List of all U-boats




Ordered10 Apr 1941
Laid down26 Mar 1942 Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 43)
Launched2 Dec 1942
Commissioned16 Jan 1943Oblt. Joachim Franze
16 Jan 1943 - 9 May 1945  Kptlt. Joachim Franze (German Cross in Gold)
7 patrols
16 Jan 1943-30 Sep 1943  8. Flottille (training)
1 Oct 1943-31 Dec 1943  7. Flottille (active service)
1 Jan 1944-31 Aug 1944  11. Flottille (active service)
1 Sep 1944-8 May 1945  13. Flottille (active service)
Successes1 ship sunk, total tonnage 7,177 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,810 tons

Surrendered at Narvik, Norway on 9 May 1945.

Transferred to Loch Eriboll, Scotland, on 19 May 1945 and later to Lisahally.

Operation Deadlight (post-war Allied operation, info)
Sunk on 31 Dec, 1945 in position 55.44N, 08.21W.

Final location

See the 2 ships hit by U-278 - View the 7 war patrols

The U-boats that were in the Narvik area at the end of the war were all moved to the Skjomenfjord upon Allied orders to avoid conflicts with the Norwegians on 12 May. On 15 May, a German convoy of five ships (the fleet tender Grille with the staff of FdU Norwegen aboard, the fleet oiler Kärnten, the repair ship Kamerun and the depot ships Huascaran and Stella Polaris) and 15 U-boats (U-278, U-294, U-295, U-312, U-313, U-318, U-363, U-427, U-481, U-668, U-716, U-968, U-992, U-997 and U-1165) left for transfer to Trondheim, but was intercepted after two days by the 9th Escort Group off the Norwegian coast and officially capitulated. While the ships were allowed to proceed to Trondheim, the U-boats were escorted to Loch Eriboll, Scotland, arriving on 19 May. All U-boats were later that month transferred to Lisahally or Loch Ryan for Operation Deadlight.

Wolfpack operations

U-278 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Isegrim (16 Jan 1944 - 27 Jan 1944)
   Werwolf (29 Jan 1944 - 18 Feb 1944)
   Boreas (4 Mar 1944 - 5 Mar 1944)
   Taifun (5 Mar 1944 - 10 Mar 1944)
   Thor (10 Mar 1944 - 3 Apr 1944)
   Donner & Keil (25 Apr 1944 - 3 May 1944)
   Greif (3 Aug 1944 - 26 Sep 1944)
   Faust (21 Apr 1945 - 1 May 1945)

Attacks on this boat and other events

3 May 1944
03.32 hrs, Norwegian Sea: U-278 was surprised by three carrier aircraft (one Swordfish of 842 Sqn FAA from HMS Fencer and one Swordfish and one Martlet of 833 Sqn FAA from HMS Activity) in the vicinity of convoy RA 59. It happened so quickly that the AA gunners only returned fire after the initial attack, but they then managed to keep the aircraft at a distance with the quadruple flak gun for 20 minutes until the boat dived. The four or five depth charges dropped fell wide and the boat suffered only superficial damage from 33 hits to the conning tower and the upper deck from the strafing runs. The Germans observed AA hits on the right wing of the Martlet and claimed it shot down after observing it trailing smoke until lost from sight. However, all three aircraft returned to their carriers.

1 recorded attack on this boat.

Schnorchel-fitted U-boat

This boat was fitted with a Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus in October 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-278 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.

Four Leaf Clover in a Horseshoe

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll

David M. Hird

The Royal Navy and German Naval Disarmament, 1942-1947

Madsen, Chris
($ 58.77)

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

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