U-977 file photo [10341]


Ship ClassType VII-class Submarine
BuilderBlohm & Voss, Hamburg, Germany
Laid Down24 Jul 1942
Launched31 Mar 1943
Commissioned6 May 1943
Sunk13 Nov 1946
Displacement769 tons standard
Length220 feet
Beam20 feet
Draft15 feet
Speed17 knots
RangeSurfaced: 8,500nm at 10 knots; Submerged: 80nm at 4 knots
Armament4x53.3cm bow torpedo tubes, 1x53.3cm stern torpedo tubes, 15 torpedoes, 1x8.8cm/L45 deck gun
Submerged Displacement871 tons
Submerged Speed7.6 knots


ww2dbaseU-977 was a German Navy type VIIC submarine. Although she was launched during war time, she had not been sent on any war patrols until nearly the end of the European War on 2 May 1945. She departed Kristiansand, Norway under the command of Oberleutnant Heinz Schäffer. She was to move into the port of Southampton in Britain to attack British shipping, and had reached waters north of Scotland by 5 May when President Karl Dönitz ordered all German submarines to return to their home ports in an attempt to de-escalate hostilities at the war's end. Although Schäffer followed orders to cease all offensive activities, he decided to head for Argentina instead of home; his post-war interrogation showed that he refused to return to Germany because he believed that the Allies would destroy Germany despite the surrender and the German people would be enslaved. On 10 May, 16 of his married crewmen were allowed to disembark onto dinghies near on Holsenöy Island, Bergen, Norway so that they could return home to their families. Stories had it that U-977 had traveled a significant portion of the journey, 66 days, under water without surfacing, although some later investigations found this to be probably untrue. She crossed the Equator in Jul, then arrived at Mar del Plata in Argentina on 17 Aug. Upon arrival, the crew surrendered to the Argentine Navy. She was towed to Boston, Massachusetts, United States to be given to the United States Navy, arriving on 13 Nov 1945. On 22 Aug, her crew was transferred into United States federal jurisdiction by presidential decree for interrogation. U-977 was sunk as a target by USS Atule off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

ww2dbaseConspiracy theorists often suspected that U-977 had carried Adolf Hitler and/or gold from Nazi German reserves to Argentina.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2010

U-977 Operational Timeline

6 May 1943 U-977 was commissioned into service.
2 May 1945 U-977 departed Kristiansand, Norway on her first and only war patrol.
5 May 1945 Oberleutnant Heinz Schäffer of U-977 decided to head for Argentina instead of returning home per President Karl Dönitz's orders.
10 May 1945 U-977 surfaced near Holsenöy Island, Bergen, Norway to release 16 of the crewmen who wished to return home to their families. She then headed for Argentina.
17 Aug 1945 U-977 arrived at Mar del Plata, Argentina and surrendered to the Argentine Navy.
13 Nov 1945 U-977 arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, United States by tow.


Captured U-977 at Mar del Plata, Argentina, mid-1945

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Captured U-977 at Mar del Plata, Argentina, mid-1945

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