German submarine U-563

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-563
Ordered: 24 October 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 539
Laid down: 30 March 1940
Launched: 15 February 1941
Commissioned: 27 March 1941
Fate: Sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Allied aircraft, May 1943[1]
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: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament:
Service record[2]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(27 September 1941–31 January 1942)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 February–30 June 1942)
11th U-boat Flotilla
(1 July–31 August 1942)
6th U-boat Flotilla
(1 September 1942–26 May 1943)
Commanders: Oblt.z.S. Klaus Bargsten
(27 March 1941–15 March 1942)
Kptlt. Gotz von Hartmann
(1 April 1942–16 May 1943)
Oblt. Gustav Borchardt
(21–31 May 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol:
31 July–10 September 1941
2nd patrol:
4 October–1 November 1941
3rd patrol:
29 November–3 December 1941
4th patrol:
21 January–3 February 1942
5th patrol:
1 October–6 November 1942
6th patrol:
9 December 1942–14 January 1943
7th patrol
20 March–18 April 1943
8th patrol:
29–31 May 1943
Victories: Three ships sunk, total 14,689 GRT;
one warship sunk - 1,870 tons;
two ships damaged, total 16,266 GRT.

German submarine U-563 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She carried out eight patrols and sank three ships, totalling 14,689 gross register tons (GRT), as well as one warship of 1,870 GRT. Two ships were damaged, totalling 16,266 GRT. She was a member of nine wolfpacks, and was sunk by Allied aircraft in the Bay of Biscay, in May 1943.

Service history[edit]

The submarine was laid down on 30 March 1940 at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 539, launched on 5 February 1941 and commissioned on 27 March under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Klaus Bargsten.

She served with the 1st U-boat Flotilla from 27 March 1941 for training and stayed with that organization for operations.

1st patrol[edit]

U-432 '​s first patrol was from Kiel in Germany, she headed for the Atlantic Ocean via the gap separating the Faroe and Shetland Islands.

She arrived at Brest in occupied France, on 10 September 1941.

2nd patrol[edit]

Having left Brest on 4 October 1941, U-563 was unsuccessfully attacked by a Bristol Blenheim a day later west of Brittany.

She then sank the British destroyer HMS Cossack west of Gibraltar on 24 October 1941, but was attacked by another British ship, the corvette HMS Heliotrope west of Cape St. Vincent[3] on the 25th. Although forced to submerge, the boat did not sustain any damage.

3rd patrol[edit]

On 30 November 1941, U-563 was attacked by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley of No. 502 Squadron RAF in the Bay of Biscay. The damage was serious enough that the submarine could not dive and the commander was wounded, obliging the boat to return to Germany for repairs.

4th and 5th patrols[edit]

For her fourth sortie, U-563 again put out into the Atlantic, sailing west of Ireland. She then turned northeast for the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at Bergen in Norway on 3 February 1942.

Her fifth patrol, following short trips to Hamburg and Kiel, was in many respects, her fourth outing in reverse - starting in Kiel and finishing in Brest.

6th patrol[edit]

She departed Brest on 9 December 1942 and sank the Bretalda about 330 nautical miles (610 km; 380 mi) west northwest of Cape Finisterre (northwest Spain)[4] on the 18th. The boat returned to Brest on 14 January 1943.

7th patrol[edit]

U-563 was attacked by a Bristol Beaufighter on 22 March 1943 which caused only slight damage. The boat damaged the Sunoil with a torpedo on 5 April; this ship was subsequently sunk by U-530. U-563 was then attacked on the 7th by a B-24 Liberator of 86 Squadron. Damage was slight, but two men were lost when the submarine crash-dived.

On her most successful day, 12 April 1943, the boat sank the Pacific Grove and damaged the Fresno City southeast of Cape Farewell (Greenland). The Fresno City was sunk later that day by U-706. U-563 also sank the Dutch ship Ulysses in the same area.

8th patrol and loss[edit]

The boat left Brest for the last time on 29 May 1943. On the 31st, she was sunk by two British Handley Page Halifaxes of 58 Squadron and an Australian Sunderland flying boat of No. 228 Squadron RAF.

Forty-nine men died with U-563; there were no survivors.

Wolf packs[edit]

U-563 took part in 9 wolfpacks, namely.

  • Grönland (10 Aug 1941 - 23 Aug 1941)
  • Kurfürst (23 Aug 1941 - 2 Sep 1941)
  • Seewolf (2 Sep 1941 - 7 Sep 1941)
  • Breslau (4 Oct 1941 - 29 Oct 1941)
  • Panther (11 Oct 1942 - 16 Oct 1942)
  • Puma (16 Oct 1942 - 29 Oct 1942)
  • Falke (28 Dec 1942 - 5 Jan 1943)
  • Löwenherz (1 Apr 1943 - 10 Apr 1943)
  • Lerche (10 Apr 1943 - 16 Apr 1943)

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage Fate[5]
24 October 1941 HMS Cossack  Royal Navy 1,870 Sunk
18 December 1942 Bretwalda  United Kingdom 4,906 Sunk
5 April 1943 Sunoil  United States 9,005 Damaged
12 April 1943 Fresno City  United Kingdom 7,261 Damaged
12 April 1943 Pacific Grove  United Kingdom 7,117 Sunk
12 April 1943 Ulysses  Netherlands 2,666 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 122
  2. ^ "The Type VIIC boat U-563 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  3. ^ The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 15
  4. ^ The Times Atlas of the World, p. 15
  5. ^ "U563 successes". Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
Bibliography
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German) IV (Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler). ISBN 3-8132-0514-2. 
  • Gröner, Erich (1985). U-Boote, Hilfskreuzer, Minenschiffe, Netzleger, Sperrbrecher. Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 (in German) III (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe). ISBN 3-7637-4802-4. 

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 46°35′N 10°40′W / 46.583°N 10.667°W / 46.583; -10.667