List of all U-boats




Ordered5 Jun 1941
Laid down8 May 1942 Deutsche Werft AG, Hamburg (werk 360)
Launched4 Dec 1942
Commissioned24 Feb 1943Oblt. Hans-Jürgen Lauterbach-Emden
24 Feb 1943 - 9 May 1945  Kptlt. Hans-Jürgen Lauterbach-Emden (German Cross in Gold)
3 patrols
24 Feb 1943-30 Jun 1943  4. Flottille (training)
1 Jul 1943-30 Sep 1944  10. Flottille (active service)
1 Oct 1944-8 May 1945  33. Flottille (active service)
Successes1 ship sunk, total tonnage 1,517 GRT
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 12,896 GRT

Surrendered on 9 May 1945 at Bergen, Norway.

Transferred to Loch Ryan, Scotland on 2 June 1945.

Operation Deadlight (post-war Allied operation, info)
Foundered while in tow for the scuttling grounds on 4 Dec, 1945 in position 55.38N, 07.57W.

Final location

See the 3 ships hit by U-539 - View the 3 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-539 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Rossbach (24 Sep 1943 - 9 Oct 1943)

Attacks on this boat and other events

21 Sep 1943
The boat was attacked by British Hudson V9161 (269 Sqn RAF/G, pilot F/Sgt E.J.L. Brame) SE of Iceland. On the first approach the port aileron was damaged by flak and the pilot decided to drop two 100lb A/S bombs from a higher altitude to force the boat to dive. The bombs fell close, but U-539 stayed on the surface, evaded the three depth charges dropped in the following low level attack, and then escaped by diving. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

4 Oct 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down: British Liberator (120 Sqn RAF/V, pilot W/C R.M. Longmore, OBE)

11.38 hrs, the Denmark Strait, between Greenland and Iceland: the aircraft, escorting convoy ONS-19 was hit by flak on its first approach. Fires started in both starboard engines and the aircraft crashed, killing the crew of eight, which included the CO of 120 Squadron RAF. The depth charges overshot, causing only minor damage. One of U-539's crew was slightly wounded by strafing.

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

8 Oct 1943
Two depth charges from an unidentified Liberator caused serious damage. This was the third attack on U-539 in less than three weeks. The boat reached port on 20 Oct. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 430)

11 Jun 1944
When shelling the Dutch tanker Casandra with the deck gun in an action just off Curaçao in the West Indies, the tanker returned fire, causing only minor damage but forcing U-539 to break off the attack. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 564)

12 Jun 1944
An American Mariner flying boat attacked U-539, which once again escaped (she had been hit by gunfire from a Dutch tanker the day before). (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 564)

5 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

2 Jan 1944. U-539 became the first U-boat to go on combat patrol fitted with a Schnorchel submerged ventilation apparatus when she left Lorient, France on 2 January 1944.

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat

This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus but the date of fitting or sailing date with the equipment is unknown.

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-539 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

10th Flotilla

Crew 37a

Media links

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll

David M. Hird

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

Wynn, Kenneth

Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay

German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel

The Royal Navy and German Naval Disarmament, 1942-1947

Madsen, Chris
($ 58.77)

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