U-boat patrols

Patrol info for U-110

Date lookup for 9 May 1941

DepartureArrival / FateDuration
15 Apr 1941Lorient9 May 1941Lost25 days


Officers *

Kptlt. Fritz-Julius Lemp

U-110's position on 9 May 1941

Ships hit by U-110 on this date

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. ConvoyMap
9 May 1941U-110Fritz-Julius Lemp Bengore Head2,609brOB-318A
9 May 1941U-110Fritz-Julius Lemp Esmond4,976brOB-318B

2 ships sunk (7,585 tons).

General Events during this patrol


9 May 1941.
"The Secret Capture"
U-110 was captured by the Royal Navy on May 9 1941. This was perhaps the most important capture of the entire war and was so secret that even the crew of U-110 did not know of it! U-110, under the command of Kptlt. Fritz Julius Lemp, had been attacking a convoy in the Atlantic south of Iceland together with U-201 (Oblt. Adalbert Schnee), when Lemp left his periscope up too long (probably to confirm a kill: he sank two ships totalling 7500 GRT that day) and the escort corvette HMS Aubretia sighted it and rushed to the scene and began depth charging. U-110 survived the first attacks, but then HMS Bulldog and HMS Broadway joined the hunt. U-110 was forced to surface, and HMS Bulldog immediately set course to ram (its commander realised it might be possible to capture U-110, and veered aside at the last moment) which caused Lemp to order "Abandon Ship". Lemp assumed the boat would be sunk, and its confidential material would go down with it. When he was in the water he realised the boat was not sinking, and attempted to swim back to prevent capture. That was the last seen of him. Members of U-110s crew later claimed he was shot in the water by the British boarding party, but that was never confirmed. The boarding party commanded by Lt David Balme made several journeys between U-110 and HMS Bulldog to collect whatever they could get their hands on inside the boat. This proved to be very fruitful, as U-110 was abandoned in a hurry, and being a Type IXB U-boat, did not sink as rapidly as a Type VIIC would have. It is almost certain that many U-boats were sunk as a result of the material found inside U-110, including an Enigma machine with rotors set and current code books. The day after the capture, the British Admiralty realised the importance of this, and that if the Germans knew the boat had been captured, they would assume the worst and change their codes and cipher system. The boat was accordingly ordered to be scuttled while being towed to Britain, the surviving crew were taken straight to Iceland to be interned, and everyone involved in the capture sworn to secrecy. 15 of U-110's crew died in the action and 32 were interned. This event was the subject of a British parliamentary motion in 1999 condemning the portrayal of the capture of U-110 and subsequent breaking of German codes as an American success in the film U-571.

9 May 1941. U-110 was captured by the Royal Navy in what was probably the most important yet secret capture of the war. The retrieval of her Enigma machine and code books enabled British code breakers at Bletchley Park cipher HQ to read German signal traffic, leading to the sinking of many U-boats. U-110 was subsequently scuttled and her capture successfully concealed from the Germans.See U-110: "The Secret Capture"

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Attacks on U-110 during this patrol

We have no recorded attacks on U-110 on this date (prior to its loss).

If you believe we have omitted an attack on U-110 please let us know.

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* These are officers that later became commanders themselves.

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