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German submarine U-404
Career (Germany) Naval Ensign of Nazi Germany
Name: U-404
Ordered: 23 September 1939
Builder: Danziger Werft, Danzig
Yard number: Werk 105
Laid down: 4 June 1940[1]
Launched: 4 June 1941
Commissioned: 6 August 1941[2]
Fate: Sunk on 28 July 1943 by depth charges from two American and one B-24 Liberator[3]
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 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
• 14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
• 1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
• Various AA guns
Service record
Commanders Kapitänleutnant Otto von Bülow
Oberleutnant Adolf Schönberg

Sank 14 merchant ships and one warship

Damaged three ships
Awards The Knight's Cross to von Bulow

German submarine U-404 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for the Nazi German Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

She was laid down at the Danziger Werft in the city of the same name on 4 June 1940 as 'werk' 105, launched a year later on 4 June 1941 and was commissioned on 6 August 1941, with Kapitänleutnant Otto von Bülow in command.

The boat commenced her career with the 6th U-boat Flotilla, a training organization on 6 August 1941, before moving on to operations on 1 October 1941. U-404 carried out seven combat patrols, sinking 14 merchantmen and one warship for a total of over 70,000 GRT during the Second World War. She also damaged two other ships. The submarine was a member of 13 wolfpacks.

For his numerous successes, von Bülow received the Knight's Cross.

Operational history[]

1st and 2nd patrols[]

No ships were sunk during her first patrol which lasted from 17 January to 1 February 1942. U-404 sailed from the German port of Kiel; the only excitement she encountered was when a periscope was damaged in an air attack. The submarine sailed into Lorient in France, after 16 otherwise uneventful days.[4]

On her second patrol, when she departed Lorient on 14 February 1942, U-404 had more success, sinking three ships off the eastern American coast.[5] One of them, the Lemuel Burrows, was close enough to land when she was sunk that the second engineer, who survived, reported that "the lights of a New Jersey beach resort doomed his vessel and that they would continue [the German U-boats] to cause daily torpedoings until a blackout is ordered along the coast." This situation was repeated many times due to American unpreparedness so soon after that country's entry into the war.[6] She returned to Brest, also in France, on 4 April 1942 .

3rd and 4th patrols[]

The achievements of her second patrol was repeated on her third, with the Operation Drumbeat submarine accounting for another four ships off the American coast. This time she returned to St. Nazaire.

For her fourth sortie, she left St. Nazaire on 23 August 1942 and returned on 13 October, having spent 52 days at sea and sinking three more ships, but this time in mid-Atlantic.

5th and 6th patrols[]

It was a different story on her fifth patrol; she spent 44 fruitless days looking for targets, having departed St. Nazaire on 21 December 1942, returning on 6 February 1943.

Her sixth foray was better, she sank three ships, totalling 17,736 GRT (Gross Register Tons).

7th patrol and loss[]

U-404 left St. Nazaire with a new commander on 24 July 1943. Five days later, she was sent to the bottom with all hands, thanks to the efforts and depth charges of three Liberator aircraft, two American and one British. They did not emerge from the action unscathed; all three planes lost an engine due to the accurate anti-aircraft fire from the U-boat.

Raiding history[]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[7]
5 March 1942 Collamer  USA 5,112 Sunk
13 March 1942 Tolten  Chile 1,858 Sunk
14 March 1942 Lemuel Burrows  USA 7,610 Sunk
17 March 1942 San Demitro  Great Britain 8,073 Sunk
30 May 1942 Aloca Shipper  USA 5,491 Sunk
1 June 1942 West Notus  USA 5,492 Sunk
3 June 1942 Anna  Sweden 1,345 Sunk
24 June 1942 Ljubica Matokovic  Yugoslavia 3,289 Sunk
25 June 1942 Manuda  USA 4,772 sunk
25 June 1942 Nordal  Panama 3,845 sunk
27 June 1942 Moldanger  Norway 6,827 Sunk
11 September 1942 Marit II  Norway 7,141 Damaged
12 September 1942 Daghild  Norway 9,272 Damaged
26 September 1942 HMS Veteran  Great Britain 1,120 Sunk
29 March 1943 Nagara  Great Britain 8,791 Sunk
30 March 1943 Empire Bowman  Great Britain 7,031 Sunk
12 April 1943 Lancastrian Prince  Great Britain 1,914 Sunk


  2. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 135.
  3. Kemp, p. 135.
  6. Gannon, Michael - Operation Drumbeat - the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II, Harper and Row publishers, ISBN 0-060161155-8


  • Blair, Clay (1996). Hitler's U-Boat War - The Hunters 1939-1942. Random House. ISBN 0-394-58839-8. 
  • Blair, Clay (1998). Hitler's U-Boat War The Hunted 1942-1945. Random House. ISBN 0-679-45742-9. 
  • Lenton, H.T. (1976). German Warships of the Second World War. Arco Publishing Company. ISBN 0-668-04037-8. 
  • Waters, John M. Jr., CAPT USCG (December 1966). "Stay Tough". United States Naval Institute Proceedings. 
  • Gannon, Michael (1990). Operation Drumbeat - the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II. Harper and Row. ISBN 0-060161155-8. 

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