German submarine U-603

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-603
Ordered: 22 May 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 579
Laid down: 27 February 1941
Launched: 16 November 1941
Commissioned: 2 January 1942
Fate: Sunk 1 March 1944 in the North Atlantic in position 48°55′N 26°10′W / 48.917°N 26.167°W / 48.917; -26.167Coordinates: 48°55′N 26°10′W / 48.917°N 26.167°W / 48.917; -26.167, by depth charges from USS Bronstein.
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[1]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Kurt Kölzer
  • 2 January – 12 September 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Hans-Joachim Bertelsmann
  • 13 September 1942 – 2 May 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Rudolf Baltz
  • 3 May 1943 – 28 January 1944
  • Kptlt. Hans-Joachim Bertelsmann
  • 29 January – 1 March 1944
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 23 November – 9 December 1942
  • 2nd patrol: 7 February – 26 March 1943
  • 3rd patrol: 5 May – 16 July 1943
  • 4th patrol: 9 September – 3 November 1943
  • 5th patrol: 5 February – 1 March 1944
Victories: 4 merchant ships sunk (22,406 GRT)

German submarine U-603 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 27 February 1941 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 579, launched on 16 November 1941 and commissioned on 2 January 1942 under Kapitänleutnant Kurt Kölzer.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-603 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[2] 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 Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 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).[2]

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).[2] 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-603 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.[2]

Service history[edit]

The boat's career began with training at 5th U-boat Flotilla on 2 January 1942, followed by active service on 1 December 1942 as part of the 1st Flotilla for the remainder of her service.

In five patrols she sank four merchant ships, for a total of 22,406 gross register tons (GRT).

On 4 December 1942 she was returning to base when she spotted a convoy and attacked by convoy escorts, but not before reporting to base and calling in support boats.

On 8 July 1943 she was attacked by a RAF Catalina with depth charges and slightly damaged.

On 13 October 1943 a Avenger from USS Card dropped a FIDO Homing Torpedo but she successfully evaded the attack.

Convoy ON 166[edit]

On 21 February 1943, while operating against Convoy ON 166, she jointly attacked the Norwegian motor tanker Stigstad with U-332. U-332 hit her first with one torpedo, closely followed by two further torpedoes from U-603 which broke her back; sinking her in 15 minutes.

Two nights later she finished off the straggling Norwegian motor tanker Glittre with two torpedoes.

Convoy HX 237[edit]

Now under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Rudolf Baltz, U-603 attacked convoy HX 237 and successfully sank the Norwegian motor vessel Brand on 12 May 1943.

Wolf packs[edit]

U-603 took part in 13 wolfpacks, namely

  • Ritter (14–26 February 1943)
  • Burggraf (4–5 March 1943)
  • Raubgraf (7–20 March 1943)
  • Oder (17–19 May 1943)
  • Mosel (19–24 May 1943)
  • Trutz (1–16 June 1943)
  • Trutz 2 (16–29 June 1943)
  • Geier 1 (30 June – 14 July 1943)
  • Leuthen (15–24 September 1943)
  • Rossbach (24 September –9 October 1943)
  • Igel 2 (15–17 February 1944)
  • Hai 1 (17–22 February 1944)
  • Preussen (22 February – 1 March 1944)

Fate[edit]

U-603 was sunk on 1 March 1944 in the North Atlantic in position 48°55′N 26°10′W / 48.917°N 26.167°W / 48.917; -26.167, by depth charges from USS Bronstein. All hands were lost.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[3]
21 February 1943 Stigstad  Norway 5,964 Sunk
23 February 1943 Glittre  Norway 6,409 Sunk
16 March 1943 Elin K  Norway 5,214 Sunk
12 May 1943 Brand  Norway 4,819 Sunk

References[edit]

  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-603". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-603". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6. 
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 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. pp. 129, 155, 156, 160, 208. 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. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

External links[edit]