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German submarine U-173
Name: U-173
Ordered: 23 December 1939
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1013
Laid down: 21 December 1940
Launched: 11 August 1941
Commissioned: 15 November 1941
Fate: Sunk, 16 November 1942[1]
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[2] (110 rounds)
Service record
Part of: 4th U-boat Flotilla
(15 November 1941–30 June 1942)
2nd U-boat Flotilla
(1 July–16 November 1942)
Commanders: Fregkpt. Heinz-Ehler Beuke
(15 November 1941–October 1942)
Oblt. Hans-Adolf Schweichel
(October 1942–16 November 1942)
Operations: Two
Victories: One auxiliary warship sunk, of (9,359 GRT);
two auxiliary warships damaged, (18,285 tons)
one warship damaged, (1,630 tons)

German submarine U-173 was a Type IXC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She was laid down at the AG Weser yard in Bremen as werk 1013, launched on 11 August 1941 and commissioned on 15 November with Fregattenkapitän Heinz-Ehler Beuke in command.

U-173 began her service career with training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla. She was re-assigned to the 2nd flotilla for operations on 1 July 1942.

Operational career

1st patrol

The boat departed Kiel on 15 June 1942, moved through the North Sea and negotiated the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She crossed the Atlantic Ocean and entered the Caribbean Sea. She entered Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 20 September.

2nd patrol

The submarine attempted the disruption of the Operation Torch landings (the invasion of North Africa) on 11 November 1942. She attacked convoy UGF-1 which was at anchor in Fedhala Roads. She hit three ships, sinking one and damaging two more. One of the damaged vessels, the destroyer USS Hambleton, was towed to nearby Casablanca where Seabees cut the ship in two, removed about forty feet of hull, then joined the two halves together again. She survived the war.

A few days later and further north, U-173 torpedoed but did not sink, the USS Electra, on 15 November. This vessel also survived the war, not being broken up until 1974.


The boat was sunk by depth charges from the American destroyers USS Woolsey, Swanson and Quick on 16 November 1942.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
11 November 1942 USS Hambleton  USA 1,630 Damaged
11 November 1942 USS Joseph Hewes  USA 9,359 Sunk
11 November 1942 USS Winooski  USA 10,172 Damaged
15 November 1942 USS Electra  USA 8,113 Damaged


  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 96
  2. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248 and 249
  3. "Ships hit by U-173". Retrieved 26 July 2013. 

External links

Coordinates: 33°40′N 7°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583

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