List of all U-boats

U-234

Type

XB

 
Ordered7 Dec 1940
Laid down1 Oct 1941 F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 664)
Launched23 Dec 1943
Commissioned2 Mar 1944Kptlt. Johann-Heinrich Fehler
Commanders
2 Mar 1944 - 19 May 1945  Kptlt. Johann-Heinrich Fehler (German Cross in Gold)
Career
1 patrol
2 Mar 1944-28 Feb 1945  5. Flottille (training)
1 Mar 1945-8 May 1945  33. Flottille (active service)
SuccessesNo ships sunk or damaged
Fate

Surrendered at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 19 1945 (Waller & Niestlé, 2010).

Post war information (see more post-war boats):
Arrived at Portsmouth Navy Yard, NH on 19 May 45. Minor refit. Used for limited trials in early 1946. U-234 was sunk by a torpedo from USS Greenfish during trials approximately 40 miles north-east off Cape Cod, on the US east coast on 20 Nov 1947.

Final location

Blue marker shows the final fate of the boat after the war. Orange marker shows German surrender. Map is click-able and zoom-able.

View the 1 war patrol

General notes on this boat

U-234 suffered bomb damage while under construction in 1942. After the loss of U-233 in July 1944 it was decided not to use U-234 as a mine-layer. She was then rebuilt as a cargo-carrier for the Germany-Japan route. On 25 March 1945 she left Kiel and a few days later reached Kristiansand, Norway.

On 15 April 1945 she left Norway and was en-route to Japan with important cargo (including Me 262 jet fighter drawings and 560 kg of uranium oxide) as well as several high ranking German experts on various technologies, including two Messerschmitt production engineers, plus two Japanese officers returning home from Germany. When Kptlt. Fehler heard the surrender orders he decided to head for the USA and surrender. However, as per tradition, the Japanese men took their own lives via sleeping pills rather than being captured.

Me 262 fighter aircraft on board?

Update 11 Dec 2012. Despite many rumours to the contrary, U-234 was not carrying any aircraft on board. A great many publications (including uboat.net for a long time) have suggested there were either one Me 262, two Me 262's or even three Messerschmitt aircraft on board, but they are all incorrect.

Instead, the cargo comprised three elements. Items for the Japanese Army and Navy, including mercury, optical glass, lead, zinc, steel, brass, thallium, uranium oxide and a very large number of Me 262-related technical drawings, production plans, patterns, forms and templates: considerable quantities of stores and ammunition for the German U-Boats and U-Boat bases that were still operational in the Far East: and several tons of diplomatic mail for the German Embassy in Tokyo.

The most significant element of this cargo, which the British and Americans knew about in advance via ULTRA intercepts, were the Me 262 documents which, with the help of the two Messerschmitt engineers, could have enabled the Japanese to set up factories designed to produce up to 500 Me 262s a month within two years. Unfortunately, many authors (and other net sites) have confused aircraft documents with aircraft hardware.

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat
This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus in November 1944. Read more about the Schnorchel and see list of fitted boats.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-234 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

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


Rising Devil

Media links


On The Triangle Run

Lamb, James B.


Germany's Last Mission to Japan

Scalia, Joseph M.


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

Wynn, Kenneth


Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay


German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel


Hirschfeld

Brooks, Geoffrey told by Wolfgang Hirschfeld


The Warring Seas

Sellwood, Arthur V.