List of all U-boats

U-331

Type

VIIC

 
Ordered23 Sep 1939
Laid down26 Jan 1940 Nordseewerke, Emden (werk 203)
Launched20 Dec 1940
Commissioned31 Mar 1941Oblt. Freiherr Hans-Diedrich von Tiesenhausen
Commanders
31 Mar 1941 - 17 Nov 1942  Kptlt. Hans-Diedrich Freiherr von Tiesenhausen (Knights Cross)
Career
10 patrols
31 Mar 1941-1 Jul 1941  1. Flottille (training)
1 Jul 1941-14 Oct 1941  1. Flottille (active service)
15 Oct 1941-14 Apr 1942  23. Flottille (active service)
15 Apr 1942-17 Nov 1942  29. Flottille (active service)
Successes1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 9,135 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 31,100 tons
1 warship damaged, total tonnage 372 tons
Fate

Sunk on 17 November 1942 in the Mediterranean Sea north-west of Algiers, in position 37.05N, 02.27E, by a torpedo from a British Albacore aircraft (820 Sqn FAA) and strafing by two British Martlet aircraft (893 Sqn FAA) from the British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, after being badly damaged by depth charges and strafing from three British Hudson aircraft (500 Sqn RAF/C, L & Z). 32 dead and 17 survivors.

Loss position

See the 3 ships hit by U-331 - View the 10 war patrols

U-331 had signaled surrender to a British Walrus flying boat after being badly damaged by the attacks of the three Hudson aircraft. The boat was settling by the bow and could only move slowly astern towards the coast. The German crew was on deck and showing a white flag on the conning tower when the boat was attacked and sunk by the carrier aircraft. Tiesenhausen and the rest of the survivors were rescued by the Walrus and the British escort destroyer HMS Wilton which had been sent to the area to capture the U-boat.

Wolfpack operations

U-331 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Goeben (24 Sep 1941 - 30 Sep 1941)

Attacks on this boat and other events

10 Oct 1941
The boat fought a gun duel with 3 British landing craft off Sidi Barrani and damaged HMS TLC-18 (A 18), but was itself slightly damaged. Two men of the gun crew were wounded, one of them mortally. [Bootsmann Hans Gerstenich]

13 Nov 1942
On being attacked by a convoy escort in the Mediterranean U-331 dived too deep and struck the sea bed, suffering minor damage.

2 recorded attacks on this boat.

General notes on this boat

17 Nov 1941. On 17 November, at the start of her third patrol, U-331 landed eight commandos on the Egyptian coast east of Ras Gibeisa. Their mission was to blow up a railway line, in which they failed. U-331 went on to sink the British battleship HMS Barham on 25 Nov.

Men lost from the boat

10 Oct 1941
The boat fought a gun duel with 3 British landing craft off Sidi Barrani and damaged HMS TLC-18 (A 18), but was itself slightly damaged. Two men of the gun crew were wounded, one of them mortally. [Bootsmann Hans Gerstenich]

  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.


Black Snake

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


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