German submarine U-551

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-551
Ordered: 25 September 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 527
Laid down: 21 November 1939
Launched: 14 September 1940
Commissioned: 7 November 1940
Fate: Sunk, 23 March 1941[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement:
  • 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
  • 871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length:
Beam:
  • 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
  • 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Installed power:
  • 2,800–3,200 PS (2,100–2,400 kW; 2,800–3,200 bhp) (diesels)
  • 750 PS (550 kW; 740 shp) (electric)
Propulsion:
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: 4 officers, 40–56 enlisted
Armament:
Service record[2][3]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Karl Schrott
  • 7 November 1940 – 23 March 1941
Operations: 18–23 March 1941
Victories: None

German submarine U-551 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 21 November 1939 at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg as yard number 527, launched on 14 September 1940, and commissioned on 7 November 1940 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Karl Schrott.[2]

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-551 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[4] She had a total length of 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 50.50 m (165 ft 8 in), a beam of 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 four-stroke, six-cylinder supercharged diesel engines producing a total of 2,800 to 3,200 metric horsepower (2,060 to 2,350 kW; 2,760 to 3,160 shp) for use while surfaced, two BBC GG UB 720/8 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).[4]

The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph).[4] When submerged, the boat could operate for 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-551 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), fourteen torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and an anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.[4]

Service history[edit]

Attached to the 7th U-boat Flotilla, she first sailed from Kiel, Germany to Bergen, Norway, before commencing her first and only war patrol on 18 March 1941.[3] She sailed to the waters south of Iceland,[5] and there on 23 March, in position 62°37′N 16°47′W / 62.617°N 16.783°W / 62.617; -16.783Coordinates: 62°37′N 16°47′W / 62.617°N 16.783°W / 62.617; -16.783, she was sunk by depth charges from the British anti-submarine warfare trawler HMT Visenda. All 45 hands were lost.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kemp 1997, p. 69.
  2. ^ a b c Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-551". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-551". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-551 from 18 Mar 1941 to 23 Mar 1941". U-boat patrols - uboat.net. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1997). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]