Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.


Discussion in 'Submarines and ASW Technology' started by Kai-Petri, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Jul 31, 2002
    Likes Received:


    German submarine U-234 at surrender

    Type XB
    Laid down 1 Oct, 1941
    Commissioned 2 Mar, 1944 Kptlt. Johann-Heinrich Fehler
    Career 1 patrol 2 Mar, 1944 - 28 Feb, 1945 5. Flottille (training)
    1 Mar, 1945 - 8 May, 1945 33. Flottille (front boat)

    Surrendered at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 16, 1945.

    U-234 was sunk by a torpedo from USS Greenfish during trials approximately 40 miles north-east off Cape Cod, on the US east coast on 20 November, 1947

    U-234 suffered bomb damage while under construction in 1942. After the loss of U-233 in July 1944 it was decided not to use U-234 as a mine-laying boat. She was then rebuilt as a Japan-transporter. On 25 March 1945 they left Kiel and a few days later reached Kristiansand, Norway.

    On 16 April, 1945 she left Norway and was enroute to Japan with extremely important cargo (drawings, a Me-262 jet fighter in crates and 550kg of uranium ore, several high ranking German experts on various technologies and 2 Japanese officers) when Kptlt. Fehler, after hearing the cease-fire orders on May 4, 1945, decided to head for the USA and surrender.

    Per tradition the Japanese men took their own life via sleeping pills (??) rather than being captured.

    Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-234 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.


    F I R S T A N D L A S T P A T R O L

    U-234 left Kristiansand on 15 April, 1945, with a conviction among all hands that Japan would never be reached. In fact, the commanding officer was stated to have told his crew that although they were officially destined for Japan, he was firmly convinced in his own mind that their destination would never be reached. U-234 proceeded submerged and at Schnorchel depth for the first 16 days and surfaced for the first time shortly before the Rosengarten, because of a severe storm. From then on she usually ran two hours on the surface at night and spent the balance of the time submerged to depths between 40 – 100 meters. She had orders not to make any attacks, so about the only incident before news of German’s surrender came was when she almost rammed a large steamer, but U-234 herself was not observed. The first ominous sign was when the Goliath station fell out and shortly after passing the Rosengarten no further signals were received from Nauen. From then on, all signals received were short wave. They had no radio contact for several days after the last message was received from Nauen. The U-boat series had been changed over to “Distel” series of which U-234 was ignorant. Then on the 4th of May, she got a fragmentary repeat from English and American stations about Dönitz’s elevation to supreme command in Germany. She was finally forced to surface in order to receive complete signals.

    On 10 May, U-234 picked up the order for all U-boats to surrender and to proceed to an Allied port depending on their position at that time. Upon receipt of this message, considerable discussion arose among the officers and passengers as to what course they should follow. Eire was first mentioned and this proposal was enthusiastically received by the two Japanese officers aboard. The discussion was particularly heated because at the time the surrender signal was received U-234 was exactly on the dividing line which determined whether she should proceed to England or to an American port. During the following two or three days after the surrender order was received, she proceeded southerly, surfacing at night and submerging during the daytime. Messages from other U-boats obeying the surrender order were picked up by U-234 and led her to report her position. She first tried the international short wave band but her signals apparently were not received so she switched to the 600 meter wave band and it was several hours before an answer was received to this signal. U-234’s first direct orders were from England on short wave, received on the 12 of May at about 0800. Then late that evening, she received orders from Halifax to report her position and speed hourly.

    When it became apparent to the Japanese officers that FEHLER intended to obey surrender orders, they informed the commanding officer of their resolve to commit suicide. FEHLER made some attempt to dissuade them from this, particularly by citing the surrender of Gen. Oshima and his staff as an example. But the pair requested that they be allowed to remain undisturbed in their cabin, which was granted. Previously, numerous gifts had been distributed among the officers and passengers. FEHLER received a Samurai sword, which he later threw overboard, and a sizeable sum in Swiss francs. A guard was placed outside their compartment, and the two took a dose of Luminol. They were still alive some 36 hours later, much to the disgust of the crew, and efforts on the part of the ship’s doctor to revive them failed. They were buried at sea on 11 May. Letters of thanks and appreciation addressed to FEHLER were found afterwards, also a request that an enclosed signal be sent to Japan. FEHLER did not comply with this request.

    The first report made by U-234 as to her position and speed was accurately given but from then on she gave her speed as eight miles when she actually was doing between 12 and 15 and she was proceeding more westerly than indicated. Observation of her position by an airplane apparently resulted in the order from Halifax that she was to report hourly. The commanding officer of U-234 assumed that none of his hourly reports reached Halifax. At 2300Z on 14 May, U-234 was contacted by the USS SUTTON and a prize crew was placed aboard her. She arrived in Portsmouth on 17 May.


    U-234's mission was to deliver cutting-edge German military technology to Japan; its payload included V-2 rocket and jet fighter components, and about 1,200 pounds of uranium oxide, a key ingredient in Japan's own atomic weapons program.
    One of this film's key revelations comes from Major John Lansdale, a Manhattan Project official who apparently confiscated the uranium for America's own bomb-building program; he and others argue persuasively that U-234's uranium shipment, intended by Germany for its Japanese ally, was ultimately delivered by America, in the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


    SOme truth in it or just another fairy tale??


    ..reveal how he saw Robert Oppenheimer personally inspect U-234 ’s nuclear cargo..


    O T H E R U - B O A T S

    U-1065 - VII-C, commanded by PANITZ, left Kiel on 16 April, 1945.

    U-1227 - IX-C, commanded by ALTMEIER was in Kiel on 25 March, 1945.

    U-2511 - commanded by SCHNEE, Type XXI, left Bergen for Diesel tests during April, 1945.

    U-BOHN - IX-D-2, was supposedly equipped to carry cargo and passengers to Japan. She was still in Kiel on 25 March, 1945.

    U-OESTEN - IX-D-2, is believed to have returned from a trip to Japan. She arrived in Bergen on 23 March, 1945. (O.N.I. Note: Believed to be U-861).

    U-PREUSS - A type IX-D-2 U-boat, commanded by PREUSS, was in Kristiansand 15 April, 1945, supposedly awaiting some special orders.

    U-ZYER - VII-C, left Kiel on 16 March, 1945.






    Just a "great" pic, not related to U-234...


  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Nov 28, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Great stuff Kai, and I have a letter writte by Jurgen Oesten which is in storage. I bring thi sup because he also mentioned something about his last Uboat command.
  3. Timothy

    Timothy Member

    Jun 2, 2003
    Likes Received:
    That is very intresting. Especially since today I was on the USS Cod. The USS Cod was a sub based in Australia during WWII. It was a great expirence. For those intrested the Cod is now in Cleveland, Ohio.
  4. David Barton (DB) Mathis

    David Barton (DB) Mathis Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    Likes Received:
  5. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Jan 24, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Quite interesting, Kai! Thanks. I did know about the submarine but now that you provided pictures and sources it becomes much better! [​IMG]

    I didn't even know it was a type X (I didn't know that type existed)...

    And about the not-related picture, don't you think it's Admiral Scheer fighting HMS Glow-worm in 1940?


    [ 12. August 2003, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: General der Infanterie Friedrich H ]
  6. maikj

    maikj recruit

    Oct 12, 2003
    Likes Received:
    The uranium came from a test facility in Eisenach / Germany.

    Have a good day
  7. Onthefield

    Onthefield Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Great stuff Kai. I'm surprised they didn't keep trying to remake it into it's original state of aggresion/offensiveness. The Germans needed all they could get, but I guess whatever works right. ;)

Share This Page