German submarine U-591

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Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-591
Ordered: 16 January 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 567
Laid down: 30 October 1940
Launched: 20 August 1941
Commissioned: 9 October 1941
Fate: Sunk 30 July 1943 in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco in position 08°36′S 34°34′W / 8.600°S 34.567°W / -8.600; -34.567, by depth charges from a US Lockheed Ventura aircraft.
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 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers & ratings
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
1 × 8.8 cm (3.46 in) deck gun (220 rounds)
Various AA guns
Service record[1]
Part of: 6th U-boat Flotilla
(9 October 1941 - 1 January 1942) - Training
6th U-boat Flotilla
(1 January 1942 - 30 June 1942)
11th U-boat Flotilla
(1 July 1942 - 31 May 1943)
9th U-boat Flotilla
(1 June 1943 - 30 July 1943)
Commanders: Kptlt Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
(9 October 1941 - 8 September 1942)
Oblt Peter Schrewe
(9 September 1942 - 12 November 1942)
Kptlt Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
(12 November 1942 - 17 May 1943)
Ltn Joachim Sauerbier
(15 May 1943 - 17 May 1943)
Oblt Reimar Ziesmer
(1 June 1943 – 30 July 1943)
Operations: 1st patrol:
15 January 1942 - 20 February 1942
2nd patrol:
1 April 1942 - 11 April 1942
3rd patrol:
10 May 1942 - 2 June 1942
4th patrol:
27 July 1942 - 14 August 1942
5th patrol:
1 December 1942 - 12 January 1943
6th patrol:
17 February 1943 - 7 April 1943
7th patrol:
12 May 1943 - 17 May 1943
8th patrol:
26 June 1943 - 30 July 1943
Victories: 4 merchant ships sunk (19,932 GRT)
1 merchant ship damaged (5,701 GRT)

German submarine U-591 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 30 October 1940 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as 'werk' 567, launched on 20 August 1941 and commissioned on 9 October 1941 under Kptlt Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche.

Service History[edit]

The boat's service began on 9 October 1941 with training, followed by active service as part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla. She was transferred to the 11th Flotilla on 1 July 1942 for active service in the North Atlantic operating out of Bergen. The following year, on 1 June 1943, she transferred to 9th Flotilla operating of Brest, France.

In 4 patrols she sank 4 merchant ships, for a total of 19,932 GRT, plus 1 merchant ship damaged.

Wolf Packs[edit]

U-591 took part in 9 wolf packs, namely

  • Schlei (21 Jan 1942 – 12 Feb 1942)
  • Bums (6 Apr 1942 – 10 Apr 1942)
  • Greif (14 May 1942 – 29 May 1942)
  • Nebelkönig (27 Jul 1942 – 13 Aug 1942)
  • Ungestüm (11 Dec 1942 – 30 Dec 1942)
  • Sturmbock (21 Feb 1943 – 26 Feb 1943)
  • Wildfang (26 Feb 1943 – 5 Mar 1943)
  • Westmark (6 Mar 1943 – 11 Mar 1943)
  • Seewolf (21 Mar 1943 – 30 Mar 1943)

Convoy ONS 154[edit]

The first victim of Convoy 154 was the 5,701-GRT Norwegian freighter Norse King, the second in column eleven, on 28 December 1942. U-591 torpedo hit her at 20:04. Badly damaged, Norse King attempted to limp to the Azores but was found by U-435 and sent to the bottom.
U-591’s second success was the badly damaged and abandoned 4,871-GRT United Africa Company freighter Zarian with a single torpedo, although she missed the Baron Cochrane

Convoy SC 121[edit]

Having recently returned to sea after a long recovery from gunshot wounds, Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche was on target with Convoy SC 121 when he sighted the Empire Impala, hove-to picking up survivors from the torpedoed Egyptian, on 7 March 1943. Of the combined crew of 80 men, from both Egyptian and Empire Impala, only 3 survived.

Fate[edit]

U-591 was sunk on 30 July 1943 in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco in position 08°36′S 34°34′W / 8.600°S 34.567°W / -8.600; -34.567; depth charged by a US Lockheed Ventura aircraft. There were 19 dead and 28 survivors.

Summary of Raiding Career[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[2]
21 December 1942 Montreal City  United Kingdom 3,066 Sunk
28 December 1942 Norse King  Norway 5,701 Damaged
29 December 1942 Zarian  United Kingdom 4,871 Sunk
7 March 1943 Empire Impala  United Kingdom 6,116 Sunk
8 March 1943 Vojvoda Putnik  Yugoslavia 5,879 Sunk

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "The Type VIIC boat U-591 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "U-591 successes". UBoat.net. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. pp. 137, 138, 167–169. ISBN 0-304-35203-9.