German submarine U-262
|Ordered:||15 August 1940|
|Builder:||Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack|
|Laid down:||29 May 1941|
|Launched:||10 March 1942|
|Commissioned:||15 April 1942|
|Struck:||2 April 1945|
|Fate:||Bombed, December 1944, broken up, 1947|
|Class and type:||Type VIIC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
The submarine was laid down on 29 May 1941 at the Bremer Vulkan yard at Bremen-Vegesack as yard number 27. She was launched on 10 March 1942 and commissioned on 15 April under the command of Kapitänleutnant Günther Schiebusch.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-262 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. 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).
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). 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-262 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 two twin 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft guns. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
1st and 2nd patrols
Having moved from Kiel in Germany to Bergen in Norway in September 1942, U-262's first patrol was marked by an unsuccessful attack by two Lockheed Hudsons, but the damage inflicted was serious enough to warrant an early return to Bergen.
The U-boat sailed from Narvik on 5 November 1942, now under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Heinz Franke, and headed out to the waters east of Newfoundland, sailing first west from Narvik then north, parallel to the eastern Greenland coast; after that turning about, negotiating the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.
On 18 November, as part of wolfpack Kreuzotter, she attacked the Convoy ONS 144, firing a spread of three torpedoes, one of which hit the Norwegian Flower-class corvette HNoMS Montbretia, fatally damaging the vessel. The commander ordered the crew to abandon ship, U-262 hit her with another torpedo, breaking the ship in two.
She also sank the 7,178 ton British cargo ship Ocean Crusader, a straggler from Convoy HX 216 northeast of St. John's on 26 November. U-262 arrived at her new home port of La Pallice on the French Atlantic coast on 9 December 1942.
The U-boat departed La Pallice on 16 January 1943 for a patrol out into the mid-Atlantic. On 6 February she fired five torpedoes at a tanker and a steamer, sinking the 2,864 ton Polish cargo ship Zagloba, 600 nautical miles (1,100 km; 690 mi) east southeast of Cape Farewell (Greenland), a straggler of Convoy SC 118. There were no survivors.
U-262 returned to La Pallice on 15 February.
U-262 sailed again on 27 March 1943 and headed across the Atlantic to Prince Edward Island to pick up German POWs that were to escape from their camp in Operation Elster. On 15 April, while en route, she was shadowing Convoy HX 233, when the U-boat was attacked by depth charges and gunfire from the convoy escorts, forcing her to break off the attack. The U-boat then completed her mission, but no escaped POWs showed up at the rendezvous. She returned to La Pallice on 25 May.
U-262 left La Pallice next on 24 July 1943, commanded by the newly promoted Kapitänleutnant Heinz Franke, and headed across the Atlantic. On 8 August U-262 was waiting to refuel from U-664 while U-760 was being supplied, when a Grumman TBF Avenger/Grumman F4F Wildcat team from the aircraft carrier USS Card located the boats and attacked U-262. While attempting to drop depth charges, the Avenger was hit by flak and caught fire, but managed to drop two charges, severely damaging U-262, before ditching into the sea. The Wildcat was also shot down by U-262 during a strafing run. The damage received forced the U-boat to abort her patrol, she returned home on 2 September.
The U-boat sailed on 14 October 1943 for the waters northeast of the Azores. There she was involved in attacks on three Allied convoys. On 31 October during the attack on SL 138/MKS 28, she sank the Norwegian 2,968 ton merchant ship Hallfried. Francke's actions in this patrol were marked by efficient shadowing and determined attacks, for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
U-262 returned to La Pallice on 7 December.
8th and 9th patrol
Under a new commander, Oblt.z.S. Helmut Wieduwilt, U-262 covered the area southwest of Iceland on 3 February 1944, but had no success. She returned home on 29 April after 87 days at sea. U-262's next patrol was similarly uneventful, but lasted only 10 days from 6–15 June. She did not leave the Bay of Biscay. She returned to La Pallice to be fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus.
After an air raid killed three and wounded one of her crew, the U-boat sailed from La Pallice on 23 August 1944, north to the area south of Iceland, before heading east and south through the North Sea to Flensburg, arriving on 5 November after 75 days.
Damage and disposal
Summary of raiding history
|18 November 1942||HNoMS Montbretia||Royal Norwegian Navy||925||Sunk|
|26 November 1942||Ocean Crusader||United Kingdom||7,178||Sunk|
|6 February 1943||Zagloba||Poland||2,864||Sunk|
|31 October 1943||Hallfried||Norway||2,968||Sunk|
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- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
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