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German submarine U-278

Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-278
Ordered: 10 April 1941
Builder: Bremer Vulkan, Bremen-Vegesack
Yard number: 43
Laid down: 26 March 1942
Launched: 2 December 1942
Commissioned: 16 January 1943
Fate: Surrendered, May 1945. Sunk as part of Operation Deadlight
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: 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)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Service record[1][2]
Part of: 8th U-boat Flotilla
(16 January 1943–30 May 1943)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 October–31 December 1943)
11th U-boat Flotilla
(1 January –1 August 1944)
13th U-boat Flotilla
(1 September 1944–8 May 1945)
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Joachim Franze
(16 January 1943–8 May 1945)
Operations: Seven patrols
1st patrol:
8 January–28 January 1944
2nd patrol:
29 January–19 February 1944
3rd patrol:
4 March–4 April 1944
4th patrol:
24 April–8 May 1944
5th patrol:
2 August–3 October 1944
6th patrol:
12 December–20 December 1944
7th patrol:
10 April–9 May 1945
Victories: one commercial ship sunk (7,177 GRT)
One warship sunk (1,810 tons)

German submarine U-278 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

The submarine was laid down on 26 March 1942 at the Bremer Vulkan yard at Bremen-Vegesack as yard number 43. She was launched on 2 December and commissioned on 16 January 1943 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Joachim Franze.[1]


  • Service History 1
    • 1st patrol 1.1
    • 2nd and 3rd patrols 1.2
    • 4th patrol 1.3
    • 5th patrol 1.4
    • 6th patrol 1.5
    • 7th patrol and surrender 1.6
  • Summary of Raiding Career 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Service History

U-278 seen from a B-24 Liberator

U-278 served with the 8th U-boat Flotilla for training from January to September 1943 and operationally with the 7th U-boat Flotilla from 1 October 1943. She was reassigned to the 11th flotilla until 31 August 1944 and then the 13th flotilla until the war's end.[1] She carried out seven patrols, sinking two ships; a commercial vessel of 7,177 tons and a warship of 1,810 tons. She was a member of eight wolfpacks.

She carried out a short voyage between Kiel in Germany and Bergen in Norway over December 1943 and January 1944.

1st patrol

The boat departed Bergen on 8 January 1944 and sank the Penelope Barker on the 25th, about 115 nautical miles (213 km; 132 mi) north of the North Cape. She docked at Hammerfest on the 28th.

2nd and 3rd patrols

She sank the British destroyer Hardy southeast of Bear Island on 30 January 1944.

On her third sortie, she steamed through the Norwegian and Barents Seas.

4th patrol

U-278 left Hammerfest on 24 April 1944. On 3 May she was attacked by a Fairey Swordfish of 822 Naval Air Squadron FAA, (Fleet Air Arm), from the aircraft carrier HMS Fencer and a Swordfish and a Martlet, both of 833 Squadron from Activity. The U-boat sustained only superficial damage; her crew claimed the Martlet shot down. However, all three aircraft returned safely to their carriers.

The boat then embarked on a series of short 'hops' between Bergen, Ramsund and Narvik in July 1944.

5th patrol

Patrol number five was her longest at 63 days. It took the submarine north and east to the Kara Sea.

She then moved from Narvik to Trondheim in October 1944.

6th patrol

This sortie was divided into two parts, during which the boat travelled as far as the northern coast of Scotland.

7th patrol and surrender

Her last patrol was from Narvik, between 10 April 1945 and 9 May.

Following the German capitulation, the boat was moved from Norway to Loch Eriboll in Scotland, for Operation Deadlight. She was sunk on 31 December 1945 by gunfire from HMS Onslaught and ORP Blyskawica.[3]

Summary of Raiding Career

Date Ship Name Nationality Displacement Fate[4]
25 January 1944 Penelope Barker  United States 7,177 Sunk
30 January 1944 HMS Hardy  Royal Navy 1,810 Sunk


  1. ^ a b c "The Type VIIC boat U-278 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "War Patrols by German U-boat U-278 - Boats -". Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  3. ^ U-278 at
  4. ^
  • 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).  

External links

  • at uboat.netU-278
  • at ubootwaffe.netU-278
  • at u-boot-archiv.deU-278 (German)

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