German submarine U-427 was a Type VIIC U boat of the German
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...
during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
Built by Danziger Werft
Danziger Werft was a German shipbuilding company, located in Danzig. It was founded in 1921 on the site of the Kaiserliche Werft Danzig that had been closed after World War I.During World War II Danziger Werft built 42 Type VII U-boats for the Kriegsmarine....
, Danzig, the U-boat was laid down on 27 July 1942, and launched on 6 February 1943, with a crew of 53 under their Austrian
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....
commander Oberleutnant Graf
Graf is a historical German noble title equal in rank to a count or a British earl...
Carl-Gabriel von Gudenus. It survived until the end of the war. Ironically, most U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...
s achieved notoriety for the number of kills they achieved, or the total tonnage of the vessels they sank, but in the case of U-427 fame was achieved of a different sort.
From its first voyage, on 20 June 1944, until the end of the war, U-427 never destroyed any of its targets. It fired torpedoes at two vessels, and on 29 April 1945, missing both, but it was for its ability to survive under unusual circumstances that U-427 became known. In April 1945, leading up to, during, and after those two attacks, U-427 survived 678 depth charge
A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...
attempts. On 2 May 1945, U-427 returned to its base at Kilbotn
Kilbotn is a village in the municipality of Harstad in Troms county, Norway. The population of the village is 332, but since 2002 it has been considered a part of the Harstad urban area. The village is located about south of the center of the city of Harstad, along the Vågsfjorden on the east...
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...
, where it remained for the few remaining days before Germany's surrender.
U-427 surrendered at Narvik
is the third largest city and municipality in Nordland county, Norway by population. Narvik is located on the shores of the Narvik Fjord . The municipality is part of the Ofoten traditional region of North Norway, inside the arctic circle...
, Norway, on 8 May 1945, and was transferred to Loch Eriboll
Loch Eriboll is a long sea loch on the north coast of Scotland, which has been used for centuries as a deep water anchorage as it is safe from the often stormy seas of Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth...
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
, on 19 May, and later to Loch Ryan
Loch Ryan is a Scottish sea loch that acts as an important natural harbour for shipping, providing calm waters for ferries operating between Scotland and Northern Ireland...
as part of "Operation Deadlight
Operation Deadlight was the code name for the scuttling of U-boats surrendered to the Allies after the defeat of Germany near the end of World War II....
" where it was sunk on 21 December 1945 at 56°04′N 09°35′W.