|Ordered:||23 December 1939|
|Builder:||Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack|
|Laid down:||17 May 1941|
|Launched:||16 February 1942|
|Commissioned:||28 March 1942|
|Fate:||Sunk, 15 September 1942|
|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|
|Operations:||8–15 September 1942|
German submarine U-261 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 17 May 1941 at the Bremer Vulkan yard at Bremen-Vegesack as yard number 26, launched on 16 February 1942 and commissioned on 28 March under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hans Lange. After training with the 8th U-boat Flotilla, U-261 was transferred to the 6th U-boat Flotilla, for front-line service from 1 September 1942.
U-261 sank no ships in her short career. Her only patrol began when she departed Kiel on 8 September 1942. Her route took her through the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands toward the Atlantic Ocean. She never got that far. On 15 September 1942, she was sunk by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley of No. 58 Squadron RAF west of the Scottish island group.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-261 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 460/8-276 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-261 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 two twin 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft guns. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
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