List of all U-boats




Ordered14 May 1940
Laid down22 Nov 1940 Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel (werk 290)
Launched13 Sep 1941
Commissioned15 Nov 1941 Kptlt. Georg von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
15 Nov 1941 - 24 Jul 1943  KrvKpt. Georg von Wilamowitz-Möllendorf (German Cross in Gold)
6 patrols
15 Nov 1941-31 Mar 1942  4. Flottille (training)
1 Apr 1942-31 Oct 1942  10. Flottille (active service)
1 Nov 1942-24 Jul 1943  12. Flottille (active service)
SuccessesNo ships sunk or damaged

The boat was scuttled on July 24 1943 after being attacked by two British Wellington aircraft (Sqdn. 172/Q & 547/V) north-west of Corunna, Spain, in position 45.53N, 10.38W. 18 dead and 41 survivors.

Loss position

View the 6 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-459 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Eisbär (25 Aug 1942 - 1 Sep 1942)

Attacks on this boat and other events

30 May 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:British Whitley Z9440 (10 OTU RAF/N, pilot Sgt L.O. Slade)

12.00 hrs, NW of Finisterre, inbound: the Whitley (misidentified as a Lancaster) made two attack runs dropping four bombs on each run, but without result. It was hit by flak during the second attack, and later had to ditch because of engine trouble. The six crew were rescued by a Spanish trawler.

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

30 May 1943
12.22 hrs, NW of Finisterre, inbound: a British B-24 Liberator (224 Sqn RAF/G, pilot F/L M.J. Elworthy) attacked the boat 22 minutes after it had shot down another aircraft. Ten depth charges were dropped during three runs, with the aircraft suffering flak damage in the process. The boat escaped unharmed. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

24 Jul 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down: British Wellington (172 Sqn RAF/Q, pilot: F/O W.H.T. Jennings)

The sinking of U-459

approx. 17.15 hrs, NW of Corunna, Spain: despite taking the boat by surprise, the Wellington was hit by heavy and accurate AA fire on the initial attack run, lost control, and crashed into the boat on the starboard side. Only the tail gunner (Sgt A.A. Turner) survived, when his turret separated on impact and he found himself in the water close to an inflated dinghy. The remaining five aircrew were killed. U-459 lost several gunners and most of the AA guns in the crash, and the crew found three unexploded depth charges on deck when clearing the wreckage. They decided to roll them into the sea at high speed, but at least one exploded, close enough to disable the steering gear and cause severe damage to the stern compartments.

At approx. 17.30 hrs, a second Wellington (547 Sqn RAF/V, pilot F/O J. Whyte) strafed the boat and dropped seven depth charges, causing further damage. The commander then ordered the crew to abandon ship and scuttled the boat - apparently choosing to go down with his ship. 41 Germans and the sole British survivor were picked up by ORP Orkan some 8 hours later.

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

3 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

10 Jan 1943. On 10 Jan 1943 the Italian submarine CAGNI refuelled from U-459 near the Equator before returning to base at Bordeaux.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-459 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.

Elephant and Trees

Media links

The Milk Cows

John F White
(£ 17.99)

German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel

Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay

U-Boat Tankers, 1941-1945

White, John F.

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

Wynn, Kenneth

Dark Sky, Deep Water

Franks, Norman

Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay

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