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U-71 under attack on 5 June 1942 from a Sunderland of No. 10 Squadron RAAF
History
Nazi Germany
NameU-71
Ordered25 January 1939
BuilderGermaniawerft, Kiel
Cost4,439,000 Reichsmark
Yard number618
Laid down21 December 1939
Launched31 October 1940
Commissioned14 December 1940
FateScuttled on 2 May 1945
General characteristics
Class and typeType VIIC submarine
Displacement
  • 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length
Beam
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught4.74 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)
Propulsion
Range
  • 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)
Complement4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament
Service record
Part of:
Commanders:
  • K.Kapt. Walter Flachsenberg
  • 14 December 1940 – 3 July 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Hardo Rodler von Roithberg
  • 3 July 1942 – 1 May 1943
  • Vacant
  • 2 May – 30 June 1943
  • Lt.z.S. Erich Krempl
  • July 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Uwe Christiansen
  • July 1943 – May 1944
  • Oblt.z.S. Curt Hartmann
  • May – 7 June 1944
  • Oblt.z.S. Emil Ranzau
  • 8 June 1944 – 27 February 1945
Operations:
  • 10 patrols:
  • 1st patrol:
  • 14 June – 2 July 1941
  • 2nd patrol:
  • 2 August – 7 September 1941
  • 3rd patrol:
  • a. 29 September – 31 October 1941
  • b. 29 November – 5 December 1941
  • 4th patrol:
  • 18 December – 21 January 1942
  • 5th patrol:
  • a. 23 February – 20 April 1942
  • b. 4 – 6 June 1942
  • 6th patrol:
  • 11 – 20 June 1942
  • 7th patrol:
  • 4 July – 15 August 1942
  • 8th patrol:
  • 5 October – 17 November 1942
  • 9th patrol:
  • 23 December – 12 February 1943
  • 10th patrol:
  • 27 March – 1 May 1943
Victories: 5 merchant ships sunk
(38,894 GRT)

German submarine U-71 was a type VII C submarine of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during the Second World War.

Ordered on 25 January 1939, her keel was laid down as yard number 618 on 21 December that year. She was launched on 31 October 1940 and commissioned on 14 December. She entered the 7th U-boat Flotilla as a training submarine (commissioning until 31 May 1941), then served as a front (operational) boat between 1 June 1941 and 31 May 1943. During that time she carried out ten war patrols, but had to return to port following damage after colliding with U-631 in the North Atlantic on 17 April 1943.

After that, she moved to the 24th U-boat Flotilla as a training submarine (1 June 1943 – 30 June 1944), then to the 22nd flotilla also as a training boat from 1 July 1944 until 27 February 1945. She was a member of 17 wolfpacks. She sank five ships and was scuttled on 2 May 1945 at Wilhelmshaven, six days before the German surrender.

Design

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-71 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[1] 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).[1]

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).[1] 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-71 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 one 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[1]

Service history

First, second, third and fourth patrols

U-71's early history was fairly typical of many boats in the U-Boot-Waffe (U-boat arm); she began her operational life in Kiel, but soon moved to St. Nazaire in France, where despite being nearer to the main hunting grounds of the Atlantic, failed to take advantage of her more advanced location. This was between August 1941 and January 1942.

Fifth patrol

The tanker "Dixie Arrow", torpedoed off Cape Hatteras by U-71 on 26 March 1942 during the height of the Second Happy Time.
The tanker "Dixie Arrow", torpedoed off Cape Hatteras by U-71 on 26 March 1942 during the height of the Second Happy Time.

Her luck and that of her commander, Kapitänleutnant Walter Flachenberg, changed on her fifth foray, sinking a total of 38,894 GRT of shipping in March and April 1942. She returned to France, but this time to La Pallice.[2]

Sixth patrol

Flachenberg was unable to repeat his success on U-71's sixth and his last patrol, returning to St. Nazaire empty-handed.

Seventh, eighth and ninth patrols

Under a new skipper, Hardo Rodler von Roithberg, the boat could not reproduce the form of her fifth patrol, despite sortieing three times between July 1942 and February 1943.

Tenth patrol

By now the writing was on the wall for Germany's U-boats; U-71 was only one submarine that departed La Rochelle and after another unsuccessful voyage, steamed to Königsberg (on the Baltic coast), arriving in May 1943.

Wolfpacks

U-71 took part in 17 wolfpacks, namely:

Summary of raiding history

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[3]
17 March 1942 Ranja  Norway 6,355 Sunk
20 March 1942 Oakmar  United States 5,766 Sunk
26 March 1942 Dixie Arrow  United States 8,046 Sunk
31 March 1942 San Gerado  United Kingdom 12,915 Sunk
1 April 1942 Eastmoor  United Kingdom 5,812 Sunk

References

  1. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43–46.
  2. ^ Busch & Röll 1997, p. 440.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-71". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 3 October 2014.

Bibliography

  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1997). Der U-Boot-Bau auf deutschen Werften. Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 (in German). Vol. II. Hamburg: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0509-6.
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs – The U-boats at War. Cassell Military Classics. pp. 75, 85. ISBN 0-304-35203-9.
  • 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). Vol. 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. Vol. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.