German submarine U-444

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-444
Ordered: 13 April 1940
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Yard number: 1499
Laid down: 10 February 1941
Launched: 26 February 1942
Commissioned: 9 May 1942
Fate: Sunk by Allied warships in mid-Atlantic, March 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:
  • Oblt.z.S. Albert Langfeld
  • 9 May 1942 – 11 March 1943
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 17 December 1942 – 3 February 1943
  • 2nd patrol: 1–11 March 1943
Victories: None

German submarine U-444 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She carried out two patrols, and was a member of three wolfpacks, but sank no ships.

She was sunk by Allied warships in mid-Atlantic in March 1943.[1]

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-444 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-444 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 10 February 1941 at Schichau-Werke in Danzig (now Gdansk) as yard number 1499, launched on 26 February 1942 and commissioned on 9 May under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Albert Langfeld.

She served with the 8th U-boat Flotilla from 9 May 1942 for training and the 3rd flotilla from 1 January 1943 for operations.

1st patrol[edit]

U-444's first patrol began from Kiel in Germany on 17 December 1942. She headed for the Atlantic Ocean, via the gap separating the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at La Pallice in occupied France on 3 February 1943.

2nd patrol and loss[edit]

U-444 left La Pallice on 1 March 1943; on the 11th she was sunk in mid-Atlantic by a combination of depth charges and ramming by the British destroyer HMS Harvester and the Free French corvette Aconit.

Forty-one men went down with U-444; there were four survivors.[1][2]

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-444 took part in three wolfpacks, namely.

  • Falke (28 December 1942 - 19 January 1943)
  • Landsknecht (19–24 January 1943)
  • Neuland (8–11 March 1943)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kemp 1999, p. 106.
  2. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-444". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.

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. 
  • 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]

Coordinates: 51°14′N 29°18′W / 51.233°N 29.300°W / 51.233; -29.300