German submarine U-373
|Ordered:||23 September 1939|
|Laid down:||8 December 1939|
|Launched:||5 April 1941|
|Commissioned:||22 May 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by a British aircraft in the Bay of Biscay, June 1944|
|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|
|Identification codes:||M 43 458|
|Victories:||Three ships sunk, 10,263 GRT|
She carried out thirteen patrols before being sunk by a British aircraft in June 1944 in the Bay of Biscay.*
She sank three ships for a total of 10,263 gross register tons (GRT).
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-373 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-373 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 a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
The boat's first patrol was preceded by short trips between Kiel in Germany and Horten Naval Base and Trondheim in Norway in July and August 1941. Her first patrol proper commenced with her departure from Trondheim on 4 September. Negotiation of the gap separating Iceland and the Faroe Islands was followed by sweeps southeast of Greenland. The submarine then docked at Brest in occupied France on 2 October.
2nd – 5th patrols
U-373's initial patrols were fairly routine. All that changed on the second part of her fourth sortie when she sank the Mount Lycabettus off the eastern United States/Canadian coast on 17 March 1942. She was chartered by Switzerland and was sailing with neutrality mark: Switzerland cross painting with "Switzerland" written on the hull. On the 22nd, she sank the Thursobank east of Chesapeake Bay. The surviving Chinese crewmen from this ship were arrested for mutiny immediately after landing. It was alleged that they had denied the British officers a share of the food and warm clothing.
6th, 7th and 8th patrols
On 24 July 1943, the submarine was attacked west of Madeira by Grumman Avenger and Wildcat aircraft from the escort carrier USS Santee. Two men were killed, another seven were wounded. The boat was damaged by a FIDO homing torpedo, but was able to carry-on with her patrol.
10th and 11th patrols
During the third part of a three-part patrol on 10 November 1943, a lookout broke his arm while the submarine fought bad weather.
U-373 had a lucky escape when she was attacked by a British Vickers Wellington of No. 612 Squadron RAF on 3 January 1944 in the Bay of Biscay. A second aircraft, a Liberator of 224 Squadron joined in. On tying up in Brest, two unexploded depth charges were discovered lodged in the conning tower. The boat was compelled to put to sea once more to jettison her unwanted extra 'cargo' in another hazardous operation.
12th and 13th patrols and loss
Four men died in U-373; there were 47 survivors.
U-373 took part in 16 wolfpacks, namely.
- Markgraf (8–15 September 1941)
- Brandenburg (15–24 September 1941)
- Störtebecker (5–16 November 1941)
- Seydlitz (27 December 1941 – 2 January 1942)
- Lohs (11 August – 21 September 1942)
- Draufgänger (29 November – 2 December 1942)
- Büffel (9–15 December 1942)
- Ungestüm (15–26 December 1942)
- Neuland (4–13 March 1943)
- Dränger (14–20 March 1943)
- Seewolf (21–28 March 1943)
- Siegfried (22–27 October 1943)
- Siegfried 3 (27–30 October 1943)
- Jahn (30 October – 2 November 1943)
- Tirpitz 5 (2–8 November 1943)
- Eisenhart 8 (9–10 November 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|17 March 1942||Mount Lycabettus||Greece||4,292||Sunk|
|22 March 1942||Thursobank||United Kingdom||5,575||Sunk|
|24 June 1942||John R. Williams||United States||396||Sunk (Mine)|
- Kemp 1999, pp. 194-5.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-373". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-373". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- "Mount Lycabettys". wrecksite.eu. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-373". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of German U-boat U-373 from 26 Dec 1943 to 5 Jan 1944". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 15.
- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6.
- 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.
- Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-373". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 December 2014.