U-Boats

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U-Boat Battles

Listed by U-Boat number

U-66


Data:

Built by AG Weser, Bremen (werk 985); type IXC; launched 10 Oct 1940; commissioned 2 Jan 1941; the last commander was Oblt. Gerhard Seehausen; 9 Atlantic patrols and 200,021 tons sunk.


Fate:

U-66 was hunted by aircraft and destroyer escorts of CVE 21 USS Block Island from 1 May 1944. Attacks included three Fido homing torpedoes. On 6 May 1944 the U-66 was seen by DE 51 USS Buckley. DE 51 rammed the U-Boat at 0329 and the American captain believed they were being boarded as German crew members carried small arms. DE 51 backed away from the U-boat leaving five armed Germans on the destroyer who were immediately captured. The U-66 started to draw ahead but then turned and hit DE 51 near its engine room and for the second time the u-boat was raked with gunfire. U-66 finally sank after a final salvo from the destroyer's 3 inch gun after one of the longest fights in the war.


U-66 was sunk 6 May 1944 west of the Cape Verde Islands, in position 17.17N, 32.29W, by depth charges, ramming and gunfire from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft of the CVE 21 USS Block Island and by the destroyer DE 51 USS Buckley. German casualties were 24 dead with 36 survivors.



U-220


Data:

Built by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 626); type XB; launched 16 Jan 1943; commissioned 27 Mar 1943; last commander was Oblt. Bruno Barber; 1 combat patrol; 7,199 tons sunk.


Fate:

Sunk 28 Oct 1943 in the North Atlantic, in position 48.53N, 33.30W by depth charges from two Avenger and Wildcat aircraft of the CVE21 USS Block Island. German casualties were 56 dead (all hands lost).


U-231


Data:

Built by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 661); type VIIC; commissioned 14 Nov 1942; last commander Kptlt. Wolfgang Wenzel; three patrols; no ships sunk.


Fate:

On 13 Jan 1944 at 22:55 hours, the boat was attacked by the British Wellington HF168 operating from the Azores after being directed to the area by a sighting report by aircraft from CVE 21 USS Block Island about 750 miles northeast of the Azores. The aircraft dropped three depth charges but was itself hit by AA fire, wounding the rear gunner. After attempting an unsuccessful crash-dive the crew abandoned ship. The commander attempted suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a revolver but the bullet lodged harmlessly in the back of his neck. Seven German crewmen were lost, the commander and 42 survivors were picked up and taken prisoner the next day by DE 218 USS Parrott and DE 222 USS Bulmer and later transferred to CVE 21 USS Block Island.


U-256


Data:

Built by Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 21); type VIIC; commissioned 18 Dec 1941; last commander KrvKpt. Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (Knights Cross); 5 Atlantic combat patrols; 1,300 tons sunk


Fate:

On 20 Oct 1943 the USS Block Island task group spotted U-256 and U-220 and attacked with aircraft, dropping depth charges and bombs. Forty minutes after the attack the U-Boats exchanged transmissions and six hours later the commander of the U-256 reported hearing explosions in the area of the U-220. The U-Boat was never located.


U-256 was heavily damaged on 31 Aug 1942 and converted to U-Flak 2 in May 1943. Captured on 23 Oct 1944 in Bergen, Norway.


U-441


Data:

Built by F Schichau GmbH, Danzig (werk 1492); type VIIC; commissioned 21 Feb 1942; last commander Kptlt. Klaus Hartmann; 9 patrols; 7,051 tons sunk.


Fate:

On 29 Feb 1944, planes from the CVE 21 USS Block Island spotted a periscope and commenced a mine run. DD 463 Corry and DE 189 Bronstein sped to the scene. Four German submarines, U-709, U-603, U-607, and U-441 were thought to be in the area. The Bronstein sunk U-603 and along with the DE 102 Thomas and the DE 103 Bostwick, sunk U-709. The U-441 was badly damaged and returned to Brest, France 14 days later.


U-441 was sunk on 8 Jun 1944 in the English Channel in approximate position 48.27N, 05.47W by depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft. German casualties 51 dead (all hands lost).



U-488


Data:

Built by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 557); type XIV; commissioned 1 Feb 1943; last commander Oblt. Bruno Studt; 3 patrols; no ships sunk or damaged.


Fate:

On 17 Oct 1943 members of the USS Block Island task group fired on the re-supply (referred to as a “milch cow”) submarine U-488 putting a hole in her conning tower but failing to sink or capture the boat.


Sunk on 26 Apr 1944 in the mid-Atlantic west of Cape Verde in position 17.54N, 38.05W by depth charges from the destroyer escorts USS Frost, USS Huse, USS Barber and USS Snowden. German casualties were 64 dead (all hands lost).


U-Boat Types

These were the types or “models” of German submarines associated with CVE 21 USS Block Island encounters.

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