U-234


Date of Action:15 May 1945

USCG Units Involved: USS Forsyth

Sinking/Capture/Assist? Surrender--assisted by USS Sutton

Location: Near Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Credit by U.S. Navy? Yes 

Enemy Warship's Commanding Officer: Kapitšnleutnant Johann-Heinrich Fehler

Enemy Casualties: Two Japanese officers on board as passengers committed suicide prior to the U-boat's surrender.  None of the U-boat crew were injured.

USCG Casualties: One, accidental shooting

Misc: See comments below


Details/Updates:

U-234, a Type VIIC U-boat, departed Kristiansand, Norway, on 16 April 1945 with a number of high-ranking German officers and two Japanese officers as well as 260 tons of specialized cargo on board, bound for Japan.  The U-boat did not receive the order to surrender until 8 May 1945.  The two Japanese officers then committed suicide after U-234's commanding officer, Kapitšnleutnant Johann-Heinrich Fehler, decided to comply with the order.  They were both buried at sea.  Fehler then determined to surrender to U.S. forces rather than the dreaded British and U-234 sailed west.  The following is taken from USS Forsyth's war diary:

"Arriving at Argentia the FORSYTH left for Weather Station 5 on April 21 [1945].  She remained on this station from April 24th to May 12, 1945.  On that day the FORSYTH received a radio report that a German submarine was in her area and wanted to surrender.  In haze and fog, the FORSYTH searched the mid-North Atlantic for the sub for three days.  In the meantime, two Canadian warships had raced to the scene in the hope of taking the prize.  Early on the morning of May 15th the FORSYTH 'came up' on the 1600-ton sub.  She was the U-234 and had been spotted shortly before by the USS SUTTON, Navy destroyer-escort, which was standing by.  The submarine was carrying high ranking officers of the German air force, battle plans, and aerial maps of strategic targets in the United States.  She was reported on her way to Japan, and was carrying two Japanese, both of whom committed  suicide prior to her surrender.  Under orders to bring the U-Boat into port, the SUTTON took most of the German officers and crew off the U-Boat and put an armed guard aboard.  With the SUTTON and FORSYTH escorting, the sub was headed for the United States."

During an attempt by a boarding party to confiscate all small arms on board U-234, a Navy sailor was accidentally shot by another member of the boarding party.  The sailor was transferred to Forsyth along with the U-boat's medical officer and the German assisted during the emergency surgery on the Navy sailor.  They managed to stabilize the victim and he was later transferred to a Navy Dispensary.  Unfortunately, however, he died a week later due to internal bleeding.


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Last Modified 7/16/2014