German submarine U-576
|Ordered:||8 January 1940|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||1 August 1940|
|Launched:||30 April 1941|
|Commissioned:||26 June 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by US aircraft and a merchant ship, near the East Coast of the United States, July 1942|
|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|
|Nearest city||Hatteras, North Carolina|
|MPS||World War II Shipwrecks along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico MPS|
|NRHP Reference #||15000864|
|Added to NRHP||December 8, 2015|
German submarine U-576 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She carried out five patrols, sinking four ships of 15,450 gross register tons (GRT) and damaging two more of 19,457 GRT. She was sunk in July 1942 by depth charges from two US aircraft and gunfire from a merchant ship, near the East Coast of the United States. The wreck was discovered in August 2014.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-576 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-576 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.
Laid down on 1 August 1940 at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg at yard number 551, the submarine was launched on 30 April 1941. She was commissioned on 26 June under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hans-Dieter Heinicke.
U-576 trained in the 7th U-boat Flotilla, and stayed with that flotilla for operations from 1 September 1941 until her loss on 15 July 1942.
1st and 2nd patrols
On her second patrol, she sailed into the Atlantic Ocean through the gap separating the Faroe and Shetland Islands. She arrived at St. Nazaire in occupied France on 23 December 1941, without incident.
As one of the boats involved in Operation Drumbeat (U-boat operations off the eastern seaboard of the United States), U-576 sank the Pipestone County on 21 April 1942, 475 nautical miles (880 km; 547 mi) east of Cape Henry, Virginia. All 46 crewmen survived. The submarine surfaced and her crew gave provisions to the men in one of the lifeboats. On 30 April 1942, she sank the Taborfjell 95 nautical miles (176 km; 109 mi) east of Cape Cod. The merchant ship went down in just one minute, with the loss of 17 of her 20 crewmen.
5th patrol and loss
The boat set out from St. Nazaire for the last time on 16 June 1942, sailing for the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. Off the North Carolina coast, she sank the Bluefields and damaged the Chilore and the J.A. Mowinckel on 15 July 1942. However, she was sunk later that day by depth charges from two American Kingfisher aircraft and gunfire from the Unicoi. All 45 crewmen on the U-576 died; there were no survivors.
An unsuccessful attempt to locate the sunken vessel off Cape Hatteras was documented in the National Geographic TV documentary, Hitler's Secret Attack on America (2013). In October 2014, however, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the submarine had been located using sonar in August 2014 during an expedition conducted by NOAA's Office of Marine Sanctuaries. Her wreck lies 30 miles off Cape Hatteras and about 240 yards from the wreck of the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter Bluefields. On December 8, 2015 the U-576 and the Bluefields were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Summary of raiding history
|14 February 1942||Empire Spring||United Kingdom||6,946||Sunk|
|21 April 1942||Pipestone County||United States||5,102||Sunk|
|30 April 1942||Taborfjell||Norway||1,339||Sunk|
|15 July 1942||Bluefields||Nicaragua||2,063||Sunk|
|15 July 1942||Chilore||United States||8,130||Damaged|
|15 July 1942||J.A. Mowinckel||Panama||11,147||Damaged|
- Kemp 1997, p. 84.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-576". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
- The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0-7230-0809-4, p. 55
- Gannon, Michael - Operation Drumbeat - the dramatic true story of Germany's first U-boat attacks along the American coast in World War II, 1990, Harper and Row publishers, ISBN 0-06-016155-8, p. 489
- Lendon, Brad (October 21, 2014). "Wreck of WWII German U-boat found off North Carolina". CNN. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-576". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 3 February 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.
- Kemp, Paul (1997). U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-576". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.