German submarine U-275

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-275
Ordered: 10 April 1941
Builder: Bremer-Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen
Yard number: 40
Laid down: 18 January 1941
Launched: 8 October 1942
Commissioned: 25 November 1942
Fate: Sunk, in March 1945 in the English Channel by a mine[1]
General characteristics
Class & 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:
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: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament:
Service record[2][3]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Oblt.z.S. Helmut Bork
  • 25 November 1942 – July 1944
  • Oblt.z.S. Helmuth Wehrkamp
  • July 1944 – 10 March 1945
Operations:
  • Nine patrols:
  • 4 September – 28 October 1943
  • 24 November 1943 – 26 April 1944
  • 20–23 May 1944
  • 6–25 June 1944
  • 15 July – 2 August 1944
  • 13 August – 18 September 1944
  • 2–12 December 1944
  • 13 January – 10 February 1945
  • 25 February – 10 March 1945
Victories:
  • One ship sunk, 4,934 GRT,
  • one warship sunk 1,090 tons

German submarine U-275 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 18 January 1942 at the Bremer-Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft (yard) in Bremen as yard number 40. She was launched on 8 October 1942 and commissioned on 25 November under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Helmut Bork.[2]

In nine patrols, she sank two ships of 6,024 gross register tons (GRT). She was a member of four wolfpacks.

She was sunk by a mine in the English Channel in March 1945.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-275 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[4] 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).[4]

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).[4] 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-275 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.[4]

Service history[edit]

After training with the 8th U-boat Flotilla, the boat became operational on 1 June 1943 when she was transferred to the 3rd flotilla. U-275 carried out a series of short voyages between Kiel in Germany and Bergen and Trondheim in Norway in August 1943.

1st patrol[edit]

The boat's first patrol proper began when she departed Bergen on 24 September 1943. She entered the Atlantic Ocean after negotiating the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She was unsuccessfully attacked by a Lockheed Hudson southwest of Iceland. She reached La Pallice in occupied France on 28 October.

2nd patrol[edit]

The boat's second foray was divided into a series of short bursts between La Pallice and Brest between November 1943 and April 1944. It was during one of these sallies that she sank the USS Leary, an American destroyer, on 24 December 1943.
Another moment of drama came when the submarine was obliged to return to base on 3 January with the captain suffering from appendicitis.

3rd and 4th patrols[edit]

Patrol number three was similarly short, starting and finishing in Brest on 20 and 23 May 1944.

Not long after D-Day (6 June 1944) on her fourth sortie, she was attacked by no less than 12 Hawker Typhoon strike attack aircraft of No. 263 Squadron RAF while leaving St. Peter Port, Guernsey on 14 June. No damage was caused to the submarine; the escorting vessels were not so lucky.

5th patrol[edit]

While negotiating the relatively shallow waters of the English Channel, the submarine was discovered by an aircraft which vectored a hunter-killer group onto her. She then spent seven hours being chased before she shook off her pursuers.

The situation had become so dire that the boat was chased every time she raised her periscope. She eventually reached comparative safety in Boulogne on 2 August 1944.

The U-275 reached Boulogne in the night from 31 Juli on 1 August 1944.

6th patrol[edit]

It was decided to send U-275 back to Norwegian waters. She sailed westward, the 'long' way around the British Isles. She had almost reached Bergen on 18 September 1944, when she was attacked by a total of eight De Havilland Mosquitos. Two were armed with the Tse tse 6-pounder cannon, four more were equipped with depth charges, (they were all from 248 Squadron), while the last two, from 235 Squadron, were there as escorts.

The submarine grounded in water that was only about 9 m (30 ft) deep. She was strafed and bombed while half submerged. However, luck was on the U-boat's side; one cannon jammed and two bombs failed to release. A coastal battery also fired on the British aircraft, causing them to leave the scene of the attack. The U-boat, having suffered some damage, then made her way to her destination.

7th and 8th patrols[edit]

These two patrols were relatively trouble-free, but the boat did return to the French Atlantic coast, docking at St. Nazaire on 10 February 1945.

9th patrol and loss[edit]

Having departed St. Nazaire on 25 February 1945, she headed for the English Channel once more. On 8 March she sank the Lornaston northwest of Fécamp. On the 10th she struck a mine off Beachy Head and sank.

Forty-eight men died; there were no survivors.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-275 took part in four wolfpacks, namely.

  • Leuthen (15–24 September 1943)
  • Rossbach (24 September - 9 October 1943)
  • Borkum (18 December 1943 - 3 January 1944)
  • Dragoner (21–22 May 1944)

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Displacement Fate[5]
24 December 1943 USS Leary  United States Navy 1,090 Sunk
8 March 1945 Lornaston  United Kingdom 4,934 Sunk

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 236.
  2. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-275". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-275". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-275". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-275". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 275". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 26 December 2014. 

Coordinates: 50°36′N 0°04′E / 50.600°N 0.067°E / 50.600; 0.067