|Ordered||7 Aug 1939|
|Laid down||1 Sep 1940||AG Weser, Bremen (werk 994)|
|Launched||1 Apr 1941|
|Commissioned||1 Jul 1941||Korvkpt. Arend Baumann|
|Successes||1 ship sunk, total tonnage 4,016 GRT|
Sunk on 17 December 1941 in the North Atlantic north-east of Madeira, Portugal, in position 34.12N, 13.35W, by depth charges and gunfire from the British escort destroyers HMS Exmoor and HMS Blankney, the British destroyer HMS Stanley, the British corvette HMS Pentstemon and the British sloop HMS Stork and by gunfire from a Martlet aircraft* (802 Sqn FAA) of the British escort carrier HMS Audacity. 47 survivors (no casualties).
U-131 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Seeräuber (14 Dec 1941 - 17 Dec 1941)
Attacks on this boat and other events
17 Dec 1941
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down: British Martlet fighter (802 Sqn FAA, pilot SubLt George R.P. Fletcher, RNVR)
The sinking of U-131 0925hrs, west of Rabat, Morocco: while shadowing convoy HG-76 the boat was sighted and forced to dive by a Martlet fighter of the British escort carrier HMS Audacity. HMS Stork (Cdr F.J. "Johnnie" Walker) immediately raced to the spot together with four other escorts. About one hour later, HMS Stanley got an asdic contact and HMS Pentstemon carried out several depth charge attacks on U-131, causing serious damage and forcing her to surface due to chlorine gas from the batteries at 1247hrs. Unable to dive, Baumann tried to escape at full speed on the surface. After 20 minutes, a Martlet strafed the boat, but was brought down by flak and crashed into the sea, killing the pilot. In the meantime the escorts began shelling U-131 from a distance of about 7 nautical miles, scoring several hits as they closed in. The boat returned fire at HMS Blankney, but without scoring any hits, and was eventually scuttled by the crew at 1330hrs.
This was the first aircraft shot down by a U-boat in the war.
1 recorded attack on this boat.
General notes on this boat
* Just minutes before being sunk U-131 shot down a British Martlet aircraft.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-131 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.