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German submarine U-111 (1940)
Surrender of E111 Submarine.JPG
Surrender of U-111, by Charles Pears
Name: U-111
Ordered: 8 August 1939[1]
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 976[1]
Laid down: 20 February 1940[1]
Launched: 15 September 1940[1]
Commissioned: 19 December 1940[1]
Fate: Sunk 4 October 1941 southwest of Tenerife, by depth charges from a British warship. 8 dead and 44 survivors[2]
General characteristics [3][4]
Displacement: 1,051 t (1,034 long tons) surfaced
1,178 t (1,159 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.5 m (251 ft 0 in) overall
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) overall
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Speed: 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
Range: 22,200 nmi (41,100 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
118 nmi (219 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Service record[2][5]
Part of: 2nd U-boat Flotilla
(19 December 1940 – 30 April 1941)
2nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 May 1941–4 October 1941)
Commanders: Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Kleinschmidt
(19 December 1940 – 4 October 1941)
Operations: 1st patrol:
5 May–7 July 1941
2nd patrol:
14 August–4 October 141

German submarine U-111 was a Type IXB U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. She had a short career, sinking four enemy vessels and damaging one other. These victories took place over a period of two war patrols. During her first sortie, the boat sank two enemy vessels and damaged a further one. On her second patrol, U-111 sank two more enemy ships before she herself was sunk on 4 October 1941 southwest of Tenerife, by depth charges from a British warship. Out of a crew of 52 officers and men, eight died in the attack; 44 survived.

Construction and design


U-111 was ordered to be built by the Kriegsmarine on 8 August 1939 (as part of Plan Z and in violation of the Treaty of Versailles). Her keel was laid down on 20 February 1940 by AG Weser in Bremen as 'werk' 976. Following about seven months of construction, she was launched on 15 September and commissioned on 19 December under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Kleinschmidt.[2]


U-123, almost identical to U-111 leaving Lorient in June 1941. U-210 is in the background

Like all Type IXB submarines, U-111 had a total output of 4,400 hp (3,281 kW) when surfaced and 1,000 hp (746 kW) while submerged. As a result, she could travel at 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h) while surfaced and 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged. She had a range of 22,200 nmi (41,100 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) while on the surface and 118 nmi (219 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) while submerged. She was equipped with six torpedo tubes (four in the bow, two in the stern) and carried a total of 22 x 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes. The submarine was also equipped with 44 TMA mines. U-111's main deck gun was a Utof 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun[6] with 110 rounds. She was also equipped with the standard 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft guns. She had a crew of 52 men, but could carry up to 56 at any given time. After being commissioned and deployed, the boat was stationed in the German port city of Wilhelmshaven.[3][4]

Service history

First patrol


The British Steam merchantman Somersby, the first enemy vessel to be sunk by U-111

U-111 went to sea on a war patrol for the first time on 5 May 1941. For a period of 64 days, she roamed the North Sea and eventually the North Atlantic as far west as Nova Scotia in search of any Allied convoys heading to Great Britain. During that time she encountered three enemy vessels.[7] The first confrontation took place on the 13th, just eight days after leaving port, when she came across the British merchant vessel Somersby and sank her just south of Iceland.[8] On 20 May, the submarine came across the tanker San Felix and fired a torpedo at her, causing damage to her hull but failing to sink her. Two days later, U-111 sank the second and last enemy vessel of her patrol, the Barnby, south of Greenland. After these victories, the boat returned to port. However, instead of returning to Wilhelmshaven, she entered the port of Lorient in occupied France on 7 July.[7]

Second patrol and loss

U-111 left Lorient on 14 August 1941 and traveled south off the west coast of Africa and into the South Atlantic. She then turned west towards the eastern coast of Brazil. It was in these waters that the boat sank her last two enemy merchant ships.[9] The first was the Dutch Motor merchant vessel Marken. She was torpedoed on 10 September just north of Ceará in Brazil.[10] All of her crew survived the attack and boarded life boats. They were questioned by the crew of the U-boat, given food and released. Marken's crew were later safely picked up by a Spanish merchant vessel.[8] Ten days later, U-111 sank her fourth and last enemy vessel, the British motor merchant ship Cingalese Prince also off Brazil. On 28 September she was involved in an action in Tarafal Bay, in the Cape Verde islands; having been ordered to rendezvous there with two other U-boats, U-67 and U-68. U-111 then headed for home. On 4 October 1941, U-111 was hunted down and sunk by depth charges from the British anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Shirley southwest of Tenerife. Of a crew of 52 men, eight died; 44 survived.[2][9] They were subsequently interrogated; it was the first time prisoners of war were captured from a U-boat operating in the South Atlantic.[11]

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
13 May 1941 Somersby  United Kingdom 5,170 Sunk
20 May 1941 San Felix  United Kingdom 13,037 Damaged
22 May 1941 Barnby  United Kingdom 4,813 Sunk
10 September 1941 Marken  Netherlands 5,719 Sunk
10 September 1941 Cingalese Prince  United Kingdom 8,474 Sunk


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "U-111 Type IXB". Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Helgason, Guðmundur. "U-111". German U-boats of WWII. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Type IXB". U-Boat War in World War II. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Type IX U-Boat". German U-boat. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by U-111". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  6. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  7. 7.0 7.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-111 (First patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Somersby (Steam merchant)". Ships hit by U-boats. Retrieved 5 June 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Somersby" defined multiple times with different content
  9. 9.0 9.1 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol info for U-111 (Second patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  10. The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 73
  11. "U-111". Interrogation Report. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 

External links

See also

Coordinates: 27°10′N 20°24′W / 27.167°N 20.4°W / 27.167; -20.4

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