German submarine U-512

German submarine U-512 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built for service during World War II. Although she was short-lived, U-512 was quite a successful boat, making full use of the time she enjoyed in the entrance to the Caribbean Sea, during the Second Happy Time. She was commanded by Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Schultze, an admiral's son and previously training captain of U-17.

U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
Nazi Germany
Name: U-512
Ordered: 20 October 1939
Builder: Deutsche Werft, Hamburg
Yard number: 308
Laid down: 24 February 1941
Launched: 9 October 1941
Commissioned: 20 December 1941
Fate: Sunk by aircraft, 2 October 1942[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXC submarine
  • 1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
  • 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in) o/a
  • 4.40 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
  • 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) surfaced
  • 7.7 knots (14.3 km/h; 8.9 mph) submerged
  • 13,450 nmi (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Service record[2][3]
Part of:
  • Kptlt. Wolfgang Schultze
  • December 1941 – October 1942
Operations: 1st patrol: 15 August – 2 October 1942
Victories: 3 commercial ships sunk (20,619 GRT)

The Deutsche Werft shipyard in Hamburg built her during 1941, she was completed in December, ready for her working-up period in the Baltic Sea to train her crew and iron out any engineering problems. Following this, she was detailed to cross the Atlantic Ocean and operate off the northern coast of South America in order to catch unescorted Allied shipping heading for or leaving the Panama Canal.


German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-512 had a displacement of 1,120 tonnes (1,100 long tons) when at the surface and 1,232 tonnes (1,213 long tons) while submerged.[4] The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 shaft horsepower (1,010 PS; 750 kW) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[4]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph).[4] When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,450 nautical miles (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-512 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[4]

Service history

Departing from Kiel on the 15 August 1942, U-512 headed into the Atlantic via the Norwegian coast and the gap between Iceland and the Faeroe Islands and then to the southwest, arriving in her designated patrol zone by the second week in September. She was almost immediately successful, sinking the slow, unescorted 10,000-ton American tanker SS Patrick J. Hurley with her deck gun, claiming 17 lives.[5] A week later, a second ship was found, the lone Spanish freighter SS Monte Gorbea, which was sunk with 52 lives, despite her neutral status. This act would undoubtedly have led to Schultze's court-martial, had he returned from the patrol.[6] U-512's final victory came on the 24 September, when another American ship, the 6,000-ton SS Antinous was sunk by two torpedoes off Venezuela.[7]

On the 2 October, while still lurking off the South American coast, U-512 was spotted off Cayenne by a B-18 Bolo aircraft belonging to the 99th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The aircraft flew low and dropped its bomb load directly on the boat, sinking her and 51 of her crew instantly. Only one man, Matrosengefreiter Franz Machon (Polish: Franciszek Machoń) escaped the boat and was rescued from his raft by the Wickes-class destroyer USS Ellis ten days later.[2]

Summary of raiding history

Date Ship Name Nationality Displacement Fate[8]
13 September 1942 Patrick J Hurley  United States 10,865 Sunk
19 September 1942 Monte Gorbea  Spain 3,720 Sunk
24 September 1942 Antinous  United States 6,034 Sunk


  1. Kemp 1999, p. 91.
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-512". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  3. Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-512". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  4. Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrick J. Hurley (Steam tanker)". Allied Ships hit by U-boats - Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  6. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Monte Gorbea (Motor merchant)". Allied Ships hit by U-boats - Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  7. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Antinous (Steam merchant)". Allied Ships hit by U-boats - Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  8. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-512". Allied Ships hit by U-boats - Retrieved 3 October 2014.


  • 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.
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9.

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