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Type IXC/40
251 feet 10 inches
Beam: 22 feet 6 inches
Height: 31 feet 6 inches
Draft: 15 feet 4 inches
Displacement: 1,144 tons surfaced, 1,257 tons submerged
Maximum speed: 18.3 knots surfaced, 7.3 knots submerged
Endurance: 11,000 nautical miles surfaced, 63 nautical miles submerged
Power: Two MAN 2,200 bhp diesel engines, two SSW 500 bhp electric motors
Standard armament: One 105 mm deck gun forward, one 37 mm deck gun aft, 20 mm flak guns on conning tower platform, six torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern), 22 torpedoes
Crew: 48

Although the ubiquitous German Type VII Unterseeboot was a successful submarine fully capable of crossing the ocean during the 1939–45 Battle of the Atlantic, its crew had to operate under extremely cramped conditions (as graphically depicted in writer-director Wolfgang Petersen’s 1981 war film Das Boot), and the Kriegsmarine desired a vessel capable of ranging even farther afield, into the South Atlantic or even the Indian Ocean. The result was the Type IX. First entering service in 1937, the Type IXA soon gave way to the longer range Type IXB, though Germany commissioned just 22 of both types. Types IXC and IXC/40, with significantly increased fuel capacity for even greater range, brought the series to its zenith, with 141 entering service. Rounding out the type were variants on the Type IXD, which was nearly 36 feet longer than the IXC and built to either be faster (20 knots on the surface in the IXD1) or much farther ranging (up to 31,500 nautical miles in stripped-down transport versions).

In skilled hands the vessels proved very effective against Allied shipping. Despite its range and relative spaciousness, however, a number of surviving U-boat commanders expressed a preference for the Type VII, as the larger Type IX proved easier for Allied radar or sonar to acquire and was slower to dive—life-or-death factors for U-boats, particularly in the latter half of the war. Of the 194 Type IX U-boats built, only two dozen survived the war, reflecting an appalling attrition rate of 88 percent. MH