German submarine U-856

German submarine U-856 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-856
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1062
Laid down: 31 October 1942
Launched: 11 May 1943
Commissioned: 19 August 1943
Fate: scuttled in position 40°18′N 62°22′W / 40.300°N 62.367°W / 40.300; -62.367Coordinates: 40°18′N 62°22′W / 40.300°N 62.367°W / 40.300; -62.367 on 7 April 1944 after receiving heavy damage from US warships
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXC/40 submarine
Displacement:
  • 1,144 t (1,126 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,257 t (1,237 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in) o/a
  • 4.44 m (14 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.67 m (15 ft 4 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) surfaced
  • 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 13,850 nmi (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 63 nmi (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Armament:
Service record
Identification codes: M 54 791
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Friedrich Wittenberg
Operations: 1 patrol

DesignEdit

German Type IXC/40 submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXCs. U-856 had a displacement of 1,144 tonnes (1,126 long tons) when at the surface and 1,257 tonnes (1,237 long tons) while submerged.[1] The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.67 m (15 ft 4 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 shaft horsepower (1,010 PS; 750 kW) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[1]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph).[1] When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,850 nautical miles (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-856 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[1]

Service historyEdit

U-856 was ordered in June 1941 from DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen under the yard number 1062. Her keel was laid down on 31 October 1942 and the U-boat was launched the following year on 11 May 1943. She was commissioned into service under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Friedrich Wittenberg (Crew X/37) in 4th U-boat Flotilla.

The U-boat was working up for deployment in the Baltic Sea until transferring to the 2nd U-boat Flotilla for front-line service. She left Kiel on 24 February 1944 for operations off the US east coast. In March she had two brief encounters with submarine-hunting aircraft, but escaped unscathed. In the morning of 7 April 1944 however, she was picked up by an aircraft of USS Croatan and attacked by USS Boyle. Surviving the initial attack, she was attacked with depth charges by a second group consisting of USS Huse and USS Champlin, the later ramming U-856 and severely damaging her. When the U-boat re-surfaced a little while later, she came under heavy artillery fire from the US warships. Wittenberg ordered the crew to abandon ship and scuttled her. Of the 55 men on board only 28, Wittenberg among them, survived. They were picked up by the destroyers and brought to New York City where they disembarked on 10 April 1944.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  2. ^ Busch & Röll 1999, p. 215.

BibliographyEdit

  • 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.
 
U-856 replica in frozen Lake St. Moritz, Switzerland, used as bar

External linksEdit