Military Wiki
German submarine U-178
Name: U-178
Ordered: 28 May 1940
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1018
Laid down: 24 December 1940
Launched: 25 October 1941
Commissioned: 14 February 1942
Fate: Scuttled, 25 August 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Type IXD2
Displacement: 1,610 t (1,580 long tons) surfaced
1,799 t (1,771 long tons) submerged
Length: 87.6 m (287 ft 5 in) overall
68.5 m (224 ft 9 in) pressure hull
Beam: 7.5 m (24 ft 7 in) overall
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 10.2 m (33 ft 6 in)
Draft: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,300 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (740 kW)
Speed: 20.8 knots (38.5 km/h) surfaced
6.9 knots (12.8 km/h) submerged
Range: 12,750 nmi (23,610 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
213 nmi (394 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 55 to 63
Armament: 6 × torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern)
1 × Utof 105 mm/45 deck gun with 110 rounds
24 × 55 cm (22 in) G7e torpedoes
Service record
Part of: 4th U-boat Flotilla
(14 February–31 August 1942)
10th U-boat Flotilla
(1 September–31 October 1942)
12th U-boat Flotilla
(1 November 1942–1 August 1944)
Commanders: Kpt. Hans Ibbeken
(14 February 1942–21 February 1943)
KrvKpt. Wilhelm Dommes
(22 February–25 November 1943)
Kptlt. Wilhelm Spahr
(25 November 1943–25 August 1944)
Operations: Three
1st patrol:
8 September 1942–10 January 1943
2nd patrol:
28 March–27 August 1943
3rd patrol:
27 November 1943–25 May 1944
Victories: 13 ships sunk totalling 87,030 gross register tons (GRT)
One ship damaged - of 6,348 GRT

German submarine U-178 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II.

Ordered on 28 May 1940, the U-boat was laid down on 24 December 1940 at the AG Weser yard in Bremen as 'werk' 1018. She was launched on 25 October 1941 and commissioned on 14 February 1942, under the command of Fregattenkapitän Hans Ibekken.[1]

1st patrol

U-178 sailed from Kiel on 8 September 1942 into the Atlantic, passing north of Scotland and then turned south. She made her first kill on 10 October, putting three torpedoes into the unescorted passenger ship Duchess of Atholl, a Canadian Pacific Steamship Co. liner chartered as a troop transport, about 200 miles east northeast of Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The vessel sank slowly and only five crew members were lost. The master, 267 crew members, 25 gunners and all 534 passengers were later rescued by a British vessel.

U-178 then sailed around the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean south and east of South Africa, sinking the British troopship Mendoza on 1 November, killing the master, 19 crew members, three gunners and three passengers, while 127 of the crew, three gunners and 250 passengers were later picked up by a South African patrol ship and an American merchantman.

U-178 struck twice on 4 November, sinking both the British merchantman Trekieve and the Norwegian cargo ship Hai Hing, off Mozambique.

The British merchant ship Louise Moller was sunk about 240 miles east by south of Durban on 13 November; two days later the U-boat attacked the British merchant ship Adviser. Seeing the crew abandon the apparently sinking ship, U-178 left the area after hearing depth charges being dropped in the distance. However, Adviser was taken in tow to Durban, where she was repaired and returned to service.

U-178's last victory was on 27 November, sinking the American Liberty ship SS Jeremiah Wadsworth around 270 miles south of Cape Agulhas.

U-178 then shaped her course north through the Atlantic, arriving at Bordeaux in France on 10 January 1943 after 125 days at sea.

2nd patrol

Under a new commander, Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Dommes, U-178 sailed from Bordeaux on 28 March 1943, and repeated the success of her previous patrol, this time in the waters of the Mozambique Channel.

Her first victory came on 1 June in a hit-and-run attack on Convoy CD-20. U-178 fired two torpedoes, one of which struck the Dutch cargo ship Salabangka, which later sank.

On 4 July she attacked the Norwegian steamer Breiviken, a straggler from Convoy DN-50. The ship sank within three minutes; U-178 spent some time picking up the crew from the sea and putting them onto rafts. The survivors of Breiviken later found two drifting lifeboats from their own ship, and on 7 July reached the coast. U-178 sailed off in pursuit of another victim, sinking the Greek merchant ship Michael Livanos later that day. On 11 July her sister ship Mary Livanos was also sunk by U-178.

In the early hours of 14 July, the American Liberty ship Robert Bacon was torpedoed about 35 miles off the Mozambique Light. The crew of 44 and 27 Armed Guards (the ship was armed with two 3-inch and eight 20 mm guns), abandoned ship before U-178 finished her off with two more torpedoes. The U-boat surfaced and questioned the survivors in one of the boats, giving them directions to land and wishing them good luck before leaving. U-178 made her last kill on 17 July, sinking the British cargo ship City of Canton northeast of Beira after a pursuit lasting eighteen hours. She then shaped a course across the Indian Ocean to Penang, arriving there on 27 August after 153 days at sea.

3rd patrol

KrvKpt. Dommes remained at Penang, commanding the U-Boat base there, located in the former British seaplane headquarters.[2] U-178 sailed from Penang on 25 November 1943 with Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Spahr in command. She made only one kill, sinking the American Liberty ship SS José Navarro 175 miles southwest of Cochin, India (now known as Kochi). She then sailed around Africa, back through the Atlantic, arriving in Bordeaux on 25 May 1944 after a voyage of 181 days (her longest).


U-178 was scuttled on 25 August 1944 at Bordeaux, as she was not deemed seaworthy enough to escape the Allied advance. The U-boat was broken up in 1947.

Summary of raiding history

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[3]
10 October 1942 SS Duchess of Atholl  Great Britain 20,119 Sunk
1 November 1942 SS Mendoza  Great Britain 8,233 Sunk
4 November 1942 SS Hai Hing  Norway 2,561 Sunk
4 November 1942 SS Trekieve  Great Britain 5,244 Sunk
13 November 1942 SS Louise Moller  Great Britain 3,764 Sunk
27 November 1942 SS Jeremiah Wadsworth  USA 7,176 Sunk
1 June 1943 SS Salabangka  Netherlands 6,586 Sunk
4 July 1943 SS Breiviken  Norway 2,669 Sunk
4 July 1943 SS Michael Livanos  Greece 4,774 Sunk
11 July 1943 SS Mary Livanos  Greece 4,771 Sunk
14 July 1943 SS Robert Bacon  USA 7,197 Sunk
17 July 1943 SS City of Canton  Great Britain 6,692 Sunk
15 November 1942 SS Adviser  Great Britain 6,348 Damaged
27 December 1943 SS José Navarro  USA 7,244 Sunk

See also


External links

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