U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
|Ordered:||14 February 1940|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werft, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||4 August 1941|
|Launched:||15 April 1942|
|Commissioned:||25 June 1942|
|Fate:||Sunk, 25 August 1943|
|Class and type:||Type IXC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)|
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||48 to 56|
|Victories:||One commercial ship sunk (5,848 GRT)|
German submarine U-523 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 4 August 1941 at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg as yard number 338. She was launched on 15 April 1942, and commissioned on 25 June under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Pietzsch. After training with the 4th U-boat Flotilla in the Baltic Sea, the U-boat was transferred to the 10th flotilla for front-line service on 1 February 1943.
German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-523 had a displacement of 1,120 tonnes (1,100 long tons) when at the surface and 1,232 tonnes (1,213 long tons) while submerged. The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 shaft horsepower (1,010 PS; 750 kW) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 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 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,450 nautical miles (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-523 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.
U-523 departed Kiel on 9 February 1943 and sailed out into the mid-Atlantic. On the morning of 19 March the 5,848 ton American merchant ship SS Mathew Luckenbach, part of Convoy HX 229 en route to the UK from New York City, was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-527. The crew of eight officers, 34 crewmen and 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4 in (100 mm) gun, one 3 in (76 mm) gun, and eight 20 mm guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats and two rafts, and were picked up later by USCGC Ingham. Around 20:00 that evening, U-523 discovered the drifting wreck of the Mathew Luckenbach and hit her with a single torpedo, sinking the ship within seven minutes. The U-boat arrived at her new home port of Lorient, in occupied France, on 16 April 1943 after 67 days at sea.
U-523 sailed from Lorient on 22 May 1943, but on the 24th, still in the Bay of Biscay, she was bombed by a British Whitley medium bomber of No. 10 Squadron RAF. The U-boat was severely damaged and was forced to return to Lorient.
3rd and 4th patrols
The U-boat was sunk on 25 August, west of Vigo, Spain, in position Coordinates: , by depth charges from the destroyer HMS Wanderer and the corvette HMS Wallflower. Seventeen of U-523's crew were killed and 37 survived the attack.
U-523 took part in four wolfpacks, namely.
- Burggraf (24 February - 5 March 1943)
- Westmark (6–11 March 1943)
- Stürmer (11–20 March 1943)
- Seeteufel (23–30 March 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|19 March 1943||Mathew Luckenbach||United States||5,848||Sunk|
- Kemp 1999, p. 144.
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- Gröner 1991, p. 68.
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- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Mathew Luckenbach (Steam merchant)". Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
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- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-523". Ships hit by U-boats in WWII- uboat.net. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
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- 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 IXC boat U-523". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 December 2014.