German submarine U-231

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-231
Ordered: 7 December 1940
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 661
Laid down: 30 January 1942
Launched: 1 October 1942
Commissioned: 14 November 1942
Fate: Sunk in January 1944[1] by a British aircraft
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 PS (2,800–3,200 bhp; 2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 PS (740 shp; 550 kW) and max rpm: 296.
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
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: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament:
Service record[3][4]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(14 November 1942–30 April 1943)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 May 1944–13 January 1944)
Commanders: Kptlt. Wolfgang Wenzel
(14 November 1942–13 January 1944)
Operations: 1st patrol:
13 April–31 May 1943
2nd patrol:
27 September–22 November 1943
3rd patrol:
26 December–13 January 1944

German submarine U-231 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 30 January 1942 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 661, launched on 1 October, and commissioned on 14 November under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Wenzel.[3]

After training with the 5th U-boat Flotilla at Kiel, U-231 was transferred to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla on 1 May 1943 which was based at La Pallice in France, for front-line service. In three war patrols, the U-boat sank or damaged no merchant ships. She was a member of eleven wolfpacks.

U-231 was sunk on 13 January 1944 in the North Atlantic northeast of the Azores by a British aircraft.

Operational career[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-231 departed Kiel on 13 April 1943. On the 22nd, she was attacked on two occasions by Catalina aircraft of No. 190 Squadron RAF. Both attacks caused no damage, although a man was lost overboard during the first. She was then attacked on the 23rd (twice), the first of which resulted in a flooded conning tower. She was also attacked on 21 May by American Avenger aircraft from the carrier USS Bogue. The result was a chlorine gas leak and both radio transmitters being knocked out.

The boat reached La Pallice in occupied France on 31 May.

2nd patrol[edit]

This foray commenced from Bordeaux, took her to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and terminated in La Pallice.

3rd patrol and loss[edit]

U-231 was sunk northeast of the Azores by depth charges from a RAF Vickers Wellington of 172 Squadron on 13 January 1944. Seven men died, there were 47 survivors.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-231 took part in eleven wolfpacks, namely.

  • Star (27 April - 4 May 1943)
  • Fink (4–6 May 1943)
  • Elbe (7–10 May 1943)
  • Elbe 1 (10–14 May 1943)
  • Mosel (19–22 May 1943)
  • Schlieffen (14–22 October 1943)
  • Siegfried (22–27 October 1943)
  • Siegfried 1 (27–30 October 1943)
  • Körner (30 October - 2 November 1943)
  • Borkum (1–3 January 1944)
  • Borkum 3 (3–13 January 1944)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 164.
  2. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 72-74.
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-231". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-231". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 

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. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]