German submarine U-953

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-953
Ordered: 10 April 1941
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 153
Laid down: 10 February 1942
Launched: 28 October 1942
Commissioned: 17 December 1942
Fate: Transferred to England, 29 May 1945
Broken up, 1950
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 PS (2,800–3,200 bhp; 2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 PS (740 shp; 550 kW) and max rpm: 296.
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: 44–52 officers & ratings
Armament:
Service record[2][3]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(17 December 1942–31 May 1943)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 June 1943–14 October 1944)
33rd U-boat Flotilla
(15 October 1944–8 May 1945)
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Karl-Heinz Marbach
(17 December 1942–August 1944)
Oblt.z.S. Herbert A. Werner
(August 1944–April 1945)
Oblt.z.S. Erich Steinbrink
(April–8 May 1945)
Operations: 1st patrol: 13 May–22 July 1943
2nd patrol: 2 October–17 November 1943
3rd patrol: 26 December 1943–20 February 1944
4th patrol: 30 March–1 April 1944
5th patrol: 22–28 May 1944
6th patrol: 6–18 June 1944
7th patrol: 24 June–22 July 1944
8th patrol: 10–11 August 1944
9th patrol: 31 August–11 October 1944
10th patrol: 21 February–3 April 1945
Victories: None

U-953 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 10 February 1942 in the Blohm & Voss yard at Hamburg, launched on 28 October 1942, and commissioned on 17 December 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant Karl-Heinz Marbach.

After training with the 5th U-boat Flotilla at Kiel, U-953 was transferred to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla based at La Pallice (in southwestern France), for front-line service on 1 June 1943. She sailed on ten war patrols, but sank only one ship of 1,927 gross register tons (GRT). Transferred to the 33rd U-boat Flotilla on 15 October 1944, she surrendered at Trondheim in Norway in May 1945.

Service history[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

U-953 first sailed from Kiel on 13 May 1943, and out into the mid-Atlantic. She had no successes, and on 9 July was attacked by an aircraft, which killed one crewman and wounded two others. The U-boat arrived at La Pallice on 22 July after 71 days on patrol.[4]

2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

U-953‍ '​s second Atlantic patrol from 2 October to 17 November 1943 was uneventful,[5] but her next, which began on 26 December 1943 and took her to the waters off North Africa, was. On 11 January 1944 the U-boat fired a T-5 homing torpedo at a corvette, missed, and was then hunted for the next 13 hours by escort ships equipped with depth charges and hedgehogs. About 4 February the U-boat approached Convoy ON 222, but was attacked by an unknown Allied aircraft.[6]

4th-6th patrols[edit]

After being fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus, the U-boat's next three patrols from March to June 1944 were short, from 3 to 13 days and uneventful.[3]

7th patrol[edit]

U-953 sailed on 24 June 1944 from Brest into the English Channel. It was previously reported that U-953 sank the British freighter Glendinning, on 5 July 1944, but this is now acredited to U-763.

8th-10th patrols[edit]

Under her new commander, Oblt.z.S. Herbert A. Werner, who had been due to stay in Festung (Fortress) Brest and fight on the ground,[7] U-953 sailed from the French port with a composite crew from U-415 and U-953 on 23 August 1944. This mixing was due to a number of the latter boat's crew being on leave in Germany and being unable to return after the invasion of Normandy and the subsequent Allied advance. It had taken two attempts at leaving, due to the chaotic situation in the port and the British anti-submarine forces waiting outside.[8] The submarine arrived at La Pallice on the 28th with no torpedoes and about twice the normal complement, but left again on 7 September following incomplete repairs.[9] Failure of one engine and the non-operation of the Schnorchel were just two of the mechanical problems she encountered[10] as the boat sailed around the British Isles to Bergen in Norway, arriving there on 11 October. She sailed to Germany for overhaul at the end of the month; first to Kiel, then Lübeck; returning to Bergen on the surface (due to more defects), in February 1945.[3] She left Bergen for her final patrol around the southwest English coast on 17 February,[11] but had to return when it was discovered that the torpedo tube outer doors would not open fully. She arrived in Bergen on 7 April,[12] before heading to Trondheim for repairs, arriving on 14 April 1945.[13]

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-953 took part in six wolfpacks, namely.

  • Trutz (1–16 June 1943)
  • Trutz 2 (16–29 June 1943)
  • Geier 2 (30 June - 15 July 1943)
  • Schill (25 October - 16 November 1943)
  • Borkum (1–3 January 1944)
  • Borkum 3 (3–13 January 1944)
  • Dragoner (22–28 May 1944)

Fate[edit]

Three weeks after the German surrender, on 29 May 1945, the boat was transferred to England and used by the Royal Navy for trials. U-953 was finally broken up in 1950.[2]

See also[edit]

  • "U-Boats, Churchill's Worst Nightmare" 3 DVD set; includes interviews with Captain Werner (U-953)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 72-74.
  2. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-953". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-953". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-953 from 13 May 1943 to 22 July 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-953 from 2 October 1943 to 17 November 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-953 from 26 December 1943 to 20 February 1944". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Herbert A. Werner (1969). Iron Coffins p. 238; Cassel & Co. ISBN 0-304-35330-2
  8. ^ Werner pp. 239-251
  9. ^ Werner pp. 254 & 259
  10. ^ Werner pp. 261-263
  11. ^ Werner p. 287
  12. ^ Werner p. 296
  13. ^ Werner p. 298

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bishop, Chris (2006). Kriegsmarine U-Boats 1939-45. London: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-904687-96-2. 
  • 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 (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815–1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 

External links[edit]