|Ordered:||10 April 1941|
|Laid down:||30 September 1942|
|Launched:||30 July 1943|
|Commissioned:||14 August 1943|
|Fate:||Sunk by a mine in April 1945|
|Class and type:||Type VIIC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
The submarine was laid down on 30 September 1942 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft yard at Kiel as yard number 676, launched on 20 July 1943 and commissioned on 14 August under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Karl-Wilhelm Pancke.
After training with the 5th U-boat Flotilla at Kiel, she went to the 3rd flotilla to work operationally from 1 June 1944. She then returned to the 5th flotilla on 6 July and moved to the 8th flotilla for operations on 1 August. She was reassigned to the 5th flotilla a third time from 16 February 1945.
In seven patrols, U-242 sank two ships totalling 2,095 gross register tons (GRT) and an auxiliary warship of 500 tons.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-242 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. 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 AEG GU 460/8–27 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).
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). 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-242 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), one 3.7 cm (1.5 in) Flak M42 and two twin 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft guns. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
U-242's first patrol, like most of the others, was carried out in Norwegian and Baltic waters. She had already made the short voyage from Kiel to Stavanger in Norway in May 1944; her first patrol proper started from the Norwegian port and terminated in Bergen, also in Norway. She then spent some time shuttling between Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Kiel, Reval (also known as Tallinn in Estonia), and Helsinki in Finland.
The boat's second foray was similar to the first, a series of short 'jabs' from Helsinki and Grand Hotel.
U-242 sank the Soviet barge VRD-96 Del'fin and the survey ship KKO-2 on 25 August 1944; one day before returning to Helsinki.
4th, 5th and 6th patrols
More round-robin journeys were carried out, travelling between Paldiski (known to the Germans as Baltisch Port), Windau in Latvia (now known as Ventspils), Pillau (Baltiysk), Danzig (Gdańsk in modern Poland), Horten Naval Base in Norway and Kristiansand. It was during her fifth patrol that the Finnish ship, the Rigel, was sunk on 28 October 1944 by a mine laid by U-242 on 21 September.
7th patrol and loss
For her seventh sortie, she was sent to the waters off southwest Britain. This was to prove her undoing. On 5 April 1945, she struck a mine in the St. Georges Channel (between southeast Ireland and Wales), off St. David's Head. Forty-four men died; there were no survivors.
Summary of raiding history
|Date||Ship Name||Nationality||Tonnage[Note 1]||Fate|
|25 August 1944||KKO-2||Soviet Union||600||Sunk|
|25 August 1944||VRD Del'fin||Soviet Navy||500||Sunk|
|28 October 1944||Rigel||Finland||1,495||Sunk (Mine)|
- Kemp 1999, pp. 204-5.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-242". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War patrols of U-242". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net.
- "Rigel (Finnish Steam merchant) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-242". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net.
- 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.
- Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-242". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- Hofmann, Markus. "U 242". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 26 December 2014.