German submarine U-275
|Ordered:||10 April 1941|
|Builder:||Bremer-Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen|
|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|
|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|
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.
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. 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-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 two twin 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft guns. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
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.
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.
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
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, having been identified by Cryptanalysis of the Enigma intercepts, which was confirmed with a solo photographic reconnaissance Spitfire from No. 541 Squadron RAF, she was attacked by no less than eight Hawker Typhoon strike attack aircraft of No. 263 Squadron RAF while tied up in Saint Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey on 14 June. No damage was caused to the submarine; escorting vessels were not so lucky.
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.
U-275 reached Boulogne in the night from 31 Juli on 1 August 1944.
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
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
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.
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
|24 December 1943||USS Leary||United States Navy||1,090||Sunk|
|8 March 1945||Lornaston||United Kingdom||4,934||Sunk|
- Kemp 1999, p. 236.
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- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- Channel Islands Occupation Review No 36. Channel Island Art & Books. May 2008. p. 115.
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- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 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.
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- Hofmann, Markus. "U 275". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 26 December 2014.