German submarine U-59 (1938)
|Ordered:||17 June 1937|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werke, Kiel|
|Laid down:||5 October 1937|
|Launched:||12 October 1938|
|Commissioned:||4 March 1939|
|Fate:||Scuttled on 3 May 1945|
|Class and type:||IIC|
|Height:||8.40 m (27 ft 7 in)|
|Draught:||3.82 m (12 ft 6 in)|
|Test depth:||80 m (260 ft)|
|Complement:||3 officers, 22 men|
German submarine U-59 was a Type IIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served in the Second World War. She was built by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel. Ordered on 17 June 1937, she was laid down on 5 October as yard number 258. She was launched on 12 October 1938 and commissioned on 4 March 1939 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Harald Jürst.
German Type IIC submarines were enlarged versions of the original Type IIs. U-59 had a displacement of 291 tonnes (286 long tons) when at the surface and 341 tonnes (336 long tons) while submerged. Officially, the standard tonnage was 250 long tons (250 t), however. The U-boat had a total length of 43.90 m (144 ft 0 in), a pressure hull length of 29.60 m (97 ft 1 in), a beam of 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in), a height of 8.40 m (27 ft 7 in), and a draught of 3.82 m (12 ft 6 in). The submarine was powered by two MWM RS 127 S four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engines of 700 metric horsepower (510 kW; 690 shp) for cruising, two Siemens-Schuckert PG VV 322/36 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 410 metric horsepower (300 kW; 400 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 0.85 m (3 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 80–150 metres (260–490 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 35–42 nautical miles (65–78 km; 40–48 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 3,800 nautical miles (7,000 km; 4,400 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). U-59 was fitted with three 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes at the bow, five torpedoes or up to twelve Type A torpedo mines, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of 25.
The boat began her career by training with the 5th U-boat Flotilla from March to December 1939. She was declared operational on 1 January 1940 with the 1st flotilla. She was assigned to the 22nd flotilla on 1 January 1941, then the 19th flotilla on 1 July 1944. The last two assignments were as a "school" boat.
She carried out 13 patrols in which she sank 17 merchant ships, two auxiliary warships, and damaged a tanker. A further victim was declared a "total loss".
She was scuttled in the Kiel Arsenal at the end of the war. The wreck was broken up in 1945.
1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols
Her second sortie saw her first success, sinking the British trawler Lynx II west of the Shetland Islands on 28 October 1939. She also sank St. Nidian on the same date and HMS Northern Rover on the 30th.
Her third patrol also passed without incident.
4th, 5th and 6th patrols
The boat departed Wilhelmshaven on 14 December 1939 and sank Lister 130 nautical miles (240 km; 150 mi) off Newcastle on the 16th. She then sank the neutral Glitfriejell on the same day; the ship broke in two 75 nautical miles (139 km; 86 mi) off St. Abbs Head. Her next victim was the neutral Bogø which also broke in two, 75 nautical miles (139 km; 86 mi) east of May Island. U-59 returned to Germany, but this time to Kiel.
Her fifth outing took her from Kiel (leaving on 14 January 1940), to the vicinity of the British East Anglian coast. She returned, empty-handed, to Wilhelmshaven on 22 January.
The boat's sixth patrol saw her return to the East Anglian coast, but this time she was more successful, sinking Ellen M. on 1 February 1940 and Creofield and Portlet, both on 2 February.
7th, 8th, 9th and 10th patrols
Her seventh effort was uneventful, but her eighth, which commenced on 31 March 1940 was, at 38 days, her longest. She sank Navarra on 6 April, but was in turn attacked by a submarine on 5 May; a torpedo track was seen 100 m from her stern. She returned to Kiel on 7 May.
The submarine's ninth patrol was marked with the sinking of Sigyn on 1 August 1940 west of Oban (on the Scottish west coast). She completed the operation by docking at Bergen in occupied Norway on 4 August.
U-59's tenth sortie began on 8 August 1940, it finished at Lorient on the French Atlantic coast on the 19th. In between, she sank Betty 35 nautical miles (65 km; 40 mi) west of Tory Island on 14 August.
11th, 12th and 13th patrols
On her eleventh patrol, the boat damaged two ships, San Gabriel and Anadara, both on 30 August 1940 and both west of Scotland.
Her twelfth effort, west of Ireland and Scotland, was followed by the journey from Lorient back to Bergen.
Her thirteenth and last operational patrol was a fairly straightforward affair: from Bergen, down the Norwegian coast arriving in Kiel on 20 October 1940.
Summary of raiding history
|28 October 1939||Lynx II||United Kingdom||250||Sunk|
|28 October 1939||St. Nidian||United Kingdom||565||Sunk|
|30 October 1939||HMS Northern Rover||Royal Navy||655||Sunk|
|6 December 1939||HMS Washington||Royal Navy||209||Sunk (Mine)|
|12 December 1939||Marwick Head||United Kingdom||496||Sunk (Mine)|
|16 December 1939||Glitrefjell||Norway||1,568||Sunk|
|16 December 1939||Lister||Sweden||1,366||Sunk|
|17 December 1939||Bogø||Denmark||1,214||Sunk|
|17 December 1939||Jaegersborg||Denmark||1,245||Sunk|
|19 January 1940||Quiberon||France||1,296||Sunk|
|1 February 1940||Ellen M.||United Kingdom||498||Sunk|
|2 February 1940||Creofield||United Kingdom||838||Sunk|
|2 February 1940||Portelet||United Kingdom||1,064||Sunk|
|6 April 1940||Navarra||Norway||2,118||Sunk|
|1 August 1940||Sigyn||Sweden||1,981||Sunk|
|14 August 1940||Betty||United Kingdom||2,339||Sunk|
|30 August 1940||Anadara||United Kingdom||8,009||Damaged|
|30 August 1940||San Gabriel||Greece||4,943||Total Loss|
|31 August 1940||Bibury||United Kingdom||4,616||Sunk|
|7 October 1940||Touraine||Norway||5,811||Sunk|
|12 October 1940||Pacific Ranger||United Kingdom||6,865||Sunk|
- 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.
- 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.