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German submarine U-408
Name: U-408
Ordered: 16 October 1939
Builder: Danziger Werft, Danzig
Yard number: 109
Laid down: 30 September 1940
Launched: 16 July 1941
Commissioned: 19 November 1941
Fate: Sunk by a US aircraft, in November 1942, north of Iceland[1]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296.
Speed: 17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) surfaced
7.6 knots (8.7 mph; 14.1 km/h) submerged
Range: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament: • 5 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
• 14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
• 1 × C35 88mm gun/L45 deck gun (220 rounds)
• Various AA guns
Service record[2]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(19 November 1941–30 April 1942)
9th U-boat Flotilla
(1 May–30 June 1942)
11th U-boat Flotilla
(1 July 1942–5 November 1942)
Commanders: KrvKpt. Reinhard von Hymmen
(19 November 1941–5 November 1942)
Operations: 1st patrol:
7 June–16 July 1942
2nd patrol:
10–26 September 1943
3rd patrol:
31 October–5 November 1942
Victories: Three ships sunk; 19,689 GRT

German submarine U-408 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She carried out three patrols. She sank three ships.

She was a member of two wolfpacks.

She was sunk by a US aircraft north of Iceland in November 1942.

Service history

The submarine was laid down on 30 September 1940 at the Danziger Werft at Danzig (now Gdansk) as 'werk' 109, launched on 16 July 1941 and commissioned on 19 November under the command of KorvettenKapitän Reinhard von Hymmen.

She served with the 5th U-boat Flotilla from 19 November 1941 for training and the 9th flotilla from 1 May 1942 for operations. She was reassigned to the 11th flotilla on 1 July 1942 and served with that organization until her loss.

1st patrol

U-359's first patrol was preceded by a move from Kiel in Germany to Skjomenfjord in Norway. She left there for her first patrol on 7 June, sailing through the north Norwegian Sea into the Barents Sea. She returned to Skjomenfjord on 16 July.

2nd patrol

The boat set-out on her second foray on 10 September 1942. She sank the Stalingrad on the 13th, 100 mi (160 km) southwest of Spitsbergen. She also sank the Oliver Ellsworth with the same spread of torpedos. The master of the Soviet ship, A. Sakharov, was awarded the George Cross after acting as pilot for his convoy and spending 40 minutes in the freezing water. The next day she sank the Atheltemplar southwest of Bear Island.

3rd patrol and loss

The submarine's third and last sortie began from Narvik on 31 October 1942. On 5 November she was sunk by a US PBY Catalina north of Iceland. Her previous track was from the east, towards the Denmark Strait, (which separates Greenland from Iceland).

Forty-five men died in U-408; there were no survivors.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
13 September 1942 Oliver Ellsworth  USA 7,191 Sunk
13 September 1942 Stalingrad  Soviet Union 3,559 Sunk
14 September 1942 Atheltemplar  United Kingdom 8,939 Sunk


  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 95
  2. "The Type VIIC boat U-408 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 13 September 2012. 

See also

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