German submarine U-581

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Career
Name: U-581
Ordered: 8 January 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 557
Laid down: 25 September 1940
Launched: 12 June 1941
Commissioned: 31 July 1941
Fate: Sunk by a British warship near the Azores, February 1942[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: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) 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
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
Various AA guns
Service record[2]
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
(31 July–30 November 1941)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 December–2 February 1942)
Commanders: Kptlt. Werner Pfeifer
(31 July 1941–2 February 1942)
Operations: 1st patrol:
13–24 December 1941
2nd patrol:
11 January–2 February 1942
Victories: One auxiliary warship sunk, 364 tons

German submarine U-581 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She carried out two patrols and sank one auxiliary warship of 364 tons.

She was sunk by a British warship near the Azores, in February 1942.

Service history[edit]

The submarine was laid down on 25 September 1940 at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as 'werk' 557, launched on 12 June 1941 and commissioned on 31 July under the command of Kapitänleutnant Werner Pfeifer.

She served with the 5th U-boat Flotilla from 31 July 1941 for training and moved to the 7th flotilla for operations until her loss, from 1 December 1941 to 2 February 1942.

Operational career[edit]

1st patrol[edit]

The boat departed Kiel on 13 December 1941, moved through the North Sea, negotiated the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands and entered the Atlantic Ocean. She docked at St. Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast on the 24th.

2nd patrol and loss[edit]

For her second foray, U-581 left St. Nazaire on 11 January 1942. On the 19th, she likely sank the British armed trawler HMS Rosemonde North East of the Azores. There is an element of doubt because the small warship was not reported missing until this date.

The boat was sunk by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Westcott near the Azores, in February 1942.

Four men died; there were 41 survivors.

One of U-581's officers, Walter Sitek, swam six kilometres to land. He was repatriated to Germany through neutral Spain. Sitek survived the war.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[3]
19 January 1942 HMS Rosemonde  Royal Navy 364 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, pp. 78-79
  2. ^ "The Type VIIC boat U-581 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "U-581 successes". UBoat.net. Retrieved 4 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]