|Ordered||10 Apr 1941|
|Laid down||26 Mar 1942||Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 43)|
|Launched||2 Dec 1942|
|Commissioned||16 Jan 1943||Oblt. Joachim Franze|
|Successes||1 ship sunk, total tonnage 7,177 GRT|
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,810 tons
Surrendered at Narvik, Norway on 9 May, 1945. Transferred to Loch Eriboll, Scotland, on 19 May and later to Lisahally for Operation Deadlight.
Operation Deadlight (post-war Allied operation, info)
The U-boats that were in the Narvik area at the end of the war were all moved to the Skjomenfjord upon Allied orders to avoid conflicts with the Norwegians on 12 May. On 15 May, a German convoy of five ships (the fleet tender Grille with the staff of FdU Norwegen aboard, the fleet oiler Kärnten, the repair ship Kamerun and the depot ships Huascaran and Stella Polaris) and 15 U-boats (U-278, U-294, U-295, U-312, U-313, U-318, U-363, U-427, U-481, U-668, U-716, U-968, U-992, U-997 and U-1165) left for transfer to Trondheim, but was intercepted after two days by the 9th Escort Group off the Norwegian coast and officially capitulated. While the ships were allowed to proceed to Trondheim, the U-boats were escorted to Loch Eriboll, Scotland, arriving on 19 May. All U-boats were later that month transferred to Lisahally or Loch Ryan for Operation Deadlight.
U-278 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Isegrim (16 Jan 1944 - 27 Jan 1944)
Werwolf (29 Jan 1944 - 18 Feb 1944)
Boreas (4 Mar 1944 - 5 Mar 1944)
Taifun (5 Mar 1944 - 10 Mar 1944)
Thor (10 Mar 1944 - 3 Apr 1944)
Donner & Keil (25 Apr 1944 - 3 May 1944)
Greif (3 Aug 1944 - 26 Sep 1944)
Faust (21 Apr 1945 - 1 May 1945)
Attacks on this boat
3 May 1944
03.32 hrs, Norwegian Sea: U-278 was surprised by three carrier aircraft (one Swordfish of 842 Sqn FAA from HMS Fencer and one Swordfish and one Martlet of 833 Sqn FAA from HMS Activity) in the vicinity of convoy RA-59. It happened so quickly that the AA gunners only returned fire after the initial attack, but they then managed to keep the aircraft at a distance with the quadruple AA gun for 20 minutes until the boat dived. The four or five depth charges dropped fell wide and the boat suffered only superficial damage from 33 hits on the conning tower and the upper deck from the strafing runs. The Germans observed AA hits on the right wing of the Martlet and claimed it shot down after observing it trailing smoke until lost from sight. However, all three aircraft returned to their carriers.
1 recorded attack 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-278 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.