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Type IXC/40 U-boat

1,120 Tons (surfaced)
1,232 (submerged)
252' x 22' 8' x 14.5"
6 x 53.3cm torpedo tubes
4 bow, 2 stern
with 22 torpedoes
or 72 TMA mines
1 x 105/45mm deck gun
with 110 rounds

Sub History
Built by AG Weser in Bremen, Germany. Laid down May 28, 1941 as Type IXC/40 Unterseeboot (U-Boat) werk number 1023. Launched January 9, 1942. Commissioned April 1, 1942 in the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as U-183 under the command of captain Heinrich Schäfer.

Wartime History
On April 1, 1942 assigned to 4th U-boat Flotilla for training until September 30, 1942.

On October 1, 1942 assigned to 2nd U-boat Flotilla. Patrolling in the Atlantic Ocean, U-183 sank two vessels. On December 2, 1942 torpedoed and sank Empire Dabchick 200 nautical miles south east of Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada with the loss of all hands including 36 crew and 11 gunners. On March 11, 1942 torpedoes and sinks Olancho in the Gulf of Mexico roughly 30 miles west of Cape San Antonio, Cuba.

During July 1943 departed France on a voyage to the Far East with a refueling at sea during late July 1943 by U-155 in the Atlantic Ocean roughly 600 miles WNW of Cape Verde Islands then proceeded to the Indian Ocean with another at sea refueling by tanker Brake in late September 1943roughly 450 miles south of Mauritius. On October 27, 1943 arrived Penang. On November 20, 1943 assigned to captain Kptlt. Fritz Schneewind.

In the Far East, U-183 was assigned to the "Monsun Gruppe" to patrol the Indian Ocean and used Japanese occupied bases in Malay and Netherlands East Indies (NEI) to refuel and resupply. During these patrols, sunk three more ships including SS Palma on February 29, 1944.

On March 9, 1944 while patrolling off the Maldive Islands, U-183 was patrolling outside Addu Atoll (Seenu) and fired a torpedo that penetrated a gab in the anti-torpedo net across the Gan Channel that hit MV British Loyalty on the starboard side destroying the engine room and flooding the no. 7, no. 8 and no. 9 tanks and caused a heavy starboard list but counter flooding saved the ship from completely sinking.

On May 13, 1944 one crew member was killed in an accident while diving to prepare the submarine for the next patrol. On May 17, 1944 departed Penang.

On June 5, 1944 sank SS Helen Moller, the submarine's last confirmed sinking.

On October 1, 1944 assigned to 33rd U-boat Flottille.

Sinking History
On April 23, 1945 at 7:29am north of Soerabaja spotted by USS Besugo SS-321 that fired a spread of six torpedoes with one hitting U-183 amidships and caused it to sink at roughly in the Java Sea at Lat 4.57S, Long 112.52E. Aboard, 54 crew went down with the submarine including captain Kptlt. Fritz Schneewind.

Fates of the Crew
Only one crew member survived the sinking.

The shipwreck of U-183 was first located by Indonesian fisherman and diver Mr. Shinatria Adhityatama and reported to authorities as a "tube-shaped ship" sunk ten hours east of Karimun Island off Java.

On November 4, 2013 a team of SCUBA divers from the National Archeology Center Research Team and Gadjah Mada University (UGM) dove the shipwreck and removed artifacts. The stern was damaged or missing. The divers penetrated the wreck and found deposits of sand and silt inside plus several skulls of the deceased crew.

The artifacts recovered included two plates with Reichsadler (German Eagle holding a wreathed swastika) the insignia of Nazi Germany. Also, a battery, electric panel cover and switch, shirt button with anchors, a pair of binoculars, diving goggles and breathing tubes. Afterwards, thes items were examined at the National Archaeological Headquarters and helped to confirm the vessel as a World War II U-Boat.

References U-183 profile in German - U-183 profile in English and tabular movement - The Monsun boats  operations in the Indian Ocean - Olancho Honduran Steam merchant profile sunk by U-183 on March 11, 1943
HyperWar Foundation - Blockade-Running Between Europe and the Far East by Submarines, 1942-44
Deutsches U-Boot Museum - The Voyage to the Far East
Der Spiegel "Sunken Sub: German WWII U-Boat Found Near Indonesia" November 21, 2013 via Wayback Machine November 28, 2013
Mysteries of Nazi U-Boat Submarines in Indonesia November 21, 2013 page in Indonesian

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Last Updated
January 6, 2021


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