German submarine U-56 (1938)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-56.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-58
Ordered: 17 June 1937
Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel
Laid down: 21 September 1937
Launched: 3 September 1938
Commissioned: 26 November 1938
Fate: Sunk April 1945, by British aircraft at Kiel
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: IIC
Type: Coastal submarine
Displacement: 291 t (286 long tons) surfaced
341 t (336 long tons) submerged
Length: 43.90 m (144 ft 0 in)
Beam: 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in)
Draft: 3.82 m (12 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × propeller shafts
2 × MWM four-stroke diesel engines, 700 shp (520 kW)
2 × Siemens-Schuckert electric motor, 410 shp (310 kW)
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h) surfaced
7 knots (13 km/h) submerged
Range: 1,900 nautical miles (3,500 km; 2,200 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
35–42 nmi (65–78 km; 40–48 mi) at 4 knots submerged
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 3 officers, 22 men
Armament:
Service record
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
1st U-boat Flotilla
24th U-boat Flotilla
22nd U-boat Flotilla
19th U-boat Flotilla[2]
Commanders: Kptlt. Wilhelm Zahn
(26 November 1938 - 21 January 1940)
Oblt.z.S. Otto Harms
(22 January 1940 - 13 October 1940)
Kptlt. Werner Pfeifer
(14 October 1940 - 21 April 1941)
Wolfgang Römer
(22 April 1941 - 19 January 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Günther-Paul Grave
(20 January 1942 - 14 November 1942)
Oblt.z.S. Hugo Deiring
(15 November 1942 - 27 February 1944)
Oblt.z.S. Werner Sausmikat
(28 February 1944 - 30 June 1944)
Lt.z.S. Heinrich Miede
(1 July 1944 - 22 February 1945)
Lt.z.S. Walter Käding
(9 January 1945 - 5 February 1945)
Oblt.z.S. Joachim Sauerbier
(23 February 1945 - April 1945)
Operations: Twelve:
1st patrol:
25 August–8 September 1939
2nd patrol:
12–19 September 1939
3rd patrol:
23 October–13 November 1939
4th patrol:
27 November–
5 December 1939
5th patrol:
27 December 1939– 11 January 1940
6th patrol:
27 January– 17 February 1940
7th patrol:
14– 20 March 1940
8th patrol:
4– 26 April 1940
9th patrol:
21 May– 14 June 1940
10th patrol:
29 June– 21 July 1940
11th patrol:
25 July– 14 August 1940
12th patrol:
19 August– 15 September 1940
Victories: Three ships sunk, total 8,860 GRT (gross register tonnage);
one auxiliary warship sunk 16,923 GRT;
one ship damaged, 3,829 GRT[3]

German submarine U-56 was a Type IIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served in the Second World War. She was built by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel as yard number 255. Ordered on 17 June 1937, she was laid down on 21 September, launched on 3 September 1938 and commissioned on 26 November under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Zahn.

U-56 was initially assigned to the 5th U-boat Flotilla during her training period, until 31 December 1939, when she was re-assigned to the 1st U-boat Flotilla for operations. She carried out twelve war patrols, sinking three ships for a total 8,860 GRT and one auxiliary warship of 16,923 GRT; she also damaged one vessel of 3,829 GRT.

Service History[edit]

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols[edit]

U-56's first three patrols, completed during her workup and training period, were relatively uneventful cruises in the North Sea. No ships were attacked during this period; even though on her third sortie, she circumnavigated the Shetland Islands.

4th patrol[edit]

The submarine's luck changed for the better on her fourth foray. She damaged the Eskdene on 2 December 1939, 70 nautical miles (130 km; 81 mi) northeast of the Tyne. The following day, she sank the Rudolf 40 nautical miles (74 km; 46 mi) east of May Island (in the mouth of the Firth of Forth).

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th patrols[edit]

The fifth patrol was also uneventful and took the boat into the southern North Sea.

Patrol numbers six and seven were both more of the same.

The boat's eighth sortie ranged far and wide; across the North Sea to the Scottish west coast, north of Shetland, then the other side of the North Sea to the coast of Norway, but further success continued to elude her.

Her ninth effort was to the north of the Hebrides and again round the Shetland Islands.

10th patrol[edit]

U-56's tenth patrol took her to the newly captured port of Lorient on the French Atlantic coast. She departed Wilhelmshaven on 29 June 1940; her route was to the west of Ireland, culminating in her arrival on 21 July.

11th patrol[edit]

She was near Ireland once more when she sank the Boma on 5 August 1940 northwest of Malin Head.[4]

In a similar location, she sank the armed merchant cruiser HMS Transylvania 40 nautical miles (74 km; 46 mi) northwest of Malin Head on 10 August.

12th patrol[edit]

U-56 was attacked by the British submarine HMS Tribune about 15 nautical miles (28 km) northeast of St Kilda on 6 September. All the torpedoes missed; the Germans were unaware of the situation. The boat was on her way, via the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands, back to Germany. She arrived in Kiel on 15 September.

Summary of Raiding History[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
2 December 1939 Eskdene  United Kingdom 3,829 Damaged
3 December 1939 Rudolf  Sweden 2,119 Sunk
23 January 1940 Onto  Finland 1,333 Sunk (mine)
5 August 1940 Boma  United Kingdom 5,408 Sunk
10 August 1940 HMS Transylvania  Royal Navy 16,923 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Gröner 1985, p. 67.
  2. ^ http://uboat.net/boats/u.56/htm
  3. ^ "Ships Hit by U-56". U-boat.net. 8 November 2012. 
  4. ^ The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 10
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]