German submarine U-855


Nazi Germany
Name: U-855
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1061
Laid down: 21 October 1942
Launched: 17 April 1943
Commissioned: 2 August 1943
Fate: probably sunk by mine in position 63°10′N 12°30′W / 63.167°N 12.500°W / 63.167; -12.500Coordinates: 63°10′N 12°30′W / 63.167°N 12.500°W / 63.167; -12.500 on 17/18 September 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXC/40 submarine
  • 1,144 t (1,126 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,257 t (1,237 long tons) submerged
  • 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in) o/a
  • 4.44 m (14 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.67 m (15 ft 4 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
  • 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) surfaced
  • 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged
  • 13,850 nmi (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 63 nmi (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Service record
Identification codes: M 53 689
Operations: 2 patrols

German submarine U-855 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.


German Type IXC/40 submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXCs. U-855 had a displacement of 1,144 tonnes (1,126 long tons) when at the surface and 1,257 tonnes (1,237 long tons) while submerged.[1] 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 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.67 m (15 ft 4 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).[1]

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).[1] 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 13,850 nautical miles (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-855 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.[1]

Service history

U-855 was ordered in June 1941 from DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen under the yard number 710. Her keel was laid down on 21 October 1942 and the U-boat was launched the following year on 17 April 1943. She was commissioned into service under the command of Kapitänleutnant Albert Sürenhagen (Crew 36) in 4th U-boat Flotilla.

In April 1944 Sürenhagen handed over command to Oberleutnant zur See Prosper Ohlsen (Crew 36). U-855 transferred to the 10th U-boat Flotilla for front-line service and left Kiel for operations in the North Atlantic on 22 June 1944, but experienced engine problems which forced her to return to Kiel. The U-boat left Kiel again on 1 July and served as a weather boat in the North Atlantic until September 1944.

An attack on an unescorted freighter on 6 September 1944 was not successful. The next day U-855 met with 516 and supplied her with provisions for twelve days. The following day, 9 September, she refuelled U-516 before making for port. Her last transmission was received on 11 September 1944, after that the U-boat was missing.[2]

Since U-855 would have had to pass through known mine barrages about a week into her return voyage. Since she failed to report the successful passage, as other U-boats would do, she was probably sunk by a mine in the Northern Barrage on 17 October. That day another U-boat in the vicinity, U-804 reported hearing an explosion of a mine. The previous assumption that U-855 was attacked and sunk by a British aircraft, Liberator 'A' of No. 224 Squadron RAF, on 24 September is not correct as this attack damaged U-763.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  2. ^ a b Busch & Röll 1999, p. 291.


  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • 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 IXC/40 boat U-855". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2 February 2015.