List of all U-boats




Ordered20 Jan 1941
Laid down6 Jun 1942 Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel (werk 28)
Launched27 Aug 1943
Commissioned16 Oct 1943 Oblt. Ernst-Günther Unterhorst
16 Oct 1943 - Mar, 1945  Kptlt. Ernst-Günther Unterhorst
Mar, 1945 - 23 Apr 1945  Kptlt. Hilmar Siemon
5 patrols
16 Oct 1943-31 May 1944  5. Flottille (training)
1 Jun 1944-30 Sep 1944  1. Flottille (active service)
1 Oct 1944-23 Apr 1945  11. Flottille (active service)
SuccessesNo ships sunk or damaged

The boat went missing in middle or late April 1945 on its return from weather-reporting duties. No explanation exists for its loss. 45 dead (all hands lost). (Axel Niestlé, June 1993).

View the 5 war patrols

Previously recorded fate

  • Sunk 23 April, 1945, in the North Atlantic southwest of the Shetlands, in position 59.29N, 05.22W, by depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 86/U). (Postwar assessment)
    Notes. This was probably against a nonsub target.

Attacks on this boat and other events

28 Jun 1944
20.08 hrs, NNE of the Shetlands: a British Catalina flying boat (RAF Sqdn 210/Q, pilot F/O J.C. Campbell) exchanged gunfire during a strafing run, then dropped depth charges after the boat dived. There were no hits to the aircraft, but U-396 was forced to return to Bergen by a carbon monoxide leak. (Sources: Franks)

1 recorded attack on this boat.

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat
This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus in May 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-396 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.

Corkscrew on Shield

Media links

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