U-617 kentert.jpg
U-617 aground near Mellila, Morocco after British air attack 12 September 1943.
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-617
Ordered: 15 August 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 593
Laid down: 31 May 1941
Launched: 14 February 1942
Commissioned: 9 April 1942
Fate: Ran aground 12 September 1943 at position 35°38′N 03°27′W / 35.633°N 3.450°W / 35.633; -3.450 near Melilla then destroyed by combined RAF & FAA aircraft and Royal Navy & Royal Australian Navy surface ships.
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:
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 29 August – 7 October 1942
  • 2nd patrol: 2–28 November 1942
  • 3rd patrol: 21 December 1942 – 17 January 1943
  • 4th patrol: 27 January – 13 February 1943
  • 5th patrol: 25 March – 17 April 1943
  • 6th patrol: 31 May – 1 June 1943
  • 7th patrol: 28 August – 12 September 1943
Victories:
  • 8 merchant ships sunk (25,879 GRT)
  • 3 warships sunk (4,510 tons)

German submarine U-617 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 31 May 1941 by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as yard number 593, launched on 14 February 1942 and commissioned on 9 April under Kapitänleutnant Albrecht Brandi.

The boat's service began on 9 April 1942 with training as part of the 5th U-boat Flotilla. She was transferred to the 7th flotilla on 1 September 1942 and moved on to the 29th flotilla on 1 December 1942.

Design

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-617 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-617 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

In seven patrols she sank eleven ships for a total of 25,879 gross register tons (GRT), plus two warships and one auxiliary warship.

1929 MS HARBOE JENSEN (UKJ101192901) 1943 Torpedoed and sunk 15/01 by the German submarine U 617 (Kapitänleutnant Albrecht Brandi) in position 33.04N-21.50E while on a voyage from Alexandria, Egypt & Benghazi, Libya til Tobruk, Libya with war material. 18 men lost. Five crew members and one gunner jumped overboard and found an upturned lifeboat which they righted. They were rescued by the South African anti-submarine vessel HMSAS SOUTHERN ISLES (T.469). Also one Gunner who had jumped overboard and kept himself afloat on a plank was rescued by the vessel. All survivors were landed at Tobruk 16/01.

Wolfpacks

In addition she took part in five wolfpacks, namely,

  • Pfeil (12–22 September 1942)
  • Blitz (22–26 September 1942)
  • Tiger (26–30 September 1942)
  • Delphin (4–10 November 1942)
  • Wal (10–15 November 1942)

Fate

She ran aground on 12 September 1943 at position 35°38′N 03°27′W / 35.633°N 3.450°W / 35.633; -3.450Coordinates: 35°38′N 03°27′W / 35.633°N 3.450°W / 35.633; -3.450 near Melilla after a sustained air attack by Leigh light-equipped RAF Wellington bombers from 179 Squadron.

All crew members were able to evacuate the stricken sub and subsequently interned by the Spanish authorities. They were later repatriated to Germany.

The abandoned submarine was then finished off with combined RAF Hudson and FAA Swordfish aircraft from Gibraltar and gunfire from HMS Hyacinth and HMAS Wollongong.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[3][4]
7 September 1942 Tor II  Faeroes 292 Sunk
23 September 1942 Athelsultan  United Kingdom 8,882 Sunk
23 September 1942 Tennessee  United Kingdom 2,342 Sunk
24 September 1942 Roumanie  Belgium 3,563 Sunk
28 December 1942 HMS St Issey  Royal Navy 810 Sunk
15 January 1943 Annitsa  Greece 4,324 Sunk
15 January 1943 Harboe Jensen  Norway 1,862 Sunk
1 February 1943 HMS Welshman  Royal Navy 2,650 Sunk
5 February 1943 Corona  Norway 3,264 Sunk
5 February 1943 Henrik  Norway 1,350 Sunk
6 September 1943 HMS Puckeridge  Royal Navy 1,050 Sunk

References

Notes

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations

  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-617". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-617". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  4. ^ Busch & Röll 2001, pp. 268–270.

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.
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2001). Deutsche U-Boot-Erfolge von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat successes from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg, 1939-1945 (in German). III. Hamburg: Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 3813205134.
  • 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.

External links

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-617". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 617". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 29 December 2014.