German submarine U-352

German submarine U-352 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 11 March 1940 at the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft yard at Flensburg, launched on 7 May 1941, and commissioned on 28 August 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hellmut Rathke. She was part of the 3rd U-boat Flotilla, and was ready for front-line service by 1 January 1942.[1]

Kapitänleutnant Rathke painted this watercolor of U-352 while held as a POW.
Nazi Germany
Name: U-352
Ordered: 9 October 1939
Builder: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Flensburg
Yard number: 471
Laid down: 11 March 1940
Launched: 7 May 1941
Commissioned: 28 August 1941
Fate: Sunk, 9 May 1942
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
  • 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 bhp) (diesels)
  • 750 PS (550 kW; 740 shp) (electric)
  • 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
  • 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
  • 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth:
  • 230 m (750 ft)
  • Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Service record[1][2]
Part of:
  • Kptlt. Hellmut Rathke
  • 28 August 1941 – 9 May 1942
  • 1st patrol: 15 January – 26 February 1942
  • 2nd patrol: 7 April – 9 May 1942
Victories: None
U-352 (submarine) shipwreck and remains
Nearest cityBeaufort, North Carolina
MPSWorld War II Shipwrecks along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico MPS
NRHP reference #15000804
Added to NRHPNovember 12, 2015


German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-352 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[3] She had a total length of 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 50.50 m (165 ft 8 in), a beam of 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 four-stroke, six-cylinder supercharged diesel engines producing a total of 2,800 to 3,200 metric horsepower (2,060 to 2,350 kW; 2,760 to 3,160 shp) for use while surfaced, two AEG GU 460/8–27 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[3]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph).[3] When submerged, the boat could operate for 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-352 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), fourteen torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[3]

Service history

1st patrol

U-352 left Kiel on 15 January 1942, and arrived at Bergen in Norway on the 19th.[2] She left the next day and patrolled south of Iceland without success before sailing to her new home port at Saint-Nazaire in France by 26 February.[4]

2nd patrol

U-352 left St. Nazaire on 7 April 1942 and sailed across the Atlantic to the coast of the north-eastern United States.[5] There on 9 May 1942, she was sunk by depth charges from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Icarus, south of Morehead City, North Carolina, in position 34°13.67′N 76°33.89′W.[1][6] The Icarus machine gunned the German submarine when it surfaced, preventing the German crew from manning the deck guns.[7] One survivor reported in 1999 that the Icarus departed and then returned 45 minutes later to pick up survivors.[8] Fifteen of the crew were lost, but 33 survived and spent the remainder of the war as prisoners.[1]


U-352 took part in one wolfpack, namely.

  • Hecht (27 January – 4 February 1942)

Dive site

The wreck of the U-352 was discovered 26 miles south of Morehead City in 1975 by George Purfoy.[9] It lies in about 115 feet (35 m) of water, and sits at a 45-degree list to starboard. The wreck scatter is within a 100-m radius of location above on a sand bottom.[6] This wreck has become an artificial reef that is heavily populated with Hemanthias vivanus.[6] The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. It is a popular scuba diving spot for advanced divers. A replica of the wreck is on display at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.[9]

Heinz Richter

Heinz Karl Richter, a Maschinengefreiter (equivalent of a Fireman 3rd Class) who survived the sinking and now lives in Canada was interviewed for Discovery Channel's special coverage of U-352. He said that Captain Rathke was obsessed with receiving a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal for sinking 100,000 tonnes-worth of enemy ships. Richter said that the captain's obsession eventually led to recklessness, ultimately resulting in the boat's sinking. Richter also said he was the last man out of the U-boat before it sank; those still on board were already dead, or perished in the boat as it sank.


According to documents from the Naval Department, the following are survivors of the sinking:

NameRankU.S. Navy equivalent
Rathke, HellmutKapitänleutnantLieutenant
Bernard, OskarLeutnant zur See (Sonderführer)Ensign
Kammerer, ErnstFähnrich zur SeeMidshipman
Daehn, ArthurBootsmaatCoxswain
Neitsch, HansBootsmaatCoxswain
Richter, Helmut H.BootsmaatCoxswain
Kruger, KurtFunkmaatRadioman 3 cl.
Sorg, LudwigFunkmaatRadioman 3 cl.
Bollmann, HeinrichObermaschinistMachinist
Grandke, WalterObermaschinistMachinist
Brand, August MichaelMaschinenmaatFireman 1 cl.
Reussel, GerdMaschinenmaatFireman 1 cl.
Schwarzenberger, HeinzMaschinenmaatFireman 1 cl.
Thönnissen, Kurt H.MaschinenmaatFireman 1 cl.
Wesche, Martin WilhelmMaschinenmaatFireman 1 cl.
Wessoly, LotharMaschinenmaatFireman 1 cl.
Rusch, GerhardMaschinenobergefreiterFireman 2 cl.
Stengel, OttoMaschinenobergefreiterFireman 2 cl.
Minzker, JohannMaschinengefreiterFireman 3 cl.
Richter, Heinz KarlMaschinengefreiterFireman 3 cl.
Twirdy, HeinrichMaschinengefreiterFireman 3 cl.
Heinze, HansMatrosengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Henschke, OttoMatrosengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Hering, GerhardMatrosengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Herrschaft, EdgarMatrosengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Kominek, FranzMatrosengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Mattiz, HansFunkgefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Pickel, ErhardMatrosengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Richter, GerhardMaschinengefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Thiele, RudolfMechanikergefreiterSeaman 2 cl.
Link, WilhelmMatroseApprentice Seaman
Staron, EdmundMatroseApprentice Seaman
TOTAL: 33[7]


  1. Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC U-boat U-352". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-352". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  3. Gröner 1991, pp. 43–46.
  4. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-352 from 20 Jan 1942 to 26 Feb 1942". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-352 from 7 Apr 1942 to 9 May 1942". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  6. Hoyt, JC (2009). "2008 Battle of the Atlantic Survey Methodology". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  7. "U-boat Archive : FINAL REPORT OF INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM U-352 SUNK BY U.S.C.G. ICARUS ON MAY 9, 1942". Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  8. "German sub sank near U.S." The Augusta Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  9. Myers, Robby (22 October 2017). "History of North Carolina's U-352 Shipwreck". Retrieved 30 June 2018.


  • 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.

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