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German submarine U-575
The crew after return from 7th patrol
Name: U-575
Ordered: 24 October 1939
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 550
Laid down: 15 June 1940
Launched: 12 April 1941
Commissioned: 12 June 1941
Nickname: Liliput
Fate: Sunk by Allied warships and aircraft, 13 March 1944[1]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296.
Speed: 17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) surfaced
7.6 knots (8.7 mph; 14.1 km/h) submerged
Range: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament: • 5 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
• 14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
• 1 × C35 88mm gun/L45 deck gun (220 rounds)
• Various AA guns
Service record[2]
Part of: 7th U-boat Flotilla
(19 June–31 August 1941)
7th U-boat Flotilla
(1 September 1941–13 March 1944)
Commanders: Kptlt. Günther Heydemann
(19 June 1941–29 July 1943)
Oblt. Wolfgang Boehmer
(12 September 1943–13 March 1944)
Operations: 1st patrol:
8 September–9 October 1941
2nd patrol:
9 November–17 December 1941
3rd patrol:
14 January–26 February 1942
4th patrol:
24 March–14 May 1942
5th patrol:
10 June–7 August 1942
6th patrol:
16 September–8 November 1942
7th patrol
17 December 1942–18 February 1943
8th patrol:
22 April–11 June 1943
9th patrol:
a. 20–22 September 1943
b. 25–27 September 1943
c. 28–30 September 1943
d. 6 October–28 November 1943
10th patrol:
29 February–13 March 1944
Victories: Eight ships sunk, total 36,010 GRT;
one warship sunk, of 1,015 tons; three ships damaged - 29,777 GRT

German submarine U-575 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She carried out ten patrols, sank eight ships totalling 36,010 GRT and damaged three other of 29,777 GRT.

She was a member of 18 wolfpacks.

She was sunk north of the Azores by Allied ships and aircraft, in March 1944.[1]

Service history

The submarine was laid down on 1 August 1940 at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as 'werk' 551, launched on 30 April 1941 and commissioned on 19 June under the command of Kapitänleutnant Günther Heydemann.

She served with the 7th U-boat Flotilla from 19 June 1941 for training and stayed with that organization for operations until her loss, from 1 September 1941 to 13 March 1944.

Liliput, the emblem of U-575

1st patrol

U-575's first patrol was from Trondheim in Norway; she headed for the Atlantic Ocean via the 'gap' between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. She swept an area southeast of Greenland and sank the Tuva on 2 October. The ship's crew abandoned their vessel in a pair of lifeboats and two rafts, but had to leave one of their number who had been trapped underneath debris. The neutral US destroyer USS Winslow, escorting convoy ON 20, came to help Tuva. As Winslow reached the area, she closed in on U-575 and began the tracing with depth charges, but U-575 had escaped any damage.

The submarine was the target of an air attack on 7 October; damage was slight.

She arrived at St. Nazaire in occupied France, on 9 October 1941.


Days on sea: 32

distance travelled over all 5.059,5 nmi

distance travelled over water 4.776,70 nmi (94,4%)

distance travelled under water 282,8 nmi (5,6%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 292 nmi at 08.10.1941

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 36,3 nmi at 12.09.1941

diving: 7.029 minutes; 117,15 hours; 4,88 days (15,3%)

2nd patrol

Having left St. Nazaire on 9 November 1941, U-575 headed for the Newfoundland and Labrador coast.

On 1 December 1941 U-575 runs across on the American tanker Astral by 35°40´N/24°00´W (ca. grid square CF75-79). He cames from Aruba in Venezuela und was sailed to Lissabon with a cargo from 78.200 barrel benzine and kerosine. U-575 hunted Astral for many hours to come into a good firing position, but when he recognized the neutral US flag, Heydemann let Astral proceed.

But on the return leg, when she was looking to re-fuel in Vigo in Spain, she was depth charged. The damage was serious enough to prevent her entry into the Mediterranean; she was obliged to return to St. Nazaire, which she did on 17 December.


Days on sea: 39

distance travelled over all 5.814,0 nmi

distance travelled over water 5.508,80 nmi (94,8%)

distance travelled under water305,2 nmi (5,2%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 354 nmi at 30.11.1941

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 37 nmi at 10.12.1941

diving: 6.841 minutes; 114,02 hours; 4,75 days (12,2%)

3rd patrol

For her third foray, U-575 left St. Nazaire on 14 January 1942. On the 25th, a lookout broke an arm in bad weather.

At the end of January, U-575 was involved with U-123 in trying, in the mid-ocean 'air-gap', to rendezvous with the Spreewald, a German blockade runner whose doctor might be able to treat one of U123's members who had been injured. On the 31st, U-123 met U-575, but there was no sign of the Spreewald. She had been sunk, but it was not then known by whom.[3]


Days on sea: 44

distance travelled over all 5.986,0 nmi

distance travelled over water 5.750,00 nmi (96,1%)

distance travelled under water 236,0 nmi (3,9%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 210 nmi at 27.01.1942

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 24 nmi at 16.01.1942

diving: 3.369 minutes; 56,15 hours; 2,34 days (5,3%)

4th patrol

U-575's only victim on this patrol was the Robin Hood, which she sank about 300 mi (480 km) southeast of Nantucket Island (off the eastern US coast).


Days on sea: 53

distance travelled over all 7.129,5 nm

distance travelled over water 6.912,00 nmi (97,0%)

distance travelled under water 217,5 nmi (3,0%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 268 nmi at 28.03.1942

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 37,5 nmi at 26.03.1942

diving: 5.622 minutes; 93,7 hours; 3,90days (7,4%)

5th patrol

A steady stream of sinkings on her fifth sortie followed, e.g. the Norlandia on 4 July 1942; Empire Explorer on the 9th and two sailing ships sunk with gunfire: Comrade and Glacier, both on the 18th.
She also damaged San Gaspar off Manzilla, Trinidad[4] on the 18th. It was assumed that this ship had sunk, but she was taken in tow by the tug HMS Roode Zee to Port of Spain,[4] repaired and returned to service in October 1943.


Days on sea: 59

distance travelled over all 10.173,0 nmi

distance travelled over water 9.732,30 nmi (95,7%)

distance travelled under water 440,7 nmi (4,3%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water:286,1 nmi at 14.06.1942

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water:57 nmi at 06.08.1942

diving: 9.866 minutes; 164,4 hours; 6,85 days (11,6%)

6th patrol

On the boat's sixth patrol, a man was lost overboard on 5 October 1942. The death toll was increased when she sank the troopship MV Abosso which was sailing unescorted about 700 mi (1,100 km) northwest of the Azores. 362 people were killed. Abosso's top speed was only 14 knots (26 km/h) and therefore normally sailed only in convoys. One passenger, Dutch Navy submarine commander Luitenant ter zee der 1e klasse H.C.J. Coumou had warned against this but the British authorities overruled him.

On board were 162 crew, 20 DEMS gunners to defend the ship and 210 passengers. The passengers were 149 military, 44 internees and 17 civilians, including 10 women with children. The cargo was 3,000 tons of wool and mailbags.

Among the military passengers were 44 newly-trained pilots of the 23rd Service Flying Training School in Southern Rhodesia and 34 Dutch submariners on their way to crew the submarine Hr. Ms. Haai, which was then under construction. Haai had been laid down as HMS Varne for the Royal Navy but had been reallocated to the Dutch Navy. 30 of the submariners were killed on Abosso and the Dutch were unable to replace them. The British authorities therefore reallocated the submarine again, and she was launched as the Norwegian Navy HNoMS Ula


Days on sea: 54

distance travelled over all 7.363,4 nmi

distance travelled over water 6.903,10 nmi (93,8%)

distance travelled under water 460,3 nmi (6,2%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 300 nmi at 04.10.1942

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 53 nmi at 23.09.1942

diving: 7.587 minutes; 126,5 hours; 5,27 days (9,8%)

7th patrol

On Patrol number seven on 9.1.1943 at 6.36 a.m. the boat fired a stern torpedo oat the Norwegian tanker Minister Wedel with 6,830 GRT, therefore it began to burn (Position: 28°08´N/28°20`W grid square DG8682, convoy TM 1) and two minutes later, 6.38 a.m., one hit with a torpedeo caused by a FAT-4th-shot on the Norwegian tanker under Panama flag Norvik with 10.034 GRT. Both were sinking after a finishing shot from U-522. Minister Wedel were all surviving, the Narvik lost two men and 43 surviving.

On 25.1.1943 from the convoy UGS.4 U-575 sank the US ship City of Flint, this time about 300 mi (480 km) east southeast of the Azores.


File:Hamburger Illustrierte 26.1.44 U 575.jpg

Cover page of the Hamburger Illustrierte of 22.1.1944 - "Three and their gun", the silhouette on the gun is the City of Flint

Days on sea: 67

distance travelled over all 10.132,3 nmi

distance travelled over water 9.692,70 nmi (95,7%)

distance travelled under water 439,6 nmi (4,3%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 294,8 nmi at 09.01.1943

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 40,7 nmi at 20.12.1942

diving: 10.449 minutes; 174,2 hours; 7,26 days (10,8%)

8th patrol

Her eighth sortie, which commenced on 22 April 1943 and finished on 11 June, was relatively uneventful.


Days on sea: 51

distance travelled over all 8.028,7 nmi

distance travelled over water 7.164,90 nmi (89,2%)

distance travelled under water 863,8 nmi (10,8%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 307 nmi at 14.05.1943

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 53,3 nmi at 26.04.1943

diving: 17.217 minutes; 287,0 hours; 11,96 days (23,4%)

9th patrol

In the last dock yard time changed the commandants. The new Captain was since September 1943 Oberleutnant z. S. Wolfgang Boehmer.

The boat's ninth patrol was split into four parts; the first three were only a couple of days duration. The fourth was longer and included an approach by a B-24 Liberator which turned away when engaged by the U-boat's anti-aircraft guns. Nevertheless, she crash-dived.


Days on sea: 70

distance travelled over all 6.776,2 nmi

distance travelled over water 5.432,80 nmi (80,2%)

distance travelled under water 1.343,4 nmi (19,8%)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 263,1 nmi at 16.11.1943

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 54 nmi at 09.10.1943

diving: 36.392 minutes; 606,5 hours; 25,27 days (36,1%)

10th patrol and loss

In the two and a half months of the past dock yard time get U-575 as second Atlantic-boat a Snorkel built-in. On this journey they shall reported her experiences by the snorkeling and used as weather-boat.

U-575 left St. Nazaire for the last time on 29 February 1944. After sinking HMS Asphodel west northwest of Cape Finisterre on 10 March, the boat was hunted for 18 hours by convoy escorts, but escaped.

Her luck ran out on the 13th when she was sunk by the efforts (and depth charges) of the Canadian frigate HMCS Prince Rupert, the American destroyer USS Hobson, the American destroyer escort USS Haverfield, a British Vickers Wellington of No. 172 Squadron RAF, two B-17 Flying Fortresses of 206 and 208 squadrons and a TBM Avenger from USS Bogue.

18 men died with U-575; there were 37 survivors.

U-575 under bombardment

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
2 October 1941 Tuva  Netherlands 4,652 Sunk
16 April 1942 Robin Hood  USA 6,887 Sunk
4 July 1942 Norlandia  UK 2,689 Sunk
9 July 1942 Empire Explorer  UK 5,345 Sunk
18 July 1942 Comrade  UK 69 Sunk
18 July 1942 Glacier  UK 75 Sunk
18 July 1942 San Gaspar  UK 12,910 Damaged
29 July 1942 Abosso  UK 11,330 Sunk
9 January 1943 Minister Wedel  Norway 6,833 Damaged
9 January 1943 Norvik  Norway 10,034 Damaged
25 January 1943 City of Flint  USA 4,963 Sunk
10 March 1944 HMS Asphodel  UK 1,015 Sunk

Statistic (total)

Days on sea: 463

In nine war patrols (without the period from 14. - 26.2.42):

Days on sea: 459

thereof dived: 1.739,53 hours (72,5 days; 15%)

max. depth: 230m

Distance over all: 66.462,6 nm (triply around the world)

max. distance travelled in 24 hours over water: 354 nm at 30.11.1941

max. distance travelled in 24 hours under water: 57 nm at 06.08.1942

max. distance: 10.173 nm at the 5.war patrol

max. diving time: 1.230 min. (20,5 h) at 12.10.1943

Enemy seen: 117

thereof without contact: 92

thereof with contact: 18

thereof air planes: 30

thereof subs: 1 (US-R I)

depth charges/aircraft bombs: 188

Enemy radar detection : 30

own U-Boats seen: 20

Seen vessels/convoys: 40

thereof neutral vessels: 11 (no neutral vessel attack)

Torpedo shots: 45

thereof hits 19

miss 26 (thereof misfire 10)

four war patrols without torpedo shots

six war patrols with torpedo shots

two patrols without attack with depth charges


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kemp, Paul (1997). U-Boats Destroyed – German Submarine Losses in the World Wars. London: Arms and Armour Press. p. 177. ISBN 1-85409-515-3. 
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2012). "U-575". List of all U-boats. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  3. Gannon, Michael (1990). Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II. New York: Harper and Row. pp. 292–295. ISBN 0-06016155-8. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Times Atlas of the World (Third ed.). 1995. p. 69. ISBN 0-7230-0809-4. 
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2012). "Ships hit by U-575". WWII U-boat Successes. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 

See also

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