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German submarine U-501
Name: U-501
Ordered: 25 September 1939
Builder: Deutsche Werft, Hamburg
Yard number: 291
Laid down: 12 February 1940
Launched: 25 January 1941
Commissioned: 30 April 1941
Fate: Sunk, 10 September 1941
General characteristics
Type: Type IXC submarine
Displacement: 1,120 t (1,100 long tons) surfaced
1,232 t (1,213 long tons) submerged
Length: 76.8 m (252 ft 0 in) o/a
58.7 m (192 ft 7 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) o/a
4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Height: 9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)
Draft: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MAN M9V40/46 supercharged 9-cylinder diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
2 × SSW GU345/34 double-acting electric motors, 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Speed: 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h) surfaced
7.7 knots (14.3 km/h) submerged
Range: 24,880 nmi (46,080 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h) surfaced
117 nmi (217 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Complement: 48 to 56
Armament: • 6 × torpedo tubes (four bow, two stern)
• 22 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedoes
• 1 × 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun[1] (110 rounds)
• AA guns
Service record[2][3]
Part of: 2nd U-boat Flotilla
(30 April–10 September 1941)
Commanders: KrvKpt. Hugo Förster
(30 April–10 September 1941)
Operations: 1st patrol: 7 August–10 September 1941
Victories: 1 commercial ships sunk (2,000 GRT)

German submarine U-501 was a Type IXC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 12 February 1940 at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg, launched on 25 January 1941 and commissioned on 30 April 1941 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Hugo Förster. The boat served with 2nd U-boat Flotilla until she was sunk on 10 September 1941.[2]

Service history

U-501 departed from Kiel on 2 July 1941 and sailed to Trondheim in Norway via Horten also in Norway, by 15 July.[3] From there she sailed on her first and only war patrol on 7 August 1941, heading out into the waters around Iceland.[4] She sank the 2,000 ton Norwegian merchant ship Einvik, a straggler from Convoy SC-41 on 5 September, about 450 miles south-west of Iceland, with a torpedo and gunfire. The ship's distress signals were received and an aircraft sent to search for her, but it found nothing and reported that there were probably no survivors. In fact all 23 crew members were in two lifeboats heading for Iceland, which they reached on 12 and 13 September.[5]


Five days later, on the night of 10 September, U-501 was taking part in a mass attack on Allied Convoy SC 42 in the Denmark Strait south of Tasiilaq, Greenland, in position 62°50′N 37°50′W / 62.833°N 37.833°W / 62.833; -37.833Coordinates: 62°50′N 37°50′W / 62.833°N 37.833°W / 62.833; -37.833, when she was detected by the Canadian Flower class corvette HMCS Chambly with sonar, and damaged with depth charges. U-501's captain - Hugo Förster - decided to scuttle the U-boat. On the surface, she was spotted by the corvette HMCS Moosejaw, which attempted to ram her. However, U-501 turned at the last moment so that the two vessels were running parallel, only feet apart. For unknown reasons, Hugo Förster surrendered himself and abandoned his command by leaping from the submarine's bridge to the deck of the Moosejaw.

The Mooosejaw veered away and the U-boat's first watch officer took command; he continued with the scuttling. A nine-man party from the Chambly got on board the U-501 in an attempt to seize secret papers, but the submarine sank under their feet. One Canadian sailor and eleven Germans died. The remaining thirty-five crewmen were taken prisoner.[6]

This was the first U-boat kill by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Battle of the Atlantic.


  1. Campbell, John Naval Weapons of World War Two ISBN 0-87021-459-4 pp.248&249
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Type IXC boat U-501 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "War Patrols by German U-boat U-501 - Boats -". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  4. "Patrol of U-boat U-501 from 7 Aug 1941 to 10 Sep 1941 - U-boat patrols -". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  5. "Einvik (Steam merchant) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  6. Blair, Clay (1999). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939-41. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 392. ISBN 0-394-58839-8. 

See also

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