German submarine U-566

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-566
Ordered: 24 October 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 542
Laid down: 30 March 1940
Launched: 20 February 1941
Commissioned: 17 April 1941
Fate: Scuttled, 24 October 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][3]
Part of: 1st U-boat Flotilla
(17 April 1941–24 October 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt. Dietrich Borchert
(17 April 1941–24 July 1942)
Oblt.z.S.. Gerhard Remus
(25 July 1942–24 January 1943)
Kptlt. Hans Hornkohl
(25 January–24 October 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol: 30 July–19 August 1941
2nd patrol: 30 August–20 September 1941
3rd patrol: 9 December–23 December 1941
4th patrol: 15 January–9 March 1942
5th patrol: 8 April–30 June 1942
6th patrol: 6 August–5 September 1942
7th patrol: 28 October–1 December 1942
8th patrol: 6 February–25 March 1943
9th patrol: 24–28 April 1943
10th patrol: 5 July–1 September 1943
11th patrol: 18–24 October 1943
Victories: Six commercial ships sunk (38,092 GRT)
one warship sunk (2,265 GRT)

German submarine U-566 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 30 March 1940 at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg as yard number 542, launched on 20 February 1941 and commissioned on 17 April under the command of Kapitänleutnant Dietrich Borchert.

She was scuttled by her crew on 24 October 1943 after being damaged by six depth charges from a British Wellington aircraft in the North Atlantic west of Portugal, in position 41°12′N 9°31′W / 41.200°N 9.517°W / 41.200; -9.517Coordinates: 41°12′N 9°31′W / 41.200°N 9.517°W / 41.200; -9.517. There were no casualties.[2]

Service history[edit]

In the eleven combat patrols of her career the U-boat sank seven vessels; six merchant ships totalling 38,092 GRT between February and November 1942, and the 2,265 GRT patrol gunboat USS Plymouth (PG-57) on 5 August 1943.[3]

Operational career[edit]

She was initially involved in a short journey from Trondheim to Kirkenes, both in Norway in July 1941.

1st and 2nd patrols[edit]

The submarine's first and second patrols were marked by no more than an unsuccessful attack by a Soviet submarine off Kildin Island which caused no damage.

Before her third patrol, she moved between Kirkenes, Bergen and Kristiansand from September to December 1941.[2]

3rd, 4th and 5th patrols[edit]

The boat's third patrol took her from Kristiansand to Lorient in occupied France where she arrived on 23 December 1941. Her route took her through the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands, west of Ireland and into the Bay of Biscay.

Her fourth sortie was marked with the sinking of the Meropi on 14 February 1942 35 nautical miles (65 km; 40 mi) east-southeast of the Sambro light-house in Nova Scotia.

The U-boat's fifth patrol commenced with her departure from Brest, which she continued to use for the rest of her career, on 8 April 1942. She sank the Westmorland on 1 June 240 nautical miles (440 km; 280 mi) north-northeast of Bermuda, using a torpedo and her deck gun.

6th, 7th and 8th patrols[edit]

Her sixth outing saw the sinking of the Triton northeast of the Azores on 17 August 1942 and the Zuiderkerk on 28 August.[2]

The boat's seventh foray was rewarded with the sinking of the Glenlea on 7 November in mid-Atlantic, but she was attacked and severely damaged by a Hudson of No. 233 Squadron RAF on 17 November 1942, forcing the U-boat to abort her patrol.[2]

Her eighth patrol was fruitless.

9th patrol[edit]

On 26 April 1943 she was disabled by a British Leigh light-equipped Wellington of 172 Squadron. The damage was such (including an untraceable oil leak), that she was unable to dive and had to be escorted back to base.[2]

10th patrol[edit]

She sank the USS Plymouth on 120 nautical miles (220 km; 140 mi) southeast of Cape Henry, Virginia on 5 August 1943, but was attacked by a Lockheed Ventura from United States Navy Squadron VP-128[2] 300 nautical miles (560 km; 350 mi) east of Cape Charles, also in Virginia, on 7 August 1943. Her AA fire forced the aircraft to ditch (she had misidentified the aircraft as a B-25 Mitchell). She also shot a second Ventura down (also wrongly categorized as a Mitchell) after it and a Martin Mariner both attacked, without result.

11th patrol[edit]

The boat was scuttled after she came off worse with an encounter with a Wellington of 179 Squadron. The submarine's crew were picked up by a Spanish trawler and briefly interned. They survived the war and in 1970 met the aircrew who had been victorious.[2]

Wolf Packs[edit]

U-566 took part in 6 wolfpacks, namely.

  • Pfadfinder (21 May 1942 - 27 May 1942)
  • Blücher (14 Aug 1942 - 28 Aug 1942)
  • Natter (2 Nov 1942 - 8 Nov 1942)
  • Westwall (8 Nov 1942 - 22 Nov 1942)
  • Neptun (18 Feb 1943 - 3 Mar 1943)
  • Westmark (6 Mar 1943 - 11 Mar 1943)

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage Fate[4]
15 April 1942 Meropi  Greece 4,181 Sunk
1 June 1942 Westmorland  United Kingdom 8,967 Sunk
17 August 1942 Triton  Norway 6,607 Sunk
28 August 1942 City of Cardiff  United Kingdom 5,661 Sunk
28 August 1942 Zuiderkerk  Netherlands 8,424 Sunk
7 November 1942 Glenlea  United Kingdom 4,252 Sunk
5 August 1943 USS Plymouth  United States Navy 2,265 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. 153.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Type VIIC boat U-566 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "War Patrols by German U-boat U-566 - Boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "U566 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. 

External links[edit]