German submarine U-439

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-439
Ordered: 5 January 1940
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Yard number: 1490
Laid down: 1 April 1940
Launched: 11 October 1941
Commissioned: 20 December 1941
Fate: Sunk after a collision with another U-boat, May 1943[1]
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[2]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Wolfgang Sporn
  • 20 December 1941 – 17 February 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Helmut von Tippelskirch
  • 18 February – 4 May 1943
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 12 November – 24 December 1942
  • 2nd patrol: 28 January – 2 February 1943
  • 3rd patrol: 22 February – 28 March 1943
  • 4th patrol: 27 April – 4 May 1943
Victories: None

German submarine U-439 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She carried out four patrols. She sank no ships.

She was a member of six wolfpacks.

She was sunk after a collision with another U-boat in May 1943.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-439 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[3] 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).[3]

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).[3] 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-439 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.[3]

Service history[edit]

The submarine was laid down on 1 October 1940 at Schichau-Werke in Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) as yard number 1490, launched on 11 October 1941 and commissioned on 2 December under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Sporn.

She served with the 5th U-boat Flotilla from 20 December 1941 for training and the 1st flotilla from 1 November 1942 for operations.

1st patrol[edit]

U-432's first patrol was from Kiel in Germany. She headed for the Atlantic Ocean, via the gap separating the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at Brest in occupied France on 24 December.

2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

For her second sortie, she barely got out of the Bay of Biscay.

Her third foray took her into the middle of the North Atlantic.

4th patrol and loss[edit]

Having left Brest on 27 April 1943, she, along with U-659, were both shadowing a southbound convoy on 5 May in preparation for an attack on the surface when the two U-boats collided. Both boats sank.[4]

Forty men went down with U-439; there were nine survivors.[1][2]

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-439 took part in six wolfpacks, namely.

  • Panzer (23 November - 11 December 1942)
  • Raufbold (11–15 December 1942)
  • Neuland (4–6 March 1943)
  • Ostmark (6–11 March 1943)
  • Stürmer (11–19 March 1943)
  • Drossel (29 April - 4 May 1943)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kemp 1999, pp. 112-113.
  2. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-439". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  4. ^ Paterson, Lawrence - U-Boats in the Mediterranean 1941-1944, 2007, Chatham Publishing, ISBN 9781861762900, p. 136.

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. 
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. Cassell Military Classics. p. 189. ISBN 0-304-35203-9. 
  • 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]