|Ordered:||15 August 1940|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werke, Kiel|
|Laid down:||1 July 1941|
|Launched:||16 May 1942|
|Commissioned:||12 August 1942|
|Fate:||Sunk, 11 August 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|
|Victories:||One commercial ship sunk (6,537 GRT)|
German submarine U-468 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 1 July 1941 as yard number 299 at the Deutsche Werke yard in Kiel, launched on 16 May 1942 and commissioned on 12 August 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Klemens Schamong. She sailed on three war patrols and sank only one ship before being sunk by a RNZAF plane on 11 August 1943. The airplane pilot (who died in the action, along with his crew and most of the submariners) was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross - the only occasion on which a VC has been awarded solely on the testimony of an enemy combatant.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-468 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 Siemens-Schuckert GU 343/38–8 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-468 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 one twin 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
U-468 sailed for the first time from Kiel on 28 January 1943, stopping briefly at Kristiansand in Norway, before heading out into the mid-Atlantic. On 12 March, U-468 sank the British 6,537 ton tanker Empire Light southeast of Cape Farewell (Greenland) with two torpedoes. The tanker, a straggler from Convoy ON-168, had been damaged by a torpedo from U-638 on 7 March, and abandoned by her surviving crew. The U-boat arrived at her new home port of La Pallice in occupied France on 27 March.
U-468 departed La Pallice for the mid-Atlantic on 19 April 1943, but had no successes. At 08:35 on 22 May the U-boat came under attack by a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber of Squadron VC-9 flying from the escort carrier USS Bogue. Barely an hour later another aircraft from the same squadron attacked and the U-boat was damaged. At 15:57, U-468 was attacked for a third time by an aircraft of the Royal Navy's 819 Naval Air Squadron. The boat defended itself with flak without destroying the aircraft. U-468 had suffered serious damage and was forced to abandon her patrol, returning to base on 29 May.
The U-boat sailed for her third and final war patrol on 7 July 1943 from La Pallice. She headed south to the West African coast. There on 11 August, she was attacked and sunk by a B-24 Liberator from 200 Squadron RAF, south-west of Dakar in position Coordinates: . The U-boat's flak hit the aircraft several times and set it on fire, but the Liberator continued to attack and dropped six depth charges before crashing into the sea, killing all eight crewmen aboard. Two depth charges fell very close to the U-boat with devastating effect. U-468 sank within 10 minutes and less than half the crew managed to abandon ship. Many were injured or poisoned by chlorine gas, and drowned, died of exhaustion, or were killed by sharks. Only the commander and six crewmen managed to haul themselves into a rubber dinghy that floated free from the aircraft wreck, and were picked up by the corvette HMS Clarkia on 13 August.
The pilot of the Liberator, Flying Officer Lloyd Allan Trigg RNZAF was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross for this action. This is the only time such a decoration has been awarded solely on the testimony of an enemy combatant and was the first to be awarded to ASW (anti-submarine-warfare) aircrew.
In 2007 New Zealand researcher Arthur Arculus tracked down the German commander Klemens Schamong, at his home near Kiel.
U-468 took part in nine wolfpacks, namely.
- Ritter (11–26 February 1943)
- Burggraf (4–5 March 1943)
- Raubgraf (7–16 March 1943)
- Amsel (29 April - 3 May 1943)
- Amsel 3 (3–6 May 1943)
- Rhein (7–10 May 1943)
- Elbe 1 (10–14 May 1943)
- Mosel (19–23 May 1943)
- Without name (11–29 July 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|12 March 1943||Empire Light||United Kingdom||6,537||Sunk|
- Kemp 1999, p. 141.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-468". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-468". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-468 from 7 Jul 1943 to 11 Aug 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-468 from 1 Feb 1943 to 27 Mar 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Empire Light (Motor tanker)". Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- "U-468 operations". www.ubootwaffe.net. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-468 from 19 Apr 1943 to 29 May 1943". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- "U-boat captain who shot down NZ VC-winner found". NZPA. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
- 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-468". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- victoriacross.org.uk : Lloyd Allan Trigg Citation