German submarine U-561

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-561
Ordered: 16 October 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 537
Laid down: 28 February 1940
Launched: 23 January 1941
Commissioned: 13 March 1941
Fate: Sunk by torpedoes fired from Royal Navy MTB-81 on 12 July 1943 at position 38°16′N 15°39′E / 38.267°N 15.650°E / 38.267; 15.650 in the Straits of Messina.
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke F46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced
7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers & ratings
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
Various AA guns
Service record[1]
Part of: 1st U-boat Flotilla
(13 March 1941 - 1 June 1941) - Training
1st U-boat Flotilla
(1 June 1941 - 31 January 1942)
23rd U-boat Flotilla
(1 February 1942 - 12 July 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Robert Bartels
(13 March 1941 - 5 September 1942)
Kptlt. Heinz Schomburg
(5 September 1942 - 18 June 1943)
Oblt. Fritz Henning
(19 June 1943 - 12 July 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol:
25 May 1941 - 1 August 1941
2nd patrol:
20 August 1941 - 20 September 1941
3rd patrol:
1 November 1941 - 26 November 1941
4th patrol:
3 January 1942 - 22 January 1942
5th patrol:
26 January 1942 - 20 February 1942
6th patrol:
4 April 1942 - 5 May 1942
7th patrol:
11 June 1942 - 25 June 1942
8th patrol:
2 July 1942 - 24 July 1942
9th patrol:
12 September 1942 - 4 October 1942
10th patrol:
7 November 1942 - 14 November 1942
11th patrol:
25 November 1942 - 18 December 1942
12th patrol:
23 December 1942 - 15 January 1943
13th patrol:
11 March 1943 - 28 March 1943
14th patrol:
22 April 1943 - 3 June 1943
15th patrol:
10 July 1943 - 12 July 1943
Victories: 5 merchant ships sunk (17,146 GRT)
1 merchant ship damaged (4,043 GRT)
1 merchant ship total loss (5,062 GRT)

German submarine U-561 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 28 February 1940 by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as 'werk' 537, launched on 23 January 1941 and commissioned on 13 March 1941 under Kapitänleutnant Robert Bartels (German Cross in Gold).

Service History[edit]

The boat's service began on 13 March 1941 with training as part of the 1st U-boat Flotilla. She was transferred to the 23rd flotilla on 1 February 1942.

In 15 patrols she sank 5 ships for a total of 17,146 GRT, plus one ship damaged and a second a total loss.

Convoy OG 69[edit]

During late July 1941, U-561, along with 9 other German and Italian submarines, attacked convoy OG 69 en route from Liverpool to Gibraltar. U-561 torpedoed and sank the 1,884 GRT British freighter Wrotham.

Wolf Packs[edit]

She took part in 2 wolfpacks, namely,

  • Bosemüller (28 Aug 1941 – 2 Sep 1941)
  • Seewolf (2 Sep 1941 – 15 Sep 1941)

Fate[edit]

She was sunk by torpedoes fired from Royal Navy MTB-81 on 12 July 1943 at position 38°16′N 15°39′E / 38.267°N 15.650°E / 38.267; 15.650 in the Straits of Messina.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[2]
28 July 1941 Wrotham  United Kingdom 1,884 Sunk
11 November 1941 Meridian  Panama 5,592 Sunk
14 November 1941 Crusader  Panama 2,939 Sunk
14 May 1942 Fred  Greece 4,043 Damaged (mine)
14 May 1942 Hav  Norway 5,062 Total loss (mine)
14 May 1942 Mount Olympus  Greece 6,692 Sunk (mine)
24 September 1942 Sphinx  Egypt 39 Sunk

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "The Type VIIC boat U-561 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "U-561 successes". UBoat.net. Retrieved 30 April 2014.