List of all U-boats




Ordered20 Jan 1941
Laid down6 Jun 1942 Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel (werk 28)
Launched27 Aug 1943
Commissioned16 Oct 1943 Oblt. Ernst-Günther Unterhorst
16 Oct 1943 - Mar, 1945  Kptlt. Ernst-Günther Unterhorst
Mar, 1945 - 11 Apr 1945  Kptlt. Hilmar Siemon
5 patrols
16 Oct 1943-31 May 1944  5. Flottille (training)
1 Jun 1944-30 Sep 1944  1. Flottille (active service)
1 Oct 1944-11 Apr 1945  11. Flottille (active service)
SuccessesNo ships sunk or damaged

Missing since 11 April 1945 in the North Atlantic south of Iceland. No explanation exists for its loss. 45 dead (all hands lost). (Axel Niestlé, June 1993).

Loss position

View the 5 war patrols

U-396 was on weather reporting duty in the North Atlantic and sent its last radio message from approx. position 57.30N, 26.00W on 11 April 1945, stating that it started its return trip to Trondheim due to damage to its forward hydroplanes. The boat was posted as missing after it failed to return to port or signal its position after cessation of hostilities.

Previously recorded fate

  • Sunk 23 April, 1945, in the North Atlantic southwest of the Shetlands, in position 59.29N, 05.22W, by depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 86/U). (Postwar assessment)
    Notes. This was probably against a nonsub target.

Attacks on this boat and other events

28 Jun 1944
20.08 hrs, NNE of the Shetlands: a British Catalina flying boat (RAF Sqdn 210/Q, pilot F/O J.C. Campbell) exchanged gunfire during a strafing run, then dropped depth charges after the boat dived. There were no hits to the aircraft, but U-396 was forced to return to Bergen by a carbon monoxide leak. (Sources: Franks)

1 recorded attack on this boat.

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat

This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus in May 1944.

Read more about the Schnorchel and see list of fitted boats.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-396 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 1 emblem entry for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

Corkscrew on Shield

Media links

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

Wynn, Kenneth

Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay

German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel

As an Amazon Associate earns a commission from qualifying purchases.