Cross-section of a Type VIIC U-boat.
|Ordered:||6 August 1940|
|Builder:||Flender Werke, Lübeck|
|Laid down:||12 February 1941|
|Launched:||25 March 1942|
|Commissioned:||9 May 1942|
|Fate:||Sunk, 21 January 1943|
|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|
German submarine U-301 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 12 February 1941 at the Flender Werke yard at Lübeck, launched on 25 March 1942, and commissioned on 9 May 1942. During her short career the U-boat sailed on three combat patrols, without sinking or damaging any ships, before she was sunk on 21 January 1943 by a British submarine in the Mediterranean Sea.
Design and description
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. Type VIIC u-boats had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) on the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. U-301 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). U-301's power was produced by two Germaniawerft F46 six-cylinder, four-stroke 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, andtwo Garbe, Lahmeyer & Co. RP 137/c double-acting electric motors producing 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) total for use while submerged. The submarine had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. U-301 could submerge to up to 230 metres (750 ft) underwater.
U-301 had a maximum speed of 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) while surfaced and a maximum speed of 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) when submerged. The submarine had a range of 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) while underwater; on the surface, she could travel 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-301 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four in the bow and one in the stern), fourteen torpedoes or 26 TMA mines, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun with 220 rounds, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The submarine had a complement of between 44 and 60 men.
Construction and career
Ordered on 6 August 1940, U-301 was laid down on 12 February 1941 at the Flender Werke yard at Lübeck, Northern Germany. The submarine was launched on 25 March 1942, and commissioned on 9 May 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Willy-Roderich Körner.
After completing her training, U-301 was transferred to the 1st U-boat Flotilla based at Brest in France, for front-line service on 1 October 1942. On that day, U-301 departed Kiel and sailed out into the Atlantic Ocean, operating as part of wolfpack 'Panther' from 11 to 16 October, 'Puma' from 16 to 26, and 'Südwärts' from 24 to 26. U-301 attempted to attack the US-bound convoy ON 139 along with several u-boats on 23 and 24 October, but their attacks were repelled by the escorting ships. The submarine arrived in Brest on 7 November. U-301 did not sink any ship during this patrol.
U-301 sailed from Brest on 3 December 1942, then passed through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea and on to the U-boat base at La Spezia in northern Italy, arriving on 14 December. The patrol was also unsuccessful.
Transferred to the 29th U-boat Flotilla on 1 January 1943, U-301 sailed on her third and final patrol on 20 January. The next day at 8:48 in the morning, U-301 was sunk west of Bonifacio, Corsica, in position Coordinates:  by torpedoes from the British submarine HMS Sahib. According to Sahib's log the U-boat was first spotted proceeding on the surface early that morning at a distance of 4.5 miles (7.2 km). Sahib then closed to 2.6 miles (4.2 km) and into a more favourable position before firing a full salvo of six torpedoes at five second intervals. Three minutes later three explosions were heard, a large cloud of smoke was seen and it was noted that radio transmissions stopped. Sahib closed and recovered the only survivor from the 46 crew, 19-year-old Wilhelm Rahn.
- Gröner, Jung & Maass 1991, pp. 43–46.
- Fontenoy 2007, p. 209.
- Niestle 2014, p. XXVI.
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- Ross & Bishop 2016, p. 117.
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- Heden 2006, p. 301.
- Niestle 2014, pp. 167, XXVI.
- Kemp 1999, p. 100.
- Ross & Bishop 2016, p. 241.
- HMS Sahib, Uboat.net
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- U-boat Archive: "U 301" Interrogation of Sole Survivor
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- Hofmann, Markus. "U 301". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 26 December 2014.