|German submarine U-380|
|Career (Nazi Germany)|
|Ordered:||16 October 1939|
|Builder:||Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel|
|Laid down:||1 October 1940|
|Launched:||5 November 1941|
|Commissioned:||22 December 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by US bombs, 11 March 1944|
|Class & type:||Type VII submarine|
769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced|
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
1,070 t (1,053 long tons) total
67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) total|
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) total|
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
|Draft:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
3,200 hp (2,386 kW) surfaced
750 hp (559 kW) submerged
17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) surfaced|
7.66 kn (8.81 mph; 14.19 km/h) submerged
13,700 nmi (25,400 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h) surfaced|
125 nmi (232 km) at 4 kn (4.6 mph; 7.4 km/h) submerged
|Test depth:||220 m (721 ft 9 in)|
• 1 × 88 mm (3.5 in)/45 deck gun with 220 rounds|
• 5 × torpedo tubes (four bow, one aft)
• 14 × torpedoes
German submarine U-380 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for the Nazi German Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. Her wartime career consisted of 11 patrols and resulted in two ships sunk for 14,063 GRT, one ship damaged, and another of 7,178 GRT that was later declared a total loss.
Construction and Design
U-380 was ordered by the Kriegsmarine on 16 October 1939. She was laid down just short of a year later at the Howaldtswerke yard in Kiel, on 1 October 1940. About thirteen months later, U-380 was launched in Kiel on 5 November 1941. She was formally commissioned into the Kriegsmarine later that year, on 22 December.
Like all type VIIC submarines, U-380 carried five 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four located in the bow, one in the stern) and had one C35 88mm/L45 deck gun with 220 rounds. She could also carry 14 G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines and had a crew of 44-52 men. Her propulsion consisted of two supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines that had a total of 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Her maximum rpm was between 470 and 490. She was also equipped with two electric motors totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and had a maximum rpm of 296. This power-train enabled U-380 to achieve a maximum speed of 17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) while on the surface and 7.6 knots (8.7 mph; 14.1 km/h) when submerged. She had a range of 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) when she was surfaced and 150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) while submerged. Her test depth was 230 m (750 ft); while her crush depth was 250–295 m (820–968 ft).
U-380 experienced her first taste of war on her first patrol. While stalking convoy ON-127 on 12 September 1942 in the central Atlantic, the submarine was detected and attacked by the convoy's escorts resulting in the failure of one of her diesel engines. The damage was not severe enough to warrant aborting the patrol, but the U-boat broke off her attack. Her first strike against allied shipping would come less than a week later when she torpedoed and sank the unescorted Norwegian motor merchant Olaf Fostenes (2,994 GRT). All 36 men aboard the merchant survived this attack. The U-boat crew questioned the crew, asking for the ship's master; the mariners lied to the Germans, telling them the master had been killed in the attack. U-380 returned to port on 7 October 1942.
Her next patrol, which lasted only 15 days, was still successful. On 11 November 1942, U-380 torpedoed and sank the 11,069 GRT Dutch passenger liner Nieuw Zeeland. The ship had recently participated in the North African landings of Operation Torch and was returning from that operation. 15 of the 256 souls aboard perished; the remainder were picked up by convoy escorts and later landed at Gibraltar.
Two uneventful patrols followed. It was not until 15 March 1943, while on her fifth patrol, that the U-boat had her next success. The British Liberty Ship Ocean Seaman, traveling with convoy ET-14, was torpedoed and badly damaged. Dead in the water, the stricken vessel was taken in tow and beached the next day near Algiers. She was declared a total loss.
On 10 May 1943, U-380 rescued five German soldiers who were escaping from Tunisia in a small boat. She landed them at La Spezia on 16 May.
A further two uneventful Mediterranean sorties followed. The veteran submarine departed on her eighth patrol on 11 August 1943, again prowling the Mediterranean for enemy shipping. Success arrived on 23 August when the 7,191 GRT American Liberty Ship Pierre Soulé was struck in the rudder by a single torpedo from U-380. The resulting explosion bodily lifted the ship out of the water. Although her rudder was destroyed and the engines and propeller shaft badly damaged, the stricken merchantman was taken in tow by the USS Nauset to Bizerte. She was repaired in dry dock at Taranto and returned to service.
Despite undertaking three further patrols, U-380 had no further successes during her career.
- Josef Röther, 22 December 1941 - November 1943
- Albrecht Brandi, December 1943 - 11 March 1944
- Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 176.
- Kemp, p. 176.
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