|Ordered||23 Sep 1939|
|Laid down||17 Nov 1939||Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel (werk 2)|
|Launched||27 Jan 1941|
|Commissioned||15 Mar 1941||Oblt. Heinrich Driver|
|Successes||8 ships sunk, total tonnage 51,401 GRT|
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 545 GRT
2 warships sunk, total tonnage 2,286 tons
4 ships damaged, total tonnage 28,072 GRT
2 warships damaged, total tonnage 2,500 tons
2 ships a total loss, total tonnage 13,341 GRT
Sunk at 0409hrs on 4 May, 1944 in the Mediterranean north of Constantine, in position 37.49N, 05.39E, by depth charges from the US destroyer escorts USS Pride and USS Joseph E. Campbell, the French destroyer escort Sénégalais and the British escort destroyer HMS Blankney. 3 dead and 49 survivors.
This boat was unlucky enough to be the first victim to an allied sub-hunting tactic in the Mediterranean known as Swamp. This tactic simply called for the area of a known or suspected U-boat to be packed with surface escorts and patrol aircraft. They would then systematically and continually search the area and force the U-boat to remain submerged until its batteries ran out or try to escape at night on the surface. Either was almost hopeless.
U-371 was spotted recharging her batteries on the surface off Djidjelli on the Algerian coast on the night of 2/3 May 1944 and was immediately detected and the area was swamped with 6 escorts and 3 aircraft squadrons. They hunted the boat until the early morning of May 4 when Oblt. Fenski had to surface the boat and save his crew. He had managed to fight back and torpedoed and damaged the US destroyer escort USS Menges and the French destroyer escort Sénégalais before calling it quits.
Attacks on this boat and other events
30 Jun 1941
12.30 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: the Blenheim Z5959 (1404 Met Flt RAF/C, pilot FltLt D.F. Wykeham-Martin, RAFVR) surprised U-371 after being misidentified as a German Ju88 and dropped two 250lb A/S bombs and one 250lb GP bomb in a dive bomb attack from astern, the bombs detonating 30 yards off the starboard bow. After U-371 dived, another GP bomb was dropped off the port beam, which detonated over the bows, but she escaped unscathed. (Sources: KTB U-371/ADM 199-1781)
30 Jun 1941
17.05 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: a Beaufort (RAF Sqdn 217/R) on A/S sweep (misidentified as a Sunderland) attempted to surprise U-371 with a dive bomb attack out of the sun, but the boat managed to dive in time and the two 250lb A/S bombs released detonated about 40ft (12m) ahead of the bows. The aircraft turned and dropped four depth charges ahead of the dive point, but U-371 had already dived below 40m and escaped without damage. (Sources: KTB U-371/ADM 199-1781)
7 May 1942
The boat was depth charged by two sub chasers and was so severely damaged that she had to return to base.
7 Jan 1943
12.04 hours, Mediterranean, off Algiers: U-371 attacked three M/S trawlers and sank HMS Jura. The other two armed trawlers, HMS Ruskholm and HMS Stronsay, then dropped 24 depth charges in five attack runs before losing contact at 12.31 hours. The boat escaped undamaged. (Sources: ADM 199/1321)
23 Feb 1943
At 14.06 hrs the boat was located by HMS Felixstowe after the sinking of Fintra, approx. 30 nautical miles ENE of Algiers. The minesweeper dropped 25 depth charges in six attacks between 14.10 and 15.08 hours and observed air bubbles rising to the surface after the second and sixth passes. Her commander considered the U-boat sunk, but U-371 was undamaged and escaped by getting closer to the coast and heading east. (Sources: ADM 199/1784)
5 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-371 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.
We have 3 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.
The Wild Onager - U-338
Coat of Arms
Mosquito with torpedo