|Ordered||16 Oct 1939|
|Laid down||25 Apr 1940||F Schichau GmbH, Danzig (werk 1480)|
|Launched||6 Sep 1941|
|Commissioned||22 Nov 1941||Kptlt. Rudolf Franzius|
|Successes||3 ships sunk, total tonnage 12,045 GRT|
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 5,496 GRT
Sunk 6 May 1943 in the North Atlantic north-east of Newfoundland, in approximate position 52.00N, 45.10W, by depth charges from the British sloop HMS Pelican. 48 dead (all hands lost).
U-438 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Lohs (11 Aug 1942 - 25 Aug 1942)
Tümmler (6 Oct 1942 - 9 Oct 1942)
Panther (13 Oct 1942 - 20 Oct 1942)
Veilchen (20 Oct 1942 - 5 Nov 1942)
Habicht (11 Jan 1943 - 19 Jan 1943)
Haudegen (19 Jan 1943 - 8 Feb 1943)
Adler (11 Apr 1943 - 13 Apr 1943)
Meise (13 Apr 1943 - 22 Apr 1943)
Specht (22 Apr 1943 - 4 May 1943)
Fink (4 May 1943 - 6 May 1943)
Attacks on this boat and other events
25 Aug 1942
At 07.05 hours, HNoMS Eglantine obtained a radar contact between her and HNoMS Montbretia on the starboard quarter of convoy ONS-122, and opened fire with the 4in gun on sighting U-438 through fog five minutes later. After U-438 dived the corvette intended to attack with ten depth charges, but only dropped two because both traps jammed and six throwers misfired. They held contact and delivered a second attack, but with only one depth charge because the launchers were still out of action. At 07.26 hours, a third and final attack was made with five depth charges before the ship returned to the convoy. The U-boat had dived to 180 metres, but the depth charges caused a leak in the bow compartment that could not be stopped, which forced U-438 to surface shortly afterwards. Despite being unable to dive, they escaped in the fog, and six hours later had managed to repair the damage, but were ordered to return to base nonetheless because their fuel supplies were low. (Sources: ADM reports, KTB U-438)
4 May 1943
A Catalina aircraft (Sqdn 5) attacked a U-boat believed to have been U-438 in the Atlantic 200 miles south of Greenland. The boat fought off the attack, escaping with minor damage. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 291)
2 recorded attacks on this boat.
General notes on this boat
1 Jan 1943. On 1 January, 1943 U-438 was damaged by underwater explosions, forcing her to return from patrol in the North Atlantic.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-438 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.
We have 1 emblem entry for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.
The Berlin Bear (Coat of Arms)