German submarine U-443
|Ordered:||13 April 1940|
|Laid down:||10 February 1941|
|Launched:||31 January 1942|
|Commissioned:||18 April 1942|
|Fate:||U-443 was sunk on 23 February 1943 in the Mediterranean near Algiers by three escort destroyers|
|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|
She was laid down at Schichau-Werke, Danzig, on 10 February 1941, launched on 14 January 1942 and commissioned on 18 April with Oberleutnant zur See Konstantin von Puttkamer in command. She served with the 8th U-boat Flotilla for training, then with the 9th flotilla from 1 October 1942 to 31 December 1942, and the 29th flotilla from 1 January 1943 to 23 February for operations.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-443 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-443 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.
U-443 began her operational service when she departed Kiel on 1 October 1942 and sailed out into the Atlantic, clearing the northern coast of Scotland. On 9 October in rough weather, a lookout broke his arm. The U-boat sank two ships from Convoy ON 139 in mid-Atlantic on 22 October, but was then forced to submerge where she was held by the escort ships until the convoy had escaped. She subsequently steamed into Brest in occupied France, arriving on 4 November.
Her second sortie saw her leave Brest on 29 November 1942, penetrate the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar, sink two more ships in the western Mediterranean and arrive at the Italian port of La Spezia on 22 December.
3rd patrol and loss
The U-boat left La Spezia on 16 February 1943 and headed southwest. She was sunk with all hands on 23 February northwest of Algiers by depth charges from the escort destroyers HMS Bicester, Lamerton and Wheatland.
U-443 took part in two wolfpacks, namely.
- Panther (11–16 October 1942)
- Puma (16–29 October 1942)
Summary of raiding history
|22 October 1942||Donax||United Kingdom||8,036||Sunk|
|22 October 1942||Winnipeg II||United Kingdom||9,807||Sunk|
|11 December 1942||HMS Blean||Royal Navy||1,087||Sunk|
|14 December 1942||Edencrag||United Kingdom||1,592||Sunk|
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