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German submarine U-238

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Title: German submarine U-238  
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German submarine U-238

Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-238
Ordered: 20 January 1941
Builder: Germaniawerft, Kiel
Laid down: 21 April 1942
Launched: 7 January 1943
Commissioned: 20 February 1943
Fate: Sunk by Surface Craft, 9 February 1944[1]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) 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)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Service record
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(February–July 1943)
1st U-boat Flotilla
(August 1943–February 1944)
Attached to Wolf pack Leuthen
(September 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Horst Hepp
(February 1943–February 1944)
Operations: 1st patrol:
5 September–8 October 1943
2nd patrol:
11 November–12 December 1943
3rd patrol:
27 January–9 February 1944
Victories: Four commercial vessels sunk (23,048 GRT)
One commercial vessel damaged (7,176 GRT)

German submarine U-238 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built for service in the Second World War. She was laid down on 21 April 1942, by Germaniawerft of Kiel as yard number 668, launched on 7 January 1943 and commissioned on 20 February, with Oberleutnant zur See Horst Hepp in command. Hepp commanded her for her entire career, receiving promotion to Kapitänleutnant in the process.

U-238 was a member of four wolfpacks; she was a successful, if short lived boat, sinking four freighters and damaging another during her operations against Allied convoys in the Second Battle of the Atlantic. She had the misfortune, however, of serving at the turning point of the war, when Allied countermeasures were taking a heavy toll on the U-boat force. She conducted three war patrols, beginning in September 1943, following her warm-up trials in the Baltic Sea.


  • War Patrols 1
    • Wolf Packs 1.1
  • Summary of Raiding Career 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

War Patrols

U-238 '​s first patrol was conducted from Trondheim in Norway as part of the 1st U-boat Flotilla, and entailed the submarine exiting the North Sea via the Denmark Strait and operating against Allied shipping in the so-called "air cover gap" in the Central Atlantic, where Allied aircraft had insufficient range to effectively operate against German U-boats. This first patrol was by far the most successful, as on 20 September 1943, the boat attacked a large convoy, sinking one 7,000-ton cargo ship and damaging another. This was followed by three more victims on 23 September, when two Norwegian ships and a British freighter were sunk from the same convoy.

U-238 '​s second patrol was less successful. Two weeks after leaving Brest, on the French Atlantic coast, she was attacked by a TBF Avenger torpedo bomber from the escort carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9), whose rockets killed two crew members and wounded five more, prompting the submarine to return to Brest with severe damage, which put her out of service for a month. It was during this patrol that the submarine captured two British Royal Air Force personnel whose Vickers Wellington bomber had been shot down by U-764.

U-238's third and last patrol began in January 1944, and lasted a fruitless month, until on 9 February, she was caught by convoy escorts of SL-147 and MKS-38 270 nautical miles (500 km) off Cape Clear. She counter-attacked, unsuccessfully, and was sunk by the sloops, HMS Kite, Magpie and Starling. There were no survivors.[2]

Wolf Packs

U-238 took part in 4 wolfpacks, namely.

  • Leuthen (15 Sep 1943 - 24 Sep 1943)
  • Schill 2 (17 Nov 1943 - 22 Nov 1943)
  • Weddigen (22 Nov 1943 - 1 Dec 1943)
  • Igel 2 (4 Feb 1944 - 9 Feb 1944)

Summary of Raiding Career

Date Ship Name Nationality Displacement Fate[3]
20 September 1943 Frederick Douglass  United States 7,176 Damaged
20 September 1943 Theodore Dwight Weld  United States 7,176 Sunk
23 September 1943 Fort Jemseg  United Kingdom 7,134 Sunk
23 September 1943 Oregon Express  Norway 3,642 Sunk
23 September 1943 Skjelbred  Norway 5,096 Sunk


  1. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1999, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, pp. 167-168.
  2. ^ Kemp, pp. 167-168.
  3. ^
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. Cassell Military Classics. pp. 217, 221.  
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German) IV (Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler).  
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz:  
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing.  

External links

  • webpage for
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