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German submarine U-176
Name: U-176
Ordered: 23 December 1939
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1016
Laid down: 6 February 1941
Launched: 12 September 1941
Commissioned: 15 December 1941
Homeport: Lorient, France
Fate: Sunk, 15 May 1943
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, 4,400 hp (3,281 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: 48-56
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)
• AA guns
Service record[2][3]
Part of: 4th U-boat Flotilla
(15 December 1941–31 July 1942)
10th U-boat Flotilla
(1 August 1942–15 May 1943)
Commanders: KrvKpt. Reiner Dierksen
(15 December 1941–15 May 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol: 21 July–2 October 1942
2nd patrol: 9 November 1942–18 February 1943
3rd patrol: 6 April–15 May 1943
Victories: 11 commercial ships sunk (53,307 GRT)

German submarine U-176 was a Type IXC U-boat in the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

Built at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen, she was laid down on 6 February 1941, launched on 12 September and commissioned on 15 December, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Reiner Dierksen.

U-176 served with the 4. Unterseebootsflotille (U-boat flotilla) while training, and from 1 August 1942 with the 10th U-boat Flotilla, a long-range operations unit. U-176 completed three patrols, sinking 11 ships totalling 53,307 gross register tons (GRT) before she was sunk off Cayo Blanquizal by the Cuban navy on 15 May 1943.

Service record

1st patrol

On 21 July 1942 U-176 sailed from Kiel, around the British Isles, and into the north Atlantic Ocean. She made her first kill on 4 August, sinking the unescorted 7,798 ton British merchantman Richmond Castle with two torpedoes.[4]

On 7 August she joined five other U-boats in reinforcing the eight boats of wolfpack Steinbrinck in a series of attacks on Convoy SC 94.[5] On 8 August U-176 fired two salvoes of two torpedoes each at the convoy, sinking two British cargo ships, the 4,817 ton Trehata and the 3,956 ton Kelso, and the 7,914 ton Greek cargo ship Mount Kassion. The next day she also sank another British ship, the 3,701 ton Radchurch, which had been abandoned.[5] The convoy escort was then reinforced by the Polish destroyer Błyskawica and the British destroyer leader Broke. Both ships were equipped with HF/DF (radio direction-finding equipment), which helped to keep the U-boats at bay until morning.[5]

U-176 sank the 7,457 ton British cargo ship Empire Breeze with two torpedoes on 25 August. The ship had been part of convoy ON 122;[6] the U-boat ended the patrol after 74 days at sea at Lorient in France on 2 October 1942.[7] The day after her return her captain was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class.[8]

2nd patrol

U-176 departed Lorient on 9 November 1942 and headed into the south Atlantic. On 27 November she sank the 5,922 ton Dutch merchant ship Polydorus after a 50-hour pursuit, the longest recorded by any U-boat in the Second World War.[9]

Off Cape Sao Roque, Brazil, on 13 December 1942 the crew of U-176 boarded the 1,629 ton Swedish cargo ship Scania, and sank her with scuttling charges after the crew had abandoned ship.[10] On 16 December she sank the unescorted 5,881 ton British cargo ship Observer with two torpedoes.[11]
Prior to the sinking of the Scania, a young seaman, Gottfrid Sundberg, surreptitiously photographed U-176 from the Scania.[12][13][14]

U-176 arrived back at Lorient on 18 February 1943 after a patrol lasting 102 days.[15]

3rd patrol

U-176 sailed for her third and final patrol on 6 April 1943 from Lorient, sailing across the Atlantic and into the Caribbean Sea. On 1 May, her commander was notified of his promotion to Korvettenkapitän.[8]

On 13 May 1943, U-176 attacked Convoy NC 18 only five miles off the northern coast of Cuba, sinking the 2,249 ton American tanker Nickeliner, which was loaded with 3,400 tons of ammonia water,[16] and the 1,983 ton Cuban molasses tanker Mambí.[17]


US Navy report of the attack on U-176

On 15 May, the Cuban merchant ship Camagüey, and the Honduran Hanks, both loaded with sugar, sailed from Sagua La Grande, bound for Havana, escorted by the Cuban submarine chasers CS-11, CS-12, and CS-13. At 17:15 hours, a U.S. Navy Kingfisher aircraft from squadron VS-62 operating from Cuba spotted U-176 at 23°21′N 80°18′W / 23.35°N 80.3°W / 23.35; -80.3Coordinates: 23°21′N 80°18′W / 23.35°N 80.3°W / 23.35; -80.3 and dropped a smoke float to mark her position about one and a half miles astern of the convoy. CS-13 located the U-boat with her sonar, attacked with depth charges and sank U-176.[18]

On 7 January 1944 KrvKpt. Reiner Dierksen was posthumously awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold.[8]

CS-13 was commanded by the Cuban Navy's Alférez de Fragata, Mario Ramirez Delgado commanding,[19] the only Cuban national to sink a U-boat during World War II.[20] In 1946, Delgado, promoted to Lieutenant, was awarded the Orden del Mérito Naval con Distintivo Rojo (Meritorious Naval Service Order with Red Badge). Rear Admiral Samuel E. Morison, official historian of the US Navy, recognized his success in his work History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, where he also praised the ability and efficiency of the Cuban seamen.[21]

The CS-13 patrol boat, commanded by Second Lieutenant Mario Ramirez Delgado, turned toward the gas, made good contact through the sonar and launched two perfect attacks with deep charges which annihilated the U-176. This was the only successful attack against a submarine carried out by a surface unit smaller than a PCE [Patrol Craft Escort] of 180 feet. Thus, the sinking is properly considered with great pride by the small but efficient Cuban Navy.

Also present was Norberto Collado Abreu, who later found fame as the pilot of the Granma, the yacht which brought Fidel Castro back to Cuba to restart the Cuban Revolution.

Raiding history

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[22][23]
4 August 1942 Richmond Castle  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 7,798 Sunk
8 August 1942 Kelso  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 3,956 Sunk
8 August 1942 Mount Kassion  Greece 7,914 Sunk
8 August 1942 Trehata  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 4,817 Sunk
9 August 1942 Radchurch  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 3,701 Sunk
25 August 1942 Empire Breeze  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 7,457 Sunk
27 November 1942 Polydorus  Netherlands 5,922 Sunk
13 December 1942 Scania  Sweden 1,629 Sunk
16 December 1942 Observer  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,881 Sunk
13 May 1943 Mambí  Cuba 1,983 Sunk
13 May 1943 Nickeliner  United States 2,249 Sunk


  1. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  2. "The Type IXC boat U-176 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  3. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-176 - Boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  4. "Richmond Castle (Motor merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Convoy SC-94 - Convoy Battles - U-boat Operations -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  6. "Empire Breeze (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  7. "Patrol of U-boat U-176 from 21 Jul 1942 to 2 Oct 1942 - U-boat patrols -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Korvettenkapitän Reiner Dierksen - German U-boat Commanders of WWII -". Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  9. "Polydorus (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  10. "Scania (Motor merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  11. "Observer (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  12. Gottfrid Sundbergs upplevelser under andra världskriget, Alandska sjoman under andra varldskriget, Mariehamn 1999, p. 100-102. ISBN 952-91-1248-3
  13. Lindstrom, B., Nar m/s Scania sanktes av U-176, Rospiggen 2009, Bromma 2008, p. 67-86. ISSN 0349-0157
  14. Lindstrom, B., Nar m/s Scania sanktes av U-176, fotografen bakom bilderna av u-baten trader fram, Rospiggen 2010, Bromma 2009, p. 104-113. ISSN 0349-0157
  15. "Patrol of U-boat U-176 from 9 Nov 1942 to 18 Feb 1943 - U-boat patrols -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  16. "Nickeliner (Steam tanker) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  17. "Mambí (Steam tanker) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  18. "Hitler's Sharks". Archived from the original on 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  19. "Hundimiento del U-176" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  20. Lynn, Kenneth Schuyler (1987). Hemingway. Simon and Schuster. p. 502. ISBN 0-671-49872-X. 
  21. "The Sinking of German Submarine U-176". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  23. Ships hit by U-176 - U-boat Successes - German U-boats - |

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