German submarine U-566

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-566
Ordered: 24 October 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 542
Laid down: 30 March 1940
Launched: 20 February 1941
Commissioned: 17 April 1941
Fate: Scuttled, 24 October 1943[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. Dietrich Borchert
  • 17 April 1941 – 24 July 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Remus
  • 25 July 1942 – 24 January 1943
  • Kptlt. Hans Hornkohl
  • 25 January – 24 October 1943
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 30 July – 19 August 1941
  • 2nd patrol: 30 August – 20 September 1941
  • 3rd patrol: 9–23 December 1941
  • 4th patrol: 15 January – 9 March 1942
  • 5th patrol: 8 April – 30 June 1942
  • 6th patrol: 6 August – 5 September 1942
  • 7th patrol: 28 October – 1 December 1942
  • 8th patrol: 6 February – 25 March 1943
  • 9th patrol: 24–28 April 1943
  • 10th patrol: 5 July – 1 September 1943
  • 11th patrol: 18–24 October 1943
Victories:
  • Six commercial ships sunk (38,092 GRT)
  • one warship sunk (2,265 tons)

German submarine U-566 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 30 March 1940 at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg as yard number 542, launched on 20 February 1941 and commissioned on 17 April under the command of Kapitänleutnant Dietrich Borchert.

She was scuttled by her crew on 24 October 1943 after being damaged by six depth charges from a British Wellington aircraft in the North Atlantic west of Portugal, in position 41°12′N 9°31′W / 41.200°N 9.517°W / 41.200; -9.517Coordinates: 41°12′N 9°31′W / 41.200°N 9.517°W / 41.200; -9.517. There were no casualties.[2]

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-566 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 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).[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-566 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]

In the eleven combat patrols of her career the U-boat sank seven vessels; six merchant ships totalling 38,092 GRT between February and November 1942, and the 2,265 GRT patrol gunboat USS Plymouth (PG-57) on 5 August 1943.[3]

She was initially involved in a short journey from Trondheim to Kirkenes, both in Norway in July 1941.

1st and 2nd patrols[edit]

The submarine's first and second patrols were marked by no more than an unsuccessful attack by a Soviet submarine off Kildin Island which caused no damage.

Before her third patrol, she moved between Kirkenes, Bergen and Kristiansand from September to December 1941.[2]

3rd, 4th and 5th patrols[edit]

The boat's third patrol took her from Kristiansand to Lorient in occupied France where she arrived on 23 December 1941. Her route took her through the gap between the Faroe and Shetland Islands, west of Ireland and into the Bay of Biscay.

Her fourth sortie was marked with the sinking of the Meropi on 14 February 1942 35 nautical miles (65 km; 40 mi) east-southeast of the Sambro light-house in Nova Scotia.

The U-boat's fifth patrol commenced with her departure from Brest, which she continued to use for the rest of her career, on 8 April 1942. She sank the Westmorland on 1 June 240 nautical miles (440 km; 280 mi) north-northeast of Bermuda, using a torpedo and her deck gun.

6th, 7th and 8th patrols[edit]

Her sixth outing saw the sinking of the Triton northeast of the Azores on 17 August 1942 and the Zuiderkerk on 28 August.[2]

The boat's seventh foray was rewarded with the sinking of the Glenlea on 7 November in mid-Atlantic, but she was attacked and severely damaged by a Hudson of No. 233 Squadron RAF on 17 November 1942, forcing the U-boat to abort her patrol.[2]

Her eighth patrol was fruitless.

9th patrol[edit]

On 26 April 1943 she was disabled by a British Leigh light-equipped Wellington of 172 Squadron. The damage was such (including an untraceable oil leak), that she was unable to dive and had to be escorted back to base.[2]

10th patrol[edit]

She sank the USS Plymouth on 120 nautical miles (220 km; 140 mi) southeast of Cape Henry, Virginia on 5 August 1943, but was attacked by a Lockheed Ventura from United States Navy Squadron VP-128[2] 300 nautical miles (560 km; 350 mi) east of Cape Charles, also in Virginia, on 7 August 1943. Her AA fire forced the aircraft to ditch (she had misidentified the aircraft as a B-25 Mitchell). She also shot a second Ventura down (also wrongly categorized as a Mitchell) after it and a Martin Mariner both attacked, without result.

11th patrol[edit]

The boat was scuttled after she came off worse with an encounter with a Wellington of 179 Squadron. The submarine's crew were picked up by a Spanish trawler and briefly interned. They survived the war and in 1970 met the aircrew who had been victorious.[2]

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-566 took part in six wolfpacks, namely.

  • Pfadfinder (21–27 May 1942)
  • Blücher (14–28 August 1942)
  • Natter (2–8 November 1942)
  • Westwall (8–22 November 1942)
  • Neptun (18 February - 3 March 1943)
  • Westmark (6–11 March 1943)

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Ship Name Nationality Tonnage[Note 1] Fate[5]
15 April 1942 Meropi  Greece 4,181 Sunk
1 June 1942 Westmorland  United Kingdom 8,967 Sunk
17 August 1942 Triton  Norway 6,607 Sunk
28 August 1942 City of Cardiff  United Kingdom 5,661 Sunk
28 August 1942 Zuiderkerk  Netherlands 8,424 Sunk
7 November 1942 Glenlea  United Kingdom 4,252 Sunk
5 August 1943 USS Plymouth  United States Navy 2,265 Sunk

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merchant ship tonnages are in gross register tons. Military vessels are listed by tons displacement.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 153.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-566". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-566". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U566". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 

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 (1999). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 

External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-566". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  • Hofmann, Markus. "U 566". Deutsche U-Boote 1935-1945 - u-boot-archiv.de (in German). Retrieved 28 December 2014.