German submarine U-431

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-431
Ordered: 23 September 1939
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Yard number: 1472
Laid down: 4 January 1940
Launched: 2 February 1941
Commissioned: 5 April 1941
Fate: Sunk on 21 October 1943 near Algiers at position 37°23′N 00°35′E / 37.383°N 0.583°E / 37.383; 0.583Coordinates: 37°23′N 00°35′E / 37.383°N 0.583°E / 37.383; 0.583 by depth charges from a RAF Wellington bomber of 179 Squadron. All hands were lost.
General characteristics
Class and 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[1]
Part of:
Commanders:
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 10 July – 11 August 1941
  • 2nd patrol: 13 September – 12 October 1941
  • 3rd patrol: 16 November – 20 December 1941
  • 4th patrol: 25 January – 10 February 1942
  • 5th patrol: 18 March – 15 April 1942
  • 6th patrol: 14–30 May 1942
  • 7th patrol: 4–20 June 1942
  • 8th patrol: 2–27 September 1942
  • 9th patrol: 29 September – 4 November 1942
  • 10th patrol: 7–22 November 1942
  • 11th patrol: 7 January – 8 February 1943
  • 12th patrol: 11–29 March 1943
  • 13th patrol: 20–29 May 1943
  • 14th patrol: 5–27 June 1943
  • 15th patrol: 9 August – 1 September 1943
  • 16th patrol: 26 September – 21 October 1943
Victories:
  • 6 merchant ships sunk (7,679 GRT)
  • 1 merchant ship damaged (3,560 GRT)
  • 1 merchant ship total loss (6,415 GRT)
  • 3 warships sunk (3,861 tons)
  • 1 warship damaged (450 tons)

German submarine U-431 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 4 January 1940 by Schichau-Werke in Danzig as yard number 1472, launched on 2 February 1941 and commissioned on 5 April 1941 under Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Dommes (Knight’s Cross).

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-431 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[2] 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 460/8-276 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).[2]

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).[2] 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-431 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.[2]

Service history[edit]

The boat's service began on 5 April 1941 for training as part of the 3rd U-boat Flotilla. Afterwards she transferred to the 29th flotilla operating in the Mediterranean on 1 January 1942. In 16 patrols she sank or damaged 12 ships in total.[1]

Wolfpacks[edit]

She took part in one wolfpack, namely,

Fate[edit]

She was sunk on 21 October 1943 in the Mediterranean off Algiers at position 37°23′N 00°35′E / 37.383°N 0.583°E / 37.383; 0.583 by depth charges dropped from a RAF Wellington bomber of 179 Squadron, operating out of Gibraltar. All hands were lost.[1]

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[3]
2 October 1941 Hatasu  United Kingdom 3,198 Sunk
13 December 1941 Myriel  United Kingdom 3,560 Damaged
29 January 1942 HMS Sotra  Royal Navy 313 Sunk
20 May 1942 Eocene  United Kingdom 4,216 Sunk
15 June 1942 HMS LCT-119  Royal Navy 450 Damaged
10 November 1942 HMS Martin  Royal Navy 1,920 Sunk
13 November 1942 HNLMS Isaac Sweers  Royal Netherlands Navy 1,628 Sunk
23 January 1943 Alexandria  Egypt 100 Sunk
25 January 1943 Mouyassar  Syria 47 Sunk
25 January 1943 Omar el Kattab  Syria 38 Sunk
26 January 1943 Hassan  Syria 80 Sunk
26 March 1943 City of Perth  United Kingdom 6,415 Total loss

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-431". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-431". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 

External links[edit]