German submarine U-573

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Submarino S01.jpg
U-573 as S-01 in Cartagena
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-573
Ordered: 24 October 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss of Hamburg
Laid down: 8 June 1940
Launched: 17 April 1941
Commissioned: 5 June 1941
Fate: Damaged by depth charges north-west of Algiers. Interned at Cartagena, Spain on 2 May 1942. Sold to Spain on 2 Aug, 1942. Became the Spanish submarine G 7. In service until 1970[1]
Career (Spain)
Name: G-7
Acquired: 1942
Commissioned: 2 August 1942
Renamed: S-01 (1961)
Struck: 2 May 1970
Fate: Broken up
General characteristics [2]
Class & 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
Height: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
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 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (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

German submarine U-573 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

Her keel was laid down 8 June 1940 at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg as yard number 549. She was launched on 17 April 1941 and commissioned on 5 June with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Heinsohn (12 February 1910 – 6 May 1943) in command. Heinsohn commanded her for her entire career in the Kriegsmarine. In May 1941 he had arranged that the city of Landeck in Tyrol adopted the submarine within the then popular sponsorship programme (Patenschaftsprogramm), organising gifts and holidays for the crew, earning her the honorary name "U-573 Landeck".[3]

The boat began her service career as part of the 3rd U-boat Flotilla when she conducted training; on 1 September 1941 she commenced operations with that flotilla. She was transferred to the 29th Flotilla, also for operations, on 1 January 1942. She was sold to the Spanish Navy that same year and became the Spanish submarine G-7.

German service[edit]

U-573 conducted four war patrols, sinking just one ship.[4]

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

Her operational career began with her departure from Kiel on 15 September 1941. She entered the Atlantic via the North Sea and the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She almost reached the Labrador coast before heading for St. Nazaire in occupied France, docking on 15 November.

U-573 '​s second patrol involved the boat slipping past the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean,[5] where she sank the Norwegian Hellen (5,289 tons) with two torpedoes on 21 December 1941. She arrived at Pola in Croatia on 30 December.

Her third sortie was relatively uneventful, starting and finishing in Pola between 2 February and 6 March 1942.

4th patrol and internment[edit]

On 29 April 1942, U-573 was attacked with depth charges by Lockheed Hudsons of No. 233 Squadron RAF, northwest of Algiers. Seriously damaged, she limped north to Spain, arriving in Cartagena on 2 May. International agreements allowed ships in neutral ports 24 hours to make emergency repairs before they were to be interned. The Spanish authorities granted U-573 a three-month period for repairs, which prompted several strong protests from the British Embassy in Madrid. On 19 May Heinsohn flew from Madrid to Stuttgart, then travelled on to Berlin, in order to discuss the situation with the Kriegsmarine. He returned by train via Hendaye (in southwest France) on 28 May. Realizing that even three months would not be enough to repair the boat, the Kriegsmarine sold the vessel to Spain for 1.5 million Reichsmarks. On 2 August 1942, at 10 am, (one day before the three-month period was due to expire), the Spanish navy commissioned the boat as the G-7.[6]

U-573 '​s crew suffered no casualties during her career in the Kriegsmarine. The men had been interned in Cartagena and were gradually released in groups of two or three. The last five members of the crew left with Kptlt. Heinsohn on 13 February 1943. He returned to the Kriegsmarinearsenal in Gdynia, then German-annexed Poland, In March he was ordered to Brest, then in German-occupied France to take command of U-438, and died with all his crew two months later.

Spanish service[edit]

Work started on the U-573, now the G-7, in August 1943 following the sale to Spain but took four years to complete. The damage caused by the British attack was found to be more extensive than was first thought; also German technical assistance and parts were difficult to obtain in the last years of World War II and after. In addition, Spain’s economy was weak following the Spanish Civil War. Repairs were completed in early 1947 and on 5 November 1947 G-7 was re-commissioned. The bow's net cutter and the 20mm antiaircraft cannon were removed.

Despite the Type VII being out-dated by the end of World War II, G-7 was the most modern of Spain’s submarine fleet; her other vessels (two ex-Italian, and four home-built boats) dating from the early 1930s. G-7 lacked radar and did not possess a Schnorkel. In 1951 development was started on a schnorkel design by Empresa Nacional Bazán, the Spanish shipbuilding company, but these came to nothing when the Spanish Navy bought the former US Navy submarine USS Kraken.

G-7 '​s repairs were completed in 1947. In 1958 Arca-Filmproduktion GmbH rented G-7 to take part in the semi-fictitious movie U 47 – Kapitänleutnant Prien, partially based on his patrol to Scapa Flow, where he sank HMS Royal Oak.[7]

In 1961 the Spanish Navy’s submarine force was re-numbered, and G-7 became S-01.

One other U-boat was interned in Spain during World War II: German submarine U-760.

On 2 May 1970 she was de-commissioned after 23 years service. She was auctioned for 3,334,751 Pts (about US$26,500), after which, despite efforts to save and preserve her as a museum, the submarine was broken up for scrap.

Summary of raiding career[8][edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
21 December 1941 Hellen  Norway 5,289 Sunk


  1. ^ Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed – German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 81.
  2. ^ Gröner 1985, pp. 72–74.
  3. ^ Three representatives of Landeck, the burgomaster Hermann Bursian, Josef Pesjak, and a Herr Tscholl, participated in the commissioning of the boat and handed over a coat-of-arms of the city to be fixed to the conning tower on every arrival in harbour. Cf. Franz Fröwis, "U-573, U-256 und U-92 trugen das Wappen Landecks", in: Tiroler Heimat. Jahrbuch für Geschichte und Volkskunde, vol. 67 (2003), pp. 289–303, here pp. 291 and 293.
  4. ^ Guðmundur Helgason, "Patrol info for U-573 (Second patrol)". U-boat patrols. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  5. ^ Paterson, Lawrence – U-Boats in the Mediterranean 1941–1944, 2007, Chatham Publishing, ISBN 9781861762900, p. 51.
  6. ^ Paterson, pp. 66–67
  7. ^ On the film cf. U47 – Kapitänleutnant Prien on Internet Movie Database.
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U573". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  • 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: 37°00′N 1°00′W / 37.000°N 1.000°W / 37.000; -1.000