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German submarine U-134 (1941)
U-134 under attack, 8 July 1943; she survived this attack.
U-134 under attack by aircraft of VP-201, 8 July 1943; she survived this assault
Name: U-134
Ordered: 7 August 1939
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack
Yard number: 13
Laid down: 6 September 1940
Launched: 17 May 1941[1]
Commissioned: 26 July 1941[2]
Fate: Sunk by aircraft, 24 August 1943[3]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.72 m (15 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft, 6-cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totalling 2,800–3,200 hp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470–490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW)
Speed: 17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) surfaced
7.6 knots (8.7 mph; 14.1 km/h) submerged
Range: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament: • 5 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
• 14 × torpedoes
• 1 × C35 88 mm gun/L45 deck gun (220 rounds)
• 1 × 20 mm Flak 38 gun
Service record
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(26 July 1941 – 31 October 1941)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 November 1941 – 24 August 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Rudolf Schendel
(26 July 1941 – 2 February 1943)
Kptlt. Hans-Günther Brosin
(3 February 1943 – 24 August 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol:
1–12 December 1941
2nd patrol:
24 December 1941–20 January 1942
3rd patrol:
1–22 February 1942
4th patrol:
1–15 March 1942
5th patrol:
19 May–1 June 1942
6th patrol:
11 June–1 September 1942
7th patrol:
15 October 1942–19 January 1943
8th patrol:
6 March–2 May 1943
9th patrol:
10 June–24 August 1943
Victories: Three commercial ships sunk (12,147 GRT)
One airship shot down

German submarine U-134 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down on 6 September 1940 by Bremer Vulkan in Bremen-Vegesack as 'werk' 13 and commissioned on 26 July 1941. In seven patrols, U-134 sank three ships for a total of 12,147 GRT.

Service history

Patrols off Norway

On her first patrol off the northern coast of Norway, on 9 December 1941, U-134, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Rudolf Schendel, attacked a four-ship convoy and sank the 2,185-ton German merchant ship Steinbek. Schendel was later notified by BdU (U-boat Headquarters) that he had attacked a German convoy. An OKM (Naval High Command) investigation blamed U-134's commander for the incident, but also noted that he had not been informed of the positions of the German ships in the area.[4]

On her second patrol off the coast of Norway, on 2 January 1942, U-134 sank the British cargo ship Waziristan of Convoy PQ 7a, carrying 3,700 tons of military supplies, including 410 Ford trucks, for Russia from New York.[5]

Transfer to France

U-134 had no success during her next three patrols, before being transferred from the base at Kirkenes, Norway, to La Pallice, France, in mid-1942.

Her next patrol, the sixth, in June–September 1942 took her to the Gulf coast of the United States, but she made no attacks.

SS Scapa Flow

On her seventh patrol to the central Atlantic, on 14 November 1942, U-134 sank the 4,827-ton Panaman steamship SS Scapa Flow that carried manganese ore, latex and baled rubber. At 4:58 pm the steamer, under the Master, Samuel Newbold Mace, was hit on the portside under the bridge and at the third hatch by two torpedoes and sank in one minute at position 12°00′00″N 30°00′00″W / 12°N 30°W / 12; -30 in the Atlantic Ocean. She had been located at 11:37 am on a route where attacks were prohibited. The U-boat first obtained permission to attack. 23 survivors escaped in a damaged lifeboat, having two rafts and a tin of bandages. The master and chief engineer of the steamer had drowned. The 47 crew members and 13 United States Navy armed guards on board had no time to launch the four needed lifeboats. Only a metal boat, acquired from the SS John Carter Rose and four rafts floated. 25 crew members and six armed guards were lost. The survivors transferred the next morning into the boat with the supplies, but one armed guard died. The remainder were rescued on 1 December by HMS Armeria.[6]

For her eighth patrol command of U-134 passed to Oberleutnant Hans-Günther Brosin, but during 58 days in the North Atlantic, from 6 March to 2 May 1943, she made no attacks.

Blimp K-74

On 10 June 1943 U-134 sailed once more to the Florida coast on her ninth and final patrol, where the American 250-foot-long (76 m), Goodyear-built ZPK-class K-74 became the only blimp (airship) to be shot down in the war.[7] K-74, launched from Richmond, Florida, detected U-134 on RADAR in the Straits of Florida at 23:40 on 18 July 1943. United States Navy doctrine required blimps to stay out of range of surfaced submarines and guide aircraft or ships to attack.[7] Blimp pilot Lieutenant Nelson C. Grills USNR disregarded this doctrine in an attempt to prevent U-134 from reaching a tanker and freighter ahead of the submarine.[7] K-74 was hit by U-134's 20mm cannon fire during its 55-knot approach.[7] K-74 returned 100 rounds of .50 caliber (12.7 mm) fire before the machine gun was unable to depress sufficiently as the blimp passed over U-134 on its bombing run.[7] K-74's two Mark XVII depth charges failed to release as the blimp passed over U-134, lost control, and slowly fell tail-first into the sea.[7] None of the ten-man crew was injured, and all moved away from K-74 to avoid anticipated depth charge detonations when it sank.[7] K-74 remained afloat for eight hours, however, and U-134 pulled part of the wreckage aboard for photographs and evaluation.[7] All but one of K-74's crew were rescued the following day by the submarine chaser USS SC-657 and the destroyer USS Dahlgren.[7] Aviation Machinist's Mate second class Isadore Stressel drowned minutes before rescue, and became the only United States Navy airshipman to die as a result of enemy action.[7]

Previously recorded fate

U-134 was sunk with loss of all 48 men onboard, on 24 August 1943 near Vigo, Spain at 42°07′N 09°30′W / 42.117°N 9.5°W / 42.117; -9.5Coordinates: 42°07′N 09°30′W / 42.117°N 9.5°W / 42.117; -9.5 by six depth charges from a British Vickers Wellington aircraft of No. 179 Squadron RAF. This attack was actually directed against U-340 inflicting no damage.

Actual Fate

Sunk on 27 August 1943 in the Bay of Biscay north of Cape Ortegal, in position 44.03N, 08.05W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Rother. 48 dead (all hands lost). (Axel Niestlé & Eric Zimmerman, July 2004).

U-134 had passed the images of K-74 to another U-boat prior to being sunk.[7] The United States Navy was unaware K-74 had been boarded until the photographs were discovered in 1958.[7]


  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1999, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 143.
  2. Kemp, p. 143.
  3. Kemp, pp. 143-144.
  4. "Steinbek (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  5. "Waziristan (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  6. "Scapa Flow (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 Vaeth, J. Gordon "Incident in the Florida Straits" United States Naval Institute Proceedings (August 1979) pp.84–86

See also

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