German submarine U-953

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History
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
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][2]
Part of:
Commanders:
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 navy (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 zur See 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). She was transferred to the 33rd U-boat Flotilla on 15 October 1944, under the command of her second skipper, Oblt.z.S. Herbert Werner, author of the memoir Iron Coffins. U-953 was surrendered at Trondheim in Norway on 9 May 1945.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-953 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[3] 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).[3]

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).[3] 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-953 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 one twin 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[3]

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.[2]

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 accredited to U-763.

8th-10th patrols[edit]

Under her new commander, Oblt.z.S. Herbert Werner, U-953 sailed from Brest on 12 August 1944, arriving at La Pallice on 19 August.[7]

On 31 August U-953 left La Pallice for Norway, sailing round the Atlantic coast of Ireland. She patrolled the entrance to North Channel for seven days, but has no success. Werner reports a fault on the schnorkel caused the patrol to be abandoned[8] and U-953 arrived at Bergen "unannounced" on 11 October.[9][10]

Faults and a need for overhaul caused her to be sent to Germany, arriving at Flensburg on 25 October. She was not ready for further service until February 1945.

U-953 left Kiel on 4 February 1945, arriving at Kristiansand and then Bergen. On 21 February she left Bergen on an offensive patrol off the coast of Britain but, Werner reports, various faults culminating in a faulty torpedo tube door, forced a return once more.[11] U-953 arrived back in Bergen on 3 April 1945.[12]

Under a new commander, Oblt.z.S. E. Steinbrink,[1] she was moved from there to Trondheim on 6 April arriving three days later; there she remained until the German capitulation and she was surrendered to British forces.[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]

On 29 May 1945 U-953 sailed to Loch Ryan as a British war prize in August. After trails by the Royal Navy, the U-boat was laid up in Lisahally at the end of the year. On 4 June 1949, U-953 was sold to Clayton & Davie Ltd. of Dunston and broken up for scrap.[14]

See also[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-953". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-953". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-953 from 13 May 1943 to 22 Jul 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-953 from 2 Oct 1943 to 17 Nov 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-953 from 26 Dec 1943 to 20 Feb 1944". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of German U-boat U-953 from 10 Aug 1944 to 19 Aug 1944". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Werner 1999, p. 265.
  9. ^ Blair 1998, p. 618.
  10. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of German U-boat U-953 from 31 Aug 1944 to 11 Oct 1944". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  11. ^ Werner 1999, p. 294.
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of German U-boat U-953 from 21 Feb 1945 to 3 Apr 1945". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Blair 1998, p. 818.
  14. ^ Neistlé, p. 94.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bishop, Chris (2006). Kriegsmarine U-Boats 1939-45. London: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-904687-96-2. 
  • Blair, Clay (1998). The Hunted 1942-1945. Hitler's U-Boat War. 2. ISBN 0-304-35261-6. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Neistlé, Axel (2014). German U-Boat Losses during World War II: Details of Destruction. (2 ed.). Havertown: Frontline Books (published 30 June 2014). 
  • Werner, Herbert (1999) [1969]. Iron Coffins. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-3043-5330-9. 

External links[edit]