List of all U-boats

U-110

Type

IXB

 
Ordered24 May 1938
Laid down1 Feb 1940 AG Weser, Bremen (werk 973)
Launched25 Aug 1940
Commissioned21 Nov 1940Kptlt. Fritz-Julius Lemp
Commanders
21 Nov 1940 - 9 May 1941  Kptlt. Fritz-Julius Lemp (Knights Cross)
Career
2 patrols
21 Nov 1940-28 Feb 1941  2. Flottille (training)
1 Mar 1941-9 May 1941  2. Flottille (active service)
Successes3 ships sunk, total tonnage 10,149 GRT
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 8,675 GRT
Fate

Captured on 9 May 1941 in the North Atlantic east of Cape Farewell, Greenland by the British destroyers HMS Bulldog, HMS Broadway and the corvette HMS Aubretia. The boat was allowed to sink the day after to preserve the secret of her capture (see below). 15 dead and 32 survivors.

Loss position

See the 5 ships hit by U-110 - View the 2 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-110 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   West (9 May 1941 - 9 May 1941)

Attacks on this boat and other events

16 Mar 1941
Escorts from convoy HX 112 dropped 24 depth charges without result. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 255)

1 recorded attack on this boat.

General notes on this boat


"The Secret Capture"


U-110 was captured by the Royal Navy on May 9, 1941. This was perhaps the most important capture of the entire war and was so secret that even the crew of U-110 did not know of it! U-110, under the command of Kptlt. Fritz Julius Lemp, had been attacking a convoy in the Atlantic south of Iceland together with U-201 (Oblt. Adalbert Schnee), when Lemp left his periscope up too long (probably to confirm a kill: he sank two ships totalling 7500 GRT that day) and the escort HMS Aubretia sighted it and rushed to the scene and began depth charging.

U-110 survived the first attacks, but then HMS Bulldog and HMS Broadway joined the hunt. U-110 was forced to surface, and HMS Bulldog immediately set course to ram (its commander realised it might be possible to capture U-110, and veered aside at the last moment) which caused Lemp to order "Abandon Ship". Lemp assumed the boat would be sunk, and its confidential material would go down with it. When he was in the water he realised the boat was not sinking, and attempted to swim back to prevent capture. That was the last seen of him. Members of U-110s crew later claimed he was shot in the water by the British boarding party, but that was never confirmed.

The boarding party commanded by Lt David Balme made several journeys between U-110 and HMS Bulldog to collect whatever they could get their hands on inside the boat. This proved to be very fruitful, as U-110 was abandoned in a hurry, and being a type IXB U-boat, did not sink as rapidly as a type VIIC would have. It is almost certain that many U-boats were sunk as a result of the material found inside U-110, including an Enigma machine with rotors set, and current code books.

The day after the capture, the British Admiralty realised the importance of this, and that if the Germans knew the boat had been captured, they would assume the worst and change their codes and cipher system. The boat was accordingly ordered to be scuttled while being towed to Britain, the surviving crew were taken straight to Iceland to be interned, and everyone involved in the capture sworn to secrecy. 15 of U-110s crew died in the action and 32 were interned.

The event was the subject of a British parliamentary motion in 1999 condemning the portrayal of the capture of U-110 and subsequent breaking of German codes as an American success in the film U-571.

23 Mar 1941. On attempting to fire on a freighter with the deck gun the water-tight plug was not removed from the barrel. The subsequent explosion caused damage severe enough to force a return to port.

Men lost from the boat

23 Mar 1941
The 105mm deck gun exploded, wounding three men.

  Related: For more info on such losses see - Men lost from U-boats -

U-boat Emblems

We have 1 emblem entry for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.


Small dog in a Circle

Media links


U-Boat Adventures

Wiggins, Melanie


U-Boat Operations of the Second World War - Vol 1

Wynn, Kenneth


German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel


Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay


The Secret Capture

Roskill, S. W.

There was another U-110 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 28 Jul 1917 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 25 Sep 1917. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about the U 110 during WWI.