Military Wiki
German submarine U-168
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-168
Ordered: August 15, 1940
Builder: Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG, Bremen
Yard number: 707
Laid down: October 1, 1940
Launched: March 15, 1941[1]
Commissioned: September 10, 1941[2]
Fate: Sunk, October 6, 1944, by a Dutch submarine
General characteristics
Type: Type IXC/40 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) o/a
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.9 m (22 ft 8 in) o/a 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)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
Range: 25,620 nmi (47,450 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 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes
• 1 × Utof 105 mm/45 deck gun (110 rounds)
• AA guns
Service record[3]
Part of: Kriegsmarine
4th U-boat Flotilla (training boat)
2nd U-boat Flotilla
33rd U-boat Flotilla
Identification codes: M 49 033
Commanders: Kptlt. Helmuth Pich
Operations: Four patrols
1st patrol:
9 March–18 May 1943
2nd patrol:
3 July–11 November 1943
3rd patrol:
7 February–24 March 1944
4th patrol:
5 October–6 October 1944
Victories: Three ships sunk for a total of 8,008 gross register tons (GRT)
One ship damaged of 9,804 GRT

German submarine U-168 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. Her keel was laid down on March 15, 1941 by the Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG in Bremen as 'werk' 707. She was launched on March 5, 1942 and commissioned on September 10, with Kapitänleutnant Helmuth Pich in command.[2]


U-168 conducted four patrols, sinking three ships totalling 8,008 tons and damaging one other grossing 9,804 tons.[3]

1st patrol

U-168's first patrol commenced with her departure from Kiel on 3 March 1943. Her route took her through the Kattegat and Skaggerak, along the coast of Norway, through the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and into the Atlantic Ocean south and southwest of Greenland. She arrived at Lorient in occupied France on 18 May.

2nd patrol

The boat then moved into the Indian Ocean, sinking the British steam merchant ship SS Haiching 80 mi (130 km) west southwest of Bombay (now Mumbai), on October 2, 1943.[4]

She was unsuccessfully attacked by a Catalina flying boat of No. 413 Squadron RCAF on 3 November. Four 250 lb depth charges were dropped.

The patrol terminated in Penang, Malaya (now Malaysia) on 11 November.

3rd patrol

The submarine began her third and what would turn out to be her most successful patrol when she departed Penang on 7 February 1944. She fired three torpedoes at the British salvage vessel HMS Salviking south of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on the 14th. One of the projectiles malfunctioned, but the other two were sufficiently destructive to send the ship to the bottom.

The following day she sank a Greek ship, the Epaminondas C. Embiricos about 130 mi (210 km) north of Addu Atoll in the Maldives. The Master and the Chief Engineer were both taken prisoner and handed over to the Japanese. The former's captivity prevented disciplinary action being taken over why he had ordered the ship to be abandoned despite a lack of damage and why the vessel was stationary for two hours, despite standing orders to the contrary.

U-168 also damaged the Norwegian Fenris with her last torpedo on the 21st west of the Maldives, but had no ammunition left for her deck gun to finish the ship off which continued to Bombay under her own power.[5]

The boat returned to Batavia (now Jakarta) on 24 March.

4th patrol and loss

The submarine left Batavia on October 5, 1944. In the early hours of the 6th, while in the Java Sea, U-168 was hit by a torpedo from the Dutch submarine HrMs Zwaardvisch. The attack killed twenty-three men, with a further twenty-seven being captured.[3]

Summary of raiding history

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[6]
2 October 1943 Haiching  Great Britain 2,183 Sunk
14 February 1944 HMS Salviking  Great Britain 1,440 Sunk
15 February 1944 Epanindas C. Embinicos  Greece 4,385 Sunk
21 February 1944 Fenris  Norway 9,804 Damaged

See also



Coordinates: 6°12′00″S 111°16′48″E / 06.20°S 111.28°E / -06.20; 111.28

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