U 409

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U 409
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Type : VII C
Shipyard: Gdansk Shipyard , Gdansk
Keel laying: October 26, 1940
Launch: September 23, 1941
Commissioning: January 21, 1942

January 21 - July 12, 1943
Lieutenant Captain Hanns-Ferdinand Massmann

Calls: 6 patrols

3 merchant ships (16,199 GRT, 73 dead), 1 troop transport (8762 ts, 22 dead)

Whereabouts: Sunk off the Algerian coast on July 12, 1943 (11 dead, 38 prisoners of war)

U 409 was a German type VII C submarine of the Kriegsmarine . In its six patrols it sank four merchant ships with 24,961 GRT, on which a total of 73 people died, one of them died with a warship on board with 10 tons, also a passenger ship with landing troops on the 22 man and damaged a merchant ship with 7519 GRT. The submarine was on 12 July 1943 by the British destroyer HMS Inconstant sunk off the Algerian coast, with 11 crew members died and 38 men in British prisoner of war came.


The construction contract for U 409 was issued on October 30, 1939 to the Danzig shipyard and railway workshops . The boat was delivered to the Kriegsmarine with eight other submarines of this type in 1941 and put into service under commandant Hans-Ferdinand Maßmann, who undertook a total of six patrols with the U 409 . For its activities, the boat usually left Brest , the base of the 9th U-Flotilla , to which it had belonged since September 1942. From July 1943, the boat belonged to the 29th submarine flotilla and - following a successful breakthrough through the Strait of Gibraltar - was stationed in Toulon .


In autumn 1942 U 409 was assigned to the submarine group "Streitaxt", which attacked the convoy SL 125 on October 30th. Commandant Massmann succeeded in sinking the British merchant ship Silverwillow ( Lage ), whereby six people died and 61 survived, and the British merchant ship Bullmouth was damaged. The latter was sunk a few hours later by U 659 with a catch shot, whereby 50 crew members died and only six were rescued.

On March 9, 1943, U 409 belonged to the "Westmark" submarine group that had been put together to attack convoy SC 121. During the attacks on this convoy, Commander Massmann sank the British merchant ship Rosewood ( Lage ), killing all 42 men on board, and the American merchant ship Malantic ( Lage ), killing 25 people and surviving 22.

On July 4, 1943, U 409 sank the passenger steamer City of Venice with 8,762 GRT, which was used as a troop transport , on which 292 soldiers of the 1st Canadian Division and a ten-man crew were transported for Operation Husky for the invasion of Sicily . 22 people died on the ship while 460 were rescued. However, U 409 no longer had time to report this success.


The submarine was sunk on July 12, 1943 by the British destroyer HMS Inconstant off Dellys on the Algerian coast.

The destroyer used as a security vehicle for the convoy MFK-19A captured an object via the Asdic . After a single depth charge, it was clear that it was not a school of fish, but a submarine. Therefore, the first attack was launched at 0722. After six attacks the submarine emerged vertically, then came to rest on a level keel. The Inconstant covered the deck of the submarine with grenades. A shell hit the turret and severely damaged it. Numerous U 409 crew members were killed as a result of the bombardment when they tried to leave the boat or to return fire. After the sinking, 39 men were initially taken on board by the Inconstant , but one died shortly afterwards from his wounds. A total of 11 men from U 409 - including one officer - died, while 38 - including three officers - were taken prisoners of war . A prisoner died a year later, on September 3, 1944 in Fort Knox ( Kentucky ).

The sinking of U 409 ( 37 ° 12 ′  N , 4 ° 0 ′  E ) was described in the Monthly Anti Submarine Report of July 1943 as an "outstanding success of a single submarine fighter".


  • Rainer Busch, Hans-Joachim Röll: The submarine war 1939-1945. Volume 1: The German submarine commanders. Preface by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rohwer, Member of the Presidium of the International Commission on Military History. ES Mittler and Son, Hamburg / Berlin / Bonn 1996, p. 155. ISBN 3-8132-0490-1 .
  • Rainer Busch, Hans-Joachim Röll: The submarine war 1939-1945. Volume 2: Submarine construction in German shipyards. ES Mittler und Sohn, Hamburg / Berlin / Bonn 1997, pp. 66f., 247. ISBN 978-3-8132-0512-1 .
  • Rainer Busch, Hans-Joachim Röll: The submarine war 1939-1945. Volume 3: The German submarine successes from September 1939 to May 1945. ES Mittler und Sohn, Hamburg / Berlin / Bonn 2008, pp. 191f. ISBN 978-3-8132-0513-8 .
  • Rainer Busch, Hans-Joachim Röll: The submarine war 1939-1945. Volume 4: The German submarine losses from September 1939 to May 1945. ES Mittler und Sohn, Hamburg / Berlin / Bonn 2008, p. 113. ISBN 978-3-8132-0514-5 .
  • Erich Gröner, Dieter Jung, Martin Maas: The German warships 1815-1945. Volume 3: Submarines, auxiliary cruisers, mine ships, net layers. Bernhard & Graefe Verlag, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-7637-4802-4 .
  • Clay Blair : The Submarine War. Volume 1: The Hunters. 1939-1942. Heyne, Munich 1998, p. 771. ISBN 3-453-12345-X .
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  • Peter Sharpe: U-Boat Fact File. 1935-1945. Midland Publishing, Earl Shilton 1998, ISBN 1-85780-072-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heikendorf (Möltenort), Plön district, Schleswig-Holstein: U-Boot-Ehrenmal Möltenort, U-409, Type VIIC, 29th U-Flotilla, La Spezia, front boat. Online project Fallen Memorials


  • German U-Boot-Museum, Archive for International Underwater Museum: Altenbrucher Bahnhofstr. 57, archive: Lange Str. 1 and 3.27478 Cuxhaven - Altenbruch