German submarine U-862

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German submarine U-862 was a German Type IXD2 U-boat of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was the only German submarine to operate in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. After Germany's surrender in May 1945, U-862 put into Singapore and was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy under the name I-502.[1]

U-862 was laid down on August 15, 1942 by AG Weser of Bremen. She was commissioned on October 7, 1943 with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Timm in command. Timm commanded U-862 for her entire career in the Kriegsmarine, receiving a promotion to Korvettenkapitän on July 1, 1944. U-862 conducted two patrols, sinking seven ships totalling 42,374 tons.[1]

Contents

Service history

1st patrol

U-862 was one of the most travelled of all U-boats. She sailed from Germany in May 1944 and eventually reached Penang, in Japanese-controlled Malaya, in September 1944. Penang was the base for the 33rd U-boat flotilla, code-named Monsun ("Monsoon").

On the way there, she launched a T5/G7es Zaunkönig I acoustic homing torpedo at a tanker. The Zaunkönig came around full circle to home in on U-862 itself. Only an emergency crash dive saved the U-boat from its own torpedo. She also shot down an Allied PBY Catalina aircraft on August 20, 1944 and then escaped an intense search for her. She sank several merchant ships in the Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar.

2nd patrol

U-862 departed for her second war patrol from Batavia in the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies in December 1944. Assigned the task of operating off Australia, she sailed down the west coast of Australia, across the Great Australian Bight, around the southern coast of Tasmania and then north towards Sydney where she sank the U.S.-registered Liberty Ship Robert J. Walker on December 25, 1944. She then travelled around New Zealand and actually entered the port of Napier at night undetected.[3] Other claims also suggest U-862 entered Gisborne harbour, however the confined space within Gisborne harbour basin and 17 foot depth (equal to U-862's draught) virtually exclude this ever happened.

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