List of all U-boats




Ordered25 Sep 1939
Laid down11 Oct 1940 AG Weser, Bremen (werk 998)
Launched21 May 1941
Commissioned4 Sep 1941Kptlt. Werner Hartenstein (Knights Cross)
4 Sep 1941 - 8 Mar 1943  KrvKpt. Werner Hartenstein (Knights Cross)
5 patrols
4 Sep 1941-31 Dec 1941  4. Flottille (training)
1 Jan 1942-8 Mar 1943  2. Flottille (active service)
Successes19 ships sunk, total tonnage 97,489 GRT
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 18,811 GRT
1 warship damaged, total tonnage 1,190 tons

Sunk at 1315hrs on 8 March 1943 in the Atlantic east of Barbados, in position 12.38N, 54.39W, by depth charges from a US Catalina aircraft (VP-53 USN/P-1). 53 dead (all hands lost).

Loss position

See the 23 ships hit by U-156 - View the 5 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-156 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Eisbär (25 Aug 1942 - 1 Sep 1942)

Attacks on this boat and other events

16 Sep 1942
An American B-24 Liberator from Ascension Island piloted by James D. Harden discovered U-156 on the surface engaged in the rescue of over a thousand survivors from her sinking of HMS Laconia. U-156, having earlier radioed that she would not attack any ship assisting, displayed a large red cross in the hope that American forces would hold off attacking. Harden described the situation to his base and was ordered "Sink sub", after which he launched an attack which damaged the boat. U-156 radioed this information to BdU and sailed west to repair the damage. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 62.)

1 recorded attack on this boat.

General notes on this boat

12 Sep 1942. On 12 September 1942 U-156 sank the British liner Laconia west of Africa in what has become known as the Laconia Incident.

Men lost from the boat

16 Feb 1942
U-156 began to shell the oil refinery at Aruba in the Caribbean, but the gun crew forgot to remove the water plug from the barrel, causing an explosion that killed one man [Matrosengefreiter Heinrich Büssinger]. The gunnery officer [II WO Leutnant zur See Dietrich von dem Borne, see right] lost his right leg in this incident, and so had to be put ashore into captivity at Martinique on 21 February. The commander decided to saw off the ruined portion of the gun barrel, and using this shorter barrel, on 27 February U-156 sank a 2,498-ton British steamer.

  Related: For more info on such losses see - Men lost from U-boats -

U-boat Emblems

We have 2 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

2nd Flotilla

Castle on a Shield

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

The sinking of the laconia and the u-boat war

Duffy, James P.

One Common Enemy

McLoughlin, Jim

German U-Boat 156 Brought War to Aruba February 16, 1942

Hochstuhl, William C.

The Enemy We Killed, My Friend

Jones, David C.

Battle Beneath the Waves

Stern, Robert C.

German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel

Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay

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

Wynn, Kenneth

Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay

There was another U-156 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 17 Apr 1917 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 22 Aug 1917. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 156 during WWI.

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