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German submarine U-508
Name: U-508
Ordered: 20 October 1939
Builder: Deutsche Werft, Hamburg
Yard number: 304
Laid down: 24 September 1940
Launched: 30 July 1941
Commissioned: 20 January 1941
Fate: Sunk, November 1943 in the Bay of Biscay by a US aircraft[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
(20 October 1941–30 June 1942)
10th U-boat Flotilla
(1 July 1942–12 November 1943)
Commanders: Oblt. Georg Staats
(20 October 1941–12 November 1943)
Operations: Six
1st patrol:
25 July–15 September 1942
2nd patrol:
17 October 1942–6 January 1943
3rd patrol:
22 February–15 March 1943
4th patrol:
29–31 May 1943
5th patrol:
7 June–14 September 1943
6th patrol:
9–12 November 1943
Victories: 14 ships sunk, total (74,087 GRT)

German submarine U-508 was a Type IXC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She was laid down at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg as 'werk' 304 on 24 September 1940, launched on 30 July 1941 and commissioned on 20 October with Oberleutnant Georg Staats in command.

U-508 began her service career with training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla from 20 October 1941. She was re-assigned to the 10th flotilla for operations on 1 July 1942.

She carried out six patrols and sank 14 ships. She was sunk by an American aircraft in November 1943.

Operational career

1st patrol

The boat departed Kiel on 30 July 1942, moved through the North Sea and negotiated the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She sailed close to the west coast of Ireland in a southerly direction, then turned southwest toward Cuba.

She sank the Manzanillo on 12 August 1942 in the Straits of Florida.[3] She entered Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, (which was to be her base for most of the rest of her career), on 15 September 1942.

2nd patrol

U-508's second foray took her to the waters off South America. The pickings were rich. This sortie, while not the boat's longest, was her most successful. Some, but not all of her victims are shown below:

She sank the City of Corinth north of Trinidad on 17 November 1942.
Ten days later, she sank the Clan Mcfayden 95 mi (153 km) east of Galeota Point, Trinidad.
She went on to sink the Solon II on 3 December northeast of Georgetown, British Guiana. The ship went down in twenty seconds.
The Nigerian, which was sunk on 9 December, had amongst her passengers, four British army officers. They were taken prisoner and landed at Lorient on the submarine's return.

3rd, 4th and 5th patrols

On her third patrol, the boat was attacked by a British B-24 Liberator of No. 224 Squadron RAF and seriously damaged.

Her fourth sortie was relatively uneventful and short, lasting just three days.

Patrol number five, at 100 days the longest, saw the U-boat steam as far as the west African coast. In the Gulf of Guinea, she sank the Manchester Citizen on 9 July 1943. She then sank the Incomati on the 18th, 200 mi (320 km) south of Lagos in Nigeria. She returned to Lorient on 14 September.

6th patrol and loss

Having moved from Lorient to St. Nazaire, U-508 departed for her sixth and what turned out to be her final patrol on 9 November. On the 12th, while still on the outward leg, she was sunk by an American Liberator in the Bay of Biscay. Fifty-seven men died; there were no survivors.[4][5]

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
12 August 1942 Manzanillo  Cuba 1,025 Sunk
12 August 1942 Santiago de Cuba  Cuba 1,685 Sunk
7 November 1942 Lindenhall  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,248 Sunk
7 November 1942 Nathaniel Hawthorn  United States 7,176 Sunk
17 November 1942 City of Corinth  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,318 Sunk
27 November 1942 Clan Mcfadyen  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 6,191 Sunk
28 November 1942 Empire Cromwell  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,970 Sunk
1 December 1942 Trevalgan  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,299 Sunk
2 December 1942 City of Bath  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,079 Sunk
3 December 1942 Solon II  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 4,561 Sunk
9 December 1942 Nigerian  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,423 Sunk
9 July 1943 De La Salle  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 8,400 Sunk
9 July 1943 Manchester Citizen  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 5,343 Sunk
18 July 1943 Incomati  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 7,369 Sunk



  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 157
  2. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248 and 249
  3. The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 70
  4. Kemp, p. 157.

External links

Coordinates: 46°00′N 7°30′W / 46°N 7.5°W / 46; -7.5

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