List of all U-boats




Ordered23 Dec 1939
Laid down15 Feb 1941 Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 21)
Launched28 Oct 1941
Commissioned18 Dec 1941Oblt. Odo Loewe
18 Dec 1941 - 30 Nov 1942  Kptlt. Odo Loewe
16 Aug 1943 - 25 Jun 1944  Oblt. Wilhelm Brauel (German Cross in Gold)
2 Sep 1944 - 23 Oct 1944  KrvKpt. Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (Knights Cross)
5 patrols
18 Dec 1941-31 Jul 1942  8. Flottille (training)
1 Aug 1942-30 Nov 1942  9. Flottille (active service)
16 Aug 1943-25 Jun 1944  9. Flottille (active service)
16 Aug 1944-23 Oct 1944  9. Flottille (active service)
Successes1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,300 tons

Decommissioned on 30 November 1942 at Brest after being heavily damaged by depth charges from a British Whitley aircraft (77 Sqn RAF/H) in the Bay of Biscay on 2 September 1942.

Converted to U-Flak 2 in May 1943 and returned to service on 16 August 1943, but reverted to a regular combat boat in December 1943.

Decommissioned on 25 June 1944 at Brest after being badly damaged by a British Liberator aircraft (224 Sqn RAF/M) in the English Channel on 7 June 1944, but after emergency repairs recommissioned on 16 August 1944 and returned to service after fitting a Schnorchel.

Decommissioned on 23 October 1944 at Bergen, Norway after transfer from France and cannibalized for spare parts. In May 1945 its hulk was captured by British forces at Bergen and broken up.

See the 1 ships hit by U-256 - View the 5 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-256 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Steinbrinck (7 Aug 1942 - 11 Aug 1942)
   Lohs (11 Aug 1942 - 25 Aug 1942)
   Igel 2 (3 Feb 1944 - 17 Feb 1944)
   Hai 1 (17 Feb 1944 - 22 Feb 1944)
   Preussen (22 Feb 1944 - 13 Mar 1944)

Attacks on this boat and other events

25 Aug 1942
02.42 hrs, mid Atlantic south of Greenland: HNoMS Eglantine obtained a radar contact when she approached the survivors from the sunken Trolla astern of convoy ONS 122. She abandoned rescue operations to investigate the contact, which was U-256, which dived when the area was illuminated with star shells. At 02.47 hours, the corvette attempted to drop depth charges, but both throwers misfired and the trap jammed after only one had been dropped. This nonetheless proved accurate, and a leaking exhaust vent caused the stern-heavy U-boat to sink to a depth of 200m (656 ft). The corvette made two more runs, dropping eight and then ten depth charges, but had to return to the convoy at 02.58 hrs. U-256 managed to surface about 30 minutes later but was forced to break off the patrol due to the damage sustained. (Sources: ADM reports, KTB U-256)

2 Sep 1942
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:British Whitley bomber Z9515 (77 Sqn RAF/H, pilot P/O A. Cassie)

08.30 hrs, Bay of Biscay: the Whitley (misidentified as a Wellington) strafed the inbound U-256 and dropped two or three bombs that fell some 15m (50ft) astern. The Germans observed flak hits on the cockpit and saw the aircraft fly off very low leaving a smoke trail. Its crew sent an SOS and probably ditched. The crew of five was lost. U-256 was badly damaged and limped into Lorient the next day; some damage to the deck was apparently caused by one of the aircraft propellers.

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

8 Oct 1943
03.34 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: British Wellington bomber HF190 (612 Sqn RAF/J, pilot P/O M.H. Paynter, RAAF) straddled U-256 with six depth charges in a Leigh Light attack. The boat dived and escaped unscathed. Despite flak damage to the starboard elevator and the tail turret, the Wellington reached base and landed safely. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

16 Nov 1943
02.08 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: a Halifax Mk.II bomber (502 Sqn RAF/D, pilot F/O F.T. Culling-Mannix, RNZAF) approached the boat passing about 200m (656 ft) astern, and was hit by flak in the starboard wing tip and turned away. When the Halifax returned to the area the U-boat had dived. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

11 Mar 1944
Aircraft attack, aircraft crashed: Canadian Wellington HF311 (407 Sqn RCAF/H, pilot P/O E.M. O’Donnell)

21.48 hrs, mid Atlantic: the boat saw an aircraft crash into the sea close by. U-256 had not fired at the aircraft, which apparently crashed due to pilot error while preparing for a low level attack. All six aircrew were lost.

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

19 Mar 1944
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down: British B-24 Liberator (224 Sqn RAF/F, pilot F/L R. Dunn)

23.12 hrs, Bay of Biscay, inbound: the boat was illuminated by Leigh Light and strafed by the Liberator. The Germans observed hits to the right wing from the 20mm AA guns and to the fuselage from the 37mm AA gun. Flames were seen coming from the bomb bay and one of the engines as the aircraft passed astern of U-256 at a height of 50m (55 yards), dropping six depth charges, and then crashed into the sea 500m (547 yards) away, killing the crew of ten. The boat was not damaged in the attack.

(Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

7 Jun 1944
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:British B-24 Liberator bomber (224 Sqn RAF/M).

7 recorded attacks on this boat.

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat

This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus in June 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-256 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 4 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.

Hau zua

Coat of Arms of Landeck

Skeleton breaking Aircraft

Mouse escaping Trap

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay

Sailors' Journey Into War

Maher, Robert and Wise, James
($ 22.06)
(£ 27.95)

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

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