Battle of the Atlantic!
The Wilhelm Gustloff, an ex-Kraft Durch Freude ship (Strength Through Joy) in the service of the German Kriegsmarine, is sunk in the Baltic Sea by a Russian submarine with the loss of over 6,000 lives, making the incident the largest single naval disaster in history.
HMS Venturer, cued by Ultra, sinks U-864 off Bergen, Norway. The U-boat was bound for Japan, carrying an Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor, 64 tons of mercury, heavy water, some 20 Luftwaffe officers as well as German and Japanese engineers. This is the only known sinking of one submarine by another when both boats were submerged throughout the engagement.
A Russian torpedo hits the ex-’Strength through Joy’ Nazi cruise liner leaving Danzig for Denmark with 5,000 refugees and 3,800 U-boat personnel on board. Only 1,000 are reported as saved.
German U-boats sink 8 ships and 2 destroyers from a convoy bound for the Russian port of Murmansk.
German light naval vessels from the still German-occupied British Channel Islands enter the allied supply port of Granville in Bretagne, sinking five ships.
The German Heavy Cruisers Schlesien and Prinz Eugen give supporting fire forces of Heeresgruppe Kurland in their defense of the Kurland pocket.
During a raid on Kiel by the U.S. 8th Air Force, severe damage is caused to the cruisers Hipper and Emden.
The German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer is sunk during a massive RAF raid on Kiel.
Off the Hela peninsula in the Baltic, the German liner Goya is torpedoed by a Russian submarine, killing 6,500 wounded soldiers and refugees.
German U-boats sink 5 allied supply ships in the English Channel.
German U-boats sink 8 Allied ships, 3 destroyers and 2 corvettes in the English channel.
Convoy RA-66 sailing from the Kola Peninsula to Loch Ewe is attacked by at least 2 U-boats north of Kola. The British destroyer HMS Goodall, which was lend-leased by the US in 1943 is sunk by U-286 (Oblt.z.S. Willi Dietrich), for 1,150 tons, marking this as the last convoy to come under attack in the war.
Grand Admiral Dönitz, now the newly designated leader of the Reich, orders all U-boats to cease offensive operations and return to their bases (to go into effect fully at 0800 on 5th May): "You have fought like lions!"
The last U-boats of the war sunk with all hands: U-853 and U-881 in the North Atlantic by US destroyer escorts, and U-3523 in the Baltic by the RAF.
U-2336 sinks the last allied merchant ships of the war off the Firth of Forth, these are the Norwegian vessels Sneland I and the British Avondale Park.
An RAF Catalina damages U-320 near Bergen off the coast of Norway. The boat is then scuttled by the crew, no hands lost, becoming the final German submarine lost as a result of combat action in World War 2. German unconditional surrender signed in Reims, France on 7th May takes effect fifty-nine minutes before midnight this date (VE Day--Victory in Europe Day). Allied merchant shipping sunk to U-boats, world-wide from January to the end of hostilities is 103 ships, equaling 403,760 gross tons. 120 U-boats were lost worldwide in the same period. For the entire war the allies lost 3,500 ships. equaling 17,467,818 gross tons, whilst the Germans lost 769 U-boats.
A British naval squadron arrives in Copenhagen harbour to receive the surrender of the remains of German fleet.
The first U-boat to surrender, U-249 puts in at Portland.
Rear Admiral Brüning, the commander of German naval forces, arrives at Felixstowe to sign the unconditional surrender of all boats under his command.
U-858 surrenders off Delaware, USA, becoming the first German warship to surrender to U.S. forces after the war ends.
U-234 surrenders at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. On 16th April 1945 she had departed Norway and was enroute to Japan with an extremely important cargo, which included technical drawings, an Me-262 jet fighter in crates, 550 kg of U-238 uranium ore for atom bomb development, several high ranking German technological experts, and 2 Japanese officers. When Kptlt. Fehler heard of the cease-fire orders on 4 May 1945, he decides to surrender to the Americans, rather than the Canadians, being in a relatively equal position to do either. Still at war with the US, the Japanese officers take their own lives rather than surrender.
U-977 arrives in River Plate estuary and surrenders. The 600-ton U-boat left Kiel on the 13th April.