|German submarine U-161 (1941)|
|Ordered:||23 December 1939|
|Builder:||Deutsche Schiff und maschinenbau AG, Bremen|
|Laid down:||23 March 1940|
|Launched:||1 March 1941|
|Commissioned:||8 July 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk on 27 September 1943|
|Type:||Type IXC submarine|
1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced|
1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
76.8 m (252 ft 0 in) overall|
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
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)|
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)
18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced|
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
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|
6 × torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern)|
22 × 55 cm (22 in) torpedoes
1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun (110 rounds)
4th U-boat Flotilla
(8 July–31 December 1941)
2nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 January 1942–27 September 1943)
Kptlt. Hans-Ludwig Witt|
(8 July–30 November 1941)
Kplt. Hans-Ludwig Witt
(1 December–31 December 1941)
Kplt. Albrecht Achilles
(1 January 1942–27 September 1943)
12 ships sunk for a total of 60,107 gross register tons (GRT)|
one warship sunk, (1,130 tons)
five ships damaged,
one warship damaged, (5,450)
one ship a total loss, (3,305 tons)
German submarine U-161 was a Type IXC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. The keel for this boat was laid down on 23 March 1940 at the Deutsche Schiff und maschinenbau AG, Bremen yard as 'werk' 700. She was launched on 1 March 1941 and commissioned on 8 July under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hans-Ludwig Witt (Knight's Cross).
The U-boat's service began with training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla. She then moved to the 10th flotilla on 1 January 1942 for operations. She sank 12 ships, totalling 60,107 tons; one warship of 1,130 tons and damaged five others, for 35,672 tons. She also damaged one warship (5,450 tons) and caused one merchant vessel to be declared a total loss (3,305 tons).
She was sunk by an American aircraft in September 1943.
1st and 2nd patrols
The submarine's first patrol took her from Kiel on 3 January 1942, across the North Sea and into the Atlantic Ocean through the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at Lorient, in occupied France, on 3 May. She would be based at this Atlantic port for the rest of her career.
U-161's second sortie proved to be successful, damaging the British Consul and the "Mokihana" on 19 February 1942 while the ship rode at anchor in the Gulf of Paria off Port of Spain, Trinidad. She went on to sink ships such as the Circe Shell, the Lihue the petrol tanker Uniwaleco off St Vincent and daringly she made her way at night through the narrow passage into Castries Harbour, St Lucia where she damaged the "Lady Nelson" and the "Umtata"' One victim, the Sarniadoc, was particularly tragic: she sank in 30 seconds after her boiler exploded. There were no survivors.
The boat's third patrol took her past the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, to the Brazilian coast north of Fortaleza. She then followed that coastline north until she reached the Caribbean. On 16 June 1942 she stopped the sailing ship Neuva Altagracia with gunfire and sank the vessel with scuttling charges. She also attacked the San Pablo while the ship was being unloaded in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica on 3 July. Although the ship sank, she was raised with the intention of repair; but she was declared a total loss and sunk as a target on 25 September.
She crossed the Atlantic in an easterly direction, but turned about and returned to the Caribbean. Having commenced the return leg to France, she encountered the Fairport 500 mi (800 km) north of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on 16 July and sank her. The boat returned to Lorient on 7 August.
Her fourth foray was to west Africa. This patrol was her longest—113 days. She damaged the light cruiser HMS Phoebe six miles and 282° from Pointe Noire, French Equatorial Africa on 23 October 1942 and sank theWest Humhaw 60 mi (97 km) southwest of Takoradi in Ghana on 8 November.
The boat's fifth patrol involved another Atlantic crossing and sinking a second sailing ship, the Angelus, north of Bermuda, again with gunfire. Ten survivors abandoned the vessel; only two were still alive when their lifeboat was discovered.
6th patrol and loss
The U-boat departed Lorient for the last time on 8 August 1943. Returning to the Brazilian coast, she sank the St. Usk on 20 September and the Itapagé on the 26th. She was sunk with all hands (53 men), on 27 September 1943 by an American PBM Mariner aircraft of VP-74 in the South Atlantic.
Summary of raiding history
|19 February 1942||British Consul||United Kingdom||6,940||Damaged|
|19 February 1942||Mokihana||USA||7,460||Damaged|
|21 February 1942||Circe Shell||United Kingdom||8,207||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||Lihue||USA||7,001||Sunk|
|7 March 1942||Uniwaleco||South Africa||9,755||Sunk|
|10 March 1942||Lady Nelson||Canada||7,970||Damaged|
|10 March 1942||Umtata||United Kingdom||8,141||Damaged|
|14 March 1942||Sarniadoc||Canada||1,940||Sunk|
|15 March 1942||USCGC Acacia||USA||1,130||Sunk|
|16 June 1942||Nueva Altagracia||Dominican Republic||30||Sunk|
|22 June 1942||E.J. Sadler||USA||9,639||Sunk|
|3 July 1942||San Pablo||Panama||3,305||Total loss|
|16 July 1942||Fairport||USA||6,165||Sunk|
|23 October 1942||HMS Phoebe||United Kingdom||5,450||Damaged|
|8 November 1942||Bonalder||United Kingdom||5,161||Damaged|
|8 November 1942||West Humhaw||USA||5,527||Sunk|
|29 November 1942||Tjilboet||Netherlands||5,760||Sunk|
|12 December 1942||Ripley||United Kingdom||4,997||Sunk|
|19 May 1943||Angelus||Canada||255||Sunk|
|20 September 1943||St. Usk||United Kingdom||5,472||Sunk|
|26 September 1943||Itapagé||Brazil||4,998||Sunk|
- Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 147
- Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248 and 249
- Kelshall, Gaylord: The U Boat War in the Caribbean. pub by The Naval Institute Press
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