German submarine U-77 (1940)
German submarine U-77 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built by the Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack. Her keel was laid down on 28 March 1940, by Bremer Vulkan of Bremen-Vegesack, Germany as yard number 5. She was launched on 23 November 1940 and commissioned on 18 January 1941, with Oberleutnant zur See Heinrich Schonder in command until September 1942, when he was succeeded by Oblt.z.S. Otto Hartmann, who remained in charge until the U-boat's loss.
|Ordered:||25 January 1939|
|Builder:||Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack|
|Laid down:||28 March 1940|
|Launched:||23 November 1940|
|Commissioned:||18 January 1941|
|Fate:||Scuttled, 29 March 1943, off Calpe, Spain|
|Class and type:||Type VIIC|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.72 m (15 ft 6 in)|
|Complement:||44-52 officers and ratings|
The boat was scuttled on 29 March 1943 off Calpe, Spain, after receiving heavy damage by two British aircraft.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-77 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. 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 MAN M 6 V 40/46 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 Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 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).
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). 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-77 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.
U-77 conducted 11 patrols, sinking 15 ships totalling 32,236 GRT and damaging two others, totalling 5,384 GRT. She also damaged two warships totalling 2,880 tons and caused one ship of 5,222 GRT to be declared a total loss. She was a member of six wolfpacks.
She sank the Tresillian on 13 June southeast of Cape Race ( Newfoundland ). Using her deck gun, she fired 87 rounds, scoring 60-65 hits; but it needed a torpedo to administer the coup de grâce. She then sank the Arakaka, a weather ship, on the 22nd, 450 nmi (830 km; 520 mi) east of St. Johns. There were no survivors. It was a similar story with the Anna Bulgaris south of Cape Farewell, (Greenland).
U-77 docked in St. Nazaire in occupied France on 7 July.
2nd and 3rd patrols
The boat's second foray began with her departure from St. Nazaire on 2 August 1941, but despite covering large tracts of the Atlantic, she returned to the French base on 10 September empty-handed.
For her third sortie, U-77 once more found the cupboard bare west of Ireland and the Bay of Biscay. Nothing.
U-77's next patrol was divided into two. Part one was into the Mediterranean. Leaving St. Nazaire on 10 December 1941, she slipped past the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar and entered Messina in northeast Sicily on the 19th.
Part two involved the boat's attack on the British destroyer HMS Kimberley off Tobruk on 12 January 1942. The warship's stern was blown off, but she was towed to Alexandria for temporary repairs before more permanent restoration was carried out in Bombay. The ship returned to service in January 1944.
The submarine docked at Salamis in Greece on 14 January.
Late on 1 April 1942, U-77 was attacked by a Fairey Swordfish of No. 815 Squadron FAA, north-by-northeast of Sidi Barrani. The damage inflicted meant the boat was unable to dive. She returned to Salamis on the 3rd.
Having moved to La Spezia in northwest Italy in April, U-77 departed the port for the initial portion of a two-part patrol on 6 June 1942. She sank the destroyer HMS Grove north of Sollum on the 12th. This was during Operation Vigorous, [a supply convoy to Malta].
The U-boat was unsuccessfully attacked by HMS Thrasher (N37), a British T-class submarine, off what today is the Israeli coast on 4 July. (Note: there is some confusion over this incident as the U-boat's own page on 'uboat.net' also puts her further west on that day and does not mention an attack).
U-77 finished the patrol in Salamis on 9 July.
7th and 8th patrols
Departing Salamis on 16 July 1942, her only victory was the Greek sailing ship Vassilliki, which she sank with 10 rounds from the deck gun east of Cyprus on the 22nd.
U-77 torpedoed the sloop HMS Stork on 12 November 1942 but was attacked by the corvettes HMS Lotus and Poppy the following day northeast of Algiers. The slightly damaged U-boat returned to La Spezia on 5 December.
U-77 sank two more ships - the Empire Banner and the Empire Webster, both on 7 February 1943 west of Algiers. She had departed La Spezia on 26 January and returned there on 10 February.
11th patrol and loss
The boat departed La Spezia for the last time in 3 March 1943. On 28 March, U-77 was attacked by two British Lockheed Hudsons, V of No. 48 and L of No. 233 Squadron RAF, based in Gibraltar, which dropped depth charges, and heavily damaged U-77. At 01:15 the following day, 29 March, Hartmann ordered his crew off the boat, and scuttled it in position 37°42′N 00°10′E east of Cartagena/Cape de Palos. Of the 47 crew members, nine survived the night and were picked up by Spanish fishing boats.
Summary of raiding history
|13 June 1941||Tresillian||4,743||Sunk|
|22 June 1941||Arakaka||2,379||Sunk|
|25 June 1941||Anna Bulgaris||4,603||Sunk|
|15 December 1941||SS Empire Barracuda||4,972||Sunk|
|12 January 1942||HMS Kimberley||1,690||Damaged|
|12 June 1942||HMS Grove||1,050||Sunk|
|22 July 1942||Vassiliki *||140||Sunk|
|24 July 1942||SV Toufic El Rahman *||30||Sunk|
|30 July 1942||Fany *||43||Sunk|
|1 August 1942||St. Simon *||100||Sunk|
|6 August 1942||Adnan *||155||Damaged|
|6 August 1942||Ezzet *||158||Sunk|
|10 August 1942||Kharouf *||158||Sunk|
|16 August 1942||Daniel *||100||Sunk|
|20 August 1942||Mahrous *||18||Sunk|
|12 November 1942||HMS Stork||1,190||Damaged|
|7 February 1943||SS Empire Banner||6,999||Sunk|
|7 February 1943||Empire Webster||7,043||Sunk|
|16 March 1943||Hadleigh||5,222||Total loss|
|16 March 1943||Merchant Prince||5,229||Damaged|
* Sailing vessel
- 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.