List of all U-boats




Ordered9 Jun 1938
Laid down18 Dec 1939 Flender Werke AG, Lübeck (werk 281)
Launched10 Apr 1941
Commissioned7 Jun 1941Oblt. Eberhard Greger
7 Jun 1941 - 14 Apr 1942  Oblt. Eberhard Greger
4 patrols
7 Jun 1941-31 Aug 1941  3. Flottille (training)
1 Sep 1941-14 Apr 1942  3. Flottille (active service)
Successes3 ships sunk, total tonnage 15,060 GRT

Sunk on 14 April 1942 in the North Atlantic off Cape Hatteras, in position 35.55N, 75.13W, by gunfire from the US destroyer USS Roper. 46 dead (all hands lost).

Loss position

See the 3 ships hit by U-85 - View the 4 war patrols

This boat is a dive site

The wreck is located approximately 18 miles east of Nags Head, NC. The depth is about 100 feet and currents can be very strong in that area making this an advanced dive.

This wreck is a German war grave and should be respected as such

Depth: 100 feet (30 meters)
Position (lat, long): 35.55, -75.13

See more U-boat dive sites.

Wolfpack operations

U-85 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Markgraf (1 Sep 1941 - 11 Sep 1941)
   Schlagetot (20 Oct 1941 - 1 Nov 1941)
   Raubritter (1 Nov 1941 - 17 Nov 1941)
   Störtebecker (17 Nov 1941 - 22 Nov 1941)

Attacks on this boat and other events

10 Sep 1941
After sinking the British freighter Thistleglen from convoy SC 42 the boat suffered such severe damage from attacks by the escorts that she was forced to return to France. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 361)

1 recorded attack on this boat.

General notes on this boat

14 Apr 1942. U-85 was the first U-boat to be sunk off the North American coast after the start of Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag) on 13 January 1942.

On the day that she was sunk, 14 April, U-85 stayed on the surface throughout the engagement. After repeated hits on the boat fatally damaged her, the order to abandon ship was given, and perhaps half the crew got into the water before U-85 started to go down fast. USS Roper then dropped 11 depth charges onto the already sinking U-boat and the two dozen or so survivors, and in the process killed everyone in the water.

The wreck is now a popular dive site.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-85 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.

Wild Boar

Media links

Cape Hatteras

Lloyd, Keith Warren

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

Dive into History

Keatts, Henry C. and Farr, George C.

The Approaching Storm

Chewning, Alpheus J.

Diving the U-85

Bunch, Jim W.

There was another U-85 in World War One
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 22 Aug 1916 and commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 23 Oct 1916. The Naval war in WWI was brought to an end with the Armistice signed on 11 Nov, 1918. Read about SM U 85 during WWI.

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