German submarine U-501

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U-505chicago.jpg
U-505, a typical Type IXC boat
History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-501
Ordered: 25 September 1939
Builder: Deutsche Werft, Hamburg
Yard number: 291
Laid down: 12 February 1940
Launched: 25 January 1941
Commissioned: 30 April 1941
Fate: Sunk, 10 September 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Type IXC submarine
Displacement:
  • 1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
  • 1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in) o/a
  • 4.40 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 PS (3,200 kW; 4,300 bhp) (diesels)
  • 1,000 PS (740 kW; 990 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h; 20.9 mph) surfaced
  • 7.7 knots (14.3 km/h; 8.9 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 13,450 nmi (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 4 officers, 44 enlisted
Armament:
Service record[1][2]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • K.Kapt. Hugo Förster
  • 30 April – 10 September 1941
Operations: 1st patrol: 7 August – 10 September 1941
Victories: 1 commercial ships sunk (2,000 GRT)

German submarine U-501 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 12 February 1940 at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg, launched on 25 January 1941 and commissioned on 30 April 1941 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Hugo Förster. The boat served with 2nd U-boat Flotilla until she was sunk on 10 September 1941.[1]

Design[edit]

German Type IXC submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXBs. U-501 had a displacement of 1,120 tonnes (1,100 long tons) when at the surface and 1,232 tonnes (1,213 long tons) while submerged.[3] The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 shaft horsepower (1,010 PS; 750 kW) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[3]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph).[3] When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,450 nautical miles (24,910 km; 15,480 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-501 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.[3]

Service history[edit]

U-501 departed from Kiel on 2 July 1941 and sailed to Trondheim in Norway via Horten Naval Base also in Norway, by 15 July.[2] From there she sailed on her first and only war patrol on 7 August 1941, heading out into the waters around Iceland.[4] She sank the 2,000 ton Norwegian merchant ship Einvik, a straggler from Convoy SC-41 on 5 September, about 450 miles south-west of Iceland, with a torpedo and gunfire. The ship's distress signals were received and an aircraft sent to search for her, but it found nothing and reported that there were probably no survivors. In fact all 23 crew members were in two lifeboats heading for Iceland, which they reached on 12 and 13 September.[5]

Sinking[edit]

Five days later, on the night of 10 September, U-501 was taking part in a mass attack on Allied Convoy SC 42 in the Denmark Strait south of Tasiilaq, Greenland, in position 62°50′N 37°50′W / 62.833°N 37.833°W / 62.833; -37.833Coordinates: 62°50′N 37°50′W / 62.833°N 37.833°W / 62.833; -37.833, when she was detected by the Canadian Flower class corvette HMCS Chambly with sonar, and damaged with depth charges. U-501's captain - Hugo Förster - decided to scuttle the U-boat. On the surface, she was spotted by the corvette HMCS Moose Jaw, which attempted to ram her. However, U-501 turned at the last moment so that the two vessels were running parallel, only feet apart. For unknown reasons, Hugo Förster surrendered himself and abandoned his command by leaping from the submarine's bridge to the deck of the Moose Jaw.

The Moose Jaw veered away and the U-boat's first watch officer took command; he continued with the scuttling. A nine-man party from the Chambly got on board the U-501 in an attempt to seize secret papers, but the submarine sank under their feet. One Canadian sailor and eleven Germans died. The remaining thirty-five crewmen were taken prisoner.[6]

This was the first U-boat kill by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-501 took part in two wolfpacks, namely.

  • Grönland (10–27 August 1941)
  • Markgraf (27 August - 10 September 1941)

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[7]
5 September 1941 Einvik  Norway 2,000 Sunk

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-501". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-501". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, p. 68.
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-501 from 7 August 1941 to 10 September 1941". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Einvik (Steam merchant)". Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Blair, Clay (1999). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939-41. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 392. ISBN 0-394-58839-8. 
  7. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-501". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Blair, Clay, Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939-41 (1999), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, New York. ISBN 0-394-58839-8
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6. 
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German). IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2. 
  • Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4. 

External links[edit]