|Ordered||15 Dec 1937|
|Laid down||15 Apr 1939||AG Weser, Bremen (werk 955)|
|Launched||2 Mar 1940|
|Commissioned||30 May 1940||Kptlt. Karl-Heinz Moehle|
|Successes||42 ships sunk, total tonnage 219,924 GRT|
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 3,209 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 683 tons
5 ships damaged, total tonnage 39,584 GRT
1 auxiliary warship damaged, total tonnage 13,984 GRT
Taken out of service at Lorient, France 17 Jun 1944. Scuttled there 19 Aug 1944. Surrendered to France in 1945 and became the French submarine Blaison. Stricken 18 Aug 1959 as Q165.
U-123 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Schlagetot (20 Oct 1941 - 23 Oct 1941)
Raubritter (1 Nov 1941 - 11 Nov 1941)
Störtebecker (16 Nov 1941 - 18 Nov 1941)
Spitz (22 Dec 1942 - 31 Dec 1942)
Jaguar (13 Jan 1943 - 24 Jan 1943)
Seeräuber (25 Mar 1943 - 30 Mar 1943)
Attacks on this boat
23 Nov 1940
While attacking convoy OB-244 (4 ships sunk) the boat was seriously damaged in a collision with an unknown object (probably a convoy vessel) and had to return to France for 50 days of repairs. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 208)
27 Jun 1941
Having torpedoed 2 ships from convoy SL-78 the boat was depth charged for 11 hours but escaped by going very deep - down to 654 feet, below the range of the British depth charges. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 302)
12 Aug 1941
The boat was attacked by convoy escorts near Portugal. 126 depth charges were dropped, including 30 "close by" as reported by the Germans, but caused only moderate damage. The boat returned to France, having been at sea for over 60 days when this attack took place. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 336)
21 Oct 1941
After damaging the British Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Aurania, U-123 took one seaman from this ship on board as a prisoner. In the evening the boat suffered slight damage from two bombs dropped by a British Sunderland flying boat.
16 Jan 1942
At 00.01 hours, the boat was surprised and attacked by an aircraft off New York. Four bombs were dropped that missed and U-123 escaped undamaged by crash-diving. (Sources: KTB U-123)
19 Jan 1942
Kosmos II tried to ram the surfaced U-123 off Oregon Inlet. The U-boat was in shallow water, without any torpedoes left and one of the diesel engines out of order. The Germans managed to get the engine running when the ship was only 75 metres away and slowly out-distanced her at full speed.
27 Mar 1942
After being torpedoed by U-123 off the US East coast the American Q-ship USS Atik (AK 101) took the Germans by surprise with their counter-attack. One man from U-123 was fatally wounded and the Q-ship was sunk with all hands. [Fähnrich zur See Rudi Holzer] (Sources: KTB U-123)
2 Apr 1942
During the attack on Liebre the boat was forced to dive by a patrol vessel and attacked with a depth charge in shallow waters. U-123 only escaped undamaged because no other attacks followed. (Sources: KTB U-123)
11 Apr 1942
After sinking Gulfamerica the boat was located in shallow waters by an aircraft which directed a destroyer to the position. At 09.17 hours six depth charges were dropped on U-123 moving over the bottom at a depth of 20 m and badly damaged her. The boat "played dead", and despite air bubbles escaping from damaged valves no more depth charges were dropped by the destroyer, which left after an hour. Most of the damage could be repaired by the crew and the boat continued the patrol. (Sources: KTB U-123)
25 Aug 1943
Depth charged off Cape Finisterre by allied escort vessels. Date is approximate. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 406)
7 Nov 1943
09.44 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: the first recorded attack by a "TseTse" Mosquito aircraft (RAF Sqdn 618, pilot F/O Al Bonnett RCAF) equipped with a 57mm cannon scored a hit on the conning tower which left the boat with one dead, two wounded and unable to dive due to a hole measuring 18 x 6.5cm. [Bootsmaat Günther Struve] (Sources: Ritschel)
11 recorded attacks on this boat.
General notes on this boat
U-123 was one of the most famous U-boats in the war. U-123 took part in the opening of the Paukenschlag (Drumbeat) operations in January 1942 and completed two very successful patrols on the US east coast.
Men lost from the boat
17 Nov 1940
The U-123 lost a seaman overboard. [Mechanikergefreiter Fritz Pfeifer]
27 Mar 1942
The American Q-ship Atik (Carolyn) and U-123 had a gunnery duel off the US east coast. One man from U-123 was fatally wounded in the action and died a few hours later, the Atik was sunk. [Fähnrich zur See Rudi Holzer]
7 Nov 1943
The famous U-boat was attacked by a Mosquito aircraft from the 618 Squadron suffering 1 man dead and 2 wounded.
Related: For more info on such losses see - Men lost from U-boats -
We have 2 emblem entry for this boat! See the emblem page for this boat or view each one below.
There was another U-123 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 26 Jan 1918 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 20 Jul 1918. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about the U 123 during WWI.