German submarine U-626
|Ordered:||15 August 1940|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||28 July 1941|
|Launched:||15 April 1942|
|Commissioned:||9 May 1942|
|Fate:||Sunk by USCGC Ingham, 15 December 1942|
|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|
|Operations:||1 war patrol|
The German submarine U-626 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was built by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, and commissioned in May 1942. After six months of basic training she was assigned to the 6th U-boat Flotilla. U-626 sailed from Bergen in December 1942 on her first operational voyage. She was sunk seven days later by a single depth charge from USCGC Ingham. The crew of the cutter were unaware of their kill, which was not credited until the war was over.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-626 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 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).
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-626 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 a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between 44 and 60.
U-626 was assigned to the 5th U-boat Flotilla for basic training, and upon completion was permanently assigned to the 6th U-boat Flotilla. On 8 December 1942, U-626, under the direction of Leutnant zur See (acting sub-lieutenant/ensign) Hans-Botho Bade left Bergen, Norway for her maiden patrol. The USCGC Ingham along with USS Babbitt and USS Leary were in the middle of escort duties near Iceland, while U-626 was on its first patrol. On 15 December the USCGC Ingham scouted ahead of the other escorts in search of a larger convoy. The cutter made sonar contact with a "doubtful" object and dropped one 600 pound depth charge at U-626 sinking the ship and killing the crew of 47. The cutter continued on without incident, without even knowing that it sunk U-626. This was the last U-boat of 1942 to be sunk by an American agency, and it was not known until after the war that Ingham had sunk U-626.
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