German submarine U-77 (1940)

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For other ships with the same name, see German submarine U-77.
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-77
Ordered: 25 January 1939
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack
Yard number: 5
Laid down: 28 March 1940
Launched: 23 November 1940
Commissioned: 18 January 1941
Fate: Scuttled, 29 March 1943, off Calpe, Spain
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIC
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: 4.72 m (15 ft 6 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:
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)
  • Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44-52 officers and ratings
Armament:
Service record
Part of:
Commanders:
Operations:
  • Eleven:
  • 1st patrol: 29 May – 7 July 1941
  • 2nd patrol: 2 August – 10 September 1941
  • 3rd patrol: 11 October – 13 November 1941
  • 4th patrol: 10–19 December 1941
  • 5th patrol: 28 March – 3 April 1942
  • 6th patrol:
  • a. 6–17 June 1942
  • b. 23 June – 9 July 1942
  • 7th patrol: 16 July – 21 August 1942
  • 8th patrol: 12 October – 1 November 1942
  • 9th patrol: 3 November – 5 December 1942
  • 10th patrol: 26 January – 10 February 1943
  • 11th patrol: 3–28 March 1943
Victories:
  • 14 commercial ships sunk (31,186 GRT);
  • one warship sunk – 1,050 tons;
  • two ships damaged - 5,384 GRT;
  • two warships damaged – 2,880 tons;
  • one ship a total loss

German submarine U-77 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built by the Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack. Her keel was laid down on 28 March 1940, by Bremer Vulkan of Bremen-Vegesack, Germany as yard number 5. She was launched on 23 November 1940 and commissioned on 18 January 1941, with Oberleutnant zur See Heinrich Schonder in command until September 1942, when he was succeeded by Oblt.z.S. Otto Hartmann, who remained in charge until the U-boat's loss.[1]

The boat was scuttled on 29 March 1943 off Calpe, Spain, after receiving heavy damage by two British aircraft.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-77 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 MAN M 6 V 40/46 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-77 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]

U-77 conducted 11 patrols, sinking 15 ships totalling 32,236 GRT and damaging two others, totalling 5,384 GRT. She also damaged two warships totalling 2,880 tons and caused one ship of 5,222 GRT to be declared a total loss.[1] She was a member of six wolfpacks.

1st patrol[edit]

U-77 departed Kiel on 29 May 1941. Her route took in the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

She sank the Tresillian on 13 June southeast of Cape Race ( Newfoundland ). Using her deck gun, she fired 87 rounds, scoring 60-65 hits; but it needed a torpedo to administer the coup de grâce. She then sank the Arakaka, a weather ship, on the 22nd, 450 nautical miles (830 km; 520 mi) east of St. Johns. There were no survivors. It was a similar story with the Anna Bulgaris south of Cape Farewell, (Greenland).

U-77 docked in St. Nazaire in occupied France on 7 July.

2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

The boat's second foray began with her departure from St. Nazaire on 2 August 1941, but despite covering large tracts of the Atlantic, she returned to the French base on 10 September empty-handed.

For her third sortie, U-77 once more found the cupboard bare west of Ireland and the Bay of Biscay. Nothing.

4th patrol[edit]

U-77's next patrol was divided into two. Part one was into the Mediterranean. Leaving St. Nazaire on 10 December 1941, she slipped past the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar and entered Messina in northeast Sicily on the 19th.

On the way, she sank SS Empire Barracuda 34 nautical miles (63 km; 39 mi) from Cape Trafalgar [before the Gibraltar experience], on the 15th.

Part two involved the boat's attack on the British destroyer HMS Kimberley off Tobruk on 12 January 1942. The warship's stern was blown off, but she was towed to Alexandria for temporary repairs before more permanent restoration was carried out in Bombay. The ship returned to service in January 1944.

The submarine docked at Salamis in Greece on 14 January.

5th patrol[edit]

Late on 1 April 1942, U-77 was attacked by a Fairey Swordfish of No. 815 Squadron FAA, north-by-northeast of Sidi Barrani. The damage inflicted meant the boat was unable to dive. She returned to Salamis on the 3rd.

6th patrol[edit]

Having moved to La Spezia in northwest Italy in April, U-77 departed the port for the initial portion of a two-part patrol on 6 June 1942. She sank the destroyer HMS Grove north of Sollum on the 12th. This was during Operation Vigorous, [a supply convoy to Malta].

The U-boat was unsuccessfully attacked by HMS Thrasher, a British T-class submarine, off what today is the Israeli coast on 4 July. (Note: there is some confusion over this incident as the U-boat's own page on 'uboat.net' also puts her further west on that day and does not mention an attack).

U-77 finished the patrol in Salamis on 9 July.

7th and 8th patrols[edit]

Departing Salamis on 16 July 1942, her only victory was the Greek sailing ship Vassilliki, which she sank with 10 rounds from the deck gun east of Cyprus on the 22nd.

In late August, the boat briefly moved to Pola (or Pula) in Croatia at the 'top' of the Adriatic, from where she sortied on 12 October 1942 before steaming to La Spezia once more on 1 November.

9th patrol[edit]

U-77 torpedoed the sloop HMS Stork on 12 November 1942 but was attacked by the corvettes HMS Lotus and Poppy the following day northeast of Algiers. The slightly damaged U-boat returned to La Spezia on 5 December.

10th patrol[edit]

U-77 sank two more ships - the Empire Banner and the Empire Webster, both on 7 February 1943 west of Algiers. She had departed La Spezia on 26 January and returned there on 10 February.

11th patrol and loss[edit]

German Military Cemetery in Cuacos de Yuste. In the foreground, the graves of two of members of the submarine crew. In 1983, all the German soldiers and sailors buried in Spain from the WWI and WWII were exhumed from their graves and buried in this cemetery. The corpses of the U-77 were taken from the cemetery of Alicante to their final resting place in Cuacos.

The boat departed La Spezia for the last time on 3 March 1943. On 28 March, U-77 was attacked two British Lockheed Hudsons, V of No. 48 and L of No. 233 Squadron RAF, based on Gibraltar, and heavily damaged by depth charges. At 01:15 the following day, 29 March, Hartmann ordered the crew off the boat, which was scuttled in position 37°42′N 00°10′E / 37.700°N 0.167°E / 37.700; 0.167 east of Cartagena/Cape de Palos. Of the 47 crew members, nine survived the night and were picked up by Spanish fishing boats. [3]

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-77 took part in six wolfpacks, namely.

  • West (6–20 June 1941)
  • Grönland (10–23 August 1941)
  • Kurfürst (23 August – 2 September 1941)
  • Seewolf (2–7 September 1941)
  • Reissewolf (21–31 October 1941)
  • Störtebecker (15 November – 2 December 1941)

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[4]
13 June 1941 Tresillian  United Kingdom 4,743 Sunk
22 June 1941 Arakaka  United Kingdom 2,379 Sunk
25 June 1941 Anna Bulgaris  Greece 4,603 Sunk
15 December 1941 SS Empire Barracuda  United Kingdom 4,972 Sunk
12 January 1942 HMS Kimberley  Royal Navy 1,690 Damaged
12 June 1942 HMS Grove  Royal Navy 1,050 Sunk
22 July 1942 Vassiliki *  Greece 140 Sunk
24 July 1942 Toufic El Rahman *  Syria 30 Sunk
30 July 1942 Fany *  Egypt 43 Sunk
1 August 1942 St. Simon * Egypt Egypt 100 Sunk
6 August 1942 Adnan *  Egypt 155 Damaged
6 August 1942 Ezzet *  Egypt 158 Sunk
10 August 1942 Kharouf *  Mandatory Palestine 158 Sunk
16 August 1942 Daniel *  Mandatory Palestine 100 Sunk
20 August 1942 Mahrous *  Syria 18 Sunk
12 November 1942 HMS Stork  Royal Navy 1,190 Damaged
7 February 1943 SS Empire Banner  United Kingdom 6,999 Sunk
7 February 1943 Empire Webster  United Kingdom 7,043 Sunk
16 March 1943 Hadleigh  United Kingdom 5,222 Total loss
16 March 1943 Merchant Prince  United Kingdom 5,229 Damaged

* Sailing vessel

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-77". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Busch & Röll 1999, p. 83.
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-77". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 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. 
  • 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]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-77". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 77". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
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