbe groups which were in contact with convoy HX 237, and attacked the convoy over the next three days. During this attack three ships were sunk and three U-boats destroyed (a ruinous exchange rate) but U-230 had no success.[15] On 12 May while under air attack U-230 shot down a Swordfish[16][17] Werner reports in Iron Coffins that he himself fired the weapon that did this.[18]

Following this U-230 returned to base, one of only four Drossel boats to complete a patrol and do so.[19]

Chesapeake Bay[edit]

On 5 July 1943 U-230 departed Brest in company with U-566 on a mission to lay mines in Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States.[20][21]

Arriving at the end of the month U-230 laid 8 TMC mines on the night of 26/27 July in the mouth of Chesapeake Bay;[22] a few days later U-566 laid 12 TMB mines nearby.[23] Neither of these minefields achieved any sinkings.[21] Returning across the Atlantic U-566 sank the US patrol vessel Plymouthwith the loss of more than 90 of her crew, sparking a massive ASW operation by the Tenth Fleet. Both U-boats escaped without detection.[21]

To assist this operation both U-boats were to re-fuel in mid-ocean from the Kriegsmarine‍ '​s flotilla of Type XIV U-tankers; however a concerted campaign against these, leading to the destruction of four (out of ten) in July alone severely disrupted U-boat operations in the far oceans.[24]

On 24 July U-tanker U-459 was destroyed two days out of Bordeaux.[25][26] On 30 July three U-boats, two of them Type XIV's, were attacked and destroyed by aircraft of the RAF and ships of FJ Walker's 2nd Support Group.[27][28] On 4 August U-489 was sunk south of Iceland.[29][30] This led to the diversion of provisional tankers U-117 and U-847 to refuel boats returning from North America. On 7 August U-117 was destroyed,[31][32] leaving U-230 and others in difficult straits. On 24 August U-847, under Kptlt. Herbert Kuppisch refueled several boats, including U-172. Her commander found Kuppisch too casual about the threat of air attack, an observation repeated by Werner in his book.
Werner relates he asked them; "What's the matter with you people, don't you have any respect for aircraft?".
Kuppisch replied: "We haven't seen any since we passed Greenland."[33][34]

Six U-boats re-fueled from U-847 on the morning of 27 August, U-230 included, but just hours later U-847 was sunk by aircraft from the escort carrier USS Card.[35][36]

Travelling in concert with U-634, U-230 approached the Bay of Biscay when they encountered north-bound convoy SL 135. Dalhaus in U-634 attempted to attack but before he could do so he was himself attacked and destroyed by two escort vessels.[35][37] U-230 escaped without being detected.[35] and arrived back in Brest on 8 September 1943.[20]

The Mediterranean[edit]

In November 1943 U-230 was reassigned to the Mediterranean, for attachment to 29th U-boat flotilla at Toulon. She departed Brest on 22 November and by 5 December had arrived at the Straits of Gibraltar[38] Werner reports that the passage through the heavily defended Straits was uneventful; he also describes the boat's hydrophones picking up the sound of dolphins playing and "talking to each other".[39] U-230 arrived at Toulon on 16 December. At this point Werner left U-230 for reassignment to his own command.

On 19 January 1944 U-230 left Toulon for a patrol against Allied shipping taking part in Operation Shingle, the Allied landings at Anzio.[40] During this operation U-230 sank two Tank Landing Ships, on the 16th and 20th of the month.[41] She escaped retribution and returned to base at La Spezia on 24 February.

in April 1944 U-230 returned briefly to Toulon before departing on 11 April to undertake another patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea. On 9 May she encountered and sank an American patrol craft, PC-558, which was escorting a coastal convoy.[9] She again escaped and returned to La Spezia on 21 May.[40]

At the end of June U-230 returned to Toulon where Seigmann relinquished command, handing over to Oblt. Heinz-Eugen Eberbach.[16]

Air raids on Toulon in July and early August, and on Salamis, left the remaining 11 U-boats in the Mediterranean unserviceable; Five were wrecked at Toulon in the raid on 6 August and the remaining three based there, including U-230, were scuttled to avoid capture following Operation Dragoon, the Allied landings in Southern France.[42]

On 17 August 1944 Eberbach took U-230 out on her last voyage, scuttling her on 21 August after she ran aground in Toulon Roads.[43][44]

The crew managed to capture a fishing trawler and headed first for Italy, but later decided to head for Spain and internment instead when she received news about the course of the war in Italy. On 27 August 1944, the destroyer USS Ericsson's radar picked up the trawler. The American warship was ordered to investigate and found the damaged fishing trawler with an inoperative engine and fifty Germans aboard. The crew of U-230 was taken prisoner. The trawler was taken in tow. In Baie de Cavalaire the prisoners were turned over to the troop landing craft LCI-954 for delivery to the commander of Task Force 84.[citation needed]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage
7 March 1943 Egyptian  United Kingdom 2,868 Sunk
24 July 1943 HMS LST-418  Royal Navy 1,625 Sunk
24 July 1943 HMS LST-418  Royal Navy 1,625 Sunk
9 May 1944 USS PC-558  United States Navy 335 Sunk


  1. ^ a b Kemp 1999, p. 214.
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-230‍ '​s 1st patrol". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Group Burggraf". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Werner p90
  6. ^ Blair p251
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Group Westmark". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Blair p252
  9. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-230". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Blair p253
  11. ^ Blair p254
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Group Drossel". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Blair p295
  14. ^ a b Blair p296
  15. ^ Blair p327-9
  16. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VII Uboat U-230". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  17. ^ Blair p328
  18. ^ Werner p122
  19. ^ Blair p331
  20. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-230‍ '​s third patrol". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c Blair p387
  22. ^ grid CA7353:Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-230 third patrol". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  23. ^ grid CA7355:Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-566‍ '​s 10th patrol". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  24. ^ Blair p388
  25. ^ Blair p389
  26. ^ Kemp p134-5
  27. ^ Blair p391-3
  28. ^ Kemp p136-7
  29. ^ Blair p390
  30. ^ Kemp p139
  31. ^ Blair p383-6
  32. ^ Kemp p140
  33. ^ Werner p154
  34. ^ Blair p394
  35. ^ a b c Blair p396
  36. ^ Kemp p144
  37. ^ Kemp p145
  38. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-230‍ '​s fourth patrol". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  39. ^ Werner p181
  40. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-230‍ '​s fifth patrol". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  41. ^ Blair p519
  42. ^ Blair p526
  43. ^ Kemp p214
  44. ^ Neistle p47
  45. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-230". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 26 December 2014. 


  • Blair, Clay (1998). The Hunted 1942-1945. Hitler's U-Boat War 2. ISBN 0-304-35261-6. 
  • 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). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 
  • Axel Neistle  : German U-Boat Losses during World War II (1998). ISBN 1-85367-352-8
  • Herbert A Werner Iron Coffins (1969; reprinted 1999) Cassel ISBN 978-0-3043-5330-9

External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-230". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 230". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - (in German). Retrieved 26 December 2014.