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German submarine U-155 (1941)
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-155
Ordered: September 25, 1939
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 997
Laid down: October 1, 1940
Launched: May 12, 1941
Commissioned: August 23, 1941
Fate: Surrendered at Fredericia, May 8, 1945
Sunk during Operation Deadlight on December 21, 1945
General characteristics
Type: Type IXC submarine
Displacement: 1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.8 m (252 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: 9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,000 hp (2,983 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
Range: 24,880 nmi (46,080 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
117 nmi (217 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56
Armament: 6 × torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern)
22 × 55 cm (22 in) torpedoes
1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun[1] (110 rounds)
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine
4th U-boat Flotilla
10th U-boat Flotilla
33rd U-boat Flotilla
Identification codes: M 01 188
Commanders: Adolf Cornelius Piening
Johannes Rudolph
Ludwig von Friedeburg
Erwin Witte
Friedrich Altmeier
Operations: 10 patrols
Victories: 25 ships sunk for a total of 126,664 gross register tons (GRT)
one warship sunk for a total of 13,785 tons
one auxiliary warship damaged for a total of 6,736 GRT

German submarine U-155 was a Type IXC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. Her keel was laid down on October 1, 1940 by AG Weser in Bremen as 'werk' 997. She was launched on May 12, 1941 and commissioned on August 23, with Kapitänleutnant Adolf Cornelius Piening in command. Piening was relieved in February 1944 (after being promoted to Korvettenkapitän), by Oberleutnant zur See Johannes Rudolph.

Leutnant zur See Ludwig von Friedeburg relieved Rudolph from August to November 1944, when Rudolph resumed command for another month. During these four months, U-155 had the youngest U-boat commander during the war since Von Friedeburg was only 20 years old. In December, Kptlt. Erwin Witte took over, and was relieved in April 1945 by Oblt. Friedrich Altmeier. Altmeier commanded the boat for one month before being ordered to surrender her.

Operational career

U-155 conducted 10 patrols, sinking 26 ships totalling (126,664 GRT), one warship of 13,785 tons and damaging one auxiliary warship of 6,736 GRT. She was a member of one wolfpack.

She sank the escort carrier HMS Avenger and the British troop transport ship Ettrick on November 15, 1942, she also damaged the requisitioned cargo ship USS Almack on the same day.

On May 4, 1945, the boat shot down a P-51 Mustang of No. 126 Squadron RAF.

1st patrol

U-155 left Kiel on her first patrol on February 7, 1942. Her route took her 'up' the North Sea, through the 'gap' between the Faroe and Shetland Islands and into the Atlantic. South of Cape Farewell in Greenland, she sank the Sama and the Adellen on the 22nd.

She then moved on to the US east coast, sinking the Arabutan about 81 mi (130 km) off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on March 7. Tragedy struck on the 10th when the First Watch Officer (1WO) Oberleutnant zur See Gert Rentrop was washed overboard.

The boat docked at Lorient on the French Atlantic coast on March 27.

2nd patrol

Having left Lorient on April 24, 1942, U-155 steamed to the eastern Caribbean Sea and that portion of the Atlantic adjacent to it. She attacked the Brabant southwest of Grenada on May 14. The ship sank in eight minutes.

The U-boat sank another six ships; one of them, the Sylvan Arrow, was torpedoed on May 20, but did not go down until the 28th, following a salvage attempt.

The submarine returned to Lorient on June 14.

3rd patrol

U-155's third and most successful foray was conducted in similar waters to her second effort, beginning in Lorient on July 9. She sank the Barbacena with torpedoes east of Barbados, but others, such as the Piave, went to the bottom with the more economic deck gun. Another victim, the Cranford, met her end within three minutes. Part of her cargo was 6,600 tons of chrome ore. Two injured survivors were treated on U-155 before water, supplies and directions were handed over to their colleagues.

The submarine's skipper apologized for sinking one ship (the Empire Arnold on August 4), to the Chief Officer, who told him it was a bad business and wished it [the war] was over. Piening replied: "So do I".

Maschinengefreiter Konrad Garneier was lost overboard during an air attack on August 19.

In all, the boat sank ten ships, a total of 43,514 tons.

4th patrol

A spread of four torpedoes resulted in three hits, one aal (eel: U-boat slang for torpedo), damaged the USS Almaack, a US Navy-requisitioned cargo transport; two others sank HMS Avenger, an escort aircraft carrier and the Ettrick, a British troop transport on 15 November 1942 northwest of Gibraltar. Of 526 men on Avenger, there were 12 survivors. Etterick's master was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

The boat also sank the Serroskerk in mid-Atlantic. There were no survivors.

5th patrol

U-155's fifth sortie involved her move to the western Caribbean and southern Florida. She sank the Lysefjord west of Havana on April 2, 1943, and on April 3, sank the Gulfstate about 50 mi (80 km) east northeast of Marathon Key, Florida.

On the return journey, she was attacked by an unknown aircraft on April 27 northwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain.

In 2013, some 70 years later, the oil tanker Gulfstate was once again a target, this time of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Remediation of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats (RULET) project, which hunts down potential sources of oil pollution from sunken vessels.[2]

6th patrol

To try and counter the air threat, U-155 was grouped together with U-68, U-159, U-415 and U-634 in the Bay of Biscay. The little flotilla was attacked by four De Havilland Mosquitos on June 14 - three from No. 307 (Polish) Squadron RAF and one from No. 410 Squadron RCAF. One aircraft, hit in the port engine, was forced to break off its attack and return to base where it made a belly landing. Five men in the boat's crew were wounded, they were treated by U-68's doctor on the return to Lorient, which was reached on June 16.

7th and 8th patrols

Patrol number seven was as long as any of the others, to a point northeast of the Cape Verde Islands; but the boat did not find any targets.

The submarine's eighth outing took her toward the northeast coast of Brazil. While sinking the Siranger she took the third mate prisoner (he had been wounded and was operated-on by the boat's doctor). He was taken back to Lorient and was eventually transferred to the POW camp at Milag Nord near Bremen.

9th and 10th patrols

U-155's ninth patrol was, at 105 days, her longest, but like her seventh, was devoid of success. On June 23, 1944, Mosquitos of 248 Squadron attacked, killing Matrosenobergefreiter Karl Lohmeier and Mechanikerobergefreiter Friedrich Feller and wounding seven others.

Her tenth and final sally was the last by a U-boat from Lorient, which she left on September 9, 1944. By a circuitous route, she returned to Germany, docking at Flensburg on October 21.


On June 30, 1945, she was transferred from Wilhelmshaven to Loch Ryan, Scotland for Operation Deadlight on June 30, 1945 and sunk on December 21 the same year.

Post war

U-155 lies at a depth of 73 metres (240 ft). She was located and identified in 2001 by a team of divers led by nautical archaeologist Innes McCartney, revealing the wreck was lying upright on the sea bed and largely intact.[3]

Her crew held their 25th reunion in 1995 with former Oberleutnant Johannes Rudolph and one of the Mosquito pilots who attacked the boat in June 1944 'on board'.

Summary of raiding History

Date Ship Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Fate[4]
22 February 1942 Adellen  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 7,984 Sunk
22 February 1942 Sama  Norway 1,799 Sunk
7 March 1942 Arabutan  Brazil 7,874 Sunk
14 May 1942 Brabant  Belgium 2,483 Sunk
17 May 1942 Challenger  United States Navy 7,667 Sunk
17 May 1942 San Victorio  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 8,136 Sunk
20 May 1942 Sylvan Arrow  Panama 7,797 Sunk
23 May 1942 Watsonville  Panama 2,220 Sunk
28 May 1942 Poseidon  Netherlands 1,928 Sunk
30 May 1942 Baghdad  Norway 2,161 Sunk
28 July 1942 Barbacena  Brazil 4,772 Sunk
28 July 1942 Piave  Brazil 2,347 Sunk
28 July 1942 Bill  Norway 2,445 Sunk
30 July 1942 Cranford  United States 6,096 Sunk
1 August 1942 Clan Macnaughton  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 8,088 Sunk
1 August 1942 Kentaur  Netherlands 5,878 Sunk
4 August 1942 Empire Arnold  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 7,045 Sunk
5 August 1942 Draco  Netherlands 389 Sunk
9 August 1942 San Emiliano  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 8,071 Sunk
10 August 1942 Strabo  Netherlands 383 Sunk
15 August 1942 Ettrick  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 11,279 Sunk
15 August 1942 HMS Avenger  Royal Navy 13,785 Sunk
15 August 1942 USS Almaack  United States Navy 6,736 Damaged
6 December 1942 Serooskerk  Netherlands 8,456 Sunk
2 April 1943 Lysefjord  Norway 1,091 Sunk
3 April 1943 Gulfstate  United States 6,882 Sunk
24 October 1943 Siranger  Norway 5,393 Sunk

See also


  1. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  2. Julia Whitty (May 21, 2013). "How Hitler's U-Boats Are Still Attacking Us". Blue Marble. Mother Jones. Retrieved May 21, 2013. "The vessel ranked worst on the NOAA's risk assessment scale is the WWII tanker the Gulfstate, torpedoed and sunk off the Florida Keys in 1943." 
  3. Innes McCartney. "Day Nine: 24th July 2001". Operation Deadlight 2002 Expedition. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 

External links

Coordinates: 55°34′59″N 7°39′00″W / 55.583°N 7.650°W / 55.583; -7.650

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