German submarine U-537

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-537
Ordered: 10 April 1941
Builder: Deutsche Werft AG, Hamburg-Finkenwerder
Yard number: 355
Laid down: 10 April 1942
Launched: 7 November 1942
Commissioned: 27 January 1943
Fate: Sunk in the Java sea, 9 November 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXC/40 submarine
Displacement:
  • 1,144 t (1,126 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,257 t (1,237 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in) o/a
  • 4.44 m (14 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.67 m (15 ft 4 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) surfaced
  • 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 13,850 nmi (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 63 nmi (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Armament:
Service record[1][2]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Peter Schrewe
  • 27 January 1943 – 9 November 1944
Operations: 3 patrols
Victories: None

The German submarine U-537 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. Her keel was laid down on 10 April 1942 by Deutsche Werft in Hamburg. She was commissioned on 27 January 1943 with Kapitänleutnant Peter Schrewe in command. Schrewe commanded the boat for nearly two years, until her loss.[1]

The U-537 conducted three patrols, and holds the distinction of making the only armed German landing in North America during World War II, when she installed the automatic Weather Station Kurt in Martin Bay, Labrador on 22 October 1943.[3] She was then sent to the Far East. On 10 November 1944 in the Java Sea east of Surabaya, the U-537 was sunk with all hands — 58 officers and men — by torpedoes from the USS Flounder (SS-251).[1]

Design[edit]

German Type IXC/40 submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXCs. The U-537 had a displacement of 1,144 tonnes (1,126 long tons) when at the surface and 1,257 tonnes (1,237 long tons) while submerged.[4] The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.67 m (15 ft 4 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 shaft horsepower (1,010 PS; 750 kW) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[4]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph).[4] When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,850 nautical miles (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). The U-537 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[4]

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

The U-537 left Kiel on 18 September 1943 and sailed to Bergen, Norway, departing from there on her first patrol on 30 September. She sailed across the North Atlantic, and on 22 October she set up Wetter-Funkgerät Land-26 (code-named "Kurt") automatic weather station in Martin Bay, Labrador. The weather station was only discovered by accident by the Canadian authorities in 1981.[5]

While on anti-shipping patrol off Newfoundland on 31 October, the u-boat was attacked by a Canadian Hudson aircraft from No. 11 Squadron RCAF, which fired eight rockets, all missing. On 10 November a Canadian Catalina aircraft from No. 5 Squadron RCAF attacked her with four depth charges off Cape Race. The U-boat escaped unharmed, but the next day another Catalina of 5 Squadron attacked with four depth changes which slightly damaged the submarine. Surface ships then joined the hunt, but all failed to locate her, and the U-537 arrived safely at Lorient on 8 December.[6]

2nd patrol[edit]

The U-537 sailed from Lorient on 25 March 1944 and traveled around Africa, and then crossed the Indian Ocean to Batavia, which she reached on 2 August after a voyage of 131 days.[7]

3rd patrol[edit]

The U-537 left Batavia for Soerabaja on 1 October 1944, and began on her third and final patrol on 9 November[8] On that day she was spotted and sunk with all hands — 58 officers and men — in the Java Sea, at position 7°13′S 115°17′E / 7.217°S 115.283°E / -7.217; 115.283Coordinates: 7°13′S 115°17′E / 7.217°S 115.283°E / -7.217; 115.283, by torpedoes from the USS Flounder (SS-251).[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC/40 boat U-537". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-537". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Thorne, R.G. (2004). A Cherished Past: Newfoundland's Front Row Seat to History. St. John's, NL/Thorton Publishing Ltd. (pp. 82-88)
  4. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Weather station Kurt erected in Labrador in 1943". U-boat.net. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-537 from 30 Sep 1943 to 8 Dec 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-537 from 25 Mar 1944 to 2 Aug 1944". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-537 from 9 Nov 1944 to 9 Nov 1944". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 

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. 

External links[edit]