Air attack on U-128
|Ordered:||7 August 1939|
|Builder:||DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen|
|Laid down:||10 July 1940|
|Launched:||20 February 1941|
|Commissioned:||12 May 1941 by Ulrich Heyse|
|Fate:||Sunk, 17 May 1943|
|Class and type:||Type IXC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)|
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 44 enlisted|
German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-128 had a displacement of 1,120 tonnes (1,100 long tons) when at the surface and 1,232 tonnes (1,213 long tons) while submerged. 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 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 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 metric horsepower (740 kW; 990 shp) 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).
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). 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 13,450 nautical miles (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-128 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.
During her six completed war patrols, U-128 sank 12 ships, for a total of 83,639 tons. On 1 March 1943 command was transferred to Kptlt. Hermann Steinert, who commanded her until her loss a few months later.
On 17 May 1943, while operating in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco, two Mariner flying boats, PBM 74-P5 and PBM-74-P6 of the US Navy Patrol Squadron VP-74, made U-128 surface with depth charges. Two US Navy destroyers (USS Jouett and Moffett) also hit her with 5-inch gunfire. The crew opened the submarine's seacocks as they abandoned ship, scuttling the submarine. The final toll was seven dead but there were 47 survivors.
Summary of raiding history
|Date||Ship Name||Flag||Tonnage (GRT)||Position||Deaths|
|19 February 1942||Pan Massachusetts||United States||8,202||20|
|22 February 1942||Cities Service Empire||United States||8,103||14|
|5 March 1942||O.A. Knudsen||Norway||11,007||2|
|13 May 1942||Denpark||United Kingdom||3,491||21|
|8 June 1942||South Africa||Norway||9,234||6|
|21 June 1942||West Ira||United States||5,681||1|
|23 June 1942||Andrea Brøvig||Norway||10,173||0|
|27 June 1942||Polybius||United States||7,041||10|
|8 November 1942||Maloja||Norway||6,400||2|
|10 November 1942||Cerinthus||United Kingdom||3,878||20|
|10 November 1942||Start Point||United Kingdom||5,293||2|
|5 December 1942||Teesbank||United Kingdom||5,136||1|
- Gröner 1991, p. 68.
- 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.
- Hofmann, Markus. "U 128". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-128". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 December 2014.