German submarine U-654

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-654
Ordered: 9 October 1939
Builder: Howaldtswerke, Hamburg
Yard number: 803
Laid down: 1 June 1940
Launched: 3 May 1941
Commissioned: 5 July 1941
Fate: Sunk 22 August 1942 in the Caribbean Sea in position 12°00′N 79°56′W / 12.000°N 79.933°W / 12.000; -79.933Coordinates: 12°00′N 79°56′W / 12.000°N 79.933°W / 12.000; -79.933, by depth charges from a USAAF Douglas Digby aircraft.
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:
Identification codes: M 46 564
Commanders:
  • K.Kapt. Hans-Joachim Hesse
  • 5 July 1941 – 24 November 1941
  • Oblt.z.S. Ludwig Forster
  • 2 December 1941 – 22 August 1942
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 15 December 1941 – 25 December 1941
  • 2nd patrol: 3 January 1942 – 19 February 1942
  • 3rd patrol: 21 March 1942 – 19 May 1942
  • 4th patrol: 11 July 1942 – 22 August 1942
Victories:
  • 3 merchant ships sunk (17,755 GRT)
  • 1 warship sunk (900 tons)

German submarine U-654 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 1 June 1940 by Howaldtswerke, Hamburg as yard number 803, launched on 3 May 1941 and commissioned on 5 July 1941 under Korvettenkapitän Hans-Joachim Hesse.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-654 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 Siemens-Schuckert GU 343/38-8 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-654 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 5 July 1941, followed by active service on 1 November 1941 as part of the 1st Flotilla for the remainder of her service. In four patrols she sank three merchant ships, for a total of 17,755 gross register tons (GRT) and one warship.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-654 took part in one wolfpack, namely

Fate[edit]

U-654 was sunk on 22 August 1942 in the Caribbean in position 12°00′N 79°56′W / 12.000°N 79.933°W / 12.000; -79.933, by the depth charges from a United States Army Air Forces Douglas B-18 Bolo aircraft. All hands were lost. This was the first German U-Boat sunk by American aircraft.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[3]
9 February 1942 FFL Alysse  Free French Naval Forces 900 Sunk
10 April 1942 Empire Prairie  United Kingdom 7,010 Sunk
20 April 1942 Steel Maker  United States 6,176 Sunk
20 April 1942 Agra  Sweden 4,569 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-654". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-654". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 

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. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-654". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 654". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 29 December 2014.