German submarine U-569
|Ordered:||24 October 1939|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||21 May 1940|
|Launched:||20 March 1941|
|Commissioned:||8 May 1941|
|Fate:||Scuttled, May 1943, after damage inflicted by US aircraft|
|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|
She carried out nine patrols, sank one ship of 984 gross register tons (GRT) and damaged one other of 4,458 GRT.
She was a member of 15 wolfpacks.
She was scuttled following damage inflicted by US carrier-borne aircraft in mid-Atlantic, in May 1943.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-569 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-569 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 a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
She served with the 3rd U-boat Flotilla from 1 August 1941 for training and stayed with that organization for operations until her loss from 1 August 1941 to 22 May 1943.
1st and 2nd patrols
U-569's first patrol was from Trondheim in Norway, she headed for the Atlantic Ocean via the gap separating Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She arrived at St. Nazaire in occupied France, on 21 September 1941.
Having left St. Nazaire on 12 October 1941, U-569 made for the Newfoundland and Labrador coast. She returned to her French base on 12 November.
The submarine was attacked by a Fairey Swordfish west of Gibraltar on 16 December 1941. She, along with four other U-boats, was to have operated in the Mediterranean, but the damage was such that she had to return to St. Nazaire.
4th and 5th patrols
On her fifth sortie, she damaged the Pontypridd northeast of St. Johns, Newfoundland, on 11 June 1942 and took the master prisoner. She returned to La Pallice on the 28th.
6th and 7th patrols
The boat was attacked by the Norwegian corvette HNoMS Potentilla on 25 August 1942. The warship lost the element of surprise and her intention to ram when her 4 in gun opened fire prematurely. Several hits were scored on the conning tower by 20mm AA guns, but the larger weapon failed to register in the encounter in mid-Atlantic.
The boat's seventh patrol was relatively peaceful with no contacts.
U-569 was attacked by the escorts of Convoy UC-1 on 23 February 1943 and seriously damaged. She had departed La Pallice on 7 February 1943 and returned there on 13 March.
9th patrol and loss
The boat was badly damaged by four depth charges dropped by one TBM Avenger,piloted by William F. Chamberlain, from the escort carrier USS Bogue on 22 May 1943. A relief Avenger, from USS Bogue too, piloted by Howard S. Roberts, was waiting overhead when the U-boat resurfaced. Roberts dropped four more depth charges and machine-gunned the bridge to prevent the Germans from manning the flak guns. U-boat Commander Johannsen had no intentions of fighting back. According to American records, he ordered the crew to raise a white flag on the periscope. Upon seeing this flag, Roberts withheld fire and guided the Canadian destroyer St.Laurent to the scene. As the destroyer approached, Johannsen ordered his crew to scuttle and jump overboard. St.Laurent fished out Johannsen and 24 of his crew of 46. This is how U-569 ended up scuttled in mid-Atlantic in late afternoon, on May 22, 1943. Twenty-one men died with U-569; there were 25 survivors, who were sent to Washington for interrogation.
U-569 took part in 15 wolfpacks, namely
- Grönland (14–27 August 1941)
- Markgraf (27 August – 16 September 1941)
- Schlagetot (20 October – 1 November 1941)
- Raubritter (1–8 November 1941)
- Westwall (2–12 March 1942)
- York (12–26 March 1942)
- Hecht (8 May – 18 June 1942)
- Lohs (11 August – 21 September 1942)
- Draufgänger (1–11 December 1942)
- Ungestüm (11–22 December 1942)
- Robbe (16–26 February 1943)
- Amsel 3 (3–6 May 1943)
- Rhein (7–10 May 1943)
- Elbe 1 (10–14 May 1943)
- Mosel (19–22 May 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|8 March 1942||Hengist||United Kingdom||984||Sunk|
|11 June 1942||Pontypridd||United Kingdom||4,458||Damaged|
- Kemp 1997, p. 120.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-569". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- Paterson, Lawrence - U-Boats in the Mediterranean 1941-1944, 2007, Chatham Publishing, ISBN 9781861762900, p. 94
- The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 10
- Hitler's U-boat war, The Hunted, by Clay Blair
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U569". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- 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.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-569". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2014.