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German submarine U-978
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-978
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Laid down: 24 July 1942
Launched: 1 April 1943
Commissioned: 12 May 1943
Fate: sunk on 11 December 1945 during Operation Deadlight.
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 & ratings
Armament: • 5 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
• 14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
• 1 × C35 88mm gun/L45 deck gun (220 rounds)
• Various AA guns
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
5th U-boat Flotilla
3rd U-boat Flotilla
11th U-boat Flotilla
Victories: 1 ship damaged ; 7,176 gross register tons (GRT)

German submarine U-978 was a World War II German Type VIIC U-boat operated by the Kriegsmarine. She holds the distiniction of having completed the longest underwater patrol of World War II.

Service history[edit | edit source]

U-978 was commissioned on 12 May 1943 and assigned to 5th U-boat Flotilla for crew training. On 1 August 1944, U-978 was assigned to 3rd U-boat Flotilla for operational service, and completed one patrol with that unit. On 4 September 1944 she was ordered to 11th U-boat Flotilla, beginning service on 5 September. During her second war patrol, U-978 completed the longest underwater Schnorchel patrol of World War II, lasting 68 days.[1] The record-breaking patrol began on 9 October 1944 when she left Bergen, Norway and ended on 16 December when she returned to Bergen from her patrol. Note that the famed underwater patrol of U-977, during her surrender to Argentina, was not the longest, as sometimes stated, it lasted at most 66 days. During her two patrols U-978, did not sink any ships, but damaged one ship beyond repair, which totalled 7,176 GRT.

Fate[edit | edit source]

U-978 survived the war as did her whole crew, and was surrendered at Trondheim on 8 May 1945. She was sunk on 11 December 1945 during Operation Deadlight by torpedoes at location 55°50′N 10°05′W / 55.833°N 10.083°W / 55.833; -10.083.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Bishop, p.116.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Bishop, C. Kriegsmarine U-Boats, 1939 –45. Amber Books, 2006.
  • uboat.net. Retrieved, 14 February 2007.

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