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U-532

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A type IXC40 U-Boat

 

This is U-889 in Canada after its surrender 

 

 

Photograph courtesy of uboat.net

The German U-Boat which torpedoed and sank the 'Fort Longueuil' was U-532 commanded by Ottoheinrich Junker.

U-532 was a type IXC40 and was designed as a long range ocean-going submarine with a diving depth of 100-200m.  It had a double hull with five compartments.  This type of U-Boat was armed with six 21inch torpedo tubes (four forward and two aft), twenty-two torpedoes or  forty-four TMA mines, a 105mm gun  and a 27mm and 20mm AA guns.  The crew would have been 4 officers and 44 ratings.

IXC Type

(From 'U-Boat Fact File' by Peter Sharpe reproduced with permission from Merchant Navy Association/Peter Sharpe)

 

Launched in August 1942, U-532 was commissioned into the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) in November 1942. After a brief spell in the North Atlantic, U-532 was ordered to the Far East as one of the Monsun boats.  This was the name given to 11 U-boats that were sent to patrol the Indian Ocean just after the Monsoon period in September 1943.  By the end of 1944, it was decided that the boats could no longer operate effectively from their base in Jakarta and so they were sent home, carrying as much cargo as possible.  U-532 left Jakarta on 13 January 1945, headed for Norway.

On 10 May 1945, U-532 surrendered at sea and was taken to Liverpool where her cargo was discharged.  The boat was put on public view at the Vickers shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria while it's fate was decided (see links page for the Dock Museum website to view some close-up photographs of U-532 on-line).  Not wanted for war reparations, U-532 was taken to Loch Ryan and on 7 December 1945 was towed by 'Masterful' for disposal in Operation Deadlight.  It was torpedoed and sank by HM Submarine 'Tantivy', north west of Ireland on 9 December 1945.

U-532 sunk a total of eight ships and damaged two during the war:

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19.09.43  SS Fort Longueuil (Br), 7128 tons - Sunk

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29.09.43  SS Banffshire (Nor), 6479 tons - Sunk

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01.10.43  MV Tashinia (Br), 7267 tons - Sunk

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11.10.43  SS Jalabala (Ind), 3610 tons - Sunk

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20.10.43  MV British Purpose (Br),5845 tons - Damaged

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11.01.44  SS Triona (Br), 7283 tons - Damaged

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26.01.44  SS Walter Camp (US), 7176 tons - Sunk

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27.03.44  MV Tulagi (Br), 2281 tons - Sunk

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10.03.45  SS Baron Jedburgh (Br), 3656 tons Sunk

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28.03.45  SS Oklahoma (US), 9298 tons - Sunk

 

 

Ottoheinrich Junker

Ottoheinrich Junker was born in Freiburg on 12 June 1905 and died on 28 July 2000.

Junker commanded U-33 from 25.07.36 - 28.10.38 and then was a member of TEK (Torpedo Testing Comand) until commissioning U-532 in 1942.  In June 1943 he was appointed a Fregattenkapitan (Senior Commander) and in 1944 was awarded with a Deutsche Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold).

Ottoheinrich Junker was released from captivity in February 1948.

Photo courtesy of uboat.net

 

Dave Dixon witnessed the surrender of U532 in May 1945.  Here is his account: 

 "I was off for a holiday with some friends and family to Douglas. We sailed from Fleetwood and had been sailing for an hour when a destroyer steamed up to us with signal lights telling us to hove to.  At the same time a Sunderland flying boat roared overhead and dropped flares.  The destroyer HMS Anthony (H40)  lowered a launch and just in front of us this rusty U-boat burst out onto the surface.  The crew came out of the tower and hoisted the white flag.  Navy crew went on board and we were allowed to proceed to Douglas.  Later that afternoon, destroyer and submarine came into harbour and the crew marched off to Onchan Head prison camp.  This was a great start to the holiday, and much excitement a day or two later when VE day was announced.  I think the date of the 10th of May for the surrender may be due to the fact that U 532 was taken across to the Mersey where there was much publicity, and I have seen photos of it in Wallasey or Birkenhead docks. What has really baffled me for all this time, is why was a passenger ship with many civilians allowed to travel at this period when only a few days earlier, HMS Redmill was badly damaged by U 1105 not too far away?"

 

This very interesting email was sent by Frank D'Eath:

 "I showed your web site to my father in law who found the contents very interesting as the crew of HMS Grindall made contact with the survivors of U 532 in about 1970 and held bi-annual reunions in England and Germany until old age overtook them all. Regretfully my father-in-law has only recently died but he did ask me to send you the following information regarding the the display of U-532 in Liverpool.

I give below the text of his commentary to me;-
 
W.Green.  Electrical Artificer  HMS Grindall  5th Escort Group. Based at Belfast.
 
10th May 5th Escort Group left Belfast for Lochalsh to provide guards on the surrendered U boats. This was usually 1 officer and 4 ratings.
15th May HMS Grindall with its guard aboard U532 was ordered to escort to Liverpool.
Run into rough seas, U boat requested permission to dive to avoid bad weather but refused as UK personnel on board. One of the German seaman was washed overboard and lost. Grindall made a search which was unsuccessful..
Arrived at Liverpool on 17th May to a large welcome as we both passed through the docks.
Admiral Max Horton who was in charge of U boat operations at Liverpool put HMS Grindall on show with U 532 to the public.
We sailed for Barrow where we left U 532 on 25th May. We then sailed to Scapa Flow to rejoin our Group
 
I trust you find this background information useful."
 F.G.D'Eath

September 2003

 

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Last modified: May 27, 2004

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