German submarine U-862

German submarine U-862 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. After Germany's surrender in May 1945, U-862 put into Singapore and was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy under the name I-502.[1]

Nazi Germany
Name: U-862
Ordered: 5 June 1941
Builder: DeSchiMAG AG Weser, Bremen
Yard number: 1068
Laid down: 15 August 1942
Launched: 8 June 1943
Commissioned: 7 October 1943
Fate: Taken over by Japan, 6 May 1945
Name: I-502
Acquired: 6 May 1945
Commissioned: 15 July 1945
  • Surrendered, August 1945
  • Scuttled, 13 February 1946
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXD2 submarine
  • 1,610 t (1,580 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,799 t (1,771 long tons) submerged
  • 7.50 m (24 ft 7 in) o/a
  • 4.40 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)
Draught: 5.40 m (17 ft 9 in)
Installed power:
  • 9,000 PS (6,620 kW; 8,880 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
  • 20.8 knots (38.5 km/h; 23.9 mph) surfaced
  • 6.9 knots (12.8 km/h; 7.9 mph) submerged
  • 12,750 nmi (23,610 km; 14,670 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 57 nmi (106 km; 66 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 55 to 64
Service record[1][2]
Part of:
  • 1st patrol: 3 June – 9 September 1944
  • 2nd patrol: 18 November 1944 – 15 February 1945
Victories: 7 commercial ships sunk (42,374 GRT)

U-862 was laid down on 15 August 1942 by DeSchiMAG AG Weser of Bremen. She was commissioned on 7 October 1943 with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Timm in command. Timm commanded U-862 for her entire career in Kriegsmarine, receiving a promotion to Korvettenkapitän on 1 July 1944. U-862 conducted two patrols, sinking seven ships totalling 42,374 tons.[1]


German Type IXD2 submarines were considerably larger than the original Type IXs. U-862 had a displacement of 1,610 tonnes (1,580 long tons) when at the surface and 1,799 tonnes (1,771 long tons) while submerged.[3] The U-boat had a total length of 87.58 m (287 ft 4 in), a pressure hull length of 68.50 m (224 ft 9 in), a beam of 7.50 m (24 ft 7 in), a height of 10.20 m (33 ft 6 in), and a draught of 5.35 m (17 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines plus two MWM RS34.5S six-cylinder four-stroke diesel engines for cruising, producing a total of 9,000 metric horsepower (6,620 kW; 8,880 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 1.85 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 200 metres (660 ft).[3]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 20.8 knots (38.5 km/h; 23.9 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 6.9 knots (12.8 km/h; 7.9 mph).[3] When submerged, the boat could operate for 121 nautical miles (224 km; 139 mi) at 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 12,750 nautical miles (23,610 km; 14,670 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-862 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 24 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 150 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) Flak M42 with 2575 rounds as well as two 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft guns with 8100 rounds. The boat had a complement of fifty-five.[3]

Service history

1st patrol

U-862 was one of the most travelled of all U-boats. She sailed from Germany in May 1944 and eventually reached Penang, in Japanese-controlled Malaya, in September 1944. Penang was the base for the 33rd U-boat Flotilla, code-named Monsun Gruppe ("Monsoon Group").

On the way there, she launched a T5/G7es Zaunkönig I acoustic homing torpedo at a tanker. The Zaunkönig came around full circle to home in on U-862. Only an emergency crash dive saved the U-boat from her own torpedo. She also shot down an Allied Consolidated PBY Catalina aircraft H of No. 265 Squadron RAF on 20 August 1944 and then escaped an intense search for her. She sank several merchant ships in the Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar.

2nd patrol

U-862 departed for her second war patrol from Batavia in the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies in December 1944. She sailed down the west coast of Australia, across the Great Australian Bight, around the southern coast of Tasmania and then north towards Sydney where she sank the U.S.-registered Liberty ship Robert J. Walker on 25 December 1944. She then travelled around New Zealand and entered the port of Napier at night undetected.[4] This has given birth to an urban legend in New Zealand, where it is said that the captain of U-862 sent sailors ashore at night to steal fresh milk from a farm. This may arise from a joke made by Captain Timm to Air Vice Marshal Sir Rochford Hughes in the late 1950s.[5] U862's voyage to New Zealand was portrayed in a stage comedy U Boat Down Under which was written and directed by Peter Tait and performed at Downstage Theatre, Wellington from 27 July to 5 August 2006.[6]

U-862 then returned to the Indian Ocean. On 6 February 1945, about 1,520 km (820 nm) south-west of Fremantle, U-862 sank the U.S.-registered Liberty ship, Peter Silvester, which was loaded with mules bound for Burma.

U-862 was also a trial boat for the FuMo 65 Hohentwiel radar system. This was cranked out of a casing on the port side of the conning tower and rose on a mast. The aerial was hand trained onto targets whilst the U-boat was on the surface. The radar had a range up to 7 nmi (13 km; 8.1 mi) and was very effective where there was little risk from air attack on the U-boat.

Transfer to Japan

When Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, she put into Singapore and was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy.[7]:235 On 15 July 1945 she became the IJN submarine I-502. The I-502 surrendered at Singapore in August 1945 and was scuttled in the Strait of Malacca at 03°05′N 100°38′E on 13 February 1946.[1]

The German crew of U-862 suffered no casualties, and some returned to Germany several years after the war. Others who were interned at Kinmel Camp, Bodelwyddan, North Wales, remained in Wales and settled in the neighbouring communities of Rhyl, Rhuddlan and Prestatyn, due to the risks of returning to the Soviet occupied areas of Germany after the war. Two of the crew are buried at the new cemetery at Rhuddlan, North Wales, on nearby plots.

Summary raiding history

Date Ship name Nationality Tonnage (GRT) Position Deaths Cargo & passengers
25 July 1944 Robin Goodfellow  United States 6,885 20°03′S 14°21′W 68
(no survivors)
8,602 tons of chrome ore
13 August 1944 Radbury  United Kingdom 3,614 24°20′S 41°45′E 23 4–5,000 tons of coal
16 August 1944 Empire Lancer  United Kingdom 7,037 15°00′S 44°00′E 42 2,000 tons of copper
1,000 tons of military stores
18 August 1944 Nairung  United Kingdom 5,414 15°00′S 42°00′E 92
(no survivors)
General cargo, including ammunition
19 August 1944 Wayfarer  United Kingdom 5,068 14°30′S 42°20′E 51 3,000 tons of copper
2,000 tons of coal
24 December 1944 Robert J. Walker  United States 7,180 36°35′S 150°43′E 2 Ballast
6 February 1945 Peter Silvester  United States 7,176 34°19′S 99°37′E 33 2,700 tons of US Army supplies
317 mules
107 soldiers

See also


  1. Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXD2 boat U-862". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-862". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  3. Gröner 1991, pp. 74–75.
  4. According to U-Boat Far from Home, U-862 entered Gisborne Port – not Napier
  5. Stevens, David (1997). U-Boat Far from Home. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-267-2.
  6. "New Zealand Theatre: theatre reviews, performance reviews – Theatreview".
  7. Giese, O., 1994, Shooting the War, Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, ISBN 1557503079


  • 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.
  • Shone, Gerald (2016). U-boat in New Zealand Waters. Auckland: Pahiatua Publications. ISBN 978-0-473-35128-1.
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