German submarine U-591

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History
Nazi Germany
Name: U-591
Ordered: 16 January 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 567
Laid down: 30 October 1940
Launched: 20 August 1941
Commissioned: 9 October 1941
Fate: Sunk 30 July 1943 in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco in position 08°36′S 34°34′W / 8.600°S 34.567°W / -8.600; -34.567, by depth charges from a US Lockheed Ventura aircraft.
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[1]
Part of:
Commanders:
  • Kptlt. Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
  • 9 October 1941 – 8 September 1942
  • Oblt.z.S. Peter Schrewe
  • 9 September – 12 November 1942
  • Kptlt. Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche
  • 12 November 1942 – 17 May 1943
  • Lt.z.S. Joachim Sauerbier
  • 15–17 May 1943
  • Oblt.z.S. Reimar Ziesmer
  • 1 June – 30 July 1943
Operations:
  • 1st patrol: 15 January – 20 February 1942
  • 2nd patrol: 1–11 April 1942
  • 3rd patrol: 10 May – 2 June 1942
  • 4th patrol: 27 July – 14 August 1942
  • 5th patrol: 1 December 1942 – 12 January 1943
  • 6th patrol: 17 February – 7 April 1943
  • 7th patrol: 12–17 May 1943
  • 8th patrol: 26 June – 30 July 1943
Victories:
  • 4 merchant ships sunk (19,932 GRT)
  • 1 merchant ship damaged (5,701 GRT)

German submarine U-591 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 30 October 1940 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 567, launched on 20 August 1941 and commissioned on 9 October 1941 under Kapitänleutnant Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche.

Design[edit]

German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-591 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged.[2] 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).[2]

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).[2] 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-591 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.[2]

Service history[edit]

The boat's service began on 9 October 1941 with training, followed by active service as part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla. She was transferred to the 11th Flotilla on 1 July 1942 for active service in the North Atlantic operating out of Bergen. The following year, on 1 June 1943, she transferred to 9th Flotilla operating of Brest, France.

In 4 patrols she sank four merchant ships, for a total of 19,932 gross register tons (GRT), plus one merchant ship damaged.

Wolfpacks[edit]

U-591 took part in nine wolfpacks, namely

  • Schlei (21 January – 12 February 1942)
  • Bums (6–10 April 1942)
  • Greif (14–29 May 1942)
  • Nebelkönig (27 July – 13 August 1942)
  • Ungestüm (11–30 December 1942)
  • Sturmbock (21–26 February 1943)
  • Wildfang (26 February – 5 March 1943)
  • Westmark (6–11 March 1943)
  • Seewolf (21–30 March 1943)

Convoy ONS 154[edit]

The first victim of Convoy ONS 154 was the 5,701-GRT Norwegian freighter Norse King, the second in column eleven, on 28 December 1942. U-591 torpedo hit her at 20:04. Badly damaged, Norse King attempted to limp to the Azores but was found by U-435 and sent to the bottom.
U-591’s second success was the badly damaged and abandoned 4,871-GRT United Africa Company freighter Zarian with a single torpedo, although she missed the Baron Cochrane

Convoy SC 121[edit]

Having recently returned to sea after a long recovery from gunshot wounds, Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche was on target with Convoy SC 121 when he sighted the Empire Impala, hove-to picking up survivors from the torpedoed Egyptian, on 7 March 1943. Of the combined crew of 80 men, from both Egyptian and Empire Impala, only 3 survived.

Fate[edit]

U-591 was sunk on 30 July 1943 in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco in position 08°36′S 34°34′W / 8.600°S 34.567°W / -8.600; -34.567; depth charged by a US Lockheed Ventura aircraft of VB-127. There were 19 dead and 28 survivors.

Summary of raiding history[edit]

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate[3]
21 December 1942 Montreal City  United Kingdom 3,066 Sunk
28 December 1942 Norse King  Norway 5,701 Damaged
29 December 1942 Zarian  United Kingdom 4,871 Sunk
7 March 1943 Empire Impala  United Kingdom 6,116 Sunk
8 March 1943 Vojvoda Putnik  Yugoslavia 5,879 Sunk

References[edit]

  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-591". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gröner 1991, pp. 43-46.
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-591". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 11 June 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. 
  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. pp. 137, 138, 167–169. ISBN 0-304-35203-9. 
  • 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. 
  • Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9. 

External links[edit]