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German submarine U-57 (1938)
Career (Nazi Germany)
Name: U-58
Ordered: 17 June 1937
Builder: Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel
Laid down: 14 September 1937
Launched: 3 September 1938
Commissioned: 29 December 1938
Fate: Sunk in a collision, September 1940;
raised and repaired, scuttled, May 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Type IIC U-boat
Displacement: 291 long tons (296 t) surfaced
341 long tons (346 t) submerged
435 long tons (442 t) total
Length: 43.9 m (144 ft 0 in) o/a
29.6 m (97 ft 1 in) pressure hull
Beam: 4.1 m (13 ft 5 in) o/a
4 m (13 ft 1 in) pressure hull
Height: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
Draught: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MWM RS127S 6-cylinder diesel engines, 700 hp (522 kW)
2 × SSW PGVV322/26 double-acting electric motors, 402 hp (300 kW)
Speed: 12 knots (14 mph; 22 km/h) surfaced
7 knots (8.1 mph; 13 km/h) submerged
Range: 6,100 km (3,300 nmi) at 8 kn (15 km/h) surfaced
67 km (36 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 150 m (490 ft)
Complement: 22 to 24 men
Armament: 3 × torpedo tubes (bow), five torpedoes
Service record
Part of: 5th U-boat Flotilla
1st U-boat Flotilla
22nd U-boat Flotilla
19th U-boat Flotilla[1]
Commanders: Oblt. Claus Korth
(29 December 1938–4 June 1940)
Oblt. Erich Topp
(5 June–15 September 1940)
Wilhelm Eiseke
(11 January 1941–16 May 1943)
Oblt. Walter Zenker
(17 May 1943–31 July 1944)
Oblt. Peter Kühl
(1 August 1944–May 1945)
Operations: Eleven:
1st patrol:
3–5 September 1939
2nd patrol:
5–18 September 1939
3rd patrol:
25 October–5 November 1939
4th patrol:
12 November–23 November 1939
5th patrol:
7 December 1939– 16 December 1939
6th patrol:
16–25 January 1940
7th patrol:
8–25 February 1940
8th patrol:
14– 29 March 1940
9th patrol:
4 April– 7 May 1940
10th patrol:
a. 15–20 July 1940
b. 22 July–7 August 1940
11th patrol:
14 August–3 September 1940
Victories: Eleven ships sunk, total 48,053 GRT (gross register tonnage);
one auxiliary warship sunk 8,240 GRT;
two ships damaged, total 10,403 GRT;
one ship declared a total loss[2]

German submarine U-57 was a Type IIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine that served in the Second World War. She was built by Deutsche Werke AG in Kiel as 'werk' 256. Ordered on 17 June 1937, she was laid down on 14 September, launched on 3 September 1938 and commissioned on 29 December under the command of Oberleutnant Claus Korth.

U-56 was initially part of the 5th U-boat Flotilla during her training period, until 31 December 1939, when she was re-assigned to the 1st U-boat Flotilla for operations. She carried out eleven war patrols, sinking eleven ships for a total 48,053 GRT and one auxiliary warship of 8,240 GRT; she also damaged two vessels totalling 10,403 GRT; one ship was declared a total loss (10,191GRT).

Service history

1st, 2nd and 3rd patrols

The boat's first patrol was brief and passed without incident. For her second sortie, she departed Kiel on 5 September 1939, but went no further than the Kattegat. Her third effort was as far as the waters separating Orkney and Shetland, but success continued to elude her.

4th and 5th patrols

It was more of the same for her fourth and fifth patrols, although her activity was centred more in the southern North Sea.

6th and 7th patrols

The submarine's luck changed for the better on her sixth foray, when she sank the Miranda about 30 mi (48 km) northwest of Peterhead in Scotland on 20 January 1940.

Sally number seven began with the boat's departure from Wilhelmshaven on 8 February 1940. On the 14th, she attacked the Gretafield southeast of Noss Head. The burnt-out ship, which had been abandoned, drifted ashore at Dunbeath in Caithness. She broke in two and was declared a total loss.
U-57 was one of six U-boats that took part in Operation Nordmark; carrying out reconnaissance in the area of the Orkney and Shetland Islands for a subsequently unsuccessful sortie by the German capital ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Admiral Hipper between 18 and 20 February 1940.

8th and 9th patrols

On her eighth patrol, also executed in the vicinity of Orkney, she sank the Daghestan 9 mi (14 km) east of Copinsay, Orkney, on 25 March 1940. Patrol number nine saw the boat sweeping the area of the North Sea off the English/Scottish borders, Orkney and Shetland and all points east, with no result.

10th patrol

U-57 had moved to Bergen in Norway; HMS Tetrarch, a British submarine, fired three torpedoes at the U-boat in the entrance to Kors fjord on 15 July 1940: they missed. On the 17th, she sank the O.A. Brodin 15 mi (24 km) northwest of Noup Head in the Orkney Islands. She also successfully attacked the Manipur 8 mi (13 km) northwest of Cape Wrath, (on the northern Scottish mainland). Her next victim was the Atos which went to the bottom in three minutes about 30 mi (48 km) north of Malin Head (in Ireland)[3] on 3 August.
She then docked at the recently captured port of Lorient on the French Atlantic coast on 7 August.

11th patrol and loss

Although her base had changed, the boat's area of operations had not. She damaged the Havildar 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Malin Head on 24 August 1940 and sank the Cumberland but was unsuccessfully attacked by British warships the next day. As sort of a farewell gift, she sank the Pecten in the evening of the 25th; the ship went down in 90 seconds. Returning to Germany, she was relegated to duties as a training boat and sunk after a collision with the Norwegian ship Rona at Brunsbüttel (northwest of Hamburg).[4] She was raised, repaired and returned to service in January 1941. With the end of the war in sight, she was scuttled on 3 May 1945 at Kiel.

Summary of raiding history

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[5]
17 November 1939 Kaunas  Lithuania 1,566 Sunk
19 November 1939 Stanbrook  Great Britain 1,383 Sunk
13 December 1939 Mina  Estonia 1,173 Sunk
20 January 1940 Miranda  Norway 1,328 Sunk
26 January 1940 HMS Durham Castle  Great Britain 8,240 Sunk (mine)
14 February 1940 Gretafield  Great Britain 10,191 Total loss
21 February 1940 Loch Maddy  Great Britain 4,996 Damaged
25 March 1940 Daghestan  Great Britain 5,742 Sunk
17 July 1940 Manipur  Great Britain 8,652 Sunk
17 July 1940 O.A. Brodin  Sweden 1,960 Sunk
3 August 1940 Atos  Sweden 2,161 Sunk
24 August 1940 Cumberland  Great Britain 10,939 Sunk
24 August 1940 Havildar  Great Britain 5,407 Damaged
24 August 1940 Saint Dunstan  Great Britain 5,681 Sunk
25 August 1940 Pecten  Great Britain 7,468 Sunk


  2. "Ships Hit by U-57". 8 November 2012. 
  3. The Times Atlas of the World - Third edition, revised 1995, ISBN 0 7230 0809 4, p. 10
  4. The Times Atlas of the World, p. 13

See also

External links

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