History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-603
Ordered: 22 May 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 579
Laid down: 27 February 1941
Launched: 16 November 1941
Commissioned: 2 January 1942
Fate: Sunk 1 March 1944 in the North Atlantic in position 48°55′N 26°10′W / 48.917°N 26.167°W / 48.917; -26.167Coordinates: 48°55′N 26°10′W / 48.917°N 26.167°W / 48.917; -26.167, by depth charges from USS Bronstein.
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement:
  • 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 bhp) (diesels)
  • 750 PS (550 kW; 740 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
  • 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth:
  • 230 m (750 ft)
  • Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament:
Service record[1]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Kurt Kölzer
  • 2 January – 12 September 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Hans-Joachim Bertelsmann
  • 13 September 1942 – 2 May 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Rudolf Baltz
  • 3 May 1943 – 28 January 1944
  • Kptlt. Hans-Joachim Bertelsmann
  • 29 January – 1 March 1944
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 23 November – 9 December 1942
  • 2nd patrol: 7 February – 26 March 1943
  • 3rd patrol: 5 May – 16 July 1943
  • 4th patrol: 9 September – 3 November 1943
  • 5th patrol: 5 February – 1 March 1944
Victories: 4 merchant ships sunk (22,406 GRT)

German submarine U-603 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 27 February 1941 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 579, launched on 16 November 1941 and commissioned on 2 January 1942 under Kapitänleutnant Kurt Kölzer.

Design

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-603 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[2] 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 Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 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).[2]

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).[2] 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-603 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 a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[2]

Service history

The boat's career began with training at 5th U-boat Flotilla on 2 January 1942, followed by active service on 1 December 1942 as part of the 1st Flotilla for the remainder of her service.

In five patrols she sank four merchant ships, for a total of 22,406 gross register tons (GRT).

On 4 December 1942 she was returning to base when she spotted a convoy and attacked by convoy escorts, but not before reporting to base and calling in support boats.

On 8 July 1943 she was attacked by a RAF Catalina with depth charges and slightly damaged.

On 13 October 1943 a Avenger from USS Card dropped a FIDO Homing Torpedo but she successfully evaded the attack.

Convoy ON 166

On 21 February 1943, while operating against Convoy ON 166, she jointly attacked the Norwegian motor tanker Stigstad with U-332. U-332 hit her first with one torpedo, closely followed by two further torpedoes from U-603 which broke her back; sinking her in 15 minutes.

Two nights later she finished off the straggling Norwegian motor tanker Glittre with two torpedoes.

Convoy HX 237

Now under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Rudolf Baltz, U-603 attacked convoy HX 237 and successfully sank the Norwegian motor vessel Brand on 12 May 1943.

Wolf packs

U-603 took part in 13 wolfpacks, namely

  • Ritter (14–26 February 1943)
  • Burggraf (4–5 March 1943)
  • Raubgraf (7–20 March 1943)
  • Oder (17–19 May 1943)
  • Mosel (19–24 May 1943)
  • Trutz (1–16 June 1943)
  • Trutz 2 (16–29 June 1943)
  • Geier 1 (30 June – 14 July 1943)
  • Leuthen (15–24 September 1943)
  • Rossbach (24 September –9 October 1943)
  • Igel 2 (15–17 February 1944)
  • Hai 1 (17–22 February 1944)
  • Preussen (22 February – 1 March 1944)

Fate

U-603 was sunk on 1 March 1944 in the North Atlantic in position 48°55′N 26°10′W / 48.917°N 26.167°W / 48.917; -26.167, by depth charges from USS Bronstein. All hands were lost.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[3]
21 February 1943 Stigstad  Norway 5,964 Sunk
23 February 1943 Glittre  Norway 6,409 Sunk
16 March 1943 Elin K  Norway 5,214 Sunk
12 May 1943 Brand  Norway 4,819 Sunk

References

  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-603". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-603". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 6 July 2014.

Bibliography

  • 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.
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. pp. 129, 155, 156, 160, 208. ISBN 0-304-35203-9.
  • 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.
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9.

External links

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-603". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.