German submarine U-968

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-968
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 168
Laid down: 14 May 1942
Launched: 4 February 1943
Commissioned: 18 March 1943
Fate: Surrendered 9 May 1945
Status: Sunk 29 November 1945
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:
Commanders:
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 7 March – 2 April 1944
  • 2nd patrol: 29 August – 10 September 1944
  • 3rd patrol: 24 September – 3 October 1944
  • 4th patrol: 14 October – 11 November 1944
  • 5th patrol: 7–20 February 1945
  • 6th patrol: 12–30 March 1945
  • 7th patrol: 21 April – 7 May 1945
Victories:
  • 2 merchant ships sunk (14,386 GRT)
  • 1 merchant ship damaged (8,129 GRT)
  • 1 merchant ship total loss (7,200 GRT)
  • 1 warship sunk (1,350 tons)
  • 1 warship total loss (1,350 tons)

German submarine U-968 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 14 May 1942 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 168, launched on 4 February 1943 and commissioned on 18 March 1943 under Leutnant zur See Otto Westphalen.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-968 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 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-968 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 18 March 1943, followed by active service on 1 March 1944 as part of the 13th Flotilla for the remainder of her service.

In seven patrols she sank two merchant ships, for a total of 14,386 gross register tons (GRT), damaged one other, plus two warships.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-968 took part in seven wolfpacks, namely

  • Hammer (17 March – 1 April 1944)
  • Dachs (1–5 September 1944)
  • Zorn (26 September – 1 October 1944)
  • Grimm (1–2 October 1944)
  • Panther (16 October – 10 November 1944)
  • Rasmus (7–13 February 1945)
  • Hagen (13–21 March 1945)

Fate[edit]

U-968 surrendered on 9 May 1945 at Narvik, Norway. She was subsequently transferred to Loch Eriboll in Scotland on 19 May 1945, and later to Loch Ryan as part of Operation Deadlight. She was eventually sunk by Allied forces on 29 November 1945 in the North Atlantic in position 55°24′N 06°22′W / 55.400°N 6.367°W / 55.400; -6.367.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[3]
14 February 1945 Norfjell  Norway 8,129 Damaged
14 February 1945 Horace Gray  United States 7,200 Total loss
17 February 1945 HMS Lark  Royal Navy 1,350 Total loss
17 February 1945 Thomas Scott  United States 7,176 Sunk
20 March 1945 Thomas Donaldson  United States 7,210 Sunk
20 March 1945 HMS Lapwing  Royal Navy 1,350 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-968". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-968". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 August 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]