|Ordered||25 Sep 1939|
|Laid down||11 Oct 1940||AG Weser, Bremen (werk 998)|
|Launched||21 May 1941|
|Commissioned||4 Sep 1941||Kptlt. Werner Hartenstein (Knights Cross)|
|Successes||19 ships sunk, total tonnage 97,489 GRT|
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 18,811 GRT
1 warship damaged, total tonnage 1,190 tons
Sunk at 1315hrs on 8 March 1943 east of Barbados, in position 12.38N, 54.39W, by depth charges from a US Catalina aircraft (VP-53/P-1). 53 dead (all hands lost).
U-156 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Eisbär (25 Aug 1942 - 1 Sep 1942)
Attacks on this boat and other events
16 Sep 1942
An American B-24 bomber from Ascension Island piloted by James D. Harden discovered U-156 on the surface engaged in the rescue of over a thousand survivors from her sinking of HMS Laconia. U-156, having earlier radioed that she would not attack any ship assisting, displayed a large red cross in the hope that American forces would hold off attacking. Harden described the situation to his base and was ordered "Sink sub", after which he launched an attack which damaged the boat. U-156 radioed this information to BdU and sailed west to repair the damage. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 62.)
1 recorded attack on this boat.
General notes on this boat
12 Sep 1942. On 12 September, 1942 U-156 sank the Allied liner Laconia west of Africa in what has become known as the Laconia incident. Please check out this page which has several photos and map of the area.
Men lost from the boat
16 Feb 1942
U-156 began to shell the oil refinery at Aruba in the Caribbean, but the gun crew forgot to remove the water plug from the barrel, causing an explosion that killed one man [Matrosengefreiter Heinrich Büssinger]. The gunnery officer [II WO Leutnant zur See Dietrich von dem Borne, see right] lost his right leg in this incident, and so had to be put ashore into captivity at Martinique on 21 February. The commander decided to saw off the ruined portion of the gun barrel, and using this shorter barrel, on 27 February U-156 sank a 2,498-ton British steamer.
Related: For more info on such losses see - Men lost from U-boats -
We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.
Castle on a Shield
There was another U-156 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 17 Apr 1917 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 22 Aug 1917. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 156 during WWI.