German submarine U-58 (1938)

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For other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-58.
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-58
Ordered: 17 June 1937
Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel
Laid down: 29 September 1937
Launched: 12 October 1938
Commissioned: 4 February 1939
Fate: Scuttled at Kiel, 3 May 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Type IIC U-boat
Displacement: 291 long tons (296 t) surfaced
341 long tons (346 t) submerged
435 long tons (442 t) total
Length: 43.9 m (144 ft 0 in) o/a
29.6 m (97 ft 1 in) pressure hull
Beam: 4.1 m (13 ft 5 in) o/a
4 m (13 ft 1 in) pressure hull
Height: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
Draught: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MWM RS127S 6-cylinder diesel engines, 700 hp (522 kW)
2 × SSW PGVV322/26 double-acting electric motors, 402 hp (300 kW)
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) submerged
Range: 6,100 km (3,300 nmi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced
67 km (36 nmi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 150 m (490 ft)
Complement: 22 to 24 men
Armament: 3 × torpedo tubes (bow), 5 torpedoes
Service record
Part of: Kriegsmarine:
* 5th U-boat Flotilla (Training)
*1st U-boat Flotilla (Front boat)
* 22nd U-boat Flotilla (School Boat)
* 19th U-boat Flotilla (School Boat)[1]
Commanders:

Kptlt. Herbert Kuppisch
Oblt.z.S. Heinrich Schonder
Kptlt. Hans-Joachim Rahmlow
Oblt.z.S. Horst Hamm
Oblt.z.S. Bruno Barber
Oblt.z.S. Dietrich Schöneboom
Oblt.z.S. Horst Willner
Oblt.z.S. Robert Rix

Oblt.z.S. Richard Schulz[1]
Victories: Seven ships sunk, total 24,549 tons[2]

German submarine U-58 was a Type IIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served in the Second World War. She was produced by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel. Ordered on 17 June 1937, she was laid down on 29 September as Werk 257. She was launched on 12 October 1938 and commissioned on 4 February 1939 under the command of Oberleutnant Herbert Kuppisch.

U-58 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 a front-line combat role. U-58 carried out twelve war patrols, sinking seven ships for a total 24,549 GRT.

U-58, along with U-57, were both used for testing a new flooding valve schnorchel head during August 1943, that Deutsche Werke had constructed in June. For the test the schnorchel replaced the aft periscope. The initial trial was successful and a collapsible schnorchel forward of the bridge was envisaged for Type VIIC boats.[3]

Service History[edit]

First, second and third patrols[edit]

U-58's first three patrols, completed during her workup and training period, were uneventful cruises in the North Sea. No ships were attacked during this period.

Fourth patrol[edit]

The submarine's luck changed for the better on New Year's Day 1940. The (neutral) Swedish steam merchant ship Lars Magnus Trozelli (1,951 GRT) was hit with a single torpedo and sunk at 58°14′N 01°36′W / 58.233°N 1.600°W / 58.233; -1.600. Two days later the 2,475 ton Svartön, also Swedish flagged, was sunk at 57°48′N 01°47′W / 57.800°N 1.783°W / 57.800; -1.783 while traveling with convoy HN-6.

Fifth and sixth patrols[edit]

U-58's fifth patrol was really only a six-day transit from Kiel to Wilhelmshaven. Her sixth patrol began from the latter port on 27 January 1940. On 3 February, at 09.36 hours, the only success of this patrol occurred when the small (815 ton) Estonian merchantman Reet was sunk with a single torpedo. Two previous shots earlier in the day had missed their mark (02.15 and 04.52 hours respectively). There were no survivors.

Seventh patrol[edit]

The U-boat's seventh patrol was an unsuccessful 34-day foray in the waters between Scotland and Norway. The boat returned to Kiel on 3 May 1940.

Eighth patrol[edit]

An eighth patrol into the North Sea was U-58's most successful in terms of tonnage destroyed, however all 8,401 tons credited for this patrol comprised a single ship, the British Boom Defense Vessel HMS Astronomer, which was sunk at 58°01′N 02°12′W / 58.017°N 2.200°W / 58.017; -2.200 by three torpedo hits (two of which were coups de grâce). 101 of the 105 souls aboard survived to be picked up by other Royal Navy vessels.

Ninth patrol[edit]

The veteran submarine's ninth patrol saw her headed for a new home port in Lorient, France. Command was assumed by Oblt.z.S. Heinrich Schonder, who remained in charge of the boat for the rest of her career. Along the way, the 1,591 GRT Norwegian steam merchant Gyda was sunk by a single torpedo. This was a rather bold attack, given that the ship was being escorted by a Sunderland flying boat, a well known U-boat killer. The merchant vessel sank in less than a minute at 55°50′N 09°00′W / 55.833°N 9.000°W / 55.833; -9.000.

Tenth patrol[edit]

Departing Lorient on 29 July 1940, U-58 headed north toward Ireland, where she sank the 4,360 ton Greek merchant ship Pindos (a straggler from convoy SL-40), on 4 August with two torpedoes. The ship capsized to port before sinking at 55°22′N 08°50′W / 55.367°N 8.833°W / 55.367; -8.833; however 29 of the 32 crew escaped in lifeboats. The patrol terminated at Lorient on 12 August 1940.

Eleventh patrol[edit]

The U-boat's eleventh patrol was uneventful and she was transferred to a new home port, Bergen in Norway. En route, she attacked and sank the 4,956 ton British merchantman Confield, a straggler from convoy HX-76. Although not sunk by the torpedo hit, the abandoned derelict was later shelled and sunk by the British sloop Weston.

Twelfth patrol[edit]

U-58 departed Bergen on 14 October 1940 for her final patrol, a transit back to Kiel. There she was transferred to the 22nd U-boat flotilla for service as a training boat. She remained in this role under various commanders for the rest of the war. She was eventually scuttled at Kiel on 3 May 1945 to keep her out of the hands of the advancing Allies. The wreck was subsequently raised and broken up for scrap.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate and location
1 January 1940 Lars Magnus Trozelli  Sweden 1,951 Sunk at 58°14′N 01°36′W / 58.233°N 1.600°W / 58.233; -1.600
3 January 1940 Svartön  Sweden 2,475 Sunk at 57°48′N 01°47′W / 57.800°N 1.783°W / 57.800; -1.783
3 February 1940 Reet  Estonia 815 Sunk
1 June 1940 HMS Astronomer  Royal Navy 8,401 Sunk at 58°01′N 02°12′W / 58.017°N 2.200°W / 58.017; -2.200
18 July 1940 Gyda  Norway 1,591 Sunk at 55°50′N 09°00′W / 55.833°N 9.000°W / 55.833; -9.000
4 August 1940 Pindos  Greece 4,360 Sunk at 55°22′N 08°50′W / 55.367°N 8.833°W / 55.367; -8.833
8 October 1940 Confield  United Kingdom 4,956 Sunk

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "U-58". U-boat.net. 25 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Ships Hit by U-58". U-boat.net. 25 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Eberhard Rossler. The U-Boat: The Evolution and Technical History of German Submarines. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-36120-8