German submarine U-118 (1941)

German submarine U-118 was a Type XB minelaying U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

U-118 under attack by aircraft from USS Bogue
Nazi Germany
Name: U-118
Ordered: 31 January 1939
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Yard number: 617
Laid down: 1 March 1940
Launched: 3 May 1941[1]
Commissioned: 23 September 1941[2]
Fate: Sunk on 12 June 1943[2] by US aircraft
General characteristics [3]
Class and type: Submarine minelayer
  • 1,763 tonnes (1,735 long tons) surfaced
  • 2,177 tonnes (2,143 long tons) submerged
  • 9.20 m (30 ft 2 in) o/a
  • 4.75 m (15 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Height: 10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.71 m (15 ft 5 in)
  • 18,450 nautical miles (34,170 km; 21,230 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 93 nmi (172 km; 107 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: Calculated crush depth: 220 m (720 ft)
Complement: 5 officers, 47 enlisted
Service record[4] [5]
Part of:
  • K.Kapt. Werner Czygan
  • (6 December 1941 - 12 June 1943)
  • Four
  • 1st patrol:
  • 19 September - 16 October 1942
  • 2nd patrol:
  • 12 November - 13 December 1942
  • 3rd patrol:
  • 25 January - 26 February 1943
  • 4th patrol:
  • 25 May - 12 June 1943
  • Three ships sunk (14,064 GRT)
  • One warship sunk - 925 tons
  • Two ships damaged - 11,945 GRT

She was ordered on 31 January 1939 and laid down on 1 March 1940 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, as yard number 617. She was launched on 23 September 1941 and commissioned on 6 December under the command of Korvettenkapitän Werner Czygan.

After a period of training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla, U-118 was assigned to the front-line as part of the 10th U-boat Flotilla on 1 October 1942. She was reassigned to the 12th flotilla a month later on 1 November. She was a member of three wolfpacks.

Operational career

U-118 sank three merchant vessels and a warship; a total of 14,989 gross register tons (GRT) of shipping in three patrols. She also damaged two others, for a total of 11,945 GRT.

1st patrol

U-118's first patrol began on 19 September 1942 with her departure from Kiel. Her route took her across the North Sea, through the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and into the Atlantic Ocean. The boat was attacked south of Iceland by an aircraft on 29 September which caused only slight damage. She reached her destination, which was Lorient in occupied France, on 16 October.

2nd patrol

Her second sortie was to an area between the Azores and Madeira. It was uneventful.

She carried out a short transit voyage from Lorient to Brest on 12 and 13 December 1942.

3rd patrol

The boat's third patrol was the longest, but most successful. Departing Brest on 25 January 1943, she sailed west of Gibraltar, where she sank Baltonia, Empire Mordred and Mary Slessor on 7 February and damaged Duero with a mine on the 10th. She was also responsible for the sinking of the corvette HMCS Weyburn on 22 February. The Canadian ship struck a mine that U-118 had laid on the 1st. Despite best efforts by the crew to remove depth charge primers, two exploded when the ship sank, killing men in the water and disabling a nearby destroyer. She returned to France, to Bordeaux, on 26 February.

4th patrol and loss

U-118 had been at sea less than a month when she was attacked by two aircraft west of the Canary Islands followed by a further eight planes from the carrier USS Bogue. Following a heavy expenditure of bombs, .50" and .30" ammunition; the U-boat exploded into two parts, oil and debris were flung into the air. 16 men survived to be picked up by the escort vessel USS Osmond Ingram.[2][4]

She was sunk in position 30°49′N 33°49′W


U-118 took part in three wolfpacks, namely.

  • Wotan (5–7 October 1942)
  • Westwall (28–30 November 1942)
  • Rochen (13–14 February 1943)

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[6]
7 February 1943 Baltonia  United Kingdom 2,013 Sunk (Mine)
7 February 1943 Empire Mordred  United Kingdom 7,024 Sunk (Mine)
7 February 1943 Mary Slessor  United Kingdom 5,027 Sunk (Mine)
10 February 1943 Duero  Spain 2,008 Damaged (Mine)
22 February 1943 HMCS Weyburn  Royal Canadian Navy 925 Sunk (Mine)
22 February 1943 Thorsholm  Norway 9,937 Damaged (Mine)



  1. Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.


  1. Kemp 1999, pp. 124-125.
  2. Kemp, pp. 124-125.
  3. Gröner 1985, p. 116.
  4. Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type XB boat U-118". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-118". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  6. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-118". German U-boats of WWII -


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6.
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German). IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2.

Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.

  • Kemp, Paul (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.

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