German submarine U-563
|Ordered:||24 October 1939|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||30 March 1940|
|Launched:||15 February 1941|
|Commissioned:||27 March 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Allied aircraft, May 1943|
|Class and type:||Type VIIC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
German submarine U-563 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She carried out eight patrols and sank three ships, totalling 14,689 gross register tons (GRT), as well as one warship of 1,870 GRT. Two ships were damaged, totalling 16,266 GRT. She was a member of nine wolfpacks, and was sunk by Allied aircraft in the Bay of Biscay, in May 1943.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-563 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. 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 Brown, Boveri & Cie 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).
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). 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-563 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.
The submarine was laid down on 30 March 1940 at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 539, launched on 5 February 1941 and commissioned on 27 March under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Klaus Bargsten.
She served with the 1st U-boat Flotilla from 27 March 1941 for training and stayed with that organization for operations.
She arrived at Brest in occupied France, on 10 September 1941.
She then sank the British destroyer HMS Cossack west of Gibraltar on 24 October 1941, but was attacked by another British ship, the corvette HMS Heliotrope west of Cape St. Vincent on the 25th. Although forced to submerge, the boat did not sustain any damage.
On 30 November 1941, U-563 was attacked by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley of No. 502 Squadron RAF in the Bay of Biscay. The damage was serious enough that the submarine could not dive and the commander was wounded, obliging the boat to return to Germany for repairs.
4th and 5th patrols
For her fourth sortie, U-563 again put out into the Atlantic, sailing west of Ireland. She then turned northeast for the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at Bergen in Norway on 3 February 1942.
Her fifth patrol, following short trips to Hamburg and Kiel, was in many respects, her fourth outing in reverse - starting in Kiel and finishing in Brest.
She departed Brest on 9 December 1942 and sank the Bretalda about 330 nautical miles (610 km; 380 mi) west northwest of Cape Finisterre (northwest Spain) on the 18th. The boat returned to Brest on 14 January 1943.
U-563 was attacked by a Bristol Beaufighter on 22 March 1943 which caused only slight damage. The boat damaged the Sunoil with a torpedo on 5 April; this ship was subsequently sunk by U-530. U-563 was then attacked on the 7th by a B-24 Liberator of 86 Squadron. Damage was slight, but two men were lost when the submarine crash-dived.
On her most successful day, 12 April 1943, the boat sank the Pacific Grove and damaged the Fresno City southeast of Cape Farewell (Greenland). The Fresno City was sunk later that day by U-706. U-563 also sank the Dutch ship Ulysses in the same area.
8th patrol and loss
Forty-nine men died with U-563;
U-563 took part in nine wolfpacks, namely.
- Grönland (10–23 August 1941)
- Kurfürst (23 August - 2 September 1941)
- Seewolf (2–7 September 1941)
- Breslau (4–29 October 1941)
- Panther (11–16 October 1942)
- Puma (16–29 October 1942)
- Falke (28 December 1942 - 5 January 1943)
- Löwenherz (1–10 April 1943)
- Lerche (10–16 April 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|24 October 1941||HMS Cossack||Royal Navy||1,870||Sunk|
|18 December 1942||Bretwalda||United Kingdom||4,906||Sunk|
|5 April 1943||Sunoil||United States||9,005||Damaged|
|12 April 1943||Fresno City||United Kingdom||7,261||Damaged|
|12 April 1943||Pacific Grove||United Kingdom||7,117||Sunk|
|12 April 1943||Ulysses||Netherlands||2,666||Sunk|
- Kemp 1997, p. 122.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-563". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 15
- The Times Atlas of the World, p. 15
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U563". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-563". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2014.