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German submarine U-185
U-185 sinking after being hit by US depth charges, 24 August 1943
Career War Ensign of Germany (1938–1945).svg
Name: U-185
Ordered: 15 August 1940
Builder: AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1025
Laid down: 1 July 1941
Launched: 2 March 1942
Commissioned: 13 June 1942
Fate: Sunk, by US aircraft on 24 August 1943
General characteristics
Type: Type IXC/40 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: 6.9 m (22 ft 8 in) overall
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h) surfaced
7.3 knots (13.5 km/h) submerged
Range: 25,620 nmi (47,450 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 × Utof 105 mm/45 deck gun (110 rounds)
• AA guns
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 4th U-boat Flotilla
(13 June 1942–31 October 1942)
10th U-boat Flotilla
(1 November 1942–24 August 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. August Maus
(13 June 1942–24 August 1943)
Operations: Three
1st patrol:
27 October 1942–1 January 1943
2nd patrol:
8 February–3 May 1943
3rd patrol:
9 June–24 August 1943
Victories: Nine commercial ships sunk (62,761 GRT)
One commercial ship damaged (6,840 GRT)
Two aircraft shot down

German submarine U-185 was a Type IXC/40 U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II.

Under the command of Kapitänleutnant August Maus, she had some success against Allied aircraft in World War II.

Laid down on 1 July 1941 by AG Weser of Bremen as 'werk' 1025, she was launched on 2 March 1942 and commissioned on 13 June. She suffered no casualties until her sinking by US carrier-borne aircraft on 24 August 1943 at 27°00′N 37°06′W / 27°N 37.1°W / 27; -37.1Coordinates: 27°00′N 37°06′W / 27°N 37.1°W / 27; -37.1. Twenty-nine of the crew were lost, as well as fourteen survivors from U-604 who were on board.

Service historyEdit

1st patrolEdit

U-185 sailed from Kiel on 27 October 1942.[3] On 7 December she sank the unescorted 5,476 ton British cargo ship Peter Mærsk west of the Azores.[4] She docked at Lorient in France on 1 January 1943 after 67 days at sea.[3]

2nd patrolEdit

U-185 sailed from Lorient on 8 February 1943.[5] On 10 March she attacked Convoy KG 123 in the Windward Passage (between Cuba and Hispaniola), sinking the 6,151 ton American tanker Virginia Sinclair and the 7,177 ton liberty ship James Sprunt.[6] On 6 April U-185 attacked the four-ship convoy GTMO-83, and sank the 7,176 ton liberty ship John Sevier.[7] She then sailed to Bordeaux on 3 May after 85 days at sea.[5]

3rd patrolEdit

U-185 sailed on her third and final patrol from Bordeaux on 9 June 1943.[8] On 14 June she was attacked in the Bay of Biscay by a British Whitley bomber of 10 OTU (Operational Training Unit) based at RAF St Eval in Cornwall. U-564 was sunk, but U-185's flak defenses damaged the aircraft, forcing it to ditch.[1]

On 7 July U-185, off Cape San Roque, Brazil, attacked the convoy BT-18, sinking the liberty ships James Robertson and Thomas Sinnickson, the 7,061 ton tanker William Boyce Thompson also went to the bottom. She then badly damaged the 6,840 ton tanker S.B. Hunt.[9] On 12 July, around 90 miles off Recife, Brazil, the U-boat was attacked by a B-24 Liberator bomber of US Navy Squadron VB-107, but sustained only minor damage.[1]

The boat sank the 8,235 ton Brazilian cargo ship Bagé, a straggler from convoy TJ-2, off the Rio Real, Brazil, on 1 August[10] and on the 6th she torpedoed and then sank with gunfire the unescorted 7,133 ton British cargo ship Fort Halkett about 600 miles southeast of Natal, Brazil.[11] On 3 August U-185 was attacked by a Ventura bomber of Squadron VB-107 with depth charges, wounding one man.[1]


On the morning of 11 August 1943 U-185 rendezvoused with the stricken U-604, which had been badly damaged after two attacks by US aircraft and the destroyer USS Moffett, but which began to transfer provisions, fuel oil and spare parts to U-185. U-172 arrived later to assist, but the concentration of U-boats was detected by HF/DF; as a result, the surfaced boats were attacked by a United States Navy PBY-4 Liberator, of Squadron VB-107. U-172 escaped, the crew of U-185 opened fire with AA guns, shooting down the aircraft, killing the crew of three.[12]

After U-604 was scuttled, U-185 headed for home, with 100 men crammed aboard a U-boat designed for 54. On 16 August she transferred 23 men to U-172. Short of fuel, U-185 was heading for a rendezvous with U-847 south-west of the Azores on the morning of 24 August. The U-boat was spotted by a TBF-1 Avenger and F4F Wildcat attack team of Squadron VC-13, flying from the escort carrier USS Core. The aircraft attacked with machine guns and depth charges, killing the U-boat's lookouts and AA crew and rupturing the pressure hull, allowing seawater to reach the battery cells and produce toxic chlorine gas. One diesel engine caught fire, producing more fumes, and to make matters worse all electrical systems were knocked out, plunging the vessel into darkness.[12]

Realizing that the situation was hopeless, Maus ordered all hands to abandon ship. More than 40 men managed to reach the deck and jump into the sea as U-185 sank. Only 36 men were later rescued by the destroyer USS Barker, the rest succumbing to wounds or chlorine poisoning. The 25 men from U-185 and the nine survivors from U-604 spent the following three years as POWs before returning to Germany.[12]

On 21 September 1943 Kapitänleutnant August Maus was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[13]

Summary of raiding historyEdit

7 December 1942 Peter Mærsk Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Great Britain 5,476 Sunk
10 March 1943 Virginia Sinclair Flag of the United States.svg USA 6,151 Sunk
10 March 1943 James Sprunt Flag of the United States.svg USA 7,177 Sunk
6 April 1943 John Sevier Flag of the United States.svg USA 7,176 Sunk
9 April 1943 James Robertson Flag of the United States.svg USA 7,176 Sunk
7 July 1943 Thomas Sinnickson Flag of the United States.svg USA 7,176 Sunk
7 July 1943 William Boyce Thompson Flag of the United States.svg USA 7,061 Sunk
7 July 1943 S.B. Hunt Flag of the United States.svg USA 6,840 Sunk
1 August 1943 Bagé Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil 8,235 Sunk
6 August 1943 Fort Halkett Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Great Britain 7,133 Sunk


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "The Type IXC/40 boat U-185 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  2. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-185 - Boats -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Patrol of U-boat U-185 from 27 Oct 1942 to 1 Jan 1943 - U-boat patrols -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  4. "Peter Mærsk (Motor merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Patrol of U-boat U-185 from 8 Feb 1943 to 3 May 1943 - U-boat patrols -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  6. "Convoy KG-123 - Convoy Battles - U-boat Operations -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  7. "John Sevier (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  8. "Patrol of U-boat U-185 from 9 Jun 1943 to 24 Aug 1943 - U-boat patrols -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  9. "Convoy BT-18 - Convoy Battles - U-boat Operations -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  10. "Bagé (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  11. "Fort Halkett (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "24 August 1943: The Sinking of U-185". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  13. "Kapitänleutnant August Maus - German U-boat Commanders of WWII -". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  15. Ships hit by U-185 - U-boat Successes - German U-boats - |

See alsoEdit

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