|German submarine U-856|
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||5 June 1941|
|Builder:||DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen|
|Laid down:||31 October 1942|
|Launched:||11 May 1943|
|Commissioned:||19 August 1943|
|Fate:||scuttled in position Coordinates: on 7 April 1944 after receiving heavy damage from US warships|
|General characteristics |
|Type:||Type IXC/40 submarine|
1,144 t (1,126 long tons) surfaced|
1,257 t (1,237 long tons) submerged
76.76 m (251 ft 10 in) o/a|
58.75 m (192 ft 9 in) pressure hull
|Beam:||6.86 m (22 ft 6 in) o/a 4.44 m (14 ft 7 in) pressure hull|
|Height:||9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draft:||4.67 m (15 ft 4 in)|
2 × MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)|
2 × SSW GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) surfaced|
7.3 kn (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph) submerged
13,850 nmi (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced|
63 nmi (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 44 enlisted|
|Identification codes:||M 54 791|
|Commanders:||Oblt.z.S. Friedrich Wittenberg|
U-856 was ordered in June 1941 from DeSchiMAG AG Weser in Bremen under the yard number 1062. Her keel was laid down on 31 October 1942 and the U-boat was launched the following year on 11 May 1943. She was commissioned into service under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Friedrich Wittenberg (Crew X/37) in 4th U-boat Flotilla.
The U-boat was working up for deployment in the Baltic Sea until transferring to the 2nd U-boat Flotilla for front-line service. She left Kiel]] on 24 February 1944 for operations off the US east coast. In March she had two brief encounters with submarine-hunting aircraft, but escaped unscathed. In the morning of 7 April 1944 however, she was picked up by an aircraft of USS Croatan and atttacked by USS Boyle. Surviving the initial attack, she was attacked with depth charges by a second group consisting of USS Huse and USS Champlin, the later ramming U-856 and severely damaging her. When the U-boat re-surfaced a little while later, she came under heavy artillery fire from the US warships. Wittenberg ordered the crew to abandon ship and scuttled her. Of the 55 men on board only 28, Wittenberg among them, survived. They were picked up by the destroyers and brought to New York City where they disembarked on 10 April 1944.
- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999) (in German). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945. IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2.
- Gröner, Erich (1985) (in German). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. III. Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe. ISBN 3-7637-4802-4.
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