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German submarine U-108 (1940)
U-107 at Lorient in November 1941
U-107 at Lorient in November 1941 which was a near identical vessel to U-108
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-108
Ordered: 24 May 1938
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 971
Laid down: 27 December 1938
Launched: 15 July 1940
Commissioned: 22 October 1940
Homeport: Lorient, France
Fate: Sunk, 11 April 1944[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: Type IXB U-boat
Displacement: Surfaced 1,051 tons tons
submerged 1,178 tons
Length: Overall 76.5 m (251 ft 0 in)
pressure hull 58.7 m (192 ft 7 in)
Beam: Overall 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in)
pressure hull 4.4 m (14 ft 5 in)
Draught: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: Diesel/Electric, 2x MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9 cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,300kW), 2xSSW GU345/34 double acting electric motors, 1000 hp (740kW)
Speed: Surfaced 33.7 km/h (18.2 knots)
submerged 13.5 km/h (7.3 knots)
Range: Surfaced: 22,200 km (12,000 nmi) at 19 km/h (10 knots)
submerged: 118 km (64 nmi)) at 7 km/h (4 knots)
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56 officers and ratings
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
2nd U-boat Flotilla
Commanders: Krvtkptn. Klaus Scholtz
(22 October 1940–14 April 1941)
Kptlt. Erich Hilsenitz
(October 1942–October 1942)
Krvtkptn. Ralph-Reimar Wolfram
(15 October 1942–16 October 1943)
Ltn. Matthais Brüning
(17 October 1943–11 April 1944)
Operations: 11 patrols
Victories: 25 ships sunk for a total of 118,722 gross register tons (GRT)
one auxiliary warship sunk of 1,041,116,444 GRT

German submarine U-108 was a Type IXB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine that operated during World War II. She was laid down at AG Weser in Bremen as 'werk' 971 on 27 December 1938, launched on 15 July 1940 and commissioned on 22 October under Korvettenkapitän Klaus Scholtz.

Her service career began with training as part of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla; she went on to operations, first with the 2nd flotilla, then with the 8th flotilla.

Operational career

U-108 carried out eleven war patrols, during which she sank 25 ships, a total of 118,722 GRT (Gross Registered Tons) and one auxiliary warship of 16,444 tons. She was a member of seven wolfpacks.

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols

The boat's first patrol began with her departure from Wilhelmshaven on 15 February 1941. She crossed the North Sea and entered the Atlantic via the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, sinking the Texelstroom on 22 February. She also sank the Effna on the 28th; both ships met their end south of Iceland. She then docked at Lorient in occupied France on 12 March. She would be based there for most of the rest of her career.

Her second foray involved the sinking of HMS Rajputna, an armed merchant cruiser, west of Reykjavík on 13 April 1941. The Convoy Commodore, four officer and 35 ratings were lost.

U-108 sank the Michael E., a CAM ship or 'Catapult Armed Merchantman', on the submarine's third patrol on 2 June 1941 in mid-Atlantic. She went on to sink the Baron Nairn west of Cape Race (eastern Newfoundland and Labrador) on the 8th; the Greek ship Dirphys 600 mi (970 km) east of Newfoundland, also on 8 July; the Christian Krohg on the 10th; the Ellinco on the 25th; the Nicholas Pateras on the same day and the Toronto on 1 July. The latter was a weather ship situated about 500 mi (800 km) north of the Azores.

4th, 5th and 6th patrols

Patrol number four saw the boat covering the 'gap' between South America and Africa. She departed Lorient on 19 August 1941 and returned on 21 October.

She sank the Cassequel, a neutral vessel, on 14 December 1941, 160 mi (260 km) southwest of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal and the Ruckinge on the 19th, west of Lisbon as part of her fifth sortie.

The boat's sixth patrol, as part of Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag),[3] took her to the east coast of North America where she was again successful, sinking the Ocean Venture on 8 February 1942, the Tolosa on the 9th and the Blink on the 12th. The U-boat had chased the Blink, which had been hit by a non-detonating torpedo, the two vessels almost collided; which was only avoided by U-108 diving underneath the merchant ship.
She also sank the Ramapo northwest of Bermuda on 16 February and the Somme on the 18th.

7th, 8th and 9th patrols

The boat's seventh patrol was almost as successful as her sixth, sinking the Modesta on 25 April 1942, the Mobiloil on the 29th (which required a total of six torpedoes and many rounds from the 20mm and 37mm guns), the Afoundria on 5 May, and the Abgara a day later. On the return leg she encountered the Norland on the 25th.

More success pennants were flown after her eighth patrol, which took her almost to the northern South American coast. She sank the Tricula on 3 August 1942, the Breňas on the 7th and the Louisiana on the 17th.

The boat's ninth patrol was carried out in opposition to Operation Torch, (the Allied landings in North Africa). The submarine had not been off Morocco long before being attacked by a destroyer. The damage incurred was serious enough that the boat was obliged to return to France where effective repairs might be carried out.

10th and 11th patrols

The U-boat was attacked by a Catalina flying boat of 202 Squadron RAF on 10 February 1943 west of Morocco. The damage to the forward torpedo tubes forced her to return to Lorient.

In her last operational patrol, she departed Lorient on 1 April 1943. She was attacked by a destroyer on the 22nd but continued to shadow Convoy ON (S) 4 southeast of Greenland. She arrived at Stettin in modern-day Poland on 16 May. Bombed and sunk there 11 April, raised and decommissioned 17 July 1944. Scuttled there 24 April 1945.[4]

Summary of raiding career

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[5]
22 February 1941 Texelstroom  Netherlands 1,617 Sunk
28 February 1941 Effna  Great Britain 6,461 Sunk
13 April 1941 HMS Rajputana  Great Britain 16,644 Sunk
2 June 1941 Michael E.  Great Britain 7,628 Sunk
8 June 1941 Baron Nairn  Great Britain 3,164 Sunk
8 June 1941 Dirphys  Greece 4,240 Sunk
10 June 1941 Christian Krohg  Norway 1,992 Sunk
25 June 1941 Ellinco  Greece 3,059 Sunk
25 June 1941 Nicholas Pateras  Greece 4,362 Sunk
1 July 1941 Toronto City  Great Britain 2,486 Sunk
14 December 1941 Cassequel  Great Britain 2,751 Sunk
19 December 1941 Ruckinge  Great Britain 2,869 Sunk
2 February 1942 Ocean Venture  Great Britain 7,174 Sunk
9 February 1942 Tolosa  Norway 1,974 Sunk
12 February 1942 Blink  Norway 2,701 Sunk
16 February 1942 Ramapo  Panama 2,968 Sunk
18 February 1942 Somme  Great Britain 5,265 Sunk
25 April 1941 Modesta  Great Britain 3,849 Sunk
29 April 1942 Mobiloil  USA 9,925 Sunk
5 May 1942 Afoundria  USA 5,010 Sunk
6 May 1942 Abgara  Latvia 4,422 Sunk
20 May 1942 Norland  Norway 8,134 Sunk
3 August 1942 Tricula  Great Britain 6,221 Sunk
7 August 1942 Breñas  Norway 2,687 Sunk
17 August 1942 Louisiana  USA 8,567 Sunk
19 April 1943 Robert Gray  USA 7,176 Sunk

See also


  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. p. 183. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  2. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  3. Gannon, Michael - Operation Drumbeat - the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II, 1990, Harper and Row publishers, ISBN 0-060161155-8, p. 202 .
  4. "U-108". Uboat. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 

Coordinates: 47°13′12″N 22°24′00″W / 47.22°N 22.40°W / 47.22; -22.40

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