|Ordered||23 Dec 1939|
|Laid down||15 Feb 1941||Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 21)|
|Launched||28 Oct 1941|
|Commissioned||18 Dec 1941||Oblt. Odo Loewe|
|Successes||1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,300 tons|
Heavily damaged on 31 August, 1942 and stricken in November 1942. Converted to U-Flak 2 in May, 1943, second time in commission on 16 August, 1943. From December 1943 again a regular combat boat U-256.
Left her base in Brest, France on 4 September 1944 for Norway.
Stricken on 23 October, 1944 in Bergen, Norway. Captured there and cannibalized. Broken up later.
U-256 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Steinbrinck (7 Aug 1942 - 11 Aug 1942)
Lohs (11 Aug 1942 - 25 Aug 1942)
Igel 2 (3 Feb 1944 - 17 Feb 1944)
Hai 1 (17 Feb 1944 - 22 Feb 1944)
Preussen (22 Feb 1944 - 13 Mar 1944)
Attacks on this boat
25 Aug 1942
02.42 hrs, mid Atlantic south of Greenland: HNoMS Eglantine obtained a radar contact when she approached the survivors from the sunken Trolla astern of convoy ONS-122. She abandoned rescue operations to investigate the contact, which proved to be U-256, which dived when the area was illuminated with star shells. At 02.47 hours, the corvette attempted to drop depth charges, but both throwers misfired and the trap jammed after only one had been dropped. This nonetheless proved accurate, and a leaking exhaust vent caused the stern-heavy U-256 to sink to a depth of 200 metres. The corvette made two more attacks of eight and ten depth charges respectively, but had to return to the convoy at 02.58 hours. The U-boat managed to surface about 30 minutes later and was forced to break off the patrol due to the damage sustained. (Sources: ADM reports, KTB U-256)
2 Sep 1942
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:British Whitley Z9515 (77 Sqdn RAF/H, pilot P/O A. Cassie)
08.30 hrs, Bay of Biscay: the Whitley (misidentified as a Wellington) strafed the inbound U-256 and dropped 2 or 3 bombs that fell some 15m astern. The Germans observed flak hits on the cockpit and saw the aircraft fly off very low leaving a smoke trail. Its crew sent an SOS and probably ditched. The crew of 5 was lost. U-256 was badly damaged and limped into Lorient the next day; some damage to the deck was apparently caused by one of the aircrafts propellers.(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)
8 Oct 1943
03.34 hrs, Bay of Biscay: the outbound boat was attacked by Leigh Light equipped British Wellington HF190 (612 Sqdn RAF/J, pilot P/O M.H. Paynter, RAAF). U-256 was not damaged by the straddle of 6 depth charges and escaped by diving. Despite flak damage to the starboard elevator and the tail turret, the Wellington returned safely to base. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)
16 Nov 1943
02.08 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: a Halifax Mk.II bomber (RAF Sqdn 502/D, pilot F/O F.T. Culling-Mannix, RNZAF) approached the boat passing about 200m astern, and was hit by flak in the starboard wing tip and turned away. When the Halifax returned to the area the U-boat had dived. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)
11 Mar 1944
Aircraft attack, aircraft crashed: Canadian Wellington HF311 (407 Sqdn RCAF/H, pilot P/O E.M. O’Donnell)
21.48 hrs, mid Atlantic: the boat observed an aircraft crashing into the sea close by. U-256 had not fired at the aircraft, which apparently crashed through pilot error during preparation for a low attack run. All six crewmen were lost.(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)
19 Mar 1944
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down: British Liberator (224 Sqdn RAF/F, pilot F/L R. Dunn)
23.12 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: the boat was illuminated by Leigh Light and strafed by the Liberator. The Germans observed hits to the right wing from the 20mm AA guns and to the fuselage from the 37mm AA gun. Flames were seen coming from the bomb bay and one of the engines as the aircraft passed astern of U-256 at a height of 50m, and then dropped six depth charges and crashed into the sea 500m away, killing the crew of 10. The boat was not damaged in the attack.(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)
7 Jun 1944
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:British B-24 Liberator (Sqdn 224/M).
7 recorded attacks on this boat.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-256 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.
We have 2 emblem entry for this boat! See the emblem page for this boat or view each one below.