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U 28

U 28 entered the Bristol Channel on two patrols, more famously, the second patrol when Swansea was mined.
U 28
Type VII
Laid down 2 Dec 1935 AG Weser, Bremen
Commissioned 12 Sept 1936 Kptlt. Wilhelm Ambrosius
Commanders 09.36 -10.38
1937 - 09.37
10.38 - 11.38
11.38 - 11.40
11.40 - 02.41
02.41 - 06.41
06.41 - 03.42
03.42 - 06.42
07.42 - 11.42
12.42 - 07.43
07.43 - 12.43
12.43 - 03.44
03.44 - 08.44
Kptlt. Wilhelm Ambrosius
Kptlt. Hans-Günther Looff
Oblt. Fritz Julius Lemp (Knights Cross)
Kptlt. Günther Kunhnke (Knights Cross)
Oblt. Friedrich Guggenberger (Knights Cross)
Oblt. Heinrich Ratsch
Oblt. Hermann Eckhardt

Oblt. Karl-Heinz Marbach (Knights Cross)
Oblt. Uwe Christiansen
Oblt. Erich Krempl
Oblt. Dietrich Sachse

Career

December 1935 - December 1939 U-Flottille 'Saltzwedel' (Wilhelmshaven)
January 1940 - November 1940 2 U-Flottille (Wilhelmshaven/Lorient)
November 1940 - November 1943 24 U-Flottille (Danzig/Memel/Trondheim/Gotenhafen) training boat
December 1943 - March 1944 22 U-Flottille (Gotenhafen) trainingboat

May 1944 – August 1944 3 Unterseebootslehrdivision

The effective use of the Type VII boat was hampered by its low fuel capacity. It could only be effective by patrolling on the Atlantic side of the British coastline. Also, many of the boats were very poor in quality and soon developed mechanical and structural problems under the rigours of operational service.

Patrol 1  19 August 1939. From Wilhelmshaven to the Atlantic, to operate west of the British Isles with 2 U-Flottille. Patrolling into the mouth of St. George's Channel on 14 September, U 28 sank the MV Vancouver City (Br. 4955t) south of Waterford harbour. U 28 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 29 September 1939 and needed extensive repairs.

Patrol 2  8 November 1939. Left Wilhelmshaven to operate in the Bristol Channel west of Ireland. The boat carried twelve TMB magnetic mines and six torpedoes. On 17 November, U 28 sank the tanker MV Sliedrecht (Nl. 5133t) and on the 25th she attacked northbound convoy SL 8B WSW of the Scillies and sank the SS Royston Grange (Br. 5144t), both vessels were despatched by torpedo. Sliedrecht was sunk under the relaxed operational rules concerning neutral tankers.

U 28 laid twelve TMB mines off Swansea on 5 December 1939. As there were no immediately discernible effects the minefield was considered a failure. The sinking of the SS Protesilaus (Br. 9577t) on 21 January 1940 was eventually attributed to these mines. Protesilaus was beached in Swansea Bay but broke in two. U 28 returned to base on 18 December 1939 and again had to be returned to the shipyard for extensive alterations and repairs, highlighting the inadequacy of the early Type VII boats for the rigours of operational service.

Patrol 3  18 February 1940. After further repairs, U28 left for operations in the English Channel. She laid eight TMC (large capacity) magnetic mines off Portsmouth on 7 March. there were no sinkings attributed to this field, the mines were either laid too deep, or in the wrong place, or the detonator pistols were faulty. On 9 March she sank the SS P Margaronis (Gr. 4979t) south west of Land’s End and on the 11th the MV Eulota (Nl. 6236t) south west of the Scillies. She returned to Wilhelmshaven on 23 March 1940, and needed another overhaul on her return to port.

Patrol 4  20 May 1940. Left for the Atlantic. The boat had to abort to Trondheim, was under repair from 1 June and sailed again on the 8th.  In the area south of Fastnet, U 28 sank three ships, the SS Sarmatia (Fi. 2417t) on the 18th, the SS Adamandios Georgandis (Gr. 3443t) on the 19th and the decoy ship SS Prunella (Br. 4443t) on the 21st. U 28 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 6 July 1940.

Patrol 5  11 August 1940. U 28 left for the west coast of Scotland, to operate in The Minch. On the 27th she sank the SS Eva (Nw. 1599t), from convoy SC 1, by torpedo and gunfire west of the Outer Hebrides. The next day she sank the SS Kyno (Br. 3946t), from convoy HX 66, north of Rockall. In early September U 28 was patrolling in the Atlantic west of the Hebrides. On the 6th she sighted convoy SC 2 but because of bad weather with very high winds she did not attack until the early hours of the 9th, when she sank the SS Mardinian (Br. 2434t) south west of Barra.

On 11 September, U 28 attacked westbound convoy OA 210 south west of Rockall. She torpedoed and damaged the SS Harpenden (Br. 4678t) and sank the SS Maas (Nl. 1966t) Critically low on fuel, U 28 put in to her new base at Lorient on 17 September 1940.

Patrol 6  4 October 1940. Left Lorient and arrived at St Nazaire on 6 October 1940.

Patrol 7  12 October 1940. Ordered to operate as a weather boat west of the British Isles. During the night of l6 October, U 48 sighted convoy SC 7 north west of Rockall. U 28 and four other boats in the area of Rockall were directed against it. U 28 operated against the convoy on the 18th and 19th but without success. Other boats were homed in and the convoy lost twenty ships sunk and had another three damaged.

Analysis of the battle convinced Admiral Dönitz of the value of using U-boats in pack operations. In the early hours of the 26th U 28 torpedoed and damaged the SS Matina (Br. 5389t) west of Rockall. The abandoned wreck was sunk by U 31 on the 29th.  U 28 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 15 November 1940.

 

Because of her many defects, U 28 went on to training duties and continued so until 17 March 1944, when she sank at the U-boat pier at Neustadt, with the loss of one man. She was salvaged soon afterwards and in May went to 3 Unterseebootslehrdivision at Neustadt. U 28 was decommissioned there on 4 August 1944.