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U 29

The infamous U 29 entered the Bristol Channel on her second and fourth patrols.
U 29
Type VII
Laid down 2 Jan 1936 AG Weser, Bremen
Commissioned 16 Nov 1936 Kptlt. Heinz Fischer
Commanders 11.36 - 10.38
11.38 - 04.39
04.39 - 01.41
01.41 - 09.41
09.41 - 05.42
05.42 - 06.42
07.42 - 11.42
11.42 - 08.43
08.43 - 11.43
11.43 - 04.44
Kptlt. Heinz Fischer
Kptlt. Georg-Heinz Michel
Kptlt. Otto Schuhart (Knights Cross)
Oblt. Georg Lassen (Knights Cross)
Oblt. Heinrich Hasenschar
Oblt. Karl-Heinz Marbach (Knights Cross)

Oblt. Rudolf Zorn
Oblt. Eduard Aust
Oblt. Ulrich-Philipp Graf von und zu Arco-Zinneberg

Career

November 1936 - December 1939 U-Flottille 'Saltzwedel' (Wilhelmshaven)
January 1940 - December 1940 2 U-Flottille (Wilhelmshaven/Lorient)
January 1941 - June 1942 24 U-Flottille (Danzig/Memel/Trondheim/Gotenhafen) training boat
July 1942 - November 1942
November 1942 - August 1943 24 U-Flottille (Danzig/Memel/Trondheim/Gotenhafen) training boat
September 1943 - November 1943 23 U-Flottille (Danzig) school boat
December 1943 - April 1944 21 U-Flottille (Pillau) school boat

April 1944 – August 1944 4 Unterseebootslehrdivision

Patrol 1  19 August 1939. Left Wilhelmshaven for the Atlantic, to operate west of the British Isles and the English Channel. On 8 September 1939, U 29 sank the tanker MV Regent Tiger (British, 10176t) south west of Ireland. She went on to sink the tug Neptunia (British, 798t) by gunfire on the 13th and the tanker MV British Influence (British, 8431t) the same way on the 14th.  In the evening of 17 September, U 29 torpedoed the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous south west of Ireland, hitting it with two torpedoes and missing with a third. The carrier sank in about twenty minutes and of her crew of 1200, 518 officers and men were lost. Immediately, an escorting destroyer, HMS Ivanhoe, made three depth-charge attacks where U 29 was believed to be. The boat suffered no damage and evaded the hunt which took place over the next four hours. The incident was to colour perceptions of the danger of U-boats for both sides for the rest of the War. Hitler was at Wilhelmshaven to congratulate and decorate the crew of U 29 when she berthed on 26 September 1939.

Patrol 2 14 November 1939. Left Wilhelmshaven with twelve TMB mines and six torpedoes for a minelaying operation at Milford Haven. The commander Otto Schuhart broke radio silence to report that foul weather and a bright moon had prevented him laying his mines. U-boat Control directed Schuhart to Bristol as an alternative target but Schuhart declined the opportunity. Rather embarrasingly, he returned to Wilhelmshaven on 16 December with his full complement of mines and narrowly avoided being removed from his command. The boat had developed a number of defects and was sent back for major repairs.

Patrol 3 6 February 1940. Left Wilhelmshaven and arrived at Heligoland on 6 February 1940.

Patrol 4. 11 February 1940. Departed from Heligoland for a minelaying operation in the Bristol Channel. Eight TMB mines were laid off Nash Point during the night of 2 March. On the 3rd the SS Cato (British, 710t) detonated one of these mines and sank. Such a small ship should not have detonated the mine, suggesting a faulty setting in the magnetic pistol. No other ships were affected and the minelaying mission was considered a failure. It is possible that the mines were laid outside of the normal shipping lanes.

In the early hours of the 4th, U 29 torpedoed and sank the SS Thurston (British, 3072t) west of Trevose Head. Later the same day she sank the MV Pacific Reliance (British, 7617t) west of Newquay and apparently missed the SS San Florentino. This patrol was considered enough of a success for Schuhart to retain command of the boat. U 29 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 12 March 1940.

Patrol 5 17 April 1940. On transport duties to Norway, carrying   military stores. U 29 arrived at Bergen on the 19th and then moved north. Arrived at Trondheim on 23 April 1940.

Patrol 6 27 April 1940. Left Trondheim after unloading and refuelling. Returned to Wilhelmshaven on 4 May 1940.

Patrol 7 27 May 1940. Left Wilhelmshaven to patrol the western entrance of the English Channel, with U 101. The boats were expected to benefit from changes in the rules of engagement which essentially allowed unrestricted submarine warfare. They were later ordered to join the Rösing group, which was to be made up of five boats under the tactical command of KK Hans Rösing. On 12 June 1940, the boats were assembled in an area west of Cape Ortegal, awaiting the important northbound convoy US 3, which included the Queen Mary and two other large liners, carrying 26, 000 troops from Australia and New Zealand. The convoy, which was escorted by HMS Hood, an aircraft carrier and some cruisers, was expected in the area from the 13th. When it had not been located by the 17th the Rösing Group was disbanded. U 29 went first to Vigo, where she was refuelled by the German supply ship Bessel during the night of 20 June. On the 26th U 29 sank the SS Dimitris (Gr. 5254t) by gunfire north west of Cape Ortegal and on 1 July, she sank another Greek ship, the SS Adamastos (Gr. 5889t) by gunfire in the same area. U 29 sank two ships south west of Ireland on 2 July, in the morning the SS Santa Margarita (Pa. 4919t) by gunfire and the tanker MV Athellaird (British, 8999t) in the late evening by torpedo. In this final attack, the boat's attack periscope broke and the boat aborted to Wilhelmshaven on 11 July 1940.

Patrol 8 2 September 1940. Left Wilhelmshaven and put into Bergen on 5 September 1940.

Patrol 9 11 September 1940. U 29 left Bergen to operate west of the British Isles. She sank the SS Eurymedon (British, 6223t) on the 25th west of Ireland, which had been with convoy OB 217 before it dispersed. The boat developed a serious engine malfunction and had to be escorted into Lorient on 1 October 1940.

Patrol 10 26 October 1940. Still experiencing severe engine problems, U 29 left to meet and escort in the returning commerce raider Schiff 21/Widder. The boat escorted the vessel from the 29th until Brest was reached on 31 October 1940.

Patrol 11 2 November 1940. Left Brest to act as a weather boat west of Britain. The boat was suffering from too many intermittent faults in all systems to be of any further operational value. U 29 put into Bergen on 30 November 1940.

Patrol 12 1 December 1940. Left Bergen and arrived at Wilhelmshaven on 3 December 1940.

On 3 January 1941, U 29 went on to training duties and apart from a period when she was out of service, June - November 1942, she continued so until August 1944. The boat was finally scuttled in Kupfermühlen Bay on 4 May 1945.