|Ordered:||5 June 1941|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werke, Kiel|
|Laid down:||6 February 1943|
|Launched:||25 September 1943|
|Commissioned:||10 November 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-481 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 6 February 1943 at the Deutsche Werke yard in Kiel, launched on 25 September 1943, and commissioned on 10 November 1943 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Ewald Pick.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-481 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-481 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-481 left Kiel on 19 June 1944 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Klaus Andersen, and sailed to Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia) via Helsinki. She departed Reval on her first war patrol on 5 July and sailed east into the Gulf of Finland to Soviet waters. On 30 July she attacked a group of Soviet Navy coastal minesweepers with torpedoes, sinking two (KT-804 and KT-807) and damaging another (KT-806). On the same day the U-boat was attacked while in Narva Bay by two Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik aircraft from the 35th Assault Air Regiment (35. ShAP), and managed to damage one enough to force the pilot to ditch his aircraft. The U-boat arrived back at Reval on 4 August.
Departing Königsberg on 16 September 1944, the U-boat patrolled the Baltic, and on 15 October sank three small Finnish Galeas sailing barges (Dan, Endla and Maria) off Osmussaar, Estonia, with shell-fire, before arriving at Danzig (now Gdansk) on 26 October.
U-481 sailed from Danzig on 2 November 1944, returning to the Gulf of Finland, and on 9 November off Cape Pakri she torpedoed and shelled the Soviet 1,000 ton barge 112600, sinking her. On 28 November she sank the Soviet 108 ton coastal minesweeper T-387 in the same area. The U-boat returned to Danzig on 22 December.
After returning to Kiel to be fitted with a 'schnorchel' in February 1945, the U-boat sailed for Horten Naval Base in Norway, making her final patrol along the Norwegian coast from 7 April to 4 May, finally arriving at Narvik only a few days before the German surrender. On 12 May all U-boats in the Narvik area were ordered by the Allies to sail to Skjomenfjord to avoid conflicts with the Norwegians. On 15 May four ships; the fleet tender Grille with the staff of FdU Norwegen on board, the fleet oiler Kärnten, and the depot ships Huascaran and Stella Polaris, and fifteen U-boats including U-481, sailed for Trondheim, but were intercepted after two days by the Royal Navy's 9th Escort Group and officially capitulated. The ships were allowed to proceed to Trondheim, but all the U-boats were escorted to Loch Eriboll, Scotland, arriving on 19 May. Later transferred to Loch Ryan, U-481 was sunk at position in Coordinates: as part of "Operation Deadlight" on 30 November 1945.
|30 July 1944||KT-804||Soviet Navy||26||Sunk|
|30 July 1944||KT-806||Soviet Navy||26||Damaged|
|30 July 1944||KT-807||Soviet Navy||26||Sunk|
|15 October 1944||Dan||Finland||47||Sunk|
|15 October 1944||Endla||Finland||68||Sunk|
|15 October 1944||Maria||Finland||50||Sunk|
|19 November 1944||112600||Soviet Union||1,000||Sunk|
|28 November 1944||T-387||Soviet Navy||108||Sunk|