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German submarine U-79 (1941)
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-79
Ordered: 25 January 1939
Builder: Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack
Yard number: 7
Laid down: 17 April 1940
Launched: 25 January 1941
Commissioned: 13 March 1941
Fate: Sunk on 23 December 1941 by British warships[1]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) ↑
871 t (857 long tons) ↓
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 MAN 6-cylinder 4-stroke M 6 V 40/46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × BBC 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: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h) ↑
80 km (43 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) ↓
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
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
1st U-boat Flotilla
23rd U-boat Flotilla
Commanders: Kptlt. Wolfgang Kaufmann
(13 March–23 December 1941)
Operations: 1st patrol:
5 June–5 July 1941
2nd patrol:
21 July–16 August 1941
3rd patrol:
14–18 September 1941
4th patrol:
28 September–23 October 1941
5th patrol:
29 November–8 December 1941
6th patrol:
21–23 December 1941
Victories: Two ships sunk - 2,983 GRT;
one ship damaged - 10,356 GRT;
one warship a total loss

German submarine U-79 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine built by the Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack. Her keel was laid down on 17 April 1940, by Bremer Vulkan of Bremen-Vegesack, Germany as 'werk' 7. She was launched on 25 January 1941 and commissioned on 13 March, with Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Kaufmann in command until the U-boat's loss.[2]

The boat was sunk on 23 December 1941 north of Sollum, by two British warships.

Operational history[]

U-79 conducted three patrols whilst serving with 1st U-boat Flotilla from 13 March 1941 to 30 September. She was then reassigned to the 23rd U-boat Flotilla from 1 October until she was sunk.

1st patrol[]

The boat's first patrol began with her departure from Kiel on 5 June 1941. Her route took her north 'up' the North Sea and through the 'gap' separating Iceland and the Faroe Islands toward the Atlantic Ocean.

She sank the Havtor west of Iceland on the 11th and damaged the Tibia at 59° 55N 39°W (southwest of the island), on the 27th. U-79 then docked at the newly captured port of Lorient on the French Atlantic coast on 5 July.

2nd and 3rd patrols[]

The boat's second foray was further south than her first. She sank the Kellwyn about 350 mi (560 km) northwest of Cape Finisterre in Spain on 27 July 1941.

She was unsuccessfully attacked with depth charges by convoy escorts near the Portuguese coast on 12 August.

U-79's third sortie hardly left the Bay of Biscay and only lasted five days (14–18 September 1941).

4th and 5th patrols[]

Patrol number four necessitated the boat getting past the heavily defended British base at Gibraltar to reach the Mediterranean Sea which she had by 5 October 1941. She then negotiated the Straits of Messina [between Sicily and the Italian mainland] and moved toward the North African coast. There she encountered the British gunboat HMS Gnat and sank her 30 mi (48 km) northeast of Bardia (Al Burdi) on 21 October. She reached Salamis in Greece on 23 October 1941. U-79 returned to the North African coast for her fifth patrol at the end of November but her luck had deserted her. She returned to Salamis with nothing to show for her efforts on 8 December.

6th patrol and loss[]

Leaving Salamis for the last time on 21 December 1941, she was sunk a couple of days later (on the 23rd), by depth charges dropped by the British destroyers HMS Hasty and Hotspur. All U-79's crewmembers (44 men) survived the attack.[3]

Summary of raiding career[]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[4]
11 June 1941 Havtor  Norway 1,524 Sunk
27 June 1941 Tibia  Netherlands 10,356 Damaged
27 July 1941 Kellwyn  Great Britain 1,459 Sunk
21 October 1941 HMS Gnat  Great Britain 625 Sunk


  • Bishop, C. Kriegsmarine U-Boats, 1939-45. Amber Books, 2006.
  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed, German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. 1997. p. 77. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  2. "The Type VIIC boat U-79 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  3. Kemp, p. 77.

See also[]

Coordinates: 32°15′N 25°19′E / 32.25°N 25.317°E / 32.25; 25.317

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