German submarine U-166 (1941)

German submarine U-166 (1941)

"Unterseeboot 166" (usually abbreviated to "U-166") was a Type IXC U-Boat that first entered service in May 1942, under the command of Captain Hans-Gunther Kuhlmann, and with a crew of 52. It was the only German submarine sunk in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. []

Combat actions, declared missing

From June 1 1942 until July 30 1942 "U-166" operated in the Gulf of Mexico, with the assignment of hampering United States shipping. "U-166" is credited during that time with the following "kills":Cite web | url= | title=U-Boat Operations | | accessdate=2007-07-08]

*July 11, 1942: "Carmen", 84 tons
*July 13, 1942: "Oneida", 2,309 tons
*July 16, 1942: "Gertrude", 16 tons
*July 30, 1942: "Robert E. Lee", 5,184 tons

SS "Robert E. Lee" was under escort from the U. S. Navy patrol craft USS "PC-566", which immediately attacked "U-166" following the torpedo attack that sank "Robert E. Lee". The attack occurred approximately mi to km|45|precision=-1 south of the Mississippi River Delta. It was believed until recently that the USS "PC-566" missed "U-166" in its attack. On August 1, 1942, a United States Coast Guard plane, a Grumman Widgeon amphibious aircraft, spotted a U-boat trolling approximately mi to km|100|precision=-1 off the coast of Houma, Louisiana. The aircraft attacked, and it appeared that the U-boat was hit in the attack. "U-166" was reported missing in action on July 30, 1942, which coincided with the American plane's attack on "a U-Boat", and leading to the aircraft being wrongly credited with the sinking of "U-166". Both airmen were decorated for the action.Cite web | url= | title=U-166 | publisher=US Coast Guard | accessdate=2007-07-08] [Cite web | url= | title=173-FOOT STEEL-HULL PATROL CRAFT (PC, 461 - CLASS) | publisher=Patrol Craft Sailors Association | accessdate=2007-07-08]

Wreckage located in 2001

However, in 2001, when the wreck of "Robert E. Lee" was located, in a depth of more than 5,000 feet of water, the wreck of "U-166" was also located, less than two miles from the location where it had attacked "Robert E. Lee". Upon investigation, it was discovered that another U-Boat, "U-171", also operating in the Gulf of Mexico, had reported coming under attack from an American aircraft on August 1, 1942, with little damage. Therefore, the actual credit for the sinking of "U-166" should have gone to "PC-566", which had reported their apparent success in their depth charge attack. Officials at the time believed that "PC-566" had missed the U-boat. [] [Cite web | url= | title=Contents | work=World War II in the Gulf of Mexico | accessdate=2007-07-08]

The site where "U-166" lies, at coord|28|37|N|90|45|W|display=inline|scale:5000000, at a depth of around Ft to m|5000|precision=-2, has now been designated a war grave due to its crew of 52 being entombed there, and is protected from any future attempts to salvage it or bring it up. [Cite web | url=;boatnum=166 | title=U-Boat Crew Lists | | accessdate=2007-07-08]


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