U-boat Crew Casualties


These pages contain a compilation of all known losses of life from U-boats that either survived the incident or were put into commission shortly afterwards.


U-167, 8 Jan 1943
The first man lost from a U-boat in 1943 was during a storm when one man was washed overboard while saving the I WO. Also the commander was wounded and so the boat was brought back to base with the IWO in command on 16 Jan. [Obersteuermann Walter Schliephake]

U-258, 12 Jan 1943
During heavy weather in the North Atlantic a lookout on U-258 broke his arm.

U-134, 15 Jan 1943
One of the crew commited suicide.

U-268, 22 Jan 1943
Leutnant zur See Wilhem Deutsch was lost by washing overboard. (When U-268 was sunk four weeks later only 44 men were killed, instead of the normally reported figure of 45 men.)

U-847, 26 Jan 1943
During training in Wesermünde an accident occured while the machine gun was being fired. Casualties were one dead, one heavily wounded.

U-376, 27 Jan 1943
The boat had to break off her one-day old patrol in the North Atlantic after some of the crew were wounded in an air attack.

U-376, 31 Jan 1943
U-376 left Bergen, Norway on 30 Jan. for her 6th patrol, only to return at 0057 hrs on the 31st after the the 3rd Watch Officer was lost overboard. After collecting his replacement she sailed again the same day. [Obersteuermann Heinz Richter]


U-653, 13 Feb 1943
U-653 lost an officer overboard in heavy weather in the mid Atlantic south of Greenland. [Oberleutnant zur See Werner Laudon]

U-635, 15 Feb 1943
A man from U-635 took his own life in Hamburg. [Maschinengefreiter Werner Grande]

U-760, 26 Feb 1943
A man from U-760 was killed during an air raid on Wilhelmshaven. [Obermaschinist Jakob Ippendorf]


U-653, 9 Mar 1943
A man was lost overboard. [Bootsmaat Walter Mayer]

U-634, 10 Mar 1943
A man was lost overboard. [Bootsmaat Ernst Adam]

U-354, 12 Mar 1943
A man from U-354 took his own life. [Maschinenmaat Helmut Richter]

U-957, 20 Mar 1943
The commander was lost during a diving accident in the Baltic Sea. [Oberleutnant zur See Franz Saar (see right)]

U-590, 21 Mar 1943
On U-590 a crew member broke his arm.

U-221, 22 Mar 1943
A captured seaman from the tanker Jamaica (sunk two weeks earlier) jumped overboard.

U-455, 24 Mar 1943
A crewman was injured in an accident with the anti-aircraft machine gun.

U-91, 27 Mar 1943
22.45 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: a British Wellington bomber (RAF Sqdn 172/M) made a Leigh Light attack. The boat escaped undamaged, but had dived with three men still on the bridge. It resurfaced immediately and found two still in place, but the PO who had fired the AA gun until the last moment was missing. [Oberbootsmaat Heinrich Hollenborg]

U-564, 28 Mar 1943
A man was lost in the North Atlantic. [Fähnrich zur See Heinrich Feuerhake]


U-513, 3 Apr 1943
Two bombs dropped by a British Hudson bomber (RAF Sqdn 233/U) in an encounter north of the Canary Islands caused minor damage.

U-270, 4 Apr 1943
Three men were injured during severe weather.

U-563, 7 Apr 1943
A British B-24 Liberator (86 Sqn RAF) dropped three depth charges which caused only minor damage, but two men were lost when the boat dived. [Oberbootsmaat Christian Wieland, Matrosengefreiter Rudolf Schädlich]

U-181, 11 Apr 1943
The new 37mm anti-aircraft cannon on U-181 exploded in action while on patrol in the South Atlantic killing one man and wounding two more. [Matrosengefreiter Wilhelm Williger]

U-231, 22 Apr 1943
03.00 hrs, SE of Iceland: a British Catalina flying boat (190 Sqn RAF/T) strafed U-231 and dropped two bombs. The boat was undamaged, but one man was lost overboard. [Obersteuermann Walter Krause]

At 12.29 hrs, a second Catalina (190 Sqn RAF/E) dropped four bombs, this time with no effect.

U-571, 22 Apr 1943
The boat had to return to base because the commander was badly injured in an accident on the conning tower.

U-610, 22 Apr 1943
During heavy weather a lookout on U-610 broke his arm.

U-533, 25 Apr 1943
The boat was attacked by an American PBY-5A Catalina of VP-84/P-5. Three of U-533´s gun crew were injured by .30 cal. gunfire. (Bootsmaat Buttkus, Matrosengefreiter Ludwig and Matrosengefreiter Fekken). All recovered from their wounds to return to active service. Buttkus and Ludwig both perished when U-533 was sunk in October 1943.

U-119, 29 Apr 1943
At 11.24 hours, the outbound boat was strafed and bombed by an Australian Sunderland flying boat (RAAF Sqdn 461/P). The boat was not damaged, but one man was killed by gunfire. [Bootsmaat Alfred Schmidt]


U-188, 2 May 1943
10.14 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: British Whitley aircraft (612 Sqn RAF/W) strafed U-188 and dropped four depth charges. Gunfire wounded the commander, KptLt Siegfried Lüdden, and one of the crew, who died in hospital in Paris on 14 May. [Matrosengefreiter Leo Rupp]

U-218, 2 May 1943
One of the crew broke a leg.

U-601, 4 May 1943
The II WO on U-601 was killed in a machine gun misfire.

U-214, 7 May 1943
10.14 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: British Halifax bomber HR745 (RAF Sqdn 58/S, pilot W/C W.E. Oulton), attacked from out of the sun. Despite being hit by flak, it returned to drop three depth charges. The boat evaded both attacks and dived with only minor damage, but the commander, Kptlt Günther Reeder was severely wounded by gunfire (he no longer served in U-boats after this). The I WO, Oblt Rupprecht Stock took command and brought U-214 to base.

This aircraft was formerly credited with the destruction of U-663 in this attack, but U-663 sank following an attack by Australian Sunderland flying boat W/William, 10 Sqdn RAAF.

U-306, 7 May 1943
06.55 hrs, inbound: British Halifax bomber HR745 (RAF Sqn 58/S, pilot W/C W.E. Oulton, DFC) dropped six depth charges about 15 seconds after U-306 dived. No damage.

U-228, 7 May 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:
British Halifax bomber HR792 (RAF Sqdn 58/A, pilot Sgt N.F. Robertson, RAAF)

10.50 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: The Halifax was forced to break off an initial attack by heavy flak, but then made a strafing attack from the bow and released six depth charges, which overshot the boat and detonated about 25m (82ft) astern. The detonations gave U-228 a severe shaking and wounded the II WO and one seaman. The Germans observed several AA hits on the aircraft (misidentified as a Lancaster) and saw it emit smoke before they dived. The Halifax and its crew of seven failed to return to base and presumably crashed shortly after this attack.

U-223, 11 May 1943
The British destroyer HMS Hesperus brought U-223 to the surface by depth charging and then rammed her. Two men were lost overboard: one died, but the other was rescued by U-359 and returned to U-223 on 14 May (U-359 had managed to escape the destroyer's attacks unscathed). U-223 was left unable to dive, but returned to port on 24 May. She did not sail again until 14 Sept, while still under repair. [Matrosengefreiter Heinz Hoog]

U-591, 15 May 1943
12.36 hrs, west of the Bay of Biscay: the boat was strafed and bombed by a British Whitley bomber (RAF Sqdn 10 OTU/M, pilot F/Sgt G.W. Brookes). The boat was not damaged, but the commander, Kptlt. Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche, and one of the crew were wounded by gunfire, forcing the boat to return to base.

U-197, 20 May 1943
The boat was strafed and bombed by an American B-25 Mitchell bomber northeast of Ascension Island. The periscope was damaged and one man wounded by gunfire, who died the next day. [Bootsmaat Viktor Rainer]

U-129, 21 May 1943
During refueling by U-459 two men from the boat were washed overboard by a big wave. One of them was soon recovered, but the other remained missing. [Matrosengefreiter Hans Rüchel]

U-755, 26 May 1943
06.26 hrs, 13 miles north of Alboran Island in the Mediterranean: the boat was attacked by a British Hudson bomber (500 Sqdn RAF, pilot S/L H.G. Holmes, DFC). Three depth charges were dropped by the aircraft during the first attack run, despite being hit in the port engine by flak, and followed up with two dive-bombing attacks, dropping first two and then one A/S bomb, one of which exploded only five yards (4.6m) off the port beam. The engine damage then forced the aircraft to return to base. One of U-755s crew was killed and two wounded by strafing, and the boat was forced to return to base due to heavy damage. She was sunk in another air attack two days later.


U-450, 6 Jun 1943
A British Flying Fortress (220 Sqn RAF/A) caught U-450 on the surface 250km (155 miles) SE of Iceland, killing one man and wounding seven others. The boat was severely damaged and only managed to reach base at Brest with the assistance of other U-boats.

U-758, 8 Jun 1943
19.18 hrs, S of the Azores: U-758 was attacked by aircraft (VC-9 USN) from USS Bogue escorting convoy GUS 9. U-758 had just sighted the convoy and reported its position when it was attacked by an Avenger piloted by Lt (jg) L.S. Bailliett. Its four depth charges exploded astern, but the boat remained on the surface and put up heavy flak. After 30 minutes a second Avenger, piloted by Lt (jg) W.S. Fowler, dropped three depth charges despite sustaining heavy damage during the approach. AA hits wounded one of the crew and damaged the engine, the starboard wing and the bomb bay, forcing the plane to return to the carrier. A third Avenger, piloted by Lt (jg) F.D. Fodge, then attacked, assisted by a strafing run from a Wildcat piloted by Lt (jg) P. Perabo. The boat dived before depth charges were dropped and then successfully evaded the USS Clemson.

The Germans reported beating off an attack by eight carrier aircraft (identified as Martlet, Lysander (!) and Mustang) with their powerful new quadruple flak gun and claimed one shot down and four damaged. U-758 suffered only minor damage but seven men were wounded, forcing her to return to base.

U-415, 14 Jun 1943
In the afternoon a British Whitley bomber (10 OTU RAF/E, pilot Sgt Manson) found a group of three outbound boats (U-159, U-415 and U-634) and sent a contact report instead of attacking. When the boats dived, the aircraft attacked, dropping four depth charges on U-415 at 15.54 hrs. No damage.

U-155, 14 Jun 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:
Polish Mosquito HJ648 (307 Sqdn RAF/B, pilot S/L S. Szablowski)

09.29 hrs, Bay of Biscay north of Corunna: four Mosquito aircraft (three from 307 Polish Sqdn RAF and one from 410 Sqdn RCAF) attacked a group of five outbound boats (U-68, U-155, U-159, U-415 and U-634). The leading Mosquito first strafed U-68 and then U-155, but its port engine stopped after being hit by flak and the aircraft was forced to return to base at Predannack, Cornwall, where it made a belly landing. A Mosquito piloted by F/O J. Pelka then made an attack run, but without firing, and the remaining aircraft were held off by an intense barrage of flak.
Five of the crew of U-155 were wounded, two badly. The boat returned to base with U-68, whose doctor was transferred to treat the wounded on the way.

U-68, 14 Jun 1943
09.33 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: the boat was strafed by one of four Mosquito aircraft. More details about this incident can be found at U-155. Aboard U-68, the commander, the II.WO and one of the men were wounded. The I.WO, Oblt E. Scherraus, took command. One man was apparently hit while operating an MG38 machinegun, fell overboard and could not be recovered [Obergefreiter Hans Schaumburg]. The boat returned to base in company with U-155. U-68's doctor was later transferred to the other boat.

U-615, 14 Jun 1943
2112hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: while proceeding in company with U-257 and U-600, U-615 was strafed by a British Wellington aircraft (547 Sqn RAF/H, pilot P/O J.W. Hermiston). One of the deck crew operating a gun was killed. [Bootsmaat Heinz Wilke]

U-257, 14 Jun 1943
16.05 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: while proceeding in company with U-600 and U-615 U-257 was strafed by a British Whitley bomber (10 OTU RAF/P, pilot P/O Orr), wounding one man. Three depth charges caused minor damage.
Whitley (10 OTU RAF/E, pilot Sgt Manson) exchanged gunfire with this group shortly afterwards, but this aircraft had used up its depth charges in an earlier attack.

U-600, 16 Jun 1943
09.04 hrs, NW of Finisterre, outbound: a group of three boats was attacked by British B-24 Liberator Mk.V bomber FL973 (59 Sqdn RAF/C, pilot F/O E.E. Allen, RCAF) . The aircraft dropped six depth charges on the boat in the centre of the formation, U-600, which suffered only minor damage, whereas the aircraft was hit four times by AA fire from all three boats. Strafing by the tail gunner killed one man [Matrosengefreiter Georg Laub]. As the pilot backed off to assess the damage, the boats began to dive. The aircraft dropped its remaining depth charges ahead of the diving point of the starboard boat before returning to base.

U-338, 17 Jun 1943
The Obersteuermann died and three men were wounded in an attack by a British Fortress aircraft (206 Sqn RAF/F) that also damaged the boat. [Obersteuermann Paul Trefflich]

U-462, 21 Jun 1943
This milch cow suffered one dead and four wounded from an attack by Mosquito aircraft from RAF Squadrons 151 & 456. [Matrosengefreiter Ferdinand Brunnbaur]. The boat had to break off patrol and return to port.


U-193, 6 Jul 1943
An unidentified aircraft hit the boat, wounding two men and destroying the Metox radar detector.

U-953, 9 Jul 1943
The boat was attacked by an aircraft on 9 July. Casualties were one dead and two wounded. [Matrose I Egon Döring]

U-441, 12 Jul 1943
This flak boat was strafed by three British Beaufighters from 248 Sqdn RAF in the Bay of Biscay. Ten men died and 13 were wounded, including all officers except the ship's doctor. Dr Paul Pfaffinger took over command from Kplt von Hartmann, treated the wounded and brought the boat back to Brest. He was subsequently awarded the German Cross in Gold. This action led to the abandonment of the flak boat experiment, and all the boats involved were returned to their original armament configuration.

U-709, 12 Jul 1943
A torpedo explosion left two dead and one wounded.

U-195, 20 Jul 1943
One man was lost in an air attack in the Bay of Biscay. [Matrosenobergefreiter Arthur List]

U-466, 24 Jul 1943
An attack by a B-24 Liberator caused minor damage but left five wounded, one, the 1st Officer, severely.

U-669, 25 Jul 1943

While the boat was docked at St.Nazaire one of the crew died in an air raid on Hamburg while on leave for his birthday. This raid was the beginning of the "Battle for Hamburg". [Bootsmaat Erich Bergner].

U-604, 30 Jul 1943
U-604 was attacked by a US Ventura (VB-129 USN) off the coast of Brazil on 30 July, and both the IWO and Coxswain were killed in action. [Oberleutnant zur See Frank Aschmann (see right) and Oberbootsmaat Herbert Lurz]. The boat was left in a crippled state, but managed to escape from the area.


U-106, 1 Aug 1943
The boat was attacked by a British B-24 Liberator (59 Sqn RAF/K, pilot F/L M. Charlton) in the Bay of Biscay. No damage from the two depth charges dropped, but strafing killed one crewman and wounded two others. [Matrosengefreiter Rolf Ebeling]

U-218, 2 Aug 1943
Six men were wounded in an attack by a Wellington bomber (547 Sqdn RAF/B). The U-boat sustained only minor damage from the depth charges dropped, but abandoned the mine-laying mission due to the casualties, arriving at Brest on 6 August.

U-218 under attack

U-66, 3 Aug 1943
21.35 hrs, mid Atlantic: the boat was surprised by a Avenger/Wildcat team (VC-1 USN) from USS Card. The aircraft made several strafing runs and one depth charge apparently exploded directly under the boat. The II.WO, Oblt Kurt Schütze, and Mtrgfr Erich Lorenz were killed and MechGfr Heinz Nitsch died of wounds during the night. The commander and FzS Pfaff were seriously wounded and the I.WO and five ratings were slightly wounded. U-117 was ordered to meet U-66 three days later for medical assistance and to transfer a replacement WO.

U-738, 3 Aug 1943
Two men were lost overboard in the Baltic Sea. [Bootsmaat Heinz Richter, Matrosengefreiter Josef Häseling]

U-185, 3 Aug 1943
While seeking the crippled U-604 a US Liberator aircraft (VB-107 USN) instead attacked the accompanying U-185, depth charging her and wounding one man.

U-172, 11 Aug 1943
An unidentified aircraft attacked U-172 while the boat was rescuing the crew of U-604 following her scuttling. One man from U-172 was killed. [Maschinenobergefreiter Fritz Schiemann]

U-760, 12 Aug 1943
At 1815hrs the boat was strafed and attacked with three depth charges by a US Liberator aircraft (VB-103 USN, pilot Lt(jg) Thueson) about 470nm south of Newfoundland. It fought off the attack with intense AA fire and escaped by crash diving, but one man was lost overboard. [Matrosenenobergefreiter Günter Werner]. U-760 sustained damage to the periscopes and forward torpedo tubes and had to break off the patrol.

U-959, 12 Aug 1943
A crew member was washed overboard during aircraft exercise about 40nm north of Rixhöft at 1602hrs. Despite wearing a life jacket he was not found during a search of four hours by six U-boats and the submarine tender Isar and drowned. [Bootsmaat Johann Toifl]

U-406, 23 Aug 1943
An aircraft attack killed two men and wounded three.

U-340, 25 Aug 1943
U-340 rescued five Luftwaffe aircrew off Spain on 25 August. Shortly afterwards the boat was attacked by an aircraft. One man died and five were wounded. The boat suffered minor damage.


U-377, 22 Sep 1943
On 22 Sept a British B-24 Liberator (Sqdn 10) attacked U-377, wounding the commander. The boat had to return to port under the command of the I WO.

U-377 on arrival at Brest. The wounded commander, Oblt.z.S. Kluth is wearing a white cap, standing to the left of the flotilla commander

U-422, 23 Sep 1943
The boat was depth charged and strafed by an allied aircraft identified as a Halifax. Three men were wounded, two of them seriously. After requesting medical assistance the boat rendezvoused with milch cow U-460 on the 29th of September.

U-711, 30 Sep 1943
A man died when the boat docked at Narvik. [Maschinengefreiter Heinz Schiefelbein]

U-309, 30 Sep 1943
A man was lost in the North Atlantic while working on deck. [Mechanikergefreiter Erich Jungmann]


U-731, 4 Oct 1943
Six men were wounded, including the commander, when a British Hudson bomber (Sqdn 269/S) attacked. The boat was able to continue the patrol despite being damaged.

U-762, 8 Oct 1943
A British B-24 Liberator (Sqdn 120, pilot Bryan W. Turnbull) attacked the boat and drove her under. A destroyer joined the attack but the boat escaped, although two men were wounded and one of the diesel engines was damaged.

U-631, 8 Oct 1943
The commander broke his hand in an accident while on patrol.

U-584, 10 Oct 1943
One man was lost overboard in the mid Atlantic south of Iceland. (Thus only 52 men were aboard when the boat was sunk 3 weeks later, rather than 53 as given in most sources).

U-967, 12 Oct 1943
The boat lost a man overboard in the North Atlantic on 12 October. [Mechnikergfreiter Hans Brackert]

U-488, 15 Oct 1943
A man died of illness on 15 Oct. [Maschinenmaat Karl Bergmann]

U-220, 16 Oct 1943
Two men were lost overboard in the North Atlantic. [Bootsmaat Georg Koerner, Matrosenobergefreiter Gerhard Lange]. Thus only 54 men were on board when the boat was sunk 12 days later.

U-608, 17 Oct 1943
A lookout broke an arm during heavy weather.

U-190, 18 Oct 1943
A lookout suffered a broken arm in a storm off Vigo, Spain.

U-271, 21 Oct 1943
One of the crew was killed when U-271 was attacked by two Avengers from USS Core while serving as a flak boat.

U-505, 24 Oct 1943
The commander of U-505, Kptlt. Peter Zschech, committed suicide during heavy depth charging on 24 Oct. This was the only such case of the war. The IWO, Oblt. Meyer took over and brought the boat back to port.


U-123, 7 Nov 1943
09.44 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: the first recorded attack by a 'Tsetse' aircraft (RAF Sqdn 618, pilot F/O Al Bonnett RCAF), a Mosquito with a 6pdr (57mm) antitank cannon in the nose, scored a hit on the conning tower which left the boat with one dead, two wounded and unable to dive due to a hole measuring 18 x 6.5cm (7 x 2.5 in). [Bootsmaat Günther Struve]

U-373, 10 Nov 1943
A lookout on U-373 broke his arm in rough weather.

U-488, 25 Nov 1943
A man fell overboard, he was rescued died of heart failure shortly afterwards. [Matrosenobergefreiter Heinz Heinlein]

U-92, 29 Nov 1943
A man was lost overboard on this day. [ObGfr Friedrich Witzkonski]

U-238, 30 Nov 1943
Avenger from the escort carrier USS Bogue attacked, killing two men and wounding five. [Matrosenobergefreiter Jakob Philipp]


U-734, 9 Dec 1943
During heavy weather a lookout broke his arm on U-734 in the North Atlantic.

U-629, 16 Dec 1943
A lookout broke his arm during a severe storm.

U-1062, 22 Dec 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:
Canadian Beaufighter LZ452 (RCAF Sqdn 404/H, pilot F/O I. Gillespie, RCAF)
Canadian Beaufighter NE323 (RCAF Sqdn 404/F, pilot F/L R. Munro, RCAF)

11.34 hrs, south of Farsund, Norway: the boat was attacked by eight Beaufighters while en route to Bergen escorted by the German minesweeper M-489. Four Beaufighters of 144 Sqdn RAF carried torpedoes and four from 404 Sqdn RCAF acted as flak suppressors. Both vessels were slightly damaged by strafing but all torpedoes missed. Flak brought down two Beaufighters, killing all four aircrew. One crew member aboard the minesweeper and three crew members aboard the U-boat were seriously wounded. Oberfunkmaat Rudolf Polzhuber from U-1062 died shortly before arrving at Egersund.

U-471, 23 Dec 1943
An attack by a British B-24 Liberator bomber (Sqdn 120/O) on 23 Dec wounded three men.

Total numer of losses:
211 men in 91 incidents
(75 dead and 136 wounded)

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