German submarine U-468

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-468
Ordered: 15 August 1940
Builder: Deutsche Werke, Kiel
Yard number: 299
Laid down: 1 July 1941
Launched: 16 May 1942
Commissioned: 12 August 1942
Fate: Sunk, 11 August 1943[1]
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 PS (2,800–3,200 bhp; 2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 PS (740 shp; 550 kW) and max rpm: 296.
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: 44–52 officers and ratings
Service record[3][4]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(12 August 1942–31 January 1943)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 February–11 August 1943)
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Klemens Schamong
(12 August 1942–11 August 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol: 28 January–27 March 1943
2nd patrol: 19 April–29 May 1943
3rd patrol: 7 July–11 August 1943
Victories: One commercial ship sunk (6,537 GRT)

German submarine U-468 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 1 July 1941 as yard number 299 at the Deutsche Werke yard in Kiel, launched on 16 May 1942 and commissioned on 12 August 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Klemens Schamong. She sailed on three war patrols and sank only one ship before her sinking on 11 August 1943.[3]

Service history[edit]

The boat began her service career by training with the 5th U-boat Flotilla, before moving on to the 3rd flotilla for operations.

1st patrol[edit]

U-468 sailed for the first time from Kiel on 28 January 1943, stopping briefly at Kristiansand in Norway,[4] before heading out into the mid-Atlantic.[5] On 12 March, U-468 sank the British 6,537 ton tanker Empire Light southeast of Cape Farewell (Greenland) with two torpedoes. The tanker, a straggler from Convoy ON-168, had been damaged by a torpedo from U-638 on 7 March, and abandoned by her surviving crew.[6] The U-boat arrived at her new home port of La Pallice in occupied France on 27 March.[4]

2nd patrol[edit]

U-468 departed La Pallice for the mid-Atlantic on 19 April 1943, but had no successes.[4] At 08:35 on 22 May the U-boat came under attack by an Avenger torpedo bomber of Squadron VC-9 flying from the escort carrier USS Bogue. Barely an hour later another aircraft from the same squadron attacked and the U-boat was damaged. At 15:57, U-468 was attacked for a third time by an aircraft of the Royal Navy's 819 Naval Air Squadron. The boat defended itself with flak without destroying the aircraft.[7] U-468 had suffered serious damage and was forced to abandon her patrol, returning to base on 29 May.[8]

3rd patrol[edit]

The U-boat sailed for her third and final war patrol on 7 July 1943 from La Pallice. She headed south to the West African coast. There on 11 August, she was attacked and sunk by a B-24 Liberator from 200 Squadron RAF, south-west of Dakar in position 12°20′N 20°07′W / 12.333°N 20.117°W / 12.333; -20.117Coordinates: 12°20′N 20°07′W / 12.333°N 20.117°W / 12.333; -20.117. The U-boat's flak hit the aircraft several times and set it on fire, but the Liberator continued to attack and dropped six depth charges before crashing into the sea, killing all eight crewmen aboard. Two depth charges fell very close to the U-boat with devastating effect. U-468 sank within 10 minutes and less than half the crew managed to abandon ship. Many were injured or poisoned by chlorine gas, and drowned, died of exhaustion, or were killed by sharks. Only the commander and six crewmen managed to haul themselves into a rubber dinghy that floated free from the aircraft wreck, and were picked up by the corvette HMS Clarkia on 13 August.[9]

The pilot of the Liberator, Flying Officer Lloyd Allan Trigg RNZAF was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross for this action. This is the only time such a decoration has been awarded solely on the testimony of an enemy combatant[9] and was the first to be awarded to ASW (anti-submarine-warfare) aircrew.[1]

In 2007 New Zealand researcher Arthur Arculus tracked down the German commander Klemens Schamong, at his home near Kiel.[10]


U-468 took part in nine wolfpacks, namely.

  • Ritter (11–26 February 1943)
  • Burggraf (4–5 March 1943)
  • Raubgraf (7–16 March 1943)
  • Amsel (29 April - 3 May 1943)
  • Amsel 3 (3–6 May 1943)
  • Rhein (7–10 May 1943)
  • Elbe 1 (10–14 May 1943)
  • Mosel (19–23 May 1943)
  • Without name (11–29 July 1943)

Summary of raiding career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
12 March 1943 Empire Light  United Kingdom 6,537 Sunk


  1. ^ a b Kemp 1999, p. 141.
  2. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 72-74.
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-468". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-468". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-468 from 1 Feb 1943 to 27 Mar 1943". U-boat patrols - Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Empire Light (Motor tanker)". Ships hit by U-boats - Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  7. ^ "U-468 operations". Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-468 from 19 Apr 1943 to 29 May 1943". U-boat patrols - Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  9. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-468 from 7 Jul 1943 to 11 Aug 1943". U-boat patrols - Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  10. ^ "U-boat captain who shot down NZ VC-winner found". NZPA. Retrieved 2007-11-25. [dead link]


  • 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 (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]