Some ships are unlucky. U-505 was arguably the most unlucky submarine in the German Navy during the Second World War. Her career didn’t begin that way though – her first patrol was short and uneventful, and her second was a success with four Allied merchantmen to her credit. Her third patrol also appeared to be a success with three vessels sunk, but one of her victims was a Columbian sailing ship named Urious, the sinking of which resulted in Columbia declaring war on Germany. On her fourth patrol she claimed her eighth victim, but her luck changed when she was caught on the surface by an RAF Hudson with an Australian crew and hit by a 250 pound bomb aft of the conning tower. While she managed to return to Lorient, she was the most seriously damaged U-boat to survive and make port.
After repairs she was repeatedly deployed again, only to return in short order each time after being damaged, or as a result of sabotage by French workers. She gained the reputation as a “dock queen” which could not deploy effectively. On her tenth patrol she endured a severe depth charging from British destroyers. Her Captain, Kapitänleutnant Peter Zschech broke under the strain and committed suicide in the control room, the only submarine Captain to do so during the war.