During World War Two, U-862 was a type IX-D2 German U-boat. U-862 voyaged to Penang after crossing the Indian Ocean and later was slipped at a shipyard at Singapore to unload cargo. She set out again in November 1944 to cruise around Australia along with U-537 and U-196.

She also voyaged around New Zealand in February 1945 though there are no official records of her voyage, route or purpose. Her first mate, now living in Wales claimed U-862 circumnavigated New Zealand and crept into the port of Gisborne. An unlikely claim when one sees the narrowness of this river port and the confined turning basin there.

Off Australia's New South Wales coast U-862 used four torpedos to sink an unladen Liberty ship Robert J Walker just 80 miles from Sydney on Christmas Eve 1944. One torpedo was spotted and shot out of the water. U-862 also sank the Peter Sylvester 400 miles east of Perth in February 1945.

U-862 sank a number of merchant ships in the Madagascar channel on her voyage out from Norway. She was equipped with a Hohentweil radar system to assist her hunting targets at night. This was a successful trial of radar systems for U-boats.

A number of other German U-boats which voyaged to Asia were known to carry uranium dioxide for a Japanese laboratory in Korea which was building an A-bomb. Both German crew members from the U-234 and official US intelligence reports from NARA archives at Suitland Maryland USA. Together they claim that Japan did succeed in test blasting at least one A-bomb before the war ended.

When Germany surrendered, U-862's crew were interned near Johore and U-862 was renamed as I-502. She was never used by the Japanese however and was captured intact after the war at her moorings. U-862 was later sunk in the Straits of Malacca.

Principal sources:

U-boat Far From Home, by David Stevens

Axis Blockade Runners, of World War Two, by Martin Brice

Japans Secret War, by Robert K Wilcox

In addition various web and magazine sources too numerous to list

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