(U-219 Type XB minelaying submarine)

IJN Submarine I-505: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2001-2010 Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp

Revision 2

15 March 1941:
Kiel, Germany. Laid down at Krupp's Germania Werft, as a 1,763-ton surface displacement Type XB minelaying submarine.

30 December 1941:
Launched and numbered U-219.

12 December 1942:
Completed and registered in the Kriegsmarine. Korvettenkapitän (KK) Walter Burghagen is the Commanding Officer. U-219 is assigned to the 4th Flotilla at Stettin for training. [1]

Summer 1943:
The Kriegsmarine decides to send U-boats to operate in the Indian Ocean. The first group arrives in the Far East at the end of September 1943, after the tropical monsoon rains period. Thereafter, the group is named "Monsun" (Monsoon).

1 July 1943:
U-219 is reassigned to the 12th Flotilla based at Bordeaux, France.

5 October 1943:
U-219 departs Kiel for Kristiansand, Norway (7 Oct) then arrives at Bergen, Norway (9 Oct).

22 October 1943:
KK Burghagen departs Bergen for the Central Atlantic. During this patrol U-219 refuels and resupplies the U-91, U-510, U-170, U-103 and U-172. U-219 is to be in the second group of Monsun U-boats sent to the Orient. Enroute, she is to lay mines off Cape Town, South Africa and Colombo, Ceylon, but U-219's orders are changed and she is recalled to Bordeaux. [2]

12 December 1943:
S. Atlantic, SSW of the Canary Islands. The U. S. Tenth Fleet (a signals intelligence "paper" fleet) learns of a refueling rendezvous between U-219 and U-172. Grumman TBM "Avenger" torpedo-bombers of Composite Squadron VC-19 from escort carrier USS BOGUE (CVE-9) find and damage U-172. The next day, BOGUE's aircraft and destroyer screen sink U-172. The Americans search for Burghagen's U-219 until 14 December, but she makes good her escape.

1 January 1944:
Arrives at Bordeaux. Thereafter, work to permanently convert U-219 to a transport submarine is begun during which she is fitted with a snorkel. In addition to her 37-mm AA gun, a quadruple-mounted 20-mm "Flakvierling" AA gun is fitted to replace a pair of single-mount 20-mm AA guns.

23 August 1944:
The U-219 departs Bordeaux bound for Penang, Malaya. Burghagen is ordered to refuel Oberleutnant zur See Karl Albrecht's U-1062, Type VIIC in-bound from Penang after delivering 39 torpedoes to supply Gruppe Monsun". The "Enigma" coded traffic setting up the rendezvous at 11-51N, 34-45W is read by Allies.

28 September 1944:
South Atlantic Narrows. A radar-equipped TBF Avenger of Task Group 47.7's escort carrier USS TRIPOLI's (CVE-64) Composite Squadron VC-6, piloted by Lt William R. Gillespie, reports contact with a surfaced U-boat. Gillespie delivers a low-level rocket attack, but U-219's four 20-mm AA guns shoot him down. This is the last aircraft from escort carriers lost to U-boats in the Atlantic.

Another Avenger piloted by Lt (jg) Joseph W. Steere fires eight rockets at U-219, while Lt (j.g.) Douglas R. Hagwood's Grumman FM-2 "Wildcat" fighter strafes the U-boat. Steere then drops a Mark 24 "Fido" acoustic torpedo and sonobuoys. Burghagen escapes the plane unscathed, but two days later, Albrecht's U-1062 is sunk by USS FESSENDEN (DE-142).

U-219 attempts to send a report of the air attack, but is attacked again, and for the next three days, by depth charges, bombs and more Fidos. Burghagen finds a salinity layer upon which U-219 can drift with motors and nearly all machinery turned off using the absolute minimum of battery power. The U-219 remains submerged for 69 consecutive hours until she has to surface because of the toxic level of carbon dioxide built-up in the ship. Burghagen surfaces in the midst of a sandstorm blowing out of Africa. The storm keeps the Allies from regaining radar contact on U-219.

1 October 1944:
U-219 is reassigned "on paper" to the 33rd Flotilla at Flensburg, Germany.

2 October 1944:
One of the TRIPOLI's Avengers drops depth bombs on the U-219, but misses.

November 1944:
Incessant Allied air and submarine attacks render Penang untenable as an operational base for submarines. The German U-boats withdraw to Batavia (now Jakarta), Java (now Indonesia) and the Japanese I-boats relocate to Surabaya, Java.

12 December 1944:
U-219 arrives at Tanjong Priok (Batavia's harbor), the new Monsun U-boat flotilla's base of operations.

26 December 1944:
Tanjong Priok. Anchored U-219, U-861 and another U-boat are slightly damaged when nearby 1,135-ton Japanese ammunition ship TAICHO MARU suddenly explodes. The harbor's facilities are wrecked and there are many casualties.

22 April 1945:
HQ, 10th Area Fleet sends a message to the No. 102 Repair Unit at Surabaya to prepare for the arrival of U 219 between 1 and 10 May ’45 for repairs of her snorkel and inspection of hull prior to her return to Germany. [3] [4]

5 May 1945: Germany Ceases Hostilities with the United States and Great Britain:
Tokyo. The German naval attaché, Admiral Paul Wennecker (former CO of Panzerschiff DEUTSCHLAND/LÜTZOW) and Deutscher Admiral Ostasien (German Admiral, East Asia) sends the code-word signal "Lübeck" to all U-boats in Asia. It signifies that Germany has ceased hostilities.

Batavia. KK Hermann Kandeler, Commander of the Kriegsmarine's U-boat base, announces that Hitler is dead and that Germany has ceased hostilities in the West, but continues to resist Soviet forces overrunning Berlin. U-219 is taken over by the Japanese. She was ready to return to Europe with a cargo of raw rubber, tin and other war materials. Burghagen and his crew are interned in an open camp.

5 May 1945:
At 1730, a message from Singapore to Japanese R.N.O. Jakarta reads "According to a message sent by the German R.N.O. Jakarta to the German R.N.O. here, the German R.N.O. Jakarta has ordered U-219 and BOGOTA to be - - and interned. Although we have - - please advise situation immediately." [4]

14 May 1945:
At 1450, a message from Batavia reads "Repairs and completion dates for U-219 GOO. No. 1 exhaust valve port engine, 23rd May. Upper deck, 4 places, 20th May. Air pipe in control room, 15th May. There is a 220-volt generator for H/F transmitter being kept at Surabaya which can be supplied on issue of an order." [4]

15 July 1945:
U-219 is commissioned in the IJN as I-505 and assigned to the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet, but no Japanese crews are assigned because of a lack of submarine personnel in the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

July-August 1945:
Potsdam, Germany. The USA, UK and USSR establish a Tripartite Naval Commission to allocate captured German Kriegsmarine and merchant marine ships between them. The “Big Three” agree that all "unallocated" German submarines which had surrendered should be sunk not later than 15 Feb 46.

5 August 1945:
At 2005, a message from Chief of Staff, 10th Area Fleet, reads ""Report on ex-German submarines. (1) Present state. (a) I-501 and I-502 crews have been instructed and ships fitted out, largely by the Germans. Working up is about to start and should be completed by the end of the month. They will then be kept ready for sea at short notice. Each submarine will have 16 torpedoes. (b) I-505 and I-506 have completed their crews, and hulls and armament are generally satisfactory. I-505 has a mine compartment for 30 mines in which about 130 tons of aviation petrol can be loaded. The compartment has been modified for petrol stowage. In addition she can take about 35 tons of cargo. I-506 is 60% completed - - . (2) Plans for use. (a) I-501 and I-502 when ready will be used for operational transport (oil etc.) to the Andamans. After that she will operate in the Pacific and then proceed to Japan for torpedo tubes to be altered. (b) I-505 and I-506, when their crews are completed, will be detailed to transport oil and important cargoes within the Southern Area, particularly to French lndo-China, outlying islands, and Hong Kong. However, since I-506 - to be replaced, she will have to be sent to Japan as soon as possible." [4]

12 September 1945: The Surrender of Japan:
Tanjong Priok. I-505 is surrendered to the British.

30 November 1945:
Removed from the Navy List.

15 December 1945:
A Tripartite Naval Commission (TNC) memo from Vice Admiral Robert L Ghormley, USN, to the Senior British Representative on the TNC, Vice Admiral (later Admiral, Sir) Geoffrey J. A. Miles, RN, says: "I have been directed by the Chief of Naval Operations to inform you that the destruction of the U-219 at Batavia, the U-195 at Surabaya, the U-181 and U-862 at Singapore is considered to be a British responsibility".

24 January 1946:
At 1411, the British Admiralty sends a message to the Royal Navy’s C-in-C East Indies Vice Admiral (later Admiral, Sir) Clement Moody that orders destruction of the four U-Boats in Singapore and Java by not later than the TNC deadline of 15 February 1946.

14 February 1946:
At 0945, the C-in-C East Indies sends a "Most Immediate" message to NOIC Surabaya, copy HMS SUSSEX, that reads: "Sink U-195 forthwith and report when sunk. No delay is acceptable. Acknowledge.” [5]

3 February 1946:
S of the Sunda Straits. By 1340 the Royal Netherlands Navy destroyer Hr.Ms. KORTENAER (ex-British HMS SCORPION) sinks I-505/U-219 by gunfire and depth charges at 06-31S, 104-54-30E.

Authors' Note:
[1] German Naval Officer Ranks: Leutnant zur See (Lt=Ens), Oberleutnant zur See (OL=Lt(j.g.), Kapitänleutnant (KL=Lt), Korvettenkapitän (KK=LtCdr), Fregattenkapitän (FK=Cdr), Kapitän (K=Capt), Flottillenadmiral (FA=RAdm, LC), Konteradmiral (KA=RAdm, UC), Vizeadmiral (VA=VAdm), Admiral (A=Adm), Grossadmiral (GA=FAdm)

[2] Of the 17 U-boats built or adapted to serve as "Milk-Cows" between 1942 and May 1944, only U-219 survived the war.

[3] It is unclear whether U-219 ever made this voyage from Tanjong Priok to Surabaya for repair/inspection.

[4] The source of these date are transcripts of decrypts of Japanese radio messages by the USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, (FRUMEL), Australia.

[5] Both the British Admiralty and the Foreign Office wished to be able to assure the Commission (and especially the Russians) that the UK had strictly followed the Tripartite Naval Commission agreement, thus the urgency to comply.

Thanks go to Dr. Higuchi Tatsuhiro of Japan. Special thanks also go to Allan Alsleben of Oregon and the guys at the forum on Jan Visser's "Royal Netherlands Navy Warships of World War II" website for help in identifying TAICHO MARU. Thanks also go to Derek Waller of UK and Hans McIlveen of the Netherlands for input concerning the final months of I-505.

– Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp

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