List of all U-boats

U-371

Type

VIIC

 
Ordered23 Sep 1939
Laid down17 Nov 1939 Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel (werk 2)
Launched27 Jan 1941
Commissioned15 Mar 1941Oblt. Heinrich Driver
Commanders
15 Mar 1941 - 5 Apr 1942  Kptlt. Heinrich Driver (German Cross in Gold)
26 Mar 1942 - 6 Apr 1942  Oblt. Karl-Otto Weber (German Cross in Gold)
6 Apr 1942 - 24 May 1942  Kptlt. Heinz-Joachim Neumann (in deputize) -- acting
25 May 1942 - 4 Apr 1944  Kptlt. Waldemar Mehl (Knights Cross)
5 Apr 1944 - 4 May 1944  Oblt. Horst-Arno Fenski (Knights Cross)
Career
19 patrols
15 Mar 1941-30 Jun 1941  1. Flottille (training)
1 Jul 1941-31 Oct 1941  1. Flottille (active service)
1 Nov 1941-14 Apr 1942  23. Flottille (active service)
15 Apr 1942-4 May 1944  29. Flottille (active service)
Successes8 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
Fate

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.

Loss position

See the 19 ships hit by U-371 - View the 19 war patrols

Swamp
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.

The Hunt
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.

Wolfpack operations

U-371 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Kurfürst (17 Jun 1941 - 20 Jun 1941)
   Goeben (16 Sep 1941 - 24 Sep 1941)

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.

U-boat Emblems

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

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


Battle Beneath the Waves

Stern, Robert C.


U-Boat Operations of the Second World War - Vol 1

Wynn, Kenneth


German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel


Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay


Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay