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U 242

U 242 patrolled the Irish Sea during her final patrol before being sunk with all hands. There remains some doubt about how she finally met her end.
U 242
Type VII C
Laid down 30 Sept 1942 F. Krupp Germania Werft AG, Kiel
Commissioned 14 Aug 1943 Oblt. Karl-Wilhelm Pancke
Commanders 08.43 - 02.45
02.45 - 04.45
Oblt. Karl-Wilhelm Pancke
Oblt. Heinz Riedel

Career

August 1943 - May 1944 5 U-Flottille (Kiel)
June 1944 - July 1944 Führer der Unterseeboote (FdU) Mitte (Norway) front boat
July 1944 5 U-Flottille (Kiel)
August 1944 - February 1945 8 U-Flottille (Danzig)
February 1945 - April 1945 3 U-Flottille (La Pallice)

Patrol 1  21 May 1944. Left Kiel and arrived at Stavanger on 25 May 1944.

In early June 1944 U 242 joined the Mitte group, made up of twenty-two non-schnorkel boats on six hours standby at southern Norwegian ports, Bergen, Stavanger and Kristiansand, to counter any invasion of southern Norway and Denmark. On the 6th, after news of the Allied landings in Normandy, the boats were brought to immediate notice.

Patrol 2  8 June 1944. Left Stavanger, as one of the eleven Mitte boats which formed a reconnaissance line running from Trondheim to Lindesnes. The boats were ordered to remain submerged, unless recharging batteries, to escape the attention of Allied aircraft. Two of the boats were sunk in aircraft attacks before the order came recalling eight Mitte boats to port in the latter part of June, after the possibility of an invasion of Norway had diminished. U 242 put in to Bergen on 26 June 1944.

Patrol 3 27 June 1944. Left Bergen and arrived at Kiel on 1 July 1944.

U 242 was sent to join 8 U-Flottille for operations in the Baltic.

Patrol 4 11 July 1944. Left Kiel and arrived at Reval, Estonia on 14 July 1944.

Patrol 5  17 July 1944. Left Reval and arrived at Grand Hotel, Finland on 17 July 1944.

Patrol 6  18 July 1944. Left Grand Hotel and patrolled near Koivisto and in Narva Bay. U 242 put in to Helsinki on 1 August 1944.

Patrol 7  23 August 1944. Left Helsinki. On the 25th U 242 claimed to have sunk a stationary survey vessel and a barge alongside, at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland. She returned to Reval on 3 September 1944.

Patrol 8  12 September 1944. Left Reval and put in to a Baltic port, remaining there until the 21st, when she left to carry out a minelaying operation off Porkkala, Finland. On the 28th the SS Rigel (Fi. 1495t) sank after striking one of these mines. U 242 put in to Windau on 28 September 1944.

Patrol 9  30 September 1944. Left Windau and arrived at Pillau on 2 October 1944.

Patrol 10  5 October 1944. Left Pillau and arrived at Danzig on 11 October 1944.

Patrol 11  12 January 1945. Left Danzig. U 242 landed a radio operator with a wireless and explosives on the Finnish coast on or about the 23rd. The boat carried out a reconnaissance in the southern part of the Gulf of Bothnia. She returned to Kiel on 30 January 1945.

Patrol 12  23 February 1945. Left Kiel and arrived at Horten on 25 February 1945.

Patrol 13  28 February 1945. Left Horten and arrived at Kristiansand on 1 March 1945.

Patrol 14  4 March 1945. Left Kristiansand to operate in British coastal waters. From the beginning of April U 242 was patrolling in the Irish Sea. Originally, she was believed sunk on 30 April, 1945 in the Irish Sea west of Blackpool, in position 53°.42N, 04°.53W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Hesperus and Havelock after being discovered by a British Sunderland aircraft (Sqdn. 201). This attack was in fact against the already sunken wreck of U 246 and it brought personal belongings of a crew member of U 246 to the surface. It is now believed that she was sunk on 5 April 1945 at 07 15 hrs by a mine in the mine barrage QZX in St. George's Channel in position 52°.02’9.N, 05°.46’8.W. 44 dead (all crew lost).