U-234 surrenders to USS Sutton, 1945
Class overview
BuildersGermaniawerft, Kiel
Operators
Preceded byType IX submarine
Succeeded by
Built1939 -1944
In commission1941 -1945
Completed8
Lost6
General characteristics [1]
Class and typeSubmarine minelayer
Displacement
  • 1,763 tonnes (1,735 long tons) surfaced
  • 2,177 tonnes (2,143 long tons) submerged
Length
Beam
  • 9.20 m (30 ft 2 in) o/a
  • 4.75 m (15 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Height10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)
Draught4.71 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion
Range
  • 18,450 nautical miles (34,170 km; 21,230 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 93 nmi (172 km; 107 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depthCalculated crush depth: 220 m (720 ft)
Complement5 officers, 47 enlisted
Armament

Type X (XB) U-boats were a special type of German submarine (U-boat). Although intended as long-range mine-layers, they were later used as long-range cargo transports, a task they shared with the Type IXD and Italian Romolo-class submarines.

History

The Type X was originally designed specifically to accommodate the newly developed Schachtmine A (SMA) moored mine. The initial design provided dry storage for the mines, which needed their detonators to be individually adjusted before launch; this submarine was projected to have displaced up to 2,500 tonnes. A further variant, the Type XA was projected, which would have supplemented the main mine chamber with extra mine shafts in the saddle tanks. Neither type entered production.[3]

A total of eight Type XB boats were produced, which replaced the mine chamber of the projected Type XA with six vertical wet storage shafts in the forward section of the hull. Up to 18 mines could be carried in these shafts, with an additional 48 mines in a series of 12 shafts set into the saddle tanks on each side. They only had two torpedo tubes, both at the stern.[1] When used as cargo-carrying submarines they carried freight containers in the mine shafts (or had the freight containers welded on top of the lateral shafts, preventing their use for mines).

The first Type XB was launched in May 1941.[1] At 2,710 tonnes submerged and fully loaded, they were the largest German U-boats ever built, and they had to sacrifice diving speed and agility.

Service history

Six of the eight boats built were sunk during the war (four with all hands) but two survived World War II. One survivor was U-234, which surrendered to US Navy ships on 14 May 1945 while en route for Japan with a cargo that included 560 kg uranium oxide, two Me 262 jet fighters, and 10 jet engines.

The other type XB to survive was U-219 which reached Batavia (present-day Jakarta) in December 1944 with a cargo including dismantled V-2 rockets for Japan. Following Germany's surrender, U-219 was seized by the Japanese at Batavia on 8 May 1945 and on 15 July 1945 was placed into service with the Imperial Japanese Navy as I-505.

List of Type X submarines

There were eight Type X submarines commissioned.

Losses

Six Type XBs were lost to various causes.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Gröner 1991, pp. 76–77.
  2. ^ Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  3. ^ Williamson 2002, p. 53.

Bibliography