List of all U-boats

U-603

Type

VIIC

 
Ordered22 May 1940
Laid down27 Feb 1941 Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 579)
Launched16 Nov 1941
Commissioned2 Jan 1942Kptlt. Kurt Kölzer
Commanders
2 Jan 1942 - 12 Sep 1942  Kptlt. Kurt Kölzer
13 Sep 1942 - 2 May 1943  Oblt. Hans-Joachim Bertelsmann
3 May 1943 - 28 Jan 1944  Oblt. Rudolf Baltz
29 Jan 1944 - 19 Feb 1944  Kptlt. Hans-Joachim Bertelsmann
Career
5 patrols
2 Jan 1942-30 Nov 1942  5. Flottille (training)
1 Dec 1942-19 Feb 1944  1. Flottille (active service)
Successes4 ships sunk, total tonnage 22,406 GRT
Fate

Missing since 19 February 1944 in the North Atlantic. There is no explanation for its loss. 51 dead (all hands lost). (Axel Niestlé, January 2001).

Loss position

See the 4 ships hit by U-603 - View the 5 war patrols

U-603 sent its last radio message from approx. position 48.57N, 23.45W at 2245hrs on 18 February 1944 while operating as part of wolfpack Hai 1 against the convoys ONS-29 and ON-224. The boat was reported missing after repeatedly failing to report its position on 16 March 1944.

Previously recorded fate

  • Sunk 1 March 1944 in the North Atlantic, in position 48.55N, 26.10W, by depth charges from the US destroyer escort USS Bronstein.
    Notes. The attack was actually directed against a non-sub target.

Wolfpack operations

U-603 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Ritter (14 Feb 1943 - 26 Feb 1943)
   Burggraf (4 Mar 1943 - 5 Mar 1943)
   Raubgraf (7 Mar 1943 - 20 Mar 1943)
   Oder (17 May 1943 - 19 May 1943)
   Mosel (19 May 1943 - 24 May 1943)
   Trutz (1 Jun 1943 - 16 Jun 1943)
   Trutz 2 (16 Jun 1943 - 29 Jun 1943)
   Geier 1 (30 Jun 1943 - 14 Jul 1943)
   Leuthen (15 Sep 1943 - 24 Sep 1943)
   Rossbach (24 Sep 1943 - 9 Oct 1943)
   Igel 2 (15 Feb 1944 - 17 Feb 1944)
   Hai 1 (17 Feb 1944 - 22 Feb 1944)
   Preussen (22 Feb 1944 - 1 Mar 1944)

Attacks on this boat and other events

4 Dec 1942
While inbound with the captain ill the boat found a convoy, reported its position and began shadowing. The convoy escorts forced her down and dropped depth charges for two hours. No damage was caused, and although U-603 was denied the chance to attack, her contact reports brought in other U-boats. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 123)

8 Jul 1943
An attack by a British Catalina flying boat (202 Sqn RAF, pilot G. Powell) left the boat with minor damage. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 345)

13 Oct 1943
An Avenger aircraft from USS Card dropped a Fido homing torpedo, but the boat was not damaged.

3 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-603 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.


Media links


U-Boat Operations of the Second World War - Vol 2

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