Military Wiki
German submarine U-442
Name: U-442
Ordered: 5 January 1940
Builder: Schichau-Werke, Danzig
Yard number: 1493
Laid down: 19 October 1940
Launched: 17 January 1942
Commissioned: 21 March 1942
Fate: Sunk, 12 February 1943[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][3]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(21 March–30 September 1942)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 October 1942–12 February 1943)
Commanders: FrgKpt. Hans-Joachim Hesse
(21 March 1942–12 February 1943)
Victories: Four commercial ships sunk (25,417 GRT)

German submarine U-442 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 19 October 1940 at the Schichau-Werke in Danzig as 'werk ', launched on 17 January 1942, and commissioned on 21 March 1942 under the command of Fregattenkapitän Hans-Joachim Hesse.

U-442 first served with the 5th U-boat Flotilla, a training unit, and then operationally with the 7th flotilla from 1 October 1942 until the time of her loss.

Service history

1st patrol

U-442 departed Kiel on 17 September 1942 for her first operational war patrol. Heading via the North Sea toward the north-central Atlantic Ocean, she was near Iceland when convoy UR-42 was sighted. At 16.16 hours on 25 September, U-442 torpedoed and sank her first victim, the 1,744 GRT British steam merchant ship Empire Bell. Ten of her 37 crew died in the attack, the survivors were picked up by the Norwegian merchantman Lysaker IV and landed at Reykjavík.[4] Over a month would pass before U-442 crossed paths with the second and final victim of this patrol, the 6,690 GRT British ammunition ship Hatimura. Already on fire and slowly sinking from an attack three hours earlier (delivered by U-132), the hit resulted in a catastrophic explosion which threw debris in a large radius around the ship. It is believed U-132 was still nearby and was sunk as a result of this detonation.[4] The patrol was terminated at St. Nazaire in occupied France on 3 November 1942.

2nd patrol

Her second patrol began 20 December 1942, when she sortied from St. Nazaire bound for the central Atlantic via the Bay of Biscay. On the morning of 9 January 1943, U-442 attacked convoy TM-1 west of the Canary Islands, claiming hits on two tankers. In reality only one was hit, the 9,807 GRT steam tanker SS Empire Lytton. 14 men were lost in this attack. The remaining 34 men abandoned ship and were picked up by HMS Havelock and Saxifrage. The British tanker turned out to be a tough ship; the escorts attempted to scuttle her with gunfire before breaking off their efforts and heading for Gibraltar to land the survivors. Seven hours later (14.50 hours), the burning, drifting tanker was located again by U-442 who torpedoed her a second time; still she would not go down. Finally, a third torpedo at 19.38 hours sent the hardy tanker to the bottom.[5] The evening of 27 January 1942 found U-442 stalking her second (and last) victim of the patrol, the 7,176 GRT American Liberty Ship Julia Ward Howe, a straggler from convoy UGS-4. The first torpedo at 18.07 hours hit on the starboard side between #3 hold and the deck house, blowing off #3 hatch cover, wrecking two lifeboats and destroying the radio equipment. The ship immediately took on a 15° list but flooded slowly, gradually righting herself to an even keel. Three shots were fired from the merchantman's defensive 5" gun, but no hits were scored on the submarine. Three men, including the ship's master, died in the attack; seventy one abandoned ship. One more (the chief engineer), subsequently died of his wounds. 40 minutes after the initial attack, a coup de grâce struck amidships and broke the ship in two. The submarine then surfaced and took the second mate on board for questioning, releasing him afterward. As the U-boat departed the area, the rafts were secured together and steered toward the Azores. Fifteen hours later, they were rescued by the Portuguese destroyer Lima and landed at Ponta Delgada.[6]


U-442 met her end on 12 February 1943. She was attacked and sunk by depth charges from a British Hudson aircraft of 48 Squadron RAF, west of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal. Her wreck lies at position 37°32′N 11°56′W / 37.533°N 11.933°W / 37.533; -11.933. [7]

Raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
25 September 1942 Empire Bell  United Kingdom 1,744 Sunk
4 November 1942 Hatimura  United Kingdom 6,690 Sunk
9 January 1943 Empire Lytton  United Kingdom 9,807 Sunk
27 January 1943 Julia Ward Howe  USA 7,176 Sunk



See also

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